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!

10 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
  8. Un pigeonnier = A dovecote :
  9. Un moulin à vent = A windmill 
  10. Un moulin à eau = A watermill 

33 Church Architecture words

  1. Une église = a church
  2. Une chapelle = a chapel
  3. Une Cathédrale = a cathedral
  4. Un monastère = monastery
  5. Une nef = a nave
  6. Un chœur = a choir
  7. Le transept = the transept
  8. L’abside = the apse
  9. Le narthex = the narthex
  10. Le chemin de croix = the stations of the Cross
  11. Le cloître = the cloister
  12. Le chapiteau = the capital
  13. Une façade = a facade
  14. Un édifice = a building
  15. Un portique = a portico
  16. Une fondation = a foundation
  17. Une statue = a statue
  18. Une ornementation = an ornamentation
  19. Un portail = an entrance
  20. Une statuette = a statuette
  21. Une verrière = a canopy
  22. Un vitrail = a stained glass
  23. Un clocher = belltower
  24. Une flèche = spire
  25. l’architecture gothique = Gothic architecture
  26. l’architecture romane = Roman architecture
  27. une gargouille = a gargoyle
  28. une voûte = a vaulting
  29. une croisée d’ogives = a ribbed vault
  30. 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)
  31. une rosace = a rose window
  32. une travée = a bay or a row
  33. 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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24 French Castle words

  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

13 French Farm Building Terms

  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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