There is a well-known saying that an Englishman’s home is his castle – a love for privacy and a patch of personal territory on our overcrowded island is perhaps the explanation of this notion – but since moving to France we have been more than a little impressed by the Frenchman’s approach to presenting and protecting his habitat. Whether the same is true in all regions I cannot say but here in Charente the concept of the entrance to one’s home and especially the garden gate, takes on a whole new dimension and meaning.
The traditional Charentaise house was built in local limestone with an entrance ‘porche’ or arched stone gateway to the courtyard or garden. Often the gates are made of wood, fill the whole of the arch and come in monumental sizes. Even village houses have fine examples and on a recent visit to the local village of Bors, I was struck by this splendid gate leading off the main street, complete with an access door – which gives some idea of the scale – and decades worth of layers of peeling paint and time-worn texture.
I have included a photo of the house next door for good measure, as I liked the peeling paint and colours here too, although I’m not sure the gates belong to it.
ALL PHOTOS © JANE MORLEY
If you enjoy the photos on my blog please do visit my brand new website http://www.theartcardpress.com where you will find many more photos, latest news, a host of greeting cards and photographic prints!