Sunday, 28 June 2009

Les Volets Bleus

or: The Blue Shutters.

Blue is the traditional colour for shutters in Provence. And, in the old days, farm carts, too. These days shutters come in every colour under the sun.

However, blue isn't my favourite colour, so for months -- literally -- we discussed colours. We first thought a natural wood tint, but then we'd see colours that we liked, then we'd think wood, then. . . we never could come to a decision. Eventually, we settled on navy blue. Tres chic on stone.

Navy blue, though, only comes as paint. I prefer staining (and treating) to painting. The stain/treatment applies easily enough that even your local Jewish American Princess can come up with a good result. Also it's softer against old buildings than paint. Lasts longer, too. And it now comes in colours.

When we finally went to buy the stain the darkest blue we could find was Blue Jean. We tried it and decided it looked good, personal preferences aside. So that's how we chose our colour: by default. (Would there be a market for a system called Default Decorating, I wonder?)

Tradition says that blue shutters keep the flies away, something that we foreigners think is kinda cute, but probably in a category with planting with the new moon and other tales from the paysans.

Funny thing, though. The paysans' gardens do better than ours. And I've actually just figured out about the blue.

The first light bulb went off when we went canoeing a couple of weeks ago. When I took off my flashy aqua tights (also known as ski underwear) and laid them on the ground, they were immediately covered with butterflies. Later, when I was staining the shutters and planning on telling you about keeping the flies away, I could hardly keep my paint brush ahead of the flies. So much for that theory.

But, no! That's the thing. The blue doesn't repel flies; it attracts them. And keeps them out of your house. Aha!

Remember this?


I'm not crazy about the blue screen door, though. It may have to revert to a normal wood stain.


  1. When I was kid in Greece I remember being told the same thing - that blue shutters and doors kept flies out of the house. It's really pretty!

  2. Wow what a transformation, I remember the house very well you have worked miracles, are the neighbours nice and is the boulangerie down the road still good??

  3. Just painted the volets and put all the plants we brought in front of the house. Amazing, isn't it?
    The neighbours are super and the boulangerie is still owned by the same people. Not only is the bread excellent, but they're open from 7am to 8pm, lunch included.

  4. Wow, that's quite a difference!
    It looks great.

  5. looking good:-) looks like you saved the original over door plant to? it seems very happy you are there:-0 Jane