Those Appealing French Doors
I don’t think I stretch any limits in guessing that at least 90 percent of visitors to France take one or two photos – if not many more – of French doors. And, no, I don’t mean those double-glassed doors we come to think of as “French doors”.
I mean the doors of many colors – deep green or bright blue, russet or yellow. Doors with interesting grills or set beneath an arbor of grapes. Honestly, these portes to the inner home have such an appeal, that we can scarcely pass them without a click!
During my first trip to France, I noticed the wonderfully grand entrance door to my friend’s early 19th century building. Then, we were off to the Loire Valley and wandering through Blois, when I saw a deep red door with a rustic, old wrought iron knocker. In Bracieux, a small village, an entry with a windowed-door was dressed with a quaint, cotton lace curtain.
Needless to say, I was hooked; but I know a part of my curiosity lay in imagining the life beyond the door. Was a family within or an elder lady with her little dog? Or was an immigrant family behind that door feeling gratitude for their opportunity to live and work in France?
Sorry – don’t mean to wax poetic, but it was a distinct memory that evoked my desire to paint “La Porte Accueillant”. My husband and I stayed a couple of nights at a lovely gîte – La Pradasse – in the small town of Ayguesvives near Toulouse. One day we wandered along a country road canopied with beautiful plane trees, until we came to a small town – Villefranche-de-Lauragais – not our ‘destination’, just a place to stop for lunch and explore.
We enjoyed lunch in a little brasserie, before exploring a town that had battened down for the extended noon meal. What I most remember was walking along narrow streets with inviting doors and bright shutters closed to the mid-day heat. We could hear the murmur of voices and even the sounds of cutlery against porcelain, as the residents of those little homes gathered for their meal. So, it really wasn’t so much that those particular doors were beautiful, but they served as the portals for those who lived behind them.
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