Traditional French Housing

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Anne-Marie's father is proud of his house, which was built more than 100 years ago in the traditional French style. It is a single family house, with thick walls that can withstand the weather and the passage of time.

You can see many houses like this in French villages and in the countryside. Most are built of stone, and some have plaster and whitewash over the stone. The walls may be up to a metre thick. In the north, these walls keep out the cold and damp. In the south, they keep out the heat.

The most common roofing materials are slabs of grey slate or red tiles made of clay. The steepness of the roof depends on which art of the country the house is built in. These houses may be small, with just a room or two, or they may be large enough to old a family of 10.

Why does the steepness of the roof depend on the region where the house is located?

In larger towns and cities, houses are built of the same type of material but are often joined together. Usually they have a common wall that faces the street and is very close to it. Each house has several windows and a door that opens onto the street. Each house has a courtyard behind the house, where the family reads, gardens or plays games.

Fewer than half the French live in single-family homes, although most say they would like to. Houses built in recent years often follow the traditional plan. They may be built of cement blocks, but they are still whitewashed and roofed with red tiles. Some new houses, especially in mountain areas, are made of wood.