This is a little series called New House WTF that centers around all those head-scratching moments I’ve encountered after buying a house in France. It’s been fun discovering all of those “normal” French things, but they’ve left this American shaking her head! So for this installment of New House WTF, I present you with my windows. Without screens. Not a single one of the windows in my house has a screen. France has bugs, though, right? I can confirm that YES, France has bugs. So how’s that work exactly in the summer? I’m gonna find out…
No screens on windows in France
When we moved into our home, I already knew there would be no screens on our windows since I had discovered this when I first arrived. No French house has screens. It isn’t just us. All of these screenless windows struck me as odd when I first saw them but I just shrugged and figured maybe the French were onto something. You see, in the U.S and Canada (and several other countries), it’s commonplace to have screens on your windows. The metal or fiberglass mesh is stretched over the window frame or is a separate piece entirely and they do a great job at keeping the bugs, leaves and other debris out while not compromising the airflow in the home.
Window screens are a godsend in humid Florida where even the outdoor pools are inside a screened in porch in some places. Otherwise, your skin ends up looking like this. Exhibit A from last year: My collarbone and shoulder area after we had some nighttime visitors who were looking for a skin-flavored snack. Lovely, ain’t it? Those suckers itched like mad!
It’s nice to have pretty windows with unobstructed breezes and to hang out your window to look around and all, but the little insects and mosquitoes that come along for the summer breeze? That’s not so nice. Insect life is alive and well in France and the pic above is proof that screens would be a welcome investment. If I’m walking around outside and attacked by mosquitoes, that’s one thing, but in my home? No thanks!
It’s funny how you start to miss something as commonplace as window screens once you no longer have them!
So why don’t French windows have screens?
The French view screens as ugly and unnecessary — the bugs will find their way out sooner or later. But only after eating you alive, I say. And sure screens might not be the most beautiful way to dress a window, but it sure beats getting bitten in your sleep or being unable to sleep at all due to constant scratching. And don’t get me started on the marks the bites leave that seem to take forever to go away.
But before all hope is lost, I should mention that just yesterday, we got a few garden stores’ ads in the mail and they have a sticky window screen on promo. Yes, for real! Screens do exist. Maybe the French are tired of the bites and are learning that window screens are our friends. Going to check out that deal this weekend because a bug-free home is a happy home.