The "Maison du Bayle"
On the square in Molières, one building catches the eye: the “Maison du Bayle” commonly called the “Porche”.
In the bastides, the central square is often lined with arcades: the “cornières” or “couverts”, as in Monpazier or Beaumont. The pillars of the arcades support the upper floors of the houses that are built around the square. Under these arcades there is a covered gallery, the “amban”, which offers a passage for pedestrians and a space to sell goods, dry on rainy days and in the shade on hot days. This is what we call a “shopping centre” nowadays!
In Molières, there is only one arcade house and there is no evidence that there were once any more. This is one of the mysteries that still surround the history of our bastide.
This house is supported by pointed arches. In the ground floor wall, partially hidden by the wooden staircase that now gives access to the first floor, you will see two arches, now walled in, one wider and the other narrower. These were the entrances to the ground floor of the adjoining building, where the workshops and shops of the craftsmen were located at the time. If you look closely, especially in the carreyrous of our bastide, you will find this type of arch in several places.
As in most bastides, the houses around the square had several floors: people worked downstairs and lived upstairs. In the gap (the “entremis”) between the “Maison du Bayle” and its neighbour, you can see the stone outlets of the latrines on the upper floor.
Admire also the pretty windows on its southern façade. A small detail: the stone mason who made the frames of these windows let himself be tempted by a little fantasy: two little heads emerge on the left and right of the central column and look at the inhabitants, one has a joyful air, the other has a sad air. It’s a pity that these little heads are hardly visible from the street!
Discovering our heritage
Most of the images on this page are from our private collection. The photo of the window detail, marked with a ¤, was made available to us by Xavier Lalinde.