A grand shuttered house caught my imagination in the town of Bourges. Set behind wrought-iron gates and a small courtyard on a medieval street, it encapsulated for me all that is alluring about French buildings. Elegant, certainly, but with an air of faded grandeur. A house built for an aristocrat, perhaps, as an abode in town close to the theatre and the palace built by merchant, banker and diplomat Jacques Coeur (below).
The stone is ornately carved, weathered now and cracked in places. The paint on the iron is that particular soft grey that looks sophisticated, never dull; it's flaking, and rust shows through. All was quiet the night we stayed at the excellent Hotel Angleterre across the street. No carriages drove in through those gates, nor even a car.
The only sign of life was a dove's - or pigeon's nest - on the pediment above an upper window.
But if houses can have an alluring, intriguing presence, this one certainly does...