What doors will open for you, my darlings? This is my neighbor’s courtyard, part of six report hotels by architect Pierre Le Muet and built on behalf of Claude Le Ragois de Bretonvilliers (1582 – 1645), secretary to the Council of King Louis XIII. Construction started in 1642.
I love this courtyard because it looks frozen in time, maybe since the late 1800s. What period would you guess?
The creeping ivy, old volets (shutters), and the wild purple flowers add so much romanticism that I want to plop down on a blanket and read a Jane Austen novel.
This door is rarely open for me to go back in time and enjoy a moment of discovery, whimsy, and beauty just to myself.
BUT – You can too, you know.
Let me explain.
Before I moved to France, I befriended a lady who had moved from Coronado, CA as a young student and quickly entrenched her entire life in France. She married, had children, earned her nationality, and is a professional, accredited tour guide at the Louvre, d’Orsay, and the Grand Crus of Burgundy. She owns an apartment in Paris and a flat in Bourgogne.
I was visiting her in Dijon, and as she showed me around the city, my lovely mentor kept pushing on the big, imposing doors. I watched her as she casually strolled the streets, giving a gentle shove to the exterior door every once in a while.
And every once and a while, they would open.
I was intrigued, mesmerized, and curious about the worlds that lived beyond France’s high stone and concrete walls. As an American, you are rarely closed off from others aside from a six-foot wood fence to keep the yard dog in.
Watching her push the boundaries acceptably and respectfully gave light to the fact that the only thing holding me back from discovering what was on the other side of the door was… me.
If you want to try the same with respect and care, the best time to push on a few doors is during the weekday. The exterior doors are unlocked because of the businesses located within.