French-Style Windows: Pros and Cons

French-Style Windows: Pros and Cons

Bethany Adams
Apr 25, 2011

There is something marvelously romantic and just so French about being able to throw open your windows and lean over the railing to check out what's happening on the street. I feel like a character from Disney's Beauty and the Beast in Belle's opening number, calling "Bonjour! Bonjour, Bonjour, Bonjour!" to passersby from my perch up above.

But this type of window—until now, totally unfamiliar to me as an American—has its curiosities, too. For example, there are no window screens in French windows! Since I live in Paris and not a swamp, I'm not really worried about mosquitoes or anything, but what about the city dweller's summer scourge, the spider? I've had my windows open all day for about a week and am happy to report that the flies fly in and right on out and I haven't seen more than a single teensy spider, but I'm still cautious….

Also, I cannot figure out how to keep the windows propped open at night a few inches. If there is any hint of a breeze the two windowpanes flap around like crazy! Surely the good people of Paris like to sleep with their windows open—what do they do?

On the pro side, if one were so inclined (admittedly, I am not), these windows would be so easy to keep clean. Since they swing in, one could easily hop on a ladder and clean off all the grime as often as one wishes, unlike those twice-a-year cleanings you get in most apartment buildings in the States.

Despite some unanswered questions, though, I have to say that I really love this style window for the total connection with the outside world. When you live in a small space, it just feels so much more expansive to literally open the walls to the outside. I will definitely miss them when I return to Chicago in the fall.

Does anyone have this style window in the US? Or does anyone else live abroad and have them? What have you found to be challenging and/or wonderful about these windows?

Image Credit: Bethany Adams

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