What to do in summer > Sports and leisure > Natural world > The Educational Trails > Heritage Trails > Historical path in Ayer > Post 5. Sombévilla Square

Post 5. Sombévilla Square

This location is ideal for observing the configuration of the village and its neighbourhoods, a mix of housing and farm buildings such as raccards, greniers, and granges-écuries ( barns, granaries, barn-stables ). Wood was the main material for construction in these mountain villages.

   Map of Ayer


The village of Ayer is a fine example of a tightly configured village where buildings were concentrated together, in order to save the land for fields. The fields around the village were used for the cultivation of cereals ( rye, barley, wheat ), beans and potatoes.

Since the 1960s, new houses were built essentially outside of the village. That’s why the centre has kept its original appearance.

The houses often show several phases of construction. Built with larch wood, they are generally taller than they are wide, in order to use as little land as possible. They are almost all devoid of balconies, as they were considered unnecessary. Each house had several owners, in principle, one per floor. The cellar was dug directly into the earth.

By following this route, note the summary, but solid architecture, of the buildings : the beams were axe-hewn and ladders were carved from tree trunks.

The granges-écuries ( barn-stables ), quite small, were usually located near the fields, but they are also found in the village.


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Follow the lane and on the way by, observe the raccards located in the bend, right. Cross the town road and walk along the path to the next road. Turn right and follow the Rue de la Boucherie until the next location.