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French Vocabulary

Maintenon Castle + Royalty French Vocabulary

By Steve Oswald on June 20, 2017
Steve Oswald

Learn the royalty French Vocabulary and practice your French with this easy bilingual French English story about Maintenon castle, not far from Paris.

Le ChĂąteau de Maintenon est vraiment un bijou cachĂ©. SituĂ© Ă  90 km au sud-ouest de Paris, loin des villes touristiques, c’est un endroit parfait pour passer quelques heures paisibles sans la foule qu’on trouve souvent dans les chĂąteaux plus connus.

Le Chñteau de Maintenon is really a hidden gem. Located 90 km southwest of Paris, far from tourist towns, it’s a perfect place to pass several peaceful hours without the crowds that one often finds at better known castles.

learn french easy bilingual story practice maintenon castle

How To Get To Maintenon Castle

Ma femme et moi sommes descendus du train Ă  la gare de Maintenon un dimanche matin d’octobre. Il faisait trĂšs beau malgrĂ© la fraĂźcheur de l’air. La gare elle-mĂȘme Ă©tait fermĂ©e et il n’y avait pas de plan pour nous informer oĂč se trouvait le chĂąteau.

My wife and I got off the train at the Maintenon station one Sunday morning in October. The weather was nice despite the coolness in the air. The train station itself was closed and there was no map to tell us where to find the castle.

J’ai demandĂ© Ă  un homme que j’ai vu prĂšs de la gare s’il pouvait nous diriger vers le chĂąteau. Mais il a rĂ©pondu qu’il n’était pas du coin. Donc, on a consultĂ© le GPS sur mon portable et dĂ©cidĂ© de prendre la rue devant nous. AprĂšs avoir marchĂ© vingt minutes, on est arrivĂ©s au chĂąteau.

I asked a man who I saw near the station if he could direct us toward the castle. But he answered that he was not from there. So, we consulted the GPS on my phone and decided to take the road in front of us. After a walk of 20 minutes, we arrived at the castle.

learn french easy bilingual story practice maintenon castle1

The Story of Madame de Maintenon

Un chùteau exceptionnellement préservé qui date du 13iÚme siÚcle, son apparence actuelle est le résultat des nouvelles constructions et des rénovations qui ont été faites aux 16iÚme, 17iÚme, et 19iÚme siÚcles. Au cours de son existence, le chùteau a eu plusieurs propriétaires mais celui qui est le plus connu est Madame de Maintenon.

An exceptionally well preserved castle dating from the 13th century, it’s current appearance is the result of new construction and renovation that was done in the 16th, 17th, and 19th centuries. During its life, the castle has had a number of owners but the one who is best known is Madame de Maintenon.

learn french easy bilingual story practice maintenon castle

D’abord gouvernante pour les enfants illĂ©gitimes de Madame de Montespan, la favorite du Roi Louis XIV, Madame de Maintenon a achetĂ© le chĂąteau en 1674 grĂące Ă  la largesse du Roi. Et quand je dis largesse, je suis poli, car en fait Madame de Maintenon est vite devenue la maĂźtresse du Roi, tant et si bien qu’elle est arrivĂ©e Ă  remplacer Madame de Montespan et devenir la favorite du Roi.

Initially a governess for the illegitimate children of Madame de Montespan, the mistress of King Louis XIV, Madame de Maintenon bought the chñteau in 1674 thanks to the generosity of the King. And when I say generosity, I am being polite, because in fact Madame de Maintenon quickly became the mistress of the King to the extent that she replaced Madame de Montespan as the King’s favorite.

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AprĂšs la mort de la Reine, Marie-ThĂ©rĂšse d’Autriche, Madame de Maintenon serait mĂȘme devenue la deuxiĂšme Ă©pouse de Louis XIV en octobre 1683 lors d’une cĂ©rĂ©monie dans laquelle le PĂšre François de la Chaise (son nom est attachĂ© au cĂ©lĂšbre cimetiĂšre de Paris) aurait donnĂ© la bĂ©nĂ©diction nuptiale au couple royal.

After the death of the Queen, Marie-ThĂ©rĂšse d’Autriche, Madame de Maintenon would even become the second wife of Louis XIV in October 1683 during a ceremony in which Father François de la Chaise (his name is tied to the famous cemetery in Paris) would have given the nuptial blessing to the royal couple.

Le mariage aurait eu lieu en secret parce que Madame de Maintenon n’appartenait pas Ă  une famille noble. Elle devait vraiment ĂȘtre charmante pour que le Roi commette une telle hĂ©rĂ©sie ! Le Roi a plus tard ordonnĂ© la construction d’une aile supplĂ©mentaire au chĂąteau qui l’a considĂ©rablement agrandi. Malheureusement, c’est interdit de prendre l’intĂ©rieur du chĂąteau en photo.

The marriage would have taken place in secret because Madame de Maintenon did not come from a noble family. She must have really been charming for the King to commit such a heresy! The King later ordered the construction of an additional wing for the castle which considerably enlarged it. Unfortunately, it is forbidden to take photos inside the castle.

learn french easy bilingual story practice maintenon castle

The Aqueduct in Maintenon

Une autre structure impressionnante qu’on peut admirer le terrain du chĂąteau est le vestige d’un grand aqueduc. OrdonnĂ© par le Roi pour alimenter les fontaines et bassins de Versailles, et Ă  l’aide d’un dessin inspirĂ© du pont du Gard (le fameux aqueduc construit par les romains dans le sud de la France).

Another impressive structure that one can admire on the grounds of the castle is the vestige of a large aqueduct. Ordered by the King in order to supply the fountains and pools of Versailles, and helped by a design inspired by the pont du Gard (the famous aqueduct built by the Romans in the south of France).

learn french easy bilingual story practice maintenon castle

La construction de l’aqueduc du chĂąteau a dĂ©butĂ© en 1685 sous la direction de Vauban, l’ingĂ©nieur de Louis XIV et architecte cĂ©lĂšbre de cette Ă©poque-lĂ . Bien que jamais achevĂ©, cette structure domine encore la vue du jardin du chĂąteau.

The construction of the aqueduct began in 1685 under the direction of Vauban, Louis XIV’s engineer and celebrated architect of the time. Although never finished, this structure still dominates the view from the garden of the castle.

learn french easy bilingual story practice maintenon castle

A Strange Encounter in Maintenon

En sortant du chĂąteau, on a rencontrĂ© un homme en costume qui comprenait une perruque volumineuse. Il m’a permis de le prendre en photo, et je lui ai demandĂ© s’il Ă©tait habillĂ© comme Louis XIV. Il a rĂ©pondu, « Pas aujourd’hui. Aujourd’hui, je suis en Garde suisse ». Je n’ai rien compris
 qu’est-ce que les Suisses venaient faire ici ??

Upon leaving the castle, we met a man in costume including an enormous wig. He allowed me to take his photo, and I asked him if he was dressed as Louis XIV. He answered, “Not today. Today, I am a Swiss Guard”. I didn’t understand
 what are the Swiss doing here?

AprĂšs avoir cherchĂ© sur l’internet, j’ai compris que les gardes Suisse Ă©taient les gardes du Pape (pas de la Suisse). Je ne sais toujours pas pourquoi cet homme s’était dĂ©guisĂ© en garde pontificale.

 After an internet search, I understood that the Swiss guards were the Pope’s guards (not the Swiss). I still do not know why this man was dressed up as a papal guard.

learn french easy bilingual story practice maintenon castle

Et maintenant, voyons le vocabulaire français de la royauté.

And now let’s see the French royalty vocabulary.

Royalty French Vocabulary

Let’s see the French vocabulary we use for royalty in France, including the nobility hierarchy, so starting from the smallest to the highest ranking noble.

  1. la noblesse – nobility
  2. un noble – noble
  3. un / une aristocrate – aristocrat
  4. un chevalier – knight
  5. un seigneur – lord
  6. un baron – baron
  7. une baronne – baroness
  8. un comte – count
  9. une comtesse – countess
  10. un marquis – marquis
  11. une marquise – marquess
  12. un duc – duke
  13. une duchesse – duchess
  14. un prince – prince
  15. une princesse – princess
  16. le dauphin – heir apparent
  17. la dauphine – crown princess
  18. le roi – king
  19. la reine – the queen
  20. l’empereur – the emperor
  21. l’imperatrice – the empress

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