While exploring the villages on France’s Southwest Atlantic coast, I saw lots of beautiful doors, many with interesting door knockers. On the Île de Ré, the human hand seemed to be a theme, as every block had a few, cast in iron or brass, adorning the doors of homes. The origin of the hand-shaped door knocker is a mystery. Some say it is the hand of Fatima, there to ward off evil spirits. Whatever the reason, I think they are intriguing and beautiful. Like human hands, many are delicate and graceful, while others are worn and gnarled from use.