I have blogged about (and photographed) gates, secret gardens, many houses and also châteaux, but I’ve never exclusively concentrated on front-doors.  Here in France there are so many styles, colours, choices and different patinas showing wear and tear that it becomes quite a choice when it’s time to find a door – does one go for modern technology and all its advantages or do you choose a very heavy antique door that has lasted for centuries and doubtless will continue to do so for many more to come?  I think my choice becomes apparent fairly quickly……


With very old doors come very old keys; huge, heavy keys, which are antiques in their own right. They don’t fit very neatly in a pocket but on the other hand they are much harder to lose and they always add a certain je ne sais quoi.


First and foremost one has to remember that the front door has normally been built as the main entrance to a house, even if many of us actually use a back door, a side door, perhaps the garage or the boot-room instead!  Usually the very first thing we see when arriving at someone’s home is the front door, and it creates that all important first impression, giving us a hint as to what the rest of the house may be like.


But the front door has to play many other roles too – it must deter uninvited guests, it must keep out the cold and quite often it needs to let in some light to the entrance hall itself.


Everyone knows what our front door looks like, it’s  a door that is delightful but not immediately practical for it can be a little drafty. Fortunately we have shutters, typical of French houses and so for added security and to keep out the very cold nights we can shut the shutters and keep what is outside, out!



I wonder what would be your choice, if you were able to choose?  Would you stick with a very old plain door that has been a part of the house for decades?


Even better if they have a small leaded window above




Or would you paint it a bright colour?



Perhaps a little bit of cottage style?



And what about plants, do you like them around the door or would you cut them back?




So many choices, so many decisions.  I think unless a door is very ugly I would do just as we have done and live with it as part of the history of the house. It sets the character of the home right from the start and defines a style quite perfectly.

24 thoughts on “A VERY FRENCH ENTRANCE

    1. Hi Cecelia, thank you for taking the time to comment, much appreciated, doors and shutters certainly add so much character to a home, it was fascinating looking at so many. Have a great weekend

  1. They are wonderful. We have a very old 5 cm thick old wood door which is exposed to the elements. I just refinished it- and I wonder what is used to protect all of those beautiful doors. Do you know?

    1. Hi Debbie, I can imagine your old door is stunning. Here they are either painted or finished with an outdoor wood protecting stain or varnish. Unless they are very very old in which case some are just left to the elements! I am sure your local hardware store can advise you on the best way to protect the door whilst also keeping it looking natural. Post a photo if you get a chance on my facebook page, would love to see it. Have a great weekend 🙂

  2. Beautiful photos. You should see my front door key, about 30 cm long and weighs at least a kilo!
    Obviously we do not go in and out through that door.

        1. Thank you so much Nadia for showing me the photo, what a fabulous key, it makes tiny modern day ones look almost bizarre, and yet they are so much more sophisticated! Have a lovely weekend, such fabulous weather 🙂

    1. Hi Patricia, welcome to my blog and thank you for taking the time to comment, always much appreciated. I really enjoy Margo’s blog, I always learn something new and that in itself is fascinating. Have a great weekend and hope to have you following along regularly 🙂

    1. Hi Judy, this whole thing has started a new passion for me! Now I look at doors in a different light, I look out for them everywhere I go! It’s amazing how many different styles there are. Thank you for taking the time to comment and have a lovely weekend, Susan

  3. Love…love old doors. The first time we visited France, we had a collection of 30 photos when we returned home.

    We are in the South of France as we speak and are still clicking away.

  4. The old door wins every time! We have the original door on our cottage – nothing spectacular, and it’s black which isn’t my favourite colour, but it belongs to the cottage. Nothing else would look right, like an outfit that just doesn’t suit the wearer! On a different note, I have taken many photos of lovely old doors & porches, here in England, and in Italy when on holiday. Also windows. The idea is that while learning to paint in watercolour, I can use these photos to practice with and can do it at home in my own time! A door has such a personality and I’m sure many owners of old doors would love to have a little painting as a record! Have a lovely November week.

    1. What a fabulous idea. My late mother in law was a very good artist, exhibiting in both France and the UK and she used to do just that, take photographs wherever she went and then paint them when she got home. I am sure your cottage door is just lovely and as you say the colour just goes with the cottage. Have a great week, Susan

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