Quite amazingly, our windows might date to the 1700s, according to the architect from the Bâtiments de France who inspected our place. We have records for the place dating to 1624, but we’re not sure precisely when it was built.
Windows used to be different. Glass was too expensive for most medieval folks. But by the mid-1500s nearly every home had glass windows. It was the disruptive technology of its time.
According to verre-histoire.org, windows took on the charming style of small glass squares set in oak frames. By 1660 in Paris and later in other big cities, the French turned these into big, criss-crossed windows.
I can just imagine the discussion. Husband: “Our neighbors just put in new windows. They say it really cut the drafts. I think we ought to upgrade, too.”
Wife: “I totally agree. Our windows look so last-century. Here we’re putting in the latest wood carvings above the fireplaces, and we don’t bother to get new windows? I say if we’re going modern, then let’s go all-in.”
Somehow, the 18th century windows lasted for about 300 years. But it’s time to change again. Not by choice.
The frames are so rotted that it’s hard to shut them.
Our carpenter, Menuiserie Ribo in Carcassonne, is one of only a couple of carpenters accepted by the Bâtiments de France to replace windows on historically protected buildings. Their Web site says, “We make it a point of honor to copy the cachet of existing elements while using strict standards for materials for insulation against noise and heat.”