Why are French doors called French doors?

The answer to this question is quite simple and obvious – It is because these types of double doors were first popular and fashionable in France – starting with French windows and evolving into doors and hence became known as French doors. 


French Doors


These types of double opening and hinged doors became popular in France during the Renaissance Period – The 16th and 17th Century.  The word Renaissance is derived from the french word that means rebirth.  The French had bought the style back from Italy in its art and architecture when there was a revival of the art of ancient Greece and Rome.  The French Renaissance succeeded French Gothic Architecture.

Symmetry was an important part of the Renaissance and many French chateau’s were built during this time which had formal geometric gardens.  The symmetry of the French windows fitted well with this movement – allowing light into a room, at time when there was no electricity and  enhancing the view of these formal gardens. Originally the idea was a large windows with panes of glass  – French windows, which acted as a balcony type of feature – these eventually extended and became French doors.

Glass during the Renaissance period would have been a difficult and expensive material.  The French no doubt saw the Venetian glassmakers and to have vast quantities of glass in their windows would have been a status symbol at that time.

The view and the light are primarily the reasons we fit them today.  French doors are traditionally double doors that are hinged and open outwards. You can find out more about CMC Aluminium French doors here.   They have no centre post or mullion, so when they are opened do give a maximum uninterrupted opening.


French windows and French doors


Today’s French doors will have a slave door and a master door. If you are thinking about fitting french doors consider which door will be the primary door to open.

We offer a free no obligation quotation for French doors and French windows.