Living with Style, Travel Notes

Paris Doors: Making an Entrance

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On a long list of reasons we each have to love Paris, there is inevitably one that we’re especially passionate about …for me, it is the doors.

The grand, majestic doors that accentuate any block you walk along. Of course, their numbers increase as you move into the residential streets; but even the more humble arrondissements still retain the tall statuesque portals that are original to the buildings, many of them built during the Haussmann transformation of Paris (from 1853-1870).

Some put an emphasis on carvings…from intricate and romantic(below) to cameos and their own detailed overdoors with decorative grill (second image).

I find myself accumulating a photo collection of Parisian doors, fascinated by the fact that no two are alike. It is becoming something of a game, as collecting can do. On this trip to Paris, painted doors seemed to be catching my attention, though they are not as prevalent as their non-painted counterparts. The color choices are often unusual but always in good taste, adding a punctuation to your walk down the street.

And some doors have polished kickplates…

This is the only auburgine color that I have seen in my walks; a bit surprising, but perhaps that is why it is so welcome when you come across it (and my favorite color, too).

Door knockers, not seen as often as in our country, always deserve a second look!

Viva La France!

Compiling this post presented it’s own dilemma — which doors to include, which to save for another post. Stay tuned…

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About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

6 thoughts on “Paris Doors: Making an Entrance

  1. “What knockers!” “Why thank you” Young Frankenstein! 🙂

    I adore how tall and massively heavy the doors are too. xo

  2. Yummy eye candy.
    My city of Carcassonne is a small fraction of the size of Paris, yet I share the same dilemma as you–so many fantastic doors!
    My eye caught the plate to the right of the door at Hôtel de Castries–a government building. Also, the mirrors and the chasse-roues (wheel hunters–guards to keep wheels from knicking the door jambs) indicate that there’s a courtyard behind for cars to drive in. So I looked it up. It started in the 17th century as a U-shaped building. Then it was renovated and embellished by a couple of generations of the Castries family; they enclosed the courtyard with the wall that has the doors. It was confiscated during the Revolution, but the family somehow got it back. After WWII it again became a government building.

    1. Fascinating background,thank you so much! I especially like the French word for the wheel guards, “chasse-roues”; I was wondering about those.
      So glad to “meet” someone who has the same fascination with doors that I have. Happy fall from Newport!

  3. Me too! During my one and only trip to Paris I was fascinated with the doors. Many stops were made to snap pictures of those beautiful pieces of work! I drove my daughter crazy.

    1. It’s addictive, isn’t it….and since there are so many doors on one block, you’re stopping almost every step…

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