The Main Street

On the central square “Placa Major” of medieval times, now place Bernard Alart-there is a remarkable flagstone building which housed the Town hall and the offices of the Justice of the Peace until 1937. The main street-now Michel Touron – was bordered on each side with substantial residences of the “notable“ of the town. These fine houses were often built on the same basic plan : a wide arched entrance of marble or freestone topped with the insignia of the owner, opened to a passage leading to a central patio which was often paved with small pebbles (calades) arranged in an attractive ornamental pattern. A grand staircase led to the reception rooms which overlooked the main street. The ground floor was commonly devoted to storerooms and workshops.

Half timbered houses : Some of these houses were half timbered .Rather than having load- bearing walls strengthened with river pebbles, the “out of plumb “ facade was composed of a “corbelled” front which respected the technique of over-hanging structures. Many of these houses date back to the seventeenth century, and even earlier. The quality of their architecture testifies of the importance of Vinça in the Middles Ages and indeed up to the Modern period. At number 9 rue Michel Touron there was a convent of the sisters of the Holy Sacrament; it later became a private school.

*the term “encorbellement” is derived from the ancient French word “corbel”(corbeau); it means a coping stone or timber which projects from a wall to support an architectural feature, such as overhanging beams for a roof, floor unit or other features.