French balcony: information & design ideas

French balconies on yellow house fronts
The “French balcony”, also called “French window” or “Parisian window” called, is actually known from large French cities such as Marseille or Paris. There they are mainly used as a decorative element on the house facade – with us they are more of a small exit with a handrail, which for the most part serves security with its handrail. There is no space for a complete set to sit and relax. But a French balcony can also be beautifully designed and planted. Our interior experts have put together the best tips and ideas for you. Let yourself be inspired!

French balcony the most important questions

What is a French balcony anyway? And what do I have to consider when designing? We have the answers to the most important questions ready for you!

What is a French balcony?

A French balcony is basically a floor-to-ceiling window with a railing in front of it. He is only a little? about 30 centimeters from the facade. The railing of the French balcony consists in its original form of ornate wrought iron. In the meantime, however, there are also more modern variants that are made with a handrail made of glass or stainless steel. French balconies are primarily fall protection for floor-to-ceiling windows. That is why there are often additional window bars. Above all, however, the railing is a decorative element that ensures maximum incidence of light in the apartment better than a normal window.

French balcony what are the advantages?

A French balcony has its own personal charm. There you can enjoy coffee and a croissant in the morning with the door open. Or they can spend cozy evenings on the balcony with friends and a glass of wine. No matter how you use the French balcony, it just oozes Parisian charm! Especially if you decorate the dreary stainless steel bar railing with plants, flowers and other accessories, you can turn your balcony into a real gem.

What is a French balcony for?

It is still controversial to this day whether French balconies were originally only an emergency solution under building law if a real balcony was not feasible. Some believe that they should only be used for self-presentation by the French nobility. Today, however, it is clear: the French balcony is usually a compromise solution if it is not possible under building regulations to add a normal balcony to an apartment. In this way, a generous sense of space is possible in the apartment even without a large balcony.

How high does a French balcony have to be?

The addition of a French balcony is usually associated with few regulations. Of course, a railing is mandatory in any case. There are regulations for the height of the railing that is defined for each state. A floor-to-ceiling window at a height of less than twelve meters usually requires a window grille with a height of at least 90 cm. For windows located higher up, the balcony railing must be at least 110 cm high. The exact specifications for each federal state can be found in the relevant building regulations.

Which requirements and permits should one pay attention to with the French balcony?

In addition to the height, you should also pay attention to a few other points for your French balcony. If you live for rent, all plans must be discussed with the rental company or the property management company. These are construction plans, after all. Would you like to build a French balcony on your property or are you just building a new one, you will find it in the hardware store. But there are also special dealers who make French balconies. You should also pay attention to the density of the bar railings. To prevent children from climbing over or through, bars that are close together and of the right height are an absolute must. Alternatively, you can also sit on a glass plate.

These materials are suitable for the French balcony

When it comes to the choice of material for the parapet, it is generally advisable to orientate yourself on the existing or planned facade. For many modern buildings nowadays a window railing made of transparent safety glass is used. But classic stainless steel railings or balcony railings made of particularly weatherproof, hot-dip galvanized steel is also popular. Powder-coated steel offers a greater variety of colors. The handrails are mostly made of steel or stainless steel. Bar railings made of ornate wrought iron, on the other hand, look much more old-fashioned and romantic, of course. If you prefer such a window grille, however, you usually have to dig a little deeper into your wallet. There are some specialist companies that offer tailor-made production of these bar railings but of course not at hardware store prices.

Nice design ideas for the French balcony

A French balcony is of course not suitable for extensive sunbathing or long summer evenings outdoors with friends. But even if it doesn’t offer too much space, it can still be beautifully decorated and designed. Plants, decoration and lighting are ideal for the balcony design. And the corner in front of the balcony door within the apartment can also be wonderfully adapted. We’ll tell you how exactly!

Small plant paradise on the French balcony

A French balcony has an extra romantic effect when climbing plants grow upon it. Evergreen ivy, but also flowering climbing plants, are particularly suitable here. Hanging plants that find their place in hanging baskets are ideal because they are extremely space-saving. But flower boxes that can be attached to the balcony railing are also a nice idea. You can create a flowery oasis on the window railing in no time, which also serves as a privacy screen when you want to relax with the balcony window open.

For all cooking fans, having your own little herb garden with many different varieties on your French balcony is a great idea. Perhaps you want to fully revive the French flair and plant your mini balcony with French spices such as lavender or thyme ?! Some fruits or vegetables such as strawberries, vine tomatoes or beans feel good even with little space and bear fruit when there is enough light and sun. These can also be easily attached to the window grille.

In this video you will find helpful tips about urban gardening on your French balcony:

French balcony as a reading and sitting area

It is true that you cannot sit directly on the approx. 30 cm large balcony But it certainly offers space to read and relax! If you design the space in front of it according to the position of the balcony. Imagine the area in front of the French balcony as a large balcony and furnish it accordingly.

A comfortable armchair, a pouf or a small seating group with a folding table and chairs in front of the balcony door become a cozy reading and sitting area. Decorated with fluffy pillows and blankets, nothing stands in the way of relaxing summer evenings. Light chains that are attached to the railing, as well as candles, lanterns and lanterns also ensure a romantic feel-good atmosphere. Or you can set up your entire home office in front of the French balcony. With a fresh breeze in your back and the chirping of birds in your ears, you can work much more motivated, right?

French balcony: inspiration

Admittedly, the French balcony with its bar railing is too small for extensive sunbathing. But once you decorate it with plants and thus cover the stainless steel elements, the railing can easily be converted into an eye-catcher. Which accessories are essential for this? Flower pots for the railing, plants, garden tools and a folding chair that can be carelessly hidden on the small balcony when not in use. Here you will find some pictures that will surely inspire you to the French balcony. Have fun!


PS: Discover even more tips & ideas for balcony design! Read everything about modern balcony design, beautiful balconies, the ethnic balcony, the design of small and narrow balconies! Are you still looking for the right balcony armchair or sofa? Then click on our article!

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