Monday, July 18, 2011

French doors

For an American, the term "French doors" has a very specific meaning. They are a pair of windowed doors that open onto a patio or terrace. I suppose the reason they're called "French" is that it's a fairly common door configuration here in France. Our house has two pair, an exterior pair that open onto our deck and an interior pair that separate our stairs from the dining room.

A house's front door in Le Grand Pressigny.

In France those kinds of doors are called portes-fenêtres (window doors). They typically have glass from top to bottom. Sometimes the bottom panels are solid with no glass, but at least three quarters of the height of the the door is glass. And there are always two swinging panels.

So, the door I've pictured here is not une porte-fenêtre. There's only one moving door; the windows on either side may or may not open, but they're not doors. Of course, since it's in France, it's still a French door, non?


  1. Look at you, Mr. Smarty-pants!
    Good morning.

  2. All Gaul has French doors!
    We had a cool for us weekend in Alabama, but not one as chilly as yours.

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  4. However... these days, I've noticed that "they" (real estate agents, big box stores) refer to even single doors that have glass panes as French doors. I find that odd, as I agree with you, that the term is supposed to be for pairs of doors. Here's an example from a window/door company.

    They just refer to them as single French doors. Hmm!


  5. Nous avons portes françaises dans notre chambre donnant sur une petite terrasse avec un bain à remous...

  6. We have "French Doors" all over our house and they look nothing like your doors. I think we call anything that has glass panes to the floor French Doors. Works for us.

  7. I know of some French people who live here in Phoenix. Their desire to make the place " more French" includes these kind of Windows. alas, they don't go so well in the heat of the Southwest!

  8. mark, pay no attention to the man behind the French doors.

    rick, it sounds better in French.

    evelyn, that's what I think. We're still chilly.

    judy, interesting. I looked at a site that showed only the double variety.

    stephen, sweet!

    ron, sounds reasonable.

    michael, making the desert "more French" could only entail bringing in the Foreign Legion and a few camels. ;)

  9. A French door that is not a French Door. I see said the blind man to the deaf dog as he picked up his hammer and saw the lame man walk away.

  10. Just to confuse the issue, we would call them French windows in the UK. Once memorably mis-spelt in a hotel brochure as "In every bedroom, there is a French widow, affording delightful prospects."

  11. I just have to comment on Autlycus's comment: Brilliant!


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