Lozère stone crossCross
©Stone cross.

The small heritage of the Lot Valley

Witness to ancestral lifestyles.

Discover the heritage of the Lot Valley in Lozère. There’s no place in Lozère more conducive to human settlement than the Lot Valley. Between Aubrac and Margeride to the north, and the Causses to the south, the inhabitants of this valley have managed to cultivate their own unique characteristics, while at the same time preserving what they have in common with those of the surrounding high plateaux. Discover the small-scale heritage of this exceptional area, and let the red and ochre sandstone stones tell you all about the life of our ancestors.

The origins of small heritage in the Lot Valley

Small-scale heritage, also known as vernacular heritage, remains essential to the villages of the Lozère Lot Valley. Bread ovens, crosses, ferradous… all served a purpose in the past: to indicate crossroads, to bake bread, to shoe oxen and horses. Today, this small heritage is more or less well preserved and maintained, but it is important to preserve it as much as possible to bear witness to the past of these villages, most of which are very old… Some heritage features, such as bread ovens, are still in use today: bread festivals, village festivals, old-fashioned baking…



Lozère, and particularly the Lot Valley, is home to a large number of crosses. They are the symbol of the religious fervor (Catholic religion) that once animated the Gévaudan. Their sheer number, however, should not obscure the fact that each one you come across is there for a specific purpose. They can be classified into several main groups:

  • Christianization crosses placed on pagan cult sites
  • crosses used to worship the dead
  • pilgrimage crosses
  • procession and mission crosses
  • and finally, boundary crosses.

Crosses placed along roads and bridges also served to reassure travellers, as they evoked the presence of God on dangerous paths that were the source of many ills. In the Lot Valley, these crosses can be made of stone or wrought iron.


Horseshoeing frames or “ferradous

As their name suggests, they were used to shoe animals used for skidding and field work. Cows and oxen were mainly shod, as they were more placid than horses. These “ferradous“, as they’re known here, bear witness to Lozère’s agricultural past, and are becoming increasingly rare as most of them, made of wood, suffer from the wear and tear of time and need to be maintained.


Bread ovens

In rural Lozère, where life was harsh and the shadow of famine hung over the population, bread was indispensable. Before the development of bakeries, villagers regularly gathered around the communal oven, where bread was baked. Bread ovens were mostly built on the same plan: they consisted of a shed with a frame or vaulted roof covered with lauze, and a heating chamber protected by masonry walls and always vaulted to conserve heat. At the time, virtually every village and hamlet had its own baker’s oven; today, the majority are very well preserved.

All about

small-scale heritage

of the Lot Valley

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