Have you ever noticed these fascinating things on some French doors?

I have a new doorway fascination and it can’t be cured. You may remember my borderline obsession with chasse-roues, the doorway protectors in Paris.

But what I’ve found in the western city of Cognac may beat even this.

Yes, as I was walking along the main pedestrianized street in Cognac, the Rue Aristade Briand (pictured below) I noticed a little cubby-hole to the bottom right of a doorway. In fact, you can see it in the picture above.

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On closer inspection I saw there was a thin metal strip in front of this hole in the wall, and I realized that it must have been an in-built shoe-scraper!

Here’s a better look at it so you can understand me.

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Now, I’ve seen shoe-scrapers before in Paris and elsewhere – and while they’re sometimes ornate and interesting, I’ve never seen them built into the wall. Below is an example of a typical and rather boring shoe scraper, also found in Cognac. This will give you an idea of how excited I was to see the ornate variety.

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So, imagine my surprise when I continued to walk along the street and notice that many, many of the door were equipped with these intriguing little shoe scrapers, seemingly unused for decades.

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Here’s an idea of how they’re supposed to work:

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Some even had TWO scrapers – his and hers?

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So what did I do? I walked the street from end to end and took pictures of them all. Now you don’t need to visit Cognac! (Although I highly recommend it).

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Anyway, here are the rest of the pictures, you can click to make them bigger. I included a full shot of the door each time for perspective.

As for me, if you want to hear me get out of breath just talking about these shoe scrapers, you should listen to the latest episode of the podcast, where I also talk about Cognac, a vintage car race in Angouleme, and the three things you need to know before living in a French village.

Click play to hear it.

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