Collonges’s covered market dates back to the late 16th or 17th century, and has a “four banal” or common oven: a feudal institution in medieval France. Feudal lords often had, among other banal rights, the duty to provide and the privilege to own all large ovens operated by an ovenmaster or “fournier”. The towns’ inhabitants would pay a tax to their lord, who was responsible for the oven’s maintenance. This oven was used up until 1968, and each year, it is lit on the first Sunday in August, for the annual bread fair.
The building’s roof is supported by two walls, to the north and south; by pillars on the east side, and columns on the west side. Originally, the floor was a hard-packed surface, but now it is entirely paved.
The small street that leads from «porte plate » gateway to the church, used to run by the covered market building, on its south side, as shown on the 1831 Napoleonic land register. The street was covered when the market building was enlarged, probably while the roof was being repaired between 1839 and 1868.
The covered market
In the heart of the village, the 16th century covered market and bread oven, used to be an important spot for social life in Collonges. This audio-guide tells us the covered market’s story.