Traditional Architecture of France's Alsace Region
This colorful resin refrigerator magnet from Worldwide Gifts makes a nice travel souvenir from France, representing the picturesque villages with their charming houses. Visitors to this region are at captivated by the appearance of these quaint buildings that are constructed in the Germanic influenced pan de bois (half-timbered) style. Each separate village in Alsace has its own traditional symbols and decorations that are added to the porches and doors of their homes, and also in some cases etched into the timbers that are used to frame the upper floors.
In Alsatian towns, the homes are typically constructed closely side by side, forming seemingly endless streets with no separation. The colors are usually selected from bright, cheerful pastels that create a very charming and picturesque scene that welcomes visitors to the French countryside just across the Rhine from Germany and Switzerland.
Buildings and Homes Built in Alsace
The predominant architectural style of this area of France is strongly influenced by the time of German occupation and ownership. Even though Alsace has belonged to France for a very long time, construction methods have basically remained unchanged. The typical home in Alsace is built with the ground floor constructed from stone, and the upper floors built with wood. This method was originally developed in the Middle Ages in order to prevent destruction by fire, as the stone foundation protects the upper wooden floors, and has continued as the traditional method of building homes in Alsace today.
More wealthy Alsatians used oak to build their homes, while peasants could only afford fir. This is why sometimes oak was used on the front side of the house which is visible, and fir was used on the back sides because it was more affordable. These half-timbered houses are dotted throughout the Alsatian region and make for charming picture-postcard scenes in every village in Alsace.