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

Thursday Doors: Mezieres-sur-Issoire

Everywhere in France is part of one commune or another (and every commune belongs to a canton, and every canton belongs to a département, which in turn is part of a region and so on). Our little hamlet is about four miles from the eponymous village in the commune of Mézières-sur-Issoire.


Although we’ve now lived here for over four years, there are still parts of the village that I’ve never explored or looked at in any detail, but a recent Sunday afternoon provided an opportunity to redress that shortcoming and discover that there is no shortage of previously unseen – or at least unnoticed – interesting doors (not to mention gates, although that’s for next week).

For example, this charming wooden outbuilding, set back from the main road:


as is this barn:


Along a little lane which I’d never previously ventured down was this door in the corner of the garden wall of one of the village’s larger houses:


Much more familiar is the very grand house right in the centre of the village that’s lain empty for years. Somebody’d just bought it for a knock-down price, but now faces the mother of all renovation projects. Good luck with that (he said from personal experience).


This imposing edifice, also on the main road used to be a commercial premises of some sort, but the sign has faded to illegibility:


On a smaller scale and down a side road is another former commercial outlet, to judge by the door on the left, but again I’ve no idea what sort of business used to operate out of there:


Next week’s post will be devoted to gates rather than doors. On my wanderings around the village, I came across some highly photogenic ones.

Thursday Doors 17 November 2016

All you need to know

Nothing much to add in explanation of this image of our local village’s electronic information sign. Except perhaps that those clouds really were as dark and threatening as they look: about five minutes later we had a brief but heavy hailstorm.


Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Signs