The Yellow Gate – Le Portail jaune

photo_25_yellow_gatePhoto taken in Les Grouets – note the yellow name tag on the letter box
Photo prise dans le quartier des Grouets – remarquez l’étiquette jaune sur la boîte aux lettres

2 replies on “The Yellow Gate – Le Portail jaune”

Your note of the name tag got me thinking. Everyone has their name on the letterbox (I don’t know whether you can refuse) so everyone knows where you live. It set me thinking that maybe that’s the reason everyone has hedges, walls or solid fences around their properties and gates that you open and close whenever you go somewhere. No one seems to look on it as an unnecessary faff. You are not anonymous, so the only way to achieve some privacy is to block the view. (The other reason people keep their gates closed I suspect is so the neighbour’s dog can’t visit and leave a deposit.) The opposite approach is true in Australia and the UK — you would never put your name on the letterbox, but you could quite easily have an open front garden with a view from the street straight in the front window. The neighbour’s dog is free to leave a deposit on your front lawn but there is a strong expectation that it does not and is not allowed to.
(Sorry, dual language commenting will resume when I have less to say :-))

Yes, people do usually put their names on their letterboxes, but they certainly don’t have to. We don’t in Blois. Names are more to guide the postman than anything else. I was amused the other day when cycling between Condé and Chaumont to see a huge sign outside someone’s house saying Didier DUPONT et Thierry DUPONT (I made those names up, but they were two men’s names with the same surname). I wondered what that was all about. We visited friends in a Paris apartment building yesterday and they didn’t have their name on the door, just a number.
I asked JM why he thinks there are fences and he says it’s to keep the “gens de voyage” and hobos out. He’s probably right there. One day, he left the front gate open because he was going backward and forward between our house and the “little house” and two women selling baskets wandered in and started looking around. To get rid of them, he bought a basket but they had already made an offer for a small cauldron that was hanging up.
When we’re eating in the garden of the little house, Jean Michel usually leaves the gate open but I close it …
Our house in Australia had a fence right round (it was a corner allotment) because the immediate neighbours didn’t have fences.

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