This picturesque view is one of 35 historic workshop courtyards to be found in the Normandy town of Villedieu-les-Poêles. This particular courtyard is called the Cour du Foyer (or the Furnace Courtyard) and houses the pan maker’s museum and the lace-making house. It’s one of the prettiest courtyards and is situated at the top end of the town.
The entrance to the courtyard is just out of shot on the right of the photo above. However, you can see the archway into another courtyard a little further down the street. The archways leading to each courtyard originally had wooden doors that were closed at night. Each courtyard housed several families. The ground floor of each building was the workshop with the living quarters located on the first floor. The living quarters were accessed by the stone steps on the outside of each building.
This courtyard was were some of the many hammering shops were based and where artisans hammered out copper plates . In 1742 there were 139 hammering shops and you can learn more about them in the pan maker’s museum. Today, the town is known as the copper town and boasts a number of shops selling copper cookware and other copper items.
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