Town or Country

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Where do these gates lead to? I often find I am asking myself the same question when driving around the French countryside. It is not unusual to come across a pair of magnificent old gates seemingly in the middle of nowhere. These ones happened to be open, but very often they are closed and it is impossible to see through them and in addition they frequently have high walls on either side. If they are also surrounded by trees smothered with foliage then any clues as to what lies beyond is well and truly hidden. In fact one may never get to know.

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These gates here ask a different question, because I could clearly see glimpses of the house beyond. But as is also quite common, these gates serve no real purpose aside from marking the beginning of the drive. They do not keep out unwanted two or four legged guests. Once there must have been a wall on either side but when and more importantly why was it removed ?

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Take a drive to other other side of the hamlet and one can clearly see the house they lead to. You can also see the wall, it encloses two and a half sides. It’s a stunning property along a tiny, hardly used road. In fact I had never even heard of the village despite passing within a couple of kilometres from it at least once a week.

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It was all down to a diversion that has been ongoing for rather a boringly long time.

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However, isn’t there always an upside to everything. I have discovered two new little villages, nothing more than tiny hamlets really but with some really pretty cottages and lots of beautiful stone.

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And gates, how I love gates, big or small. They mark the entrance to a property and I think they give a hint as to what lies beyond from that very first moment when one releases the catch and pushes them open, often with a creaking hinge moaning slightly at the inconvenience of being moved. But then doesn’t that just tell us more, how often they are used, if indeed at all.

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Doors give the same hint as to what lies beyond but are far less revealing but perhaps even more intriguing.

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And on the very edge of this little village, a field of self seeded sunflowers, stragglers that despite the autumnal weather are doing their absolute best to brighten a grey day.

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That’s country life for you, narrow roads, tiny cottages, grand estates. One doesn’t see a lot of activity and on the surface it’s quite a quiet life. By contrast city life is busier. During this week I have also been to Rochefort a couple of times. It’s only a ten minute drive and it’s one of those towns that is always quite lively whatever the season.

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Last weekend we were basking in sunshine and then the new week dawned and along with it much needed rain. The temperature plummeted and the rain persisted, all week. Suddenly it seemed everyone was getting out winter clothing.

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But city life is less influenced by the weather than country life.

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The florist still sells stunning displays

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and the chocolatier still tempts anyone who passes regardless of the season.IMG_2069

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So tables and chairs outside cafes remain sparsely unoccupied. But there is still a feeling that life is busy, but in a good way. We don’t stop and say bonjour to everyone we pass in a city, but we do say bonjour to all when we enter a shop and au revoir when we leave.

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So which do you prefer ? Town or Country ? Or perhaps like me you like to live in the country but close enough to the town to get the very best of both worlds !

17 thoughts on “Town or Country

  • I am a country girl through and through. They say you can take the girl out of the country but you’ll never take the country out of the girl.

  • Oh what fun to recognize so many of the photos from this posting! It was a nice place to eat ice-cream too—the dogs loved gettiing vanilla! I love living in the cities & especially miss Vienna—which was our home for such a long time—-but I love the people in the country! Yes, I am a city girl at heart w/a longing for small stretches in the country. I don’t think I would do well always being in the country.

  • Ohhhh love the country side. The history of the buildings in the city are awesome too. The old gates and posts are gorgeous. Loved going through your post tonight.
    Hugs and Happy New Week.
    Kris

    • Country without a doubt but it is nice to be close to a city when one feels the need. I always enjoy seeing all of the charming towns you take us to Susan!

  • Oh, live in the country, but be able to get time in cities. I seem to need the rush of a city to really appreciate the calm of the country. As for gates, they are portals to whatever your imagination can conjure…or maybe that’s just me.
    Ali xx

  • I grew up on a farm & love the country but am not sure I could live there anymore! The gates and walls are so interesting & the buildings decorated so beautifully are fascinating! It’s so great to have both city & country. Thanks so much for the lovely pictures. Maybe you can find out who lives beyond those gates!

    • I wd be lost too far out of town, but I’m definitely NOT a city girl. I need to have easy access to transports (not to a car, we’ll try to live w/o one) so that I can go to places easily, but I do also need the quiet, laid-back slow life of the country side…. My love for wrought iron gates, balconies, worn doors and windows is legendary. And I need water like I need air to breathe…. It’s not as simple to have all this but when finding it, it’s Heaven on Earth. 👍🏻🐞🏞🐕🌈🐑🌲

  • My s-i-l lives in the country but not far from a few small villages and a few larger towns, although nothing this size. However, they look very similar in many ways. At home, we live in the suburbs and although I wouldn’t mind living in the country, it’s probably not going to happen at this point in our lives. We’ll have to enjoy the country when we’re in Wyoming on vacation. 🙂

    janet

  • hi Susan,
    I am country born, city bred, now living on my own 1 acre in rainforest tropical paradise, 15 min drive to the city. I call this perfection.

  • Oh I am a city gal born and bred ‘forced’ to live a hundred or so kilometres out as moneys reach much farther ! If need be one changes one’s ways and makes a new lifestyle 🙂 ! Would love a studio apartment in town, on a side street but a walkable distance from shops and all else city ! So miss the opera, ballet, theatre, symphony, art galleries and museums which instead of being daily options have become occasional pleasures . . . Love the look of Rochefort with its very elegant houses . . . love the lace verandas . . . love the look of the shops also – here both flower and chocolate shops are sinking into oblivion: it is expensive and unfashionable to buy cut blooms and equally ‘prohibitive’ health wise to show one eats chocolate 🙂 ! When I get to stay at the gite methinks many a fine day will see me walking your streets . . .

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