Northern Doorways Around Boulogne

Northern Doorways aren’t grand, they often lead to modest houses in working class areas where unemployment is high and income is low. I lived in the North of France for a long long time before moving to Britain and, later on, to Paris. Whenever I go up North it feels like going home even though I left that place a long time ago now.

Northern Doorways Around Boulogne

I suspect one never quite forgets the place one was raised in, it looks familiar and one tends to like it no matter how it looks, be it poor or rich. When it comes to the North of France, there are some rather rich places like Le Touquet and next to it, other places that would appear rather shabby working class like Etaples for instance.

Yet, I don’t consider these Northern towns and villages grotty. Not only do they look familiar, I find them unassuming and simple. Nothing like these pretentious highbrow areas in our capital cities where only the rich and wealthy are welcome. I like these little brick houses and Northern doorways.

Northern Doorways Around Boulogne
Northern doorways Around Boulogne, here with a garage door in Montreuil.
Northern Doorways around Boulogne
A very purple doorway in Etaples: a touch of nobility and luxury, a touch of Sunset Boulevard bling amongst the riff-raff. I feel more at ease amongst them, that’s where I belong

Dwellings for Royalty

I’ve wondered what “tit Buck” meant. I hope it’s not a typo. “Tit” surely doesn’t mean female breast but “small” (abbreviation of petite). Maybe it’s a small house that was bought with small one dollar bills. Colours have meanings, they aren’t chosen at random. Purple is a rare colour write the people of Bourncreative on Sunset Boulevard.

Purple combines the calm stability of blue and the fierce energy of red. The color purple is often associated with royalty, nobility, luxury, power, and ambition. Purple also represents meanings of wealth, extravagance, creativity, wisdom, dignity, grandeur, devotion, peace, pride, mystery, independence, and magic.
The color purple is a rare occurring color in nature and as a result is often seen as having sacred meaning. Lavender, orchid, lilac, and violet flowers are considered delicate and precious.

I’m not sure about nobility or grandeur though. Pride is certainly part of the story nonetheless.

Norther doorways
A little passage towards an inner courtyard, a typical architectural feature of working class Northern France

Inner Courtyards and Northern Doorways

Inner courtyards aren’t grand either. They are the sign that many families were living next to each other. They used to be squalid unhealthy places, a bit like mewses in London. No longer so, but not as up and coming as mewses in London either.




In Montreuil too, there is a great many ancient houses like this beautiful — yet run down — 16th-17th century inn.

Further Down South, Not-So-Northern Doorways in the Somme

A little further down on our way back home we went through the old mediaeval village of St Riquier. Much posher even though the area isn’t that rich either.

Saint Riquier in Picardy, a stone’s throw from Crecy where England beat the s**t out of the French in 1346, barely two years before the great plague broke out. Some sort of Covid-48 yet far more deadly. The two-finger gesture is supposed to have originated from the longbow archers who thrashed the dashing knights of France.
Yann Gourvennec
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