Let’s immerse ourselves for a moment in the charm and simplicity of a traditional farm in Cantal. A large drawer table surrounded by its massive benches is placed in full light, in line with the window. Above it, a board has been fixed to the ceiling by two vertical supports. It is called “la pau,” and it serves to store certain provisions, including the precious bread, safe from rodents. The large fireplace called “le cantou” is deep enough to place two benches on either side, known as ” bancs de cantou.” On one side of the room, a clock and a dresser-type cabinet are housed. On the other side, a row of enclosed beds is arranged, closed by thick curtains. In front of the entrance to each of these enclosed beds is a storage bench where the personal effects of the occupants of these mini-bedrooms are kept.
Fireplace Bench in Oak and Chestnut – 19th century – Auvergne – [MP049]
The generous proportions of this oak and chestnut bench, originally intended to be placed inside the “cantou,” indicate that the “cantou” itself was of considerable size. One can thus imagine that this fireplace bench comes from a beautiful Auvergne farmhouse whose “cantou” was large enough to constitute a separate room. A functional kitchen equipped with its “archelle,” a wrought iron grill with hooks for utensils, a pivoting pot hanger to bring the pot closer to or away from the fire, and, fitted into the back wall, a small bread oven where one could also put baking pans. This “cantou” thus housed the careful and delicious preparation of daily meals. It was also a place where people came, after working in the fields, to warm up and rest, facing the spectacle of the flames. Lastly, it was the heated and relatively well-lit place where everyone gathered for the evenings that sometimes turned into joyful dances with flute, bagpipe, and violin players. In short, this famous “cantou” was the stage for the only moments of respite and comfort in courageous lives of labor, throughout the seasons.
Length: 127 cm, Height at the highest point of the backrest: 101 cm, Seat height: 48 cm, Depth: 49 cm
To go further:
MAISONS PAYSANNES DE FRANCE (COUNTRY HOUSES OF FRANCE)
ALLIER • CANTAL • HAUTE-LOIRE • PUY-DE-DÔME
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE SAFEGUARDING OF BUILT AND LANDSCAPE RURAL HERITAGE RECOGNIZED AS OF PUBLIC UTILITY