Weekly Photo Challenge: Beware Of The ‘Sheep’

WordPress’ Photo Challenge for this week asks for an image of where we live.

The eponymous village at the centre of the commune where we live is called Mézières-sur-Issoire. With the best will in the world, you couldn’t describe it as a tourist destination. There are no buildings of particular historical interest (although it does have its fair share of interesting doors). In the summer, tourists are more likely to pass through than to stop, unless it’s to use the parking facilities for mobile homes.

However, it can boast a touch of whimsy, in the form of the concrete sheep that are dotted around along the main road. This is sheep country after all.

I well remember the first time we saw them, as we drove into the village that has now become our home. They are – at least if you’re in a moving car – quite realistic, and are positioned so that they appear to be about to cross the road. They’re at least as effective as a speed bump – the first time, at any rate.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Tour Guide

Thursday Doors: A Final Few From Mezieres

Some more doors from my latest local doorscursion.

This one is opposite the door with the shadows on it that I featured last week. Back in the day, there would have been a pig behind the lower door and some chickens above. We’ve got one of these outbuildings, although it’s been renovated (and contains garden furniture rather than livestock).

Next to the church is this rather grand edifice, possibly the priest’s house once upon a time:

Although the church steeple can be seen here, it’s actually the back door of the bar/restaurant:

And a couple of doors from just along the road:

And finally, appropriately enough, this door is on the way out of town. Far more interesting than its modern neighbour, I think:

Thursday Doors 23 November 2017

Thursday Doors: More From Mezieres

About a year ago, I put up a couple of posts featuring doors to be found in our local village of Mézières-sur-Issoire. Those photographs were taken on the day of the annual ‘Expo’ of hobbies and ‘Passions’ (steady on) organised by a local cultural society. Madame was wowing everyone with her quilts in the salle de polyvalente so I went walkabout for a doorscursion.

The 2017 edition of the Expo was held last month. Madame did her wowing again and although I did exhibit some of my photographs they didn’t attract so much interest as to keep me detained

– so I took off for some further door-based exploration, with the results that will appear here over the next few weeks.

Even its most ardent advocates would not argue that Mézières is an ancient or particularly scenic place, so while its doors may lack the antique charm of some that have been posted here, they’re modest and unassuming and nothing if not honest.

I’ve often wondered what lay along the road called Chemin des Vignes that runs off from the square in front of the church. Well now we know:

Take another road less-travelled that runs from the opposite corner of the same square and there’s this:

Back in what you could call the town centre, there’s another example of a closed down commercial premises, to go with the ones I featured in the post ‘A Vendre’. This one was trying to flog electric heating – an uphill task when wood-burning systems are still the norm:

Finally for this week, a well-worn set of garden/garage doors:

Thursday Doors 16 November 2017

Thursday Doors: A Vendre

Something a little different this week…À vendre: For Sale.

Here in rural France there are innumerable properties, both residential and commercial, for sale. Many of these – perhaps even the majority – have been up for sale for many years. And they are, frankly, unsaleable.

When it comes to commercial properties – shops – the economic consequences of improved transport links and the spread of car ownership have left many rural communities with little more than the bare essentials available locally. In our village, for example, there is a boulangerie, a pharmacy, a ‘superette’ and – bizarrely – two hairdressers.

There are also plenty of empty shops optimistically displaying ‘À Vendre’ signs – as they have been for many years, to judge from the distinctly dated style of the shopfronts. Here are a couple of examples:



Of rather more architectural interest is this failed enterprise – hairdresser, parfumerie and purveyor of fishing supplies. Obviously, nothing worked:


Even large towns are proving incapable of supporting smaller local shops, as these two examples from Confolens illustrate:


Normal service will be resumed next week, with some reassuringly knackered doors from the cathedral city of Chartres.

Thursday Doors 29 March 2017

Tuesdays of Texture: Rusty Railings

These railings, around one of the larger houses in the local village of Mézières-sur-Issoire, could do with a fresh coat of paint; but would they necessarily look any better for it?


Tuesdays of Texture

Thursday Doors: More from Mezieres

Back in November I posted images of some of the doors and gates to be found in our local village of Mézières-sur-Issoire. Those two posts by no means exhausted the local possibilities, however, so here are some more from Mézières.

The local economy is still predominantly agriculture-based and the largest open space within the village is not the statutory place de la Republique, but the Marché des Ovins – the sheep market. These first three doors are to be found there:




This barn is just down the road from the church; you can’t beat a door within a door:


Although this one is obviously no longer still in use:


And finally – just to prove that the village does still have such things – an occupied private house:


Thursday Doors 12 January 2017

Thursday Doors: Mezieres-sur-Issoire – the gates

As promised, this week we feature some of the more interesting gates to be found in our local village of Mézières-sur-Issoire.

You’d expect the grander houses to have gates and indeed they mostly do, like this rather commanding set:


although personally, I found this next set more interesting. I particularly liked the way that the autumn leaves wrapped themselves around the gatepost.


Whereas those two examples are a bit off the beaten track, the gates below are on the main road, and at least you can see the house that sits behind them (the architecture is quite typical of the maisons de mâitre around here):


Notice also that those gates and railings could do with a lick of paint. As indeed could the long-unused gate at the corner of the garden of the same property:


…or this one in front of a much smaller terraced house a little further along the street:


And, of course, gates don’t always have to belong to houses – or even lead anywhere:


Thursday Doors 24 November 2016