Friday, 30 August 2013

French Clichés

I reckon these three photos show glimpses that fit most anglophone notions of what romantic and picturesque France should look like.

I can't decide therefore whether it is ironic or inevitable that all these properties are owned by incoming but well integrated anglophones.


9 comments:

  1. No don't agree with that..... No sunflowers for a start.

    ReplyDelete
  2. C&E: sunflowers have to be in 'fields of', but you have made me realise there is a grave ommission in all these images -- no 'geraniums'!

    ReplyDelete
  3. No blue paint? It's iconic.

    About your #1--I'm not sure I ever think of rust when I think of France. Yes, I've seen it, but it always comes as a shock in trim and tidy France.

    It would be interesting to see how these places are brought to life by new owners.
    Maybe you should encourage them to blog!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Carolyn: I must be too used to living in rural France and being surrounded by gentle decreptitude. It's the spick and span that always surprises me! None of these places are 'new owners', btw. One of them has lived here almost all her life (and she's older than me). Blue is not an approved shutter colour here -- blue grey yes, and if that wrought iron gate is painted one day that's the colour it will have to be (the shutters in the background are the local colour). You are quite right about blue shutters fitting the anglophone vision though.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Susan, lavender blue is one of the colours in the book of "allowed" colours for the region...
    and that is quite bright...
    but no blues of any description within 500 metres of a marie, church, chapel or presbytery.

    Sam Lee, the sculptor in Chaumussay, found that out to his cost [another lot of paint]... his shutters and door are now a shade of very pale grey!

    And don't forget to mention that there are colour combinations [of the "approved" colours] that are not "allowed"!!

    And then, there are the flyers that go out for events...
    only on coloured paper if you are using only black ink...
    black ink on white paper is "reseved" for official announcements, etc.

    Pictures two and three say France to me...
    and I hope that they never do anything so gross as to re-paint that gate in le P-P...
    it is wonderful!!
    Next time you toddle down that ginnel, take a close look at the maker's plate...
    just under the handle!
    It is superb!

    ReplyDelete
  6. The Anglophones seem to be the ones preserving the image by buying and restoring old properties. Many French people seem to prefer the little modern boxes on mini housing estates to live in. Many of the properties rescued from completely crumbling away in our village are anglo owned.
    Except for the ones designated for official use of one sort or another, they have been renovated in a "no expense spared" way.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Tim: can I see your source for that information about colours? Lavender blue is considered a very Provencal colour and I've never heard of it being approved here (which of course doesn't necessarily stop people using it). Our shutters are a blue-grey-green which reads differently in different light, and many people use a standard pale blue grey colour. Also, all of the approved colours are really only enforced (or enforceable) if they are within 500 m of a listed historic monument. We have 13 mentioned on our deed I seem to remember! Somewhere I have a link to the Batiment de France approved colours, but it will take me too long to find it.

    Jean: people often joke that you can tell an anglophone owned house from a francophone owned house because every inch of the exterior will be restored. If you are French you don't bother with that, you just do the interior, because someone else gets to look at the exterior.

    I think the French preference for the modern boxes is changing. We are a generation away from those who grew up in the old cold drafty dusty places, and it is now possible to sympathetically renovate. The 30-40 somethings are buying older places more now.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Found the link to the colour info from BdF: Nuancier

    ReplyDelete
  9. The booklet is "Les Couleurs du bati du Parc Naturel regional de la Brenne" [3€] but we were informed that the colours shown apply to all the area in Centre and either side...
    south of the Loire...
    [but only the Parc Naturel has bothered to publish such an easily accessible source]....
    with special colours for each of the building material types...
    viz: if your building contains a lot of carr stone... no blues or greens!! just earthy shades.

    Tuffeau...
    virtually anything goes [but no bleu fonce!!]

    But...
    and a big but...
    there are two entirely different ranges of colour for rurale ou bourg!!

    The colour charts are aimed at architects and are numbered underneath in Hue, Brightness and Saturation codes...
    which means you can set them up on the 'puter! [260 60 25 is Bleu Lavande]

    Remind me next time you call...
    oh...
    the meadow currently has beautifully mown paths!!

    ReplyDelete