Construction materials

To understand the construction of Montignac and the entire Vézère Valley, on a larger scale, this video deals with the different materials used here for the masonry and coverings of buildings.

Construction materials

Locally mined limestone is the preferred material for construction in the Vézère Valley. Naturally, the town of Montignac is no difference.
Here we can distinguish between two types of pale-yellow limestone. One, known as “pierre des Eyzies” (Eyzies stone), is extracted from deep in the ground, primarily in the municipalities of Campagne and Eyzies de Tayac. As it is of good quality and relatively expensive, it is most often used as a cut stone for framing openings and quoins. The other, surface minded up to a metre deep, is a very dense, crystalline limestone. Cut out the ground as rubble stone, it is used in particular for the masonry work for many agricultural buildings. Once broken into finer slabs, it is used as a covering material known as flagstone.
The limestone flagstone, coloured either grey-white or dark grey, was otherwise primarily used on the roofs of Montignac and the surrounding areas. However, the majority of structures designed to carry this heavy material have then been covered in tile or slate, which is less costly and much easier to install. This is the case for the residence known as the Maison-forte d’Albret (the fortified Albret manor house). This trend of flagstones disappearing to be replaced by slate started from the 18th century and increased over the 19th century. The slate used in Montignac is partially imported from the nearby slate producers in Allassac and Travassac in Corrèze.
Wood is also very frequently used in construction, both for interiors and sometimes exteriors. In fact, Montignac still has a number of houses with timber-framed floors or wooden corbel arches. This is an exception in the valley, where this type of construction has all but disappeared. They were built for the most part between the end of the 15th and the end of the 17th centuries.

 

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