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French House Styles


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French Provincial House Style
Massive hipped roof

French Prorovincial House Style

Photo © Jackie Craven

For centuries, France was a kingdom of many provinces, including the province of Normandy. These individual regions were often so self-contained that isolation created a special culture, including architecture. The French Normandy House Style is an example of a specific provincial house style.

By definition, the provinces were outside the cities of power, and, even today, the word provincial can mean an "unsophisticated" or "unworldly," rural person. French Provincial house styles take this general approach. They tend to be simple, square, and symmetrical. They resemble small manor homes with massive hipped roofs and window shutters. Frequently, tall second floor windows break through the cornice. Unlike French Normandy houses, French Provincial homes generally do not have towers.

American homes are often inspired by designs from more than one area of a country or even more than one country. When architecture derives its style from a broad range of sources, we call it eclectic.

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