Se pourrait-il, cher monsieur, qu'un accès extérieur à la banque permette à toutes sortes d'animaux sauvages de venir y rôder ? Le simple fait de l'envisager me pousse à m'interroger sur le réel niveau de sécurité de votre établissement.

Interpreting this phrase as "the simple fact of imagining it" doesn’t make much sense here. Is it more like "the simple act of imagining it" and, by extension, "simply/merely imagining it"? How do you use this "le simple fait de faire ..." expression in other contexts?

  • Un accès extérieur is just an "outside entrance", as opposed to any entrance that would lead to an internal corridor. – None Sep 3 '16 at 15:21
  • To: @Laure So the very first entrance that you go through in order to go into a bank is the "un accès extérieur"? Merci. – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Sep 3 '16 at 15:25
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    Although I've never seen that in France, I can imagine the building of a bank situated inside an open space (a yard or a green space) that would be closed by a gate. In that case I expect both the gate (leading from the open space onto the street) and the door(s) leading from the open space inside the building would be accès extérieurs. – None Sep 3 '16 at 15:57
  • Since this suggestion would be putting words (or rather a word) in the mouth of the person that you’re quoting I’ll just mention it in a comment for you to consider, but perhaps “pouvoir” has been omitted in the second sentence as understood and/or carried-over from its presence in the first sentence (Le simple fait de pouvoir l’envisager = “The simple fact of being able to envision/imagine it … .”, or added to your good version: “Simply/merely being able to envision/imagine it … .”). – Papa Poule Sep 3 '16 at 16:16

I would say that le simple fait de + infinitive = Even just + -ing:

Le simple fait de marcher me fait mal au genou.

Even just walking hurts my knee.

So le simple fait de l'envisager means even just thinking about it.

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To insist on "simple", one can use sheer, as a direct translation:

The sheer fact that

and turning it differently, by converting the initial verb "envisager" into a substantive:

The sheer thought of it

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