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From Le Figaro:

Chaque jour, après l'heure de la sieste et avant celle du thé, un vieux monsieur et son chien franchissent un mur de briques rouges par une porte verte.

What does par mean in this context? Does it mean that the man and his dog get over the red brick wall through a green door? If so, isn't franchir a bit of an exaggeration, since they're not working hard to overcome the obstacle but rather simply walking through the door?

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I understand why you have a weird feeling about franchir.

It can be used in both way: - In your case, It just mean you go from point A to point B through something. - Your other guess is right as well. Franchir could imply that you worked hard to do it. After a marathon, you can say : "le coureur a franchi la ligne d'arrivée".

To be short, both meanings are right so your sentence doesn't sound weird.

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