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QR Vic-le-Comte – Enval 4

A typical village in the Limagne hills

Winegrowers’ houses

These houses were highly functional, serving as both the owner’s home and the place where he produced and stored his goods. A few steps led up to the dwelling, which was always located on the first floor. The entrance was preceded by a landing, known as an estre, the roof of which sat on wooden posts. On the ground floor, under the front steps, a porch opened onto the vat room and in the basement was the cellar. There was also an attic.

Dovecotes and pigeon droppings

There were many dovecotes in Limagne, a region once devoted to growing cereals. Square towers, round towers and small dovecotes built into house façades or sometimes rock faces all provided their owners with additional food and a precious fertiliser, their droppings, which was widely used in vineyards.

Golden stone houses

Most of the old houses in Enval were made from arkose. This sandstone – rich in quartz and feldspar and varying in colour, from grey to blond – forms the very bedrock of the village. It is formed through the deterioration of granite and is widespread in Auvergne. The large quarry in the nearby village of Montpeyroux provided the stone used to construct major churches such as Saint-Austremoine in Issoire, while there were many smaller quarries around the region used more locally.

Enval, a dynamic, 19th-century village

The village reached its economic and demographic peak during the 19th century. In 1851, there were 69 houses and 226 inhabitants. The vast majority of villagers were smallholders, farmers or winegrowers. However, the census also listed millers, stonemasons, basket makers and, in the 1870s, a match-stick manufacturer. The population then gradually declined. In 1936, there were only 67 inhabitants and 23 occupied houses.

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