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Alain Bidal and his team put the spotlight on the village stone washhouses which, since not that long ago still, set the rhythm of life in our villages in Provence.
In our beautiful region of Provence, summers and winters are dry. Sources of water are quite rare and our rivers are often dry in summer timer. Water, here more than anywhere else in France, is Life !
For centuries, fountains and washhouses were the heart of the village common life in Provence.
The wash-house was until very recently an eminently social place in each Provencal village. It was the place where women washed clothes of course, but also met to exchange the latest news and gossips.
The washhouse can be attached to a fountain or independent, it can be covered or open, located in the heart of the town or on its outskirts, in the nearby countryside near a water spring.
But in all cases, it is formed of 2 basins : one for washing and the other for rinsing. It is the latter that receives the water supply. And this is understandable because the water must be very clean to rinse well !
In our beautiful villages of Provence, washhouses were used until the early 1950s. The arrival of washing machines in the homes caused their abandonment.
And this is for all of these reasons that Alain Bidal restores and preserves these remarkable monuments, witnesses of our heritage and local history !