Friday’s French – perron & pas japonais

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We went to visit Mr and Mrs Previous Owner recently and I wanted to know what they did to get rid of the moss on the front stairs. “Sur le perron“, replied Mr Previous Owner. “No, the front steps”. “Oui, le perron“, he insisted.

Our perron in the winter after pruning the roses

Our perron in the winter after pruning the roses

And here I had been labouring under the misconception all these years that the perron was something quite different. According to my Larousse dictionary, it is an outside staircase with a small number of steps ending in a platform leading to a front door, as can be seen in the following photo.

Typical perron at the front of Château de Cheverny

Typical perrons (there are three!) at the front of Château de Cheverny

I check my Dicobat building dictionary and it doesn’t mention anything about the number of steps, so I can now talk about “notre perron”. As far as I know, we have nothing in English to describe this concept.

Back perron at Château de Cheverny

Back perron at Château de Cheverny

On another but slightly related subject, we’ve been looking for a solution for some time to stop treading mud into the house when it rains, particularly in winter. The area in front of the house is a combination of grass and gravel with no clear delineation.

We recently went to Truffaut to see what we could find. There was a large selection of pas japonais (pas meaning step in this context). For some reason, I thought that pas japonais were slightly staggered to the left and right to naturally follow your steps.

Our pas japonais

Our pas japonais

After buying the last 10 pas we liked, we laid them in light rain and I posted a photo on Facebook. “I would call them stepping stones”, said a friend. She’s right of course. I was so disappointed. We’ve ordered some more for the rest of the garden but I can see we’ll have to lay the other ones again. It’s so annoying trying to remember whether you should be starting with your left leg or your right leg. Sigh.

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