An addiction to the doors of France

If it’s Friday, it must be France …

I love the front doors of people’s homes in France. Every time I visit that magnificent country I take endless numbers of photos of doors (okay, and windows too … but that’s another post). The wood, the trim, the left-over remnants of ancient locks, from simple and rustic to extravagant, they all speak to me. I want to know their stories.

Living in Antibes this past summer for four and a half months …  *excuse me while I hyperventilate for a few moments at the memory* …  okay, okay, I’ll be fine … back on track. Practically every single morning I walked various routes through the old town for an hour, my trusty camera in hand, before I stopped in at the daily market. There were few days that I didn’t pause to drink in the beauty of yet another door that oozed history or mystery or charm so visceral I could hardly stand it.

What amazes me is the fact that rarely do you find a new door on any old residence, from a tiny village house to an elegant manor. Checking with one of the town historians, most are at least a few hundred years old. I’ll share a few with you today.

Trust me, this could go on for hours! I hope you received as much pleasure out of these photos as I do sharing them with you. Imagine the tales they might tell. Any one of these doors could present a great starter for a story. Do you share my curiosity and attraction to them? Do you ever use photos as inspiration for your writing?

Published by patriciasands

Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada when she isn't somewhere else, particularly the south of France. With a happily blended family of seven adult children and, at last count, six grandchildren, life is full and time is short. Beginning with her first Kodak Brownie camera at the age of six, she has told stories all of her life through photography. Much to her surprise a few years ago, she began to write and has now published three novels, including two that are part of a six-book series set in the south of France. Love France? Love her work! Check out her website She is particularly drawn to the rewarding friendships of women and the challenges many embrace once their families are grown. "It's never too late to begin something new," she enthuses. "As the saying goes, just do it!"

38 thoughts on “An addiction to the doors of France

  1. Patricia, these are all exquisitely beautiful! I was lucky enough to spend three days in Paris when I was wrapping up my study abroad trip as an undergrad, and I’ll never forget the moment I peeked past a wall, only to discover a beautifully enclosed courtyard, and the ancient-looking facade of someone’s home just beyond. It was like stumbling onto a secret garden, with one of those wonderful old doors nestled among the vines and greenery. Thank you so much for bringing those memories back!

    1. Oh Lena, you are SO right … “stumbling onto a secret garden” … that’s exactly what happens so often in Europe, isn’t it? How wonderful you had a study abroad trip to give you special memories that will last forever! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. What a collection of grand entrances! Wish I had one of those for myself. Our front door is bog-standard 1950s semi cracked wood and in need of replacement! Thanks for bringing us such inspiring pictures. Hope you get to go back to Antibes some time… you seem to have had such a great stay! XX All the best….

  3. Our door to our French cottage has been in perfect working order for at least 50 years, we wouldn’t dream of changing it. It’s not nearly as beautiful as those on your post though but we love it.

    Thanks for sharing your photos – really enjoyed looking at them.


  4. Isn’t it interesting that none of them have door knobs like we do? The elegant grill work covering the transom glass on one of the doors leads me to believe there were no door knobs for security’s sake. It’s incredible how many different ones you’ve found. I wonder what the history is behind the fact that they are all carved and unique in design?
    Stories come rushing at you when you look at these, for sure!
    More! More! Thanks for these, though, Patricia. They’re wonderful!

    1. They are just so fascinating and unique and that’s merely a small sample. You know, even the modern doors in France rarely have door knobs that turn like ours in North America. Just imagine, the size of the keys for those old locks! You can find them at the flea markets and they are enormous. I’m so glad you enjoyed the doors as much as I do.

  5. Stunning. They all look like they could be out of a fairy tale. I can’t imagine how it felt to be surrounded by such beauty and history. To think that people have been swinging some of those very doors open and closed for 100 years. Ahhh…the stories…how incredible!
    LOVE these post Patricia – fahhhbulous!

  6. These pics are awesome! Thanks for sharing them with me. I’m always fascinated by doors, especially the ones that are more than just the average steel door. These are so cool. I want to go to France now.

  7. Oh, the doors of France. I’m obsessed, too. Any time you want to get together and share a few hundred photos of them let me know. Friends and family drift away after looking at 2 or 3 of my pictures. I still haven’t figured out the mystery behind those hand door knockers. They are everywhere and always look exactly the same so I figure they must have a story. Maybe I should make that a goal when I’m over there this summer. And I can’t count all the doors, shutters, and gates in that “French” blue I’ve photographed.

    1. Julie, I just went to check out your blog. You sound like the main character in the novel I’m currently writing! It would be great fun to compare our French photos. Where are you going to be this summer?

  8. Oh, these are truly gorgeous. Compared to these, our modern American doors with their little faux stained glass panels are without a soul.

    If they could only talk, what stories they could tell!

  9. Oh Patricia, four months? How lovely. My husband and I have had the privilege of traveling to France a few times and Loved it! From Normandy to Nice and in-between, it is just one of the most fabulous countries to visit. And let’s not talk about the food. Yum.

    My husband is a carpenter and so those doors represent someone who is or was very crafty and talented. And why don’t we see anything like this in the US. It’s sad, but then that is what makes France/Europe so fascinating to us.

    Miss it. Please do share more. I picked a good day for a visit! 🙂

    1. I’m so glad you dropped by for this post then! It’s these kind of details that make such a difference when we visit Europe. I can imagine how much your husband appreciates the craftsmanship!

  10. Patricia, I love, love, love doors. (And front porches!) I’m drawn to them in a way that I’ve never completely understood. Kind of like staring at a beautiful painting, but then even deeper than that. When I saw your post title I starred it in my Reader and was so excited that I would get to read it.

    Your pictures are fabulous and I’ll be back to look at them again. And again.

    This post just makes me happy!!! lol!

  11. What a lovely look at a small piece of history. All those doors hold so many stories! I want to know what the rooms look like beyond those doors. Thank you so much for sharing these with us! More, please.

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