2 Timeless French Bath Tub Styles – Bateau & Double-Ended Clawfoot

French Bath Tub Styles

French Bath Tub Styles

The double-ended clawfoot tub and French bateau tub are iconic French bath tub styles associated with the Victorian era.

These timeless freestanding tub styles are often incorporated into French country bathroom designs, as well as traditional bathroom designs, which are based largely on 18th- and 19th-century European styles.


The History of Freestanding Tubs in France

The clawfoot tub, which originated in Netherlands in the mid-18 th century, quickly became popular among the European upper class. Early clawfoot tubs were usually made of cast iron, tin, or copper.

By the late 19th century, freestanding bathtubs had become a sought-after luxury item in many countries including England, France, and the United States. There were many different styles and variations of clawfoot tubs available in France during this period. However, clawfoot tubs in France tended to be more ornate and decorative than those found in other countries.

Freestanding tubs were viewed more as furniture than fixtures back in the 19 th century and were typically a luxury item for members of the upper class. Bathrooms were not usually included in architectural or interior design photography until the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Much of what is known about clawfoot tub designs before this time is usually from advertisements.


French Double-Ended Clawfoot Tubs

One type of clawfoot tub that was likely popular among the French aristocracy during the 19th century was the classic double-ended clawfoot tub. A double ended tub is rounded on both sides with the taps and waste fitted at the center. Double-ended clawfoot tubs were often made of durable cast iron.

Clawfoot tub designs featuring feet shaped like lion's paws were popular in both France and England during the 19 th century. Ornate features like lion’s paw feet in a metallic finish can help add a touch of grandeur and elegance to the très jolie double-ended clawfoot tub style.

While cast iron double-ended clawfoot tub models are still popular today, lighter materials like acrylic are also available.


French Bateau Tubs

A distinct style of freestanding tub that emerged in France around the mid-19th century was the bateau tub. Jacob Delafon of Paris is widely credited with designing and manufacturing the original bateau style freestanding tub.

Bateau means “boat” in French. The dual backrests of a bateau tub rise ever so slightly and feature a curved rolled rim that brings to mind the bow of a rowboat.

A bateau tub is a type of double slipper tub, which features high sloping backs and is lowered in the middle. A bateau tub, however, alwaysfeatures an elegant continuous rolled rim and slightly sloped backrests.

Traditional bateau tubs often featured ornate details and tub feet. They were usually made of durable materials like cast iron or copper.

Modern bateau tubs are usually pedestal tubs (that rest on a base, not tub feet) with plain or riveted skirts. They are an elegant, timeless freestanding tub option that complements a wide range of bathroom design styles, including nautical and modern farmhouse. Popular materials for today’s modern French bateau tub designs include cast iron, copper, and lightweight, affordable acrylic.


Where to Find French-Inspired Bathtub Designs

These French style freestanding tubs are perfect for French country, traditional, transitional, nautical, and modern French bathroom designs:

Barclay Dawson 61” Cast Iron Double Ended Clawfoot Tub with Lion’s Paw Feet

Barclay Raynor 66” Cast Iron Bateau Tub 

Barclay Isabella 59” Cast Iron Bateau Tub with Antique Copper Skirt

Barclay Fernando 67” Cast Iron Bateau Tub with Riveted Metal Skirt

For assistance selecting the best freestanding tub for your bathroom, contact our Customer Service team!

by Cassidy Carr