Houses in the Mediterranean
Country: France
Year: 2018
Release Date: 09 Jul 2018
Cancelation Postmarks
First Day Cover/Philatelic
Press Release

Mediterranean Houses    EUROMED POSTAL                 


On July 9, 2018, La Poste will issue a stamp devoted to a theme shared by 14 of the 20 member countries of EUROMED POSTAL, that of Mediterranean Houses.

Just like flamingos, wild horses, and marshes, these houses are part of the Camargue landscape. They are called ‘Gardian’ houses, from the Provencal word for the guardians of herds (‘manades’) of wild bulls, cows, or horses. In the early 20th century, they were saved by two men, Frédéric Mistral and the Marquis de Baroncelli, whose love of the region was catching and contributed to the spread of the wild mythology associated with it. Without their influence, the oldest houses would undoubtedly have disappeared and people would probably have stopped building this style of house typical of the Camargue. But today the landscape is dotted with Gardian houses from Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer to Aigues-Mortes, even if the original characteristics of the local habitat have sometimes been reinterpreted to satisfy the demands of modern comfort.


The style remains the same, that of a farmhouse with a straight, white gable at the front and a rounded apse at the back, covered by a roof of reeds woven together to form a series of horizontal rows, called ‘manons’, which are sometimes replaced today by tiles. The architecture is adapted to the conditions in the region: use of local materials, the rounded side of the house facing north to resist the strong Mistral wind, a steeply sloping roof to ensure good run-off of the rain, which is rare but can be heavy, and a very low roof apron and small openings to resist the burning-hot summer sun. Lastly there is the ‘travette’, a small beam which structures the rear of the house and is crowned by bull’s horns or two simple pieces of wood forming a cross. The guardians, basket makers, fishermen, and marsh labourers who lived in these houses have mostly been replaced by holidaymakers but their spirit lives on in these houses, which are as resilient as the wild Camargue itself, and can be heard in the singing of the Mistral wind on the reed roofs.


Technical Info:

Creation: Isy Ochoa


Print: rotogravure                                           Stamp format: 40.85 x 30 mm


Number printed: 800,016 stamps                            Value:1.30 (world price)                         


Compulsory indications: Creation Isy Ochoa, layout Mathilde Laurent