French Colonial Architecture

The French love lavish homes. The French Colonial does just that with large, open porches, gorgeous detailing and more.

The French are known for being a proud people. They are known for their lavish tendencies, especially with their homes and the architecture of said homes. When the French began settling in America, they brought with them a style of architecture that would steal the hearts of people all over.

History of French Colonial Architecture

The style of French colonial dominated Southern regions of the United States. Notably, these homes dominated the areas of Mississippi and Louisiana (particularly New Orleans.) From the 1700s and into the middle of the 1800s, this style of architecture combined elements found in France, the West Indies and the Caribbean, as well as several other areas of the world.

Characteristics of French Colonial Architecture

Similar to traditional colonial styled homes, the French Colonial was symmetrical in every aspect. The facade of the home had a center door that was flanked with an even number of windows on either side. The second story windows were also fashioned in the same style.

The most notable element of the French Colonial is perhaps the large, open (or occasionally enclosed,) front porch. It wasn't uncommon for the porch to also wrap around the entire home. Nearly all French Colonial homes employed the use of large porches. This allowed the home to be more open and welcoming, as well as allow fresh air to keep it cooler in the hot, sweltering Southern climate.

The porch was important for the French Colonial because the homes generally contained no indoor hallways. In order for residents or guests to navigate from one room to another, they would need to go outside and use the porch. The porch was, in essence, the hallway of the French Colonial.

The roof of the French Colonial was usually a very steep pitched roof. Occasionally, the roofs would have flared eaves that overhung (to accommodate the large outdoor porches.) The exterior of the home was made from stucco or some form of siding and occasionally, (but not frequently,) from brick.

It was also extremely common to see variations of French doors all around the home, as well as other lavish decor such as brackets on the porches and so forth.

French Colonials Today

Today, many examples of this style of architecture can still be seen in Mississippi or Louisiana (especially in New Orleans.)

The movement for a French Colonial revival has not yet come around, but with the growing desire for more outdoor spaces, perhaps one day this beautiful architecture will once again be embraced by Americans.