This is predominantly clustered housing, a legacy from the old collective practices. More often than not, the houses adjoin one another and form a clustered-village or street-village. The former, as its name suggests, has no regular plan but incorporates a tangle of small streets. The latter is more typical of Lorraine. On either side of the single street are two rows of terraced houses. The street appears wide, as a large open space, nowadays often covered in flowers, stretches between the road and the row of houses. This was formerly the usoir, where one deposited one's wood or compost heap; the plough was parked here, and then more recently, the tractor.
To see some fine examples of street-villages, you could pay a visit to Hannonville-sous-les-Côtes, Combres-sous-les-Côtes, Taillancourt, Troyon and Troussey.
On these houses, the first thing you notice is the great barn door for the carts, far larger than the entrance door. In fact, these farms stretch back as far as the garden, where the stable and the cowshed adjoin the barn. In the linked rooms inside the dwelling, the often windowless kitchen is traditionally placed between the two bedrooms - one overlooking the street and the other over the garden - to keep them warmer. To bring light into the kitchen, a flamande was put there: a well of light that opened through the roof.
Lastly, an imposing frame supports the roof of a house that is far larger that it appears.
You'll be able to explore the interior and exterior of a Lorraine house in the eco-museums of Jouy-sous-les-Côtes and Hannonville-sous-les-Côtes.
This building technique, which only appeared in the Meuse at the end of the 14th century, is very widespread in highly wooded regions. The west of the département still has some very fine edifices.
The Meuse has two types of half-timbered architecture.
The first can be found around Revigny-sur-Ornain: here, the ground floors of the houses are made of stone from the Brillon or Savonnières quarries. They support one or two corbelled half-timbered storeys resting on supporting or capping studs. A Saint Andrew's cross is very often applied to the section below the cornice. The gable is protected from the wind and rain by wooden cladding made of butt-jointed boards and joint battens. The finest houses are to be found in four communes: Bar-le-Duc, a 15th-century house located at No. 25 Place Saint-Pierre; Mognéville, 16th and 17th-century house, located at 15 Rue Robert Rouy, in the main street; Contrisson, a 16th and 18th-century house near the church, located at 9 Rue Simon; and Ancerville, a house that probably dates back to the 14th century, located at 32 Rue du Château.
The second type can be found around Beaulieu-en-Argonne: long and narrow, the house is built on a slender foundation made of full bricks or gaize - a local stone; the main body of the building is entirely of timber. The body of the farm, with its broad façade, is covered with two wide overlapping panels of traditional hollow tiles; a large awning with a framed roof protects the wooden façade of wooden boards with battens covering the joints. The gables are also protected by a cladding of butt-jointed timber, topped with wooden battens to cover the joints. The finest examples of this type of architecture are to be found at Brizeaux, with two typical 19th-century Argonne farms displaying a certain art of construction. One is located at 18 Grande Rue, and the other at 2 Rue de Verdun.