Few countries have influenced architecture more than France. From its lovely countrysides to the grandeur of its world-famous cities, L’hexagone has inspired some of the most gorgeous architecture in the world. French provincial houses represent just one of the styles from France, but it’s certainly quite an appealing one — blending a variety of elements in some pretty exciting ways. So, what is a French provincial house exactly?

A Brief History of French Provincial Homes in the United States

The average person on the street has an idea of what an English cottage looks like. If you asked a random person what a Mediterranean house looks like, they might mumble about clay tile roofs and big courtyards. But you would probably not have as much success asking someone to define the French provincial style. While plenty of folks may have heard of it, its defining features and characteristics are more of a mystery to most.

A French provincial home with a winding driveway and upper balcony.
The French provincial style combines high-class tastes with down-home living.

While not as popular as many of the British-influenced architectural styles, French provincial homes are still fairly common across the United States. The style saw an initial surge in popularity in the 1920s in addition to a revival that brought it back to the fore in the 1960s. Today, the homes are

How to Recognize a French Provincial Style of House

Distinguishing between the different types of French home styles can be a bit tricky. French manors and French country homes share some overlap and bear certain similarities. So, what specific elements and aesthetic choices can one expect with a French provincial house?

Symmetrical Proportions

French provincial homes are inspired by the rural manors of the 1600s. These homes were traditionally very evenly appointed. As such, the French provincial style we see today is characterized first and foremost by balanced, symmetrical proportions.

Other notable styles share this focus on symmetry, as we saw in The 5 Key Features of Colonial Homes.

A view of the Eiffel Tower from a Parisian street with lovely architecture.

Parisian Elegance

Like French country homes, provincial builds combine sophistication with a polished, rustic aesthetic. However, French provincials commonly draw that sophistication specifically from architecture found in The City of Love.

Rustic Warmth

While “rustic warmth” is not a characteristic you might expect in tandem with a Parisian aesthetic, herein lies the unique charm of the French provincial style. It is this very juxtaposition that sets off the beauty of these homes. Drawing inspiration from the French countryside, these homes tap into some aspects of the farmhouse aesthetic, but they tend to do so more sparingly than, say, a modern farmhouse style home might. It’s not at all uncommon to see exposed timber sharing space with glamorous chandeliers.

Ornate Decor

The interior entry of a home with a plant in a vase on a central table.

While this characteristic overlaps a bit with decoration and design, these homes do tend to incorporate lavish interior features. Look for the inside of a French provincial style house to be noticeably ornate. These homes often include French provincial antiques and plenty of stylistically appropriate knick-knacks. Elaborate chandeliers are fairly common as well.

Looking to Build a French Provincial House?

We consider architectural styles to be more of a starting point than a final destination at Corinthian Fine Homes. As custom builders, we don’t do cookie-cutter homes. Instead, our nine-step home build process includes custom selections, often drawing inspiration from multiple architectural styles.

One of the best parts of the job is working with clients to integrate the most desirable elements of one primary style with various customizations that best fit their lifestyle. To that end, French provincial has been a fantastic stylistic diving board for some of our favorite builds in the last 25+ years.

We would love to hear about your dream home and discuss options for making it a reality. Feel free to explore our design build portfolio or give our sales and design team a call at (614) 965-9521.