Someone once said that windows are the eyes of your home. More than just holes to the outside that let in light and ventilation – they connect to the world outside, framing that outside view from inside and offering a hint of life inside to those passing by.
I find that windows in France are often very beautiful eyes between the inside and the outside. I’m not talking of the gorgeous stained glass windows that you see in many of the churches in France from grand cathedrals like Chartres to village churches but homes where people live. Where daily they look outside, and we look inside!
In many homes in France the window as a frame to the world inside and out is elevated to an art form and everywhere you go from north to south, you’ll find glorious, beautiful, ancient, stylish windows to admire. Often surrounded by flowers, embellished with wrought iron railings, fancy stone work, carving and of course shutters (more on that one soon) I have never been anywhere else where an entire country seems to have so many beautiful windows to enjoy from the outside.
Typically French windows are casement with an inswing. When I came to France I’d never seen this before and thought it very odd indeed – windows in the UK open outwards. Having traditional French windows in my house means that every time I open a window I have to move something from the front of it. But – it’s also a genius idea as you can just open the windows and clean them yourself – no need for a window cleaner. This is brilliant for me as, in the course of renovating over the last few years, we’ve had to install 37 new windows in this old house!
Old ladies seem to be obsessed with cleaning their windows in my part of France. I don’t think it’s because they believe in Feng Shui which says that clear and clean windows is good for the house and those who live in it, they just seem to love having sparkling, shiny clean windows!
I was sent the top photo by Pat Bruce in Canada who spent 3 months in the beautiful area of Lot, Midi-Pyrénées and passed by this house in Sarlat where the old lady sat looking out of the window wonderfully framed by the wisteria in blossom. If you click on it to enlarge you’ll see just what a perfect illustration of the beauty of windows in France this is.