The House

Casa Rafela is a stone built cottage which dates from around the XVII Century (see below). As may be imagined the house has been completely restored, as far as possible using traditional methods and materials; wood beams, terracotta tiles, etc. while incorporating modern conveniences and services. Being on the edge of the village it looks directly over home orchards, farmland, heath and woodland and as it is the only house in the row to have its front door facing the fields it is very private. Outside there is a raised herb garden and a paved patio and a large private parking space.

Casa Rafela

Casa Rafela

The Accommodation

On the ground floor the original stable is furnished with rustic table and chairs as well as mementos from the past – it appears that the original Rafela was a ploughman. This room now serves as a useful a playroom for children or a secure store for sports equipment, cycles and so on.

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The entrance 'hall' was originally a ground floor stable

Upstairs the middle floor has two bedrooms: a double (with an antique bedstead, pine furniture and en suite with shower/w.c., and a twin bedroom with a pretty balcony window. When not in use we transform this room into an additional sitting room/study. Finally, a separate bathroom with cast iron bath and washing machine. NB: the stairwell into the top floor is open plan so a safety gate cannot be fitted, thereofore we can’t recommend the house for children under five years old.

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The main bedroom

The kitchen, dining/sitting room and terrace are on the top floor. The kitchen is fitted in the local style with tiled worktop. As we are enthusiastic cooks we equip the kitchen with a wide range of pots, pans and utensils – and lots of glasses! Cooking is by butane gas.

The lounge and window onto the terrace

The dining/sitting room has a wood-burning stove, pine dining table and chairs and a two-seater settee. Access to the terrace is directly from the kitchen. The terrace has a marble topped, four seater dining table and two hotel-style sun-beds.

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The kitchen with plenty of pots, pans and utensils

The view from the terrace is directly out over the Conca de Temp, looking south-east towards the Montsec range. To the north the peaks around Andorra can be seen as well as the ranges closer to home, like the Serra de Boumort; this is especially useful as, unlike the immediate surroundings, the higher mountain ranges are subject to changeable weather, so days out can be planned with expert ‘intelligence’ about the conditions on the day!

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The terrace with its 'drop dead' views!

A Small Piece of history

Although the village was founded in the Tenth Century (on January 31st, 999 to be precise!) Casa Rafela was built much later. Earlier houses were generally larger with more irregular structures. The very early buildings, of which there are several in Fígols, have specific features like vaulted ceilings and were built huddled together on hilltops for defence, either from the Moors, or, rather more often, their rapacious neighbours! The more noble houses have arched door-ways and form examples of a genre of traditional Catalan houses called masias, which belonged to local squires, or masencs, (many still do!) and housed not only their own extended families but all the labourers and domestic servants.

In contrast Casa Rafela is situated at the end of a row just away from the medieval centre of the village, so it dates at least from more peaceful times. It is built in the style of a traditional casa rabassaire of the district, that is to say a tenant farmer’s home. Rabassaires were granted land and small building plots in return for a fixed ‘rent’ of their labour, usually a set number of days work per year. The land reforms that led to this system of tenancy was introduced in 1640 and changed after  the Spanish War of Independence (1808-14), when the last vestiges of feudalism disappeared. These houses are typically built with the living accommodation on the floors above the old stable or workshop, as many were artisans with specific skills. Casa Rafela has this layout, so we can deduce that it was built during the XVII and XVIII Centuries.  From then  on the class of masencs were able to buy and sublet their own properties, often to the rabassaires, for cash and move into the towns and cities to form an urban bourgeois. At this point the old rabassaire houses were either used to house day labours or even, as in the case of Casa Rafela from at least the nineteen twenties, as accommodation for livestock!

One of the colourful local inhabitants!

  • Important Notice

    All material in this web page is subject to copyright: © 2012 Simon Rice. The downloadable guides are free to use.
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  • Generalitat de Catalunya

    Casa Rafela is a registered self-catering holiday accommodation. Nº HUTL-000734

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