Maison de Jeanne, also known as ‘Jeanne’s House,’ is a late 15th-century residence nestled in Sévérac-le-Château, Aveyron, France. This historic house, considered the oldest in Aveyron, derives its distinctive appearance from the striking contrast between the larger upper floors and the relatively compact ground floor.
This architectural gem can be traced back to 1478 and is believed to be Aveyron’s oldest half-timbered house. The name of the house pays homage to its final resident, an artist named Jeanne.
The peculiar design of Maison de Jeanne is attributed to the tax laws prevailing during its construction. In Aveyron, property taxes were determined based on the ground-level floor’s area. It is believed that the original owner aimed to minimize their tax burden, leading to the construction of the upper floors with more generous proportions than the ground floor.
In 1995, the municipality of Sévérac acquired the property and embarked on a project of restoration and repair. In 2017, Maison de Jeanne garnered widespread attention when a photograph of the medieval residence was shared on Imgur, captivating the interest of over 1.5 million people within just two days.
The house was crafted with a timber frame and cob walls. Its unique character is enhanced by the larger upper floors that extend beyond the smaller ground floor. The building comprises two stories and a vaulted cellar featuring feed troughs, suggesting that the original inhabitants coexisted with their animals on the lower level. Originally, the house was adorned with stone cladding.
In 2019, an extensive restoration and renovation effort commenced. The project was overseen by architect Philippe Blondin. The original slate tile roof was meticulously restored, with each tile measured and replaced by Serge Causse. The Muzzarelli company handled the exterior masonry work, while the Drulhet company managed the carpentry. Electrical and plumbing work was entrusted to the Molinié company, and authentic lime plaster was used for the house’s interior.