Cabanes du Breuil, Dordogne visitors guide
Visit Cabanes du Breuil, France
The Bories du Breuil are a group of ancient agricultural buildings on a farm in the Dordogne that are very unusual because they are built entirely - roofs included - from stone. They have been completely restored and now provide a fascinating glimpse of farming life in earlier centuries.
Note that the buildings are referred to as both the 'Cabanes du Breuil' and the Bories du Breuil' - the two names refer to the same place.
You will see individual bories quite often as you explore the Dordogne, although typically just one in any place and often in poor condition. It is the number of cabins and their high standard of maintenance that makes Breuil interesting.
Exploring the Bories of Breuil
Although the cabins appear very ancient, in fact they were originally built as recently as the 19th century, and some of the bories here at Breuil even date from the early 20th century - so barely 100 years old, despite appearances!
As with the Village de Bories in Provence there is some doubt about whether these bories actually existed in the middle ages, but there is little evidence to support this although they certainly existed in the Dordogne, possibly as far back as the neolithic period.
In total there are nine cabins in three groups, although some of them are built as pairs with two cabins sharing a single roof. The largest group has five structures while the smaller groups contain two each.
It is the traditional techniques used in their building that gives them their unique character, with low walls supporting stone roofs built with slabs of stone.The walls are built using a mortar based on clay (very traditional and common in stone houses in the Dordogne) while the roofs are built from dry stone.
Each level of stones in the roof of a cabin is made slightly smaller than the one below until eventually they reduce in size to a point or ridge, which is then covered with a large flat stone. You can see this better in the photos that I can describe it. Each of the bories also incorporates a doorway and a window in the roof, also framed in stone although wooden lintels are used.
The bories were built to be used as agricultural buildings such as sheds, workshops and places for animals to shelter. In the 19th century some of the bories were also rented to local tradesmen such as blacksmiths to carry out their trade.
Visiting the Cabanes du Breuil
The bories are in private ownership and now maintained and open to the public by their owners as a museum. To add to the atmosphere you will also see various ancient farm machinery and a flock of geese walking around.
In a village called Saint-André-d'Allas (address Calpalmas) at just 10 kilometres from Sarlat and a similar distance from Les Eyzies, the bories du Breuil are in the heart of the most visited part of the Dordogne department and easily accessible to many visitors. From these places take the D47 north-west towards Chateau de Puymartin then follow the signs to reach the cabanes.
The Bories du Breuil are open to the public all year round although you will need to ring and make a reservation (06 80 72 38 59) between November and March. Entrance costs around 4 euros for an adult, 2 euros for a child. The visit takes about 30-40 minutes.
Visitors with an interest in history will certainly want to visit some of the local castles such as the Château de Puymartin and Château de Commarque, and you can see an impressive example of prehistoric habitations at the Abri du Cap Blanc not far from here.
Map of Cabanes du Breuil and places nearby
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Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Font-de-Gaume: national monument (8 km)
- Sarlat: town of art and history (8 km)
- Cathédrale Saint-Sardos (Sarlat): religious monument (8 km)
- Abri of Laugerie-Haute: national monument (9 km)
- Decorated caves of the Vezere Valley: national monument (9 km)
- Abri de Cap Blanc: national monument (9 km)
- Grotte du Grand Roc: site of natural beauty (9 km)
- Beynac: most beautiful village (9 km)
- Saint-Leon-sur-Vezere: most beautiful village (10 km)
- Eglise de Saint Léonce (Saint-Leon-sur-Vezere): religious monument (10 km)
- Jardins de Marqueyssac: remarkable garden (11 km)
- La Roque-Gageac: most beautiful village (12 km)
The French version of this page is at Cabanes du Breuil (Francais)