One of the things I love most about our slower days in France is the routine of opening up the shutters at La Maison des Chaumes in the morning and shutting them again in the evening.
It gives me a chance to welcome the new day in the morning and to open the windows to fill the house up with crisp, fresh morning air.
In the evening, closing and locking the shutters refocuses my attention inwards towards my family and our beds. There is nothing like closed shutters that make me feel all snug with Franck and our baby chicks inside our Burgundian nest.
When our french family and friends come to visit us in Canada they are astounded at how the houses in North America have no shutters. "Don't you feel unsafe?" they ask. "Don't you feel exposed?"
I don't, really, because I grew up without shutters. However, I do suspect this makes me more appreciative of them than the average french person.
Then there is the highly controversial (in the villages of Magny-les-Villers and Villers-la-Faye anyway) matter of color.
Shutters are pretty much one of the most fun things to paint when renovating a house in France. For La Maison de la Vieille Vigne I was delighted to pick a shade of turquoise that Franck's grandmother, La Mémé, called "Le Bleu de Villers" or "Villers Blue." She called it this because many decades ago, before more conservative colors became the fashion, the shutters of her house (now Franck's parents' house) and many other houses in the village were exactly the same blue.
For La Maison des Deux Clochers, my choice of shutter color has always been a little bit - shall we say - controversial. It has been a subject of much consternation and debate in the village of Magny-les-Villers.
Part of this, of course, is because the house is in the center of the village (right across the street from the church). The current lilac color caused as much gossip as its previous iteration of cornflower blue.
Next time the task of shutter-painting comes around (about once every 7-10 years) I think I might go with something even bolder so as not to let down my fellow villagers.
The huge windows in our Beaune apartment have to be painted a very specific shade of cream, thanks to the dictates of the tyrannical Architect of French Monuments (who we memorably clashed with when renovating La Maison de la Vieille Vigne in My Grape Village).
This man is so universally reviled that I have a hard time believing he hasn't been a murder victim yet. I once heard an acquaintance comment, "If he ever crosses the road in front of my car at night, I won't be hitting the breaks - that's certain."
One of my favourite sets of shutters in Beaune are these ones, just on the rue des Tonneliers - the street parallel to Le Relais du Vieux Beaune. They were used many decades ago as advertising boards for the shopfront within, and have been left there to age gracefully.
I usually pause to admire them when I pass by on the way to the market or the Brasserie le Carnot. Aren't those old fonts amazing?
I have such a love for shutters in France that I have created a Pinterest board that is entitled with an utter lack of imagination as "Shutters of France". The title needs no imagination though, as the shutters themselves posses more than enough escapism and whimsy all on their own.