The restored Lavoir at Bonnat straddling a small stream
A Lavoir is a public place in France set aside for the washing of clothes. They are commonly sited on a spring or beside or set over a river. Many Lavoirs are provided with roofs for shelter. With the coming of piped water supplies and modern drainage, lavoirs have been steadily falling into disuse although a number of communes have restored ancient lavoirs some of which date back to the 10th Century.
There are also bateaux-lavoirs (lavoir boats) in some towns on the banks of large rivers such as Paris and Lyon.