French Architecture Vocabulary

Author: Eliane

Learn the French architecture vocabulary with these lists of French vocabulary + English translation. Church, castle, countryside building terms.

This article was written with the help of several French immersion teachers – thank you!

1 – General French Architecture Terms

  1. Une maison = a house
  2. Un bâtiment = a building
  3. Un immeuble = a story building
  4. Un gratte-ciel = skyscraper
  5. Un étage = floor
  6. Une grange = barn
  7. Une ferme = farm

2 – Church Architecture French Vocabulary

  1. Une Cathédrale = a cathedral
  2. Une nef = a nave
  3. Un chœur = a choir
  4. Le transept = the transept
  5. L’abside = the apse
  6. Le narthex = the narthex
  7. Le chemin de croix = the stations of the Cross
  8. Le cloître = the cloister
  9. Le chapiteau = the capital
  10. Une façade = a facade
  11. Un édifice = a building
  12. Un portique = a portico
  13. Une fondation = a foundation
  14. Une statue = a statue
  15. Une ornementation = an ornamentation
  16. Un portail = an entrance
  17. Une statuette = a statuette
  18. Une verrière = a canopy
  19. Un vitrail = a stained glass
  20. Un clocher = belltower
  21. Une flèche = spire
  22. l’architecture gothique = Gothic architecture
  23. l’architecture romane = Roman architecture
  24. une gargouille = a gargoyle
  25. une voûte = a vaulting
  26. une croisée d’ogives = a ribbed vault
  27. le tympan = the tympanum which is the triangular space just above the portal or the main entrance (I can see it on your pic) and often decorated with sculptures (the French word means “eardrum” as well)
  28. une rosace = a rose window
  29. une travée = a bay or a row
  30. l’autel ou le maître-autel = the altar or the high altar (“autel” and “hôtel” have the same pronunciation in French but of course not the same meaning)
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3 – Castle Architecture – French Vocabulary

  1. un château fort – fortified castle, stronghold
  2. le pont-levis – drawbridge
  3. une meurtrière – arrow slit
  4. le donjon – keep
  5. les créneaux – crenelations (openings on top of the ramparts)
  6. un cachot – dungeon
  7. un corps de garde – gatehouse
  8. la grande salle – great hall
  9. les douves (f) – moat
  10. une herse – portcullis
  11. le trône – throne
  12. une tour – tower
  13. une tourelle – turret
  14. les remparts – rampart, wall
  15. une tour de guet – watchtower
  16. la cotte de mailles – chain mail
  17. un archer – archer
  18. l’armure (f) – armor
  19. une épée – sword
  20. une arbalète – crossbow
  21. un bouclier – shield
  22. un belier – battering ram
  23. une catapulte – catapult
  24. le siège – siege

4 – French Countryside Building Vocabulary

  1. A dovecote : Un pigeonnier
  2. A windmill : Un moulin à vent
  3. A watermill : Un moulin à eau
  4. A wheel : une roue
  5. A paddle wheel : une roue à aubes
  6. A lock (on waterway) : Une écluse
  7. Une église : a church
  8. A clock tower : un clocher

2 – Farm Buildings – French Vocabulary

  1. la ferme – farm
  2. le bâtiment de ferme – the farm building
  3. la grange –  barn
  4. le poulailler – chicken coop
  5. le pigeonnier – dovecote
  6. la porcherie – pigpen
  7. l’écurie – stable
  8. le cellier à cidre – cider house
  9. le four à pain – bread oven
  10. la forge – forge
  11. le hangar – shed
  12. le moulin – windmill
  13. l’hôté – the family room

Author: Eliane

Eliane

Bonjour, my name is Eliane and I'd love to welcome you for a French immersion homestay in the "Somme" region of France. You'll even have your own private bungalow!

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