So up pops the French Renaissance: they go through some invasions with the Italians and while swinging their swords..look up and see…”Wow, these buildings look great. We should take their ideas back home with us!” Which is exactly what they did.
French Renaissnce Architecture is a mixture of the Italian Renaissance, a little drop of Gothic form, less emphasis on rules and correct proportions and more on inventiveness and surface richness. They admire classicism and highly regard order and symmetry among their design principles. Protection is still a pronounced element to architecture; hence, fortified castles, large entry gates, round turrets with conical roofs and central courtyards are of top priority.
The basic structure for a French Renaissance facade is as follows: from bottom to top: Repetively sized and shaped windows, pilasters to divide the facade, round arches, string course, classical motifs, classical figures, a pavilion, and on top a pediment.
Characteristics of the French Renaissance household: from bottom to top: round arches, pilaster, keystone, balustrade, french doors/windows, another keystone, broken pediment, quoins, a cornice, dormer windows, a steep roof pitch (these roofs remind me of a party hat: round and pointy) and finally on top is a chimney.
The photos below show from top to bottom: the Louvre in Paris, Chateau de Chaumont, Chateau de Saint Agil, Palais de Fountainbleau, and a common town home.