Several half-timbered houses still remain in the Butchers’ quarters. Contrary to popular belief, this type of architecture was not exclusively medieval. It was used in Limoges up until the 19th century. It was prohibited in 1864 after the great fire that destroyed the area between place de la Motte and place d’Aine.
In order to build a house, wooden boards were first placed on the ground and numbered. Next they were disassembled before being reassembled on the building site. Gaps were filled with “torchis” which was a mix of clay, and natural fibres such as straw. Wooden house frames were insulated from the ground’s humidity thanks to stonework. On the street side, roofs were traditionally covered with canal tiles.
There are still many medieval houses in the area. Their windows are divided into 4 by wooden crosses. You can see several examples in rue Charreyrron. In the other streets, most of these wooden pieces have disappeared, leaving but a few traces behind.
You can also identify these houses thanks to their half-timbering, usually made with St Andrew’s crosses. However, 18th and 19th century half-timbering was grid shaped. If you go to n° 2 rue de la Boucherie, you can easily spot the older lower level and the newer 19th century levels.