French Friday #11: The Doors

When I made my first trip to Paris in high school, there was a guy in my class whose name was Kenny Rogers, but he looked like Jim Morrison. He carved my name on a safety rail overlooking the gardens at Versailles because he thought it would be funny. Thanks, Kenny. And on our “free” day in the city, he chose to go to the cemetery Père Lachaise on the east side of Paris to visit Jim Morrison’s grave. Maybe it’s because he looked like Jim or maybe that was just a coincidence, but he was a fan of The Doors’ music. And that was the first I knew of Jim’s inglorious end and burial in Paris. But, those aren’t the doors I’m going to talk about today.

Once upon a time, architects designed buildings for quality and permanence and with the future in mind, they made sure that their buildings were as beautiful as possible. All sorts of artisans were employed to enhance these edifices — carpenters, masons, sculptors, painters, tile workers and more. Every part of the building received special artistic care, knowing that generations and generations would admire their work. In our young United States, a door is rarely a decorative feature, so enjoy some of these stunning works of art.

Portail St. Etienne at Notre Dame de Paris

This door is exclusively for the use of the bishops. This door is dedicated to Saint Stephen and the sculptures represent his martyrdom.

Interior doors in the Napoleon III apartments in the Louvre

Check out the gilding on those doors! They practically glow.

Main doors on a church in Dijon

Note how all the shapes on the door are raised.

Doors on the Palais de Justice in Grenoble

I like the waffle effect on this one.

Doors into an apartment in Grenoble

Around the corner from the apartment where I lived in Grenoble, was a tiny little street called Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau. For such a short and unimportant little road, it had some of the most interesting doors in the whole city. This set was one of them and the next is my very favorite.

Ancient mystery on a door

It features a Sator Square or magic square. It is a palindrome in all directions, reading Sator Arepo Tenet Opera Rotas. The Latin words mean, roughly, Sower Moves towards Holds Work Wheel. No one knows for sure what that signifies, but theories abound! One idea is that it was a code for early Christians to find safe houses during times of persecution. The phrase Pater Noster can also be found in the square leaving AO for Alpha Omega. Alchemists and folk magicians have also laid claim to the Sator Square. Whatever it is, it’s fascinating!

How many interesting doors have you seen around town lately? It’s probably more likely that you’ve been listening to The Doors.


2 thoughts on “French Friday #11: The Doors

  1. My front door always gets compliments. But what im interested in is if your name was still carved on that rail once you lived there. Also, very impressed by that weird latin and of course by jim morrison

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