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Once upon a time... Le Mas de La Baou

Whence this name?

du pont4mini It is typically Provencal: in Provence, a "mas" means a farm. And a "baou" (or "bau") in Provence, it is a cliff, a rock. The Mas de La Baou is well named, since it is built on a small cliff along the stream Encrême.

Originally:

Céreste has always been a crossroad. This large farm, looking like a fortified farm,, a little apart from the village, was probably playing a specific role..
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Its foundations seem very old, probably medieval. It probably pre-existed the small bridge that adjoins it. It may have served as a toll or a quarantine for travelers and pilgrins on Camino de Santiago, approaching the village.

 

A provencal "mas" : Later, it became a farm, which was a dependency of the castle of Céreste.

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Its six buildings have been added over the centuries by the generations of farmers who have succeeded in these lands. The farm was operated and inhabited until 1980.

La Bastide, the farmhouse, facing the village and south, was housing tenants.

The larger building facing west, was the sheephold, which housed 300 ewes.

Upstairs was stored hay, which was carried up with carts pushed backwards by oxen along the ramp. It was the hayloft, "La Fenière"

Other smaller buildings were used for other animals: chicken coop, barn, pigsty ..

The restoration of the mas:

facade avantmini The restoration dates from 2009, and required a year and a half of work. The entire farm was abandoned and severely degraded. It was restored to enhance this fine example of traditional rural architecture. Upon request of the owners, artisans from Céreste and surroundings have therefore tried to scrupulously respect the architecture and old materials, and work in the context of "green" building and eco-citizenship. The renovated building has got the label of the Heritage Foundation (Fondation du Patrimoine).

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Past traces:  A paved threshing area, amazing holes in stones...

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piliermini In the sheephold (now owners'home) curious pierced stones catch the eye: they were water pipes from Céreste Castle, cleverly reused at the time of destruction of the castle, in order to introduce in the walls fences for stables.

aire battage mini A large threshing area, paved in the old style, has been found out on the plateau.

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And its small bridge

pont baoumini Just behind the mas, the small "bridge of la Baou" over the river l’Encrême, is also named localy « le pont romain »: the roman bridge. In reality, it is not roman!

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It was built in 1740 (from the archives), but classified as "historical monument" and "pont romain" in 1862

This error comes from the fact that the Roman "Via Domitia" passed not far from here. The real Roman bridge (only the low batteries are still remaining, buried underground by archaeologists, for protection) is a few hundred meters far from here

Our nice little "Pont de La Baou" meanwhile, for centuries, allows pilgrims, still walking the Camino de Santiago, to cross the river Encrème.