Frameless Glass Balustrade

12 Common Questions About French Balconies

What are French balconies and where do they take their name from?

French balconies are balconies that you can’t step out onto. They have glass doors or wall-to-wall windows that open inwards to provide you with fresh air. They feel like a veranda without the outside floor, tables, and chairs.

They are known as French balconies because the people of France frequently use them in their own architecture. These kinds of balconies are amongst the smallest balconies.

In the UK, these balconies are often known as Juliet balconies after the famous scene from Romeo and Juliet. The French tend to use the terms balconets or balconettes. Each of these terms is used to describe false balconies or railings at the outer planes of windows.

French balconies versus normal balconies

Whilst traditional balconies have a barriered floor that juts out from apartments and hotel rooms, French balconies are merely long windows or glass doors that can be slid open in order to bring in more light and ventilation.

What are the benefits of French balconies?

French balconies can improve the visual appeal of properties and add an extra touch of elegance to them. These balconies aren’t just about aesthetics though. They also bring in more natural light and ventilation. This can improve the atmosphere of a space as well as its air quality. The balconies also give people unobstructed outdoor views without the need to step outside. This can deliver the illusion of extra space. French balconies can also boost the value of properties.

Is planning permission needed to install French balconies?

Planning permission isn’t needed when installing a French balcony in most scenarios. This is because they don’t need an external platform and aren’t as intrusive as other options.

Nonetheless, you still need to consider the following.

Regarding position, the rear of your property should be fine, but the side or front could be more likely to require planning based on who it overlooks and whether it’s in keeping with the rest of the street. 

Living in a flat conservation area or listed building makes you more likely to need planning consent.

If you need more information and guidance about installing a Juliet property, you could contact your local planning office, or visit


Do I have any important building regulations to think about?

If you have an external drop bigger than 600mm, you will need a barrier for safety purposes. The height of the barrier needs to be at least 1100mm.

For a domestic property, note that building regulations state that landings, flights of stairs or raised areas in single-family dwellings need a barrier if the difference between adjacent levels is more than 600mm.

What is the best material for a French balcony?

There are many factors that can decide what the best material for a French balcony is. 

The look you want to create and your maintenance preferences can help determine the best material for your needs. 

  • Stainless steel is famed for its durability as well as its resistance to corrosion. It’s also known for its sleek, modern appearance. Wrought iron has a classic look and can be moulded into detailed designs. 
  • Aluminium is rust-resistant and lightweight. 
  • If you are considering installing glass panels, ensure they are laminated for safety and are toughened. 
  • Always make sure you’re looking for materials which are able to withstand the elements and don’t need a great deal of maintenance.

What doors should I choose for a French balcony?

Full-height sliding doors or French doors are good options for French balconies. French doors open outwards and give you the full view of a balcony. Sliding doors can help you to save space. They can also be perfect for tighter spots. Look for doors with tough seals, thermal insulation, and double or triple-glazing. These can deliver excellent noise reduction and energy efficiency.

What are French balconies in hotels?

In a hotel, a French balcony is normally a floor-to-ceiling window that you can open fully. It normally has a balustrade or safety railing in front of it. Although you can’t step out onto these balconies you can with a traditional balcony, it does give you an unobstructed view. This means you can enjoy scenic views from the comfort of your hotel room and enjoy an extra sense of luxury and space.


What is a French balcony on a ship?

On ships, including cruise ships, French balconies are similar to hotel versions. They are sliding windows or doors that open to railings to let fresh air in without taking up as much space as a full balcony. This design ensures more cabins on vessels can have outside views. It boosts the passenger experience without cutting corners on safety.


Can I sit on a French balcony?

No. These balconies are designed for aesthetic purposes. They enable fresh air and light to enter a room but aren’t for standing or sitting on. They are essentially large windows or doors with barriers or railings for safety but no protruding platform.


Do French balconies have any disadvantages?

Although French balconies do come with a host of benefits, there are downsides too. They don’t give you space for activities like sitting, BBQing, or gardening. If a French balcony is not insulated well, the large glass areas can cause thermal inefficiencies. You may also have privacy issues due to how the balconies deliver clear views into rooms when they are open. It’s important to think about the drawbacks as well as the positives before you go ahead and have these balconies installed.

As with any architectural choice, weighing the benefits against the drawbacks based on individual preferences and needs is essential.


French balcony vs veranda

The key difference between a French balcony and a veranda on a river cruise ship is that you can only lean out of French balconies but also step out onto verandas. Verandas tend to have small tables with a couple of chairs. Nonetheless, many balcony cabins have tables and chairs by the balconies, which gives you something close to the feeling of sitting outside, with the views being just as pleasant.

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