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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Amour de porte française

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Europe: Simply Irresistible,  
. . . . . . . .
A collection of dream voyages 
posted by world travelers 
about destinations that call to them. 

Where, you ask, calls to me? 

Off we go to my dream destination. 
Beynac Château inside the walls 

. . . as part of Anita's 

Castles Crowns and Cottages

Pack a bag, 
just a lightweight carry-on, 
and come along for the journey 
to irresistible places 
across France. 

Then visit the simply irresistible destinations 
of the other 54 bloggers. 
It's bound to be a 
Grand European Tour. 

What is irresistible about France? 
There are . . .  
the food, the gardens, the shopping, 
the history, and the architecture. 

All are reasons to return over and over again 
to France, but our journey today is about  

Amour de porte française
(French door love) 

The doors, oh the doors... 
From massive carved wooden doors in Paris 

. . . to carved stone statues surrounding a door also in Paris. 

Wandering the streets of Paris 
for usual tourist activities is always interrupted 
just to gaze at the beautiful doors. 
Repeatedly, I catch myself straining my neck, 
slowing my pace, and exclaiming, 
"Look at that one," 
to my traveling companions. 
Inevitably, we stop to take in all the details. 

Beyond Paris, there are more doors to love. 
The Dordogne area is filled with 
castles, ancient cities, cave drawings, and 
lush countryside. 

Massive defensive walls 
surround the 13th century town of Beynac, 
and visitors enter through an old city doorway  
to make their way to the Château de Beynac. 

Along the narrow cobblestone street 
is this door just inside the old city walls.  

The massive wooden doors built in the 
creamy colored stones has an iron gate 
that can be dropped in front of the 
main Château de Beynac entrance. 

The iron studs in the doors and 
the arched shape of the doors 
are hallmarks of medieval doors. 

Inside the Château walls rising far above the Dordogne River 
are many more buildings other than the main castle.  

We have to get closer to the small 
addition on the right side of the above building to take in all its beauty.  

Two doors to study and to love. 
Could there once have been a balcony that 
the roof door opened onto? 

How long did it take for the 
stone mason to carve the intricate stones? 

Is this not the quintessential French architectural style? 
Cream-colored stones, red tile roof, carved arched wooden doors, 
and stone carvings around the roof door. . . 
Oh, be still my heart! 
To see this structure, 
to touch the stones and the wood, 
and to feel the air on the terrace 
is to experience France. 
Simply irresistible. 

The city gate has two distinctive towers 
surrounding the gate that leads into Domme. 
Any French person can identify the old city from this view 
of the well-known doorway that is on our list of 
doors to love.  

Château Montford was razed and rebuilt multiple times since 
the Middle Ages, and is not open to the public. 

Built close to a public highway 
and on the Dordogne River, 
it can be admired from outside its ramparts. 

Does this entrance not look like a 
Hollywood set? 
Yet, it is the real thing. 
See the stone crest at the top? 

The wisteria-covered courtyard 
behind the wrought-iron gate 
is one of my favorite entrances in France. 
What a glorious sight the courtyard must be 
when the wisteria is in full bloom. 
Perhaps one day I will be in Sarlat 
when wisteria is in bloom. 

Located in the walled city of Sarlat, 
the little courtyard has a door to love. 
The graduated carved stone surround 
is elegant in its simplicity. 

Also in medieval Sarlat, 
the door at #20 seems modest compared 
to the massive doors of châteaux. 

Near the center of Sarlat 
this arched doorway opens to a passageway 
with multiple doors opening onto it. 
I wonder about the  
stone-carved crest above the doorway. 
Was this a royal household?  

Sarlat was saved from being razed and rebuilt as a modern city 
in the 1900s because it had fallen on hard 
financial times. 
No one was interested in the small crumbling city. 
French laws protecting national historical sites were passed,  
and Sarlat benefited from government funds 
to help restore the city and to revitalize its economy. 
Today it is thriving with the help of tourism. 

How glad I am that these beautiful doors 
have been restored. 

Throughout France, 
gardens and courtyards are graced 
with modern metal doors like this. 
Another style to love. 

An old wooden gate stands with a gnarled tree 
that has sprouted new growth. 
What once was a doorway into an enclosed field in Carsac, 
a small town near Sarlat, 
is still a thing of beauty in its forlorn setting. 

For a list of more posts about France, 
click on 

A Moment in France
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