The History of a Provençal "Mas"


In Provence, a "Mas" is a traditional house built by farmers who cultivated the surrounding grounds growing local products such as olives, wine, fruit, cereals... and also breeding animals.

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The houses always included one part where the family - usually composed by several generations - lived, and a second, agricultural, part :
La Magnanerie : This room was reservated for silkworm breeding. From early spring the mulberry leaves were collected on a daily basis to feed the silkworms in their caterpillar stage. Once they had evolved into pupae they were carefully installed in the rearing room - magnanerie - which was heated day and night. The empty cocoons were then sold and delivered to the silk industry in Lyon before the pupae started eating their way through and emerging as silkmoths thereby ruining the silk envelope.
Today, "La Magnanerie", situated on the first floor, has been transformed into a leisure room.

L'Ecurie / the Stables : It's importance varied of course depending on the size of the farm activities. Generally, the stables held one working horse or mule and one or two goats.
Today, dining room and stables are joined in a double living room and the vaults have been carefully restored.

Le Clapier / the Rabbit Hutch : Every farm kept rabbits, hens etc for breeding purposes. Being as they were alimentary self-sufficient, they had no choice.
Today, the "Clapier" has been transformed into a laundry and storage room.

La Grange / the Barn : A hay barn and storage room for agricultural equipment.
Today, it is still a storage room awaiting our next architectural move.

Au fond de la Cour / In the far end of the Courtyard : You find the "Mazet" - a diminutive form of a "Mas" - where 1-2 pigs were kept for the traditional "tuade" / slaughter in November, a widely appreciated family feast.
Today, this is where the technical pool equipment is kept on the one side, on the other side you find the poolside WC

Autour de la Maison / Around the House : Next to the well, they naturally cultivated their vegetable garden, which according to season produce tomatoes, zuccinies, egg-plants, chick peas, garlic etc.
Today, the vegetable garden is still in use and the well continues to thirst-quench our plants.

A Provençal Mas was a typical example of a nearly self-sufficient family organization. All members play a part :
The men cultivated the land.
The women and childre tended to the breeding of farm animals, including the silk-worms.
Other times, other habits...

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