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  5. "Plan du château"

"Plan du château"

Translation:Map of the castle

March 2, 2013



Why isn't there any article preceding the 'plan'?


It is a title on a poster, most probably.


(mischief managed)


Are 'carte' and 'plan' interchangeable?


Not always. Architects draw "des plans", your projects for your future can be "des plans", if you come to Paris and want to use the underground/subway, you will look at "le plan du métro".

"Une carte" can be many things: "une carte de France" (not "un plan" which is more detailed and showing a smaller area); "une carte à jouer" (playing card), "la carte des vins" (wine list in a restaurant); "une carte mémoire" (memory card).


tas dit "le plan du métro", mais je vois une "carte réseau" pour le sncf. les mêmes choses, non?


In Paris, the métro company (RATP) an the railway company SNCF have always managed to differentiate their vocabulary:

  • une rame de métro - un train (chemin de fer)
  • un ticket de métro - un billet de train
  • un quai de métro - une voie (chemin de fer)
  • un wagon de métro - une voiture (chemin de fer)
  • une station de métro - une gare (chemin de fer)

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The difference is that "plan" is used for a small area, such as a city, a particular site, or a building, but nothing larger than a city. "Carte" is used as "map" for an area larger than a city, e.g., a region or even an entire country. So when talking about le SNCF, it is much bigger than a city, therefore "carte" is used.


La SNCF = société nationale des chemins de fers français.


National society of blank of blank... I'm soooo awful at french.


chateau not acceptable? We use that word, it's acknowledged as a French castle.


I think that translating a French word to another French word (when a perfect English word is available) is somewhat risky! ;-)


Oh? What is the perfect English word for château?

The English translation given here is "castle" but a castle is a very particular type of building. If anything the more appropriate translation should probably be "country house".

If I came to visit you and you took me to see a château it would not necessarily be what I call a castle. In fact as a matter of interest how does French distinguish between what in Britain are called castles, stately homes, and country houses?

In my view the word château is a bit like the word baguette. It is a French word that has not yet become English but it is used frequently enough in English to not feel out of place in an English sentence. In some cases, particularly where the building is not actually a castle, I would say that "château" is the best word to use even in English because often there isn't a proper alternative.

So I think DL should accept château/chateau as a correct translation. Unless this is a ploy by DL to convince Americans that France has even more castles than it actually has lol.


France is indeed full of (real) castles.

When they are not real "châteaux", we call them un manoir, une folie, une gentilhommière, une maison-forte... depending on size and purpose.


I am sorry but I am going to have to disagree with you on that.

The French word "château" does not refer to the same thing as the English word "castle". English does not have a direct equivalent of the word "château"

"Un château-fort" is "a castle". All other châteaux are not castles.

"Une maison-forte" appears to be similar to a Scottish Reiver house and therefore some of them might be considered to be small castles.

How many châteaux-forts have been built in France since the end of the Hundred Years War? (Just teasing on that I don't expect you to know that but when compared with the overall number of châteaux it will be relatively few).

When you are in the UK you might visit some of the great Country Houses. If you say to the guide "oh this is a lovely château" you will receive a polite smile of pleasure. If however you say "oh this is a lovely castle" you will still receive a polite smile but one of amusement. Although the guide will probably be much too polite to point out your mistake ;)

Btw what is the Hundred Years War called in France?


"La guerre de cent ans."

You're right, most probably no château-fort was built after the 15th century.

I've taken note of your comments and will certainly refrain from using any other noun than the one the 'building' is called... ;-)


Well no need to do that now - just ask yourself if it is a "château-fort or not. Then you can impress guides and other visitors with your correct English usage ;)


Sweet of you to care for my dignity!


Yes indeed and very beautiful they are.

But are you saying that the word "château" is restricted to these "real" castles?

Is the French château equivalent to the English castle? (Here I mean linguistically - lets leave aside a debate on relative architectural merits or aesthetic value lol).

I thought "château" included castles but was a much broader term.


Yes, un château is a castle.


I used "estate," and it was rejected. I didn't think it would necessarily be accepted, but I think "estate" is closer to the image conjured up by "chateau" than "castle." I think English "castle" conjures up lots of images which are simply missing from those conjured up by "chateau." (I think PatrickJaye's comments are well-put for explaining this).

Could "estate" be a synonym for "chateau," in certain contexts?


If you take a look at the definition of what a "château" can be in French, this is what Larousse says:

  • Habitation seigneuriale ou royale.
  • Grande et belle maison de plaisance à la campagne.
  • Autrefois, demeure féodale fortifiée, défendue par un fossé, des murailles et des tours.
  • Suivi d'un nom propre et avec majuscule, désigne un grand cru du Bordelais.

So the definition covers royal or Seigneurial/feudal buildings, castles (château-fort), mansions and great wine farms in the Bordeaux region.

Also a visit to Google pictures is enlightening.

Finally, if you ask French kids to draw a "château", they will draw a big building with towers, boys will add fortifications and canons, and girls will make it look like Sleeping Beauty's one at Disneyland (please do not cry out 'sexism').



The English word "estate" refers to not only the house but also to all the land. So the estate might incude park land, farm land, woods, lakes etc.

So "estate" is much wider than just the "château".


In my opinion, "castle" is closer to "château" than "estate".

You may use "mansion" or "chateau", which is even more convenient.



"Manor house" is not really a good translation of "château". It is too specific and in most cases too small to be a "château" in the French sense.

What we have here is an interesting cultural rather than a linguistic issue. The perfect translation of "château" simply doesn't exist. For the best translation we would have to be looking at a particular building in order to decide what we would call it in English. In some cases this would give us "castle" and in other cases not.

Possibly the best rough translation of the French word "château" is the English word "chateau" but even this isn't perfect because the English word is much narrower than the French.

In English the word "chateau" is used to refer to a large French style house but more specifically a house in the French renaissance style or at least having some typical French renaissance features.

Also because the English word tends to refer to a particular style it will include some examples which are too small to be "château" in the French sense. So English "chateau" is often used for what in French would be called "manoir" which gives rise to the idea using "manor house" as a translation.

So ironically "manor house" is a more reasonable translation of the English word "chateau" than it is the French word "château"

My person opinion remains that "large country house" is probably the closest.


Fair enough--the inclusion of the accompanying land definitely makes "estate" not so appropriate. I still think "castle" doesn't do it, and hence its likely that the best "English" word for "château" is.... "chateau." (Btw, what would you say about "manor (house)" as a possibility? Some sources seem to suggest that this could be used as a rough synonym--perhaps preferable when the château is clearly not castle-like in appearance.)


Excellent examples and explanations: I had a hunch it was more cultural/historical than linguistic, but the level of attention you gave it is enlightening to me, indeed. Thanks, PatrickJaye and Sitesurf!


Well that's me - I'm a sweet guy ;)


I don't understand these debates over "chateau" that have appeared in the comments of many DL lessons. Chateau is a valid word in the English language - obviously, French in origin, but very much a part of the English language and well understood by English speakers who don't know the French language at all. Open any English dictionary and you will find it. The one I just looked at had 3 possible meanings for chateau: 1) a feudal castle or fortress in France; 2) a large country house or mansion; 3) a French vineyard estate.


"chateau" is accepted in the English translation now. Note: no accent, whereas "château" in French does have an accent.


@Laneliz, yep. I live 20miles from Chateau Ste Michelle. One of my favourite destinations.


Searching Google Images for chateau/castle/manor/manor house/palace may prove useful too. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. ; )


I wrote 'A map of the château' and it was marked wrong. Why?


In order to translate château, you need to use a regular 'a' . Just guessing.


Technically, it should be "Map of the château" (without the first article) but I'm not sure if Duolingo accepts "château" in English.


Please explain: As "plan du château' is correct, why is "C'est le plan du notre maison" wrong? Why is "de" used in the latter sentence? Thanks.


You should say "c'est le plan DE notre maison" (preposition de + possessive adjective).

Otherwise, when there is no possessive adjective, you use DE + definite adjective le/la/les, with usual contractions:

  • le plan du château (contraction of de-le)
  • le plan de la maison (no contraction with feminine article)
  • les plans des bâtiments (contraction of de-les)


Quelle est la différence entre Carte et Plan ?

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Both translate to "map" but "carte" is used for areas larger than a city (a region or even an entire country) and "plan" is used for areas smaller than a city (a city map, a subway map, a map of a particular site or a building).


'Map of castle'. No?


Map of the castle. du = of the


Shouldn't "The map of the castle" be accepted, I think it sounds more natural. I am going to report it. Reported December 2015


Think about a caption below a picture showing a floor plan of a castle; the text would read "plan du château".


Oh, I understand now, so this would basically be the tittle for the blueprints of a castle.


I wonder why "palace" is not among the accepted words for chateau. As far as I'm concerned, most buildings called "chateau" in France are actually palaces rather than castles (by definition).

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It might be, but a "palace", palais (m), as well as being on the upper-end of the real estate market (i.e., a subset of the term "château"), is usually associated with the residence of the king or queen.


Our little Profersseur Chouette is listening. Bravo! I wrote DuoLingo suggesting that while my answer, "Map of the Chateau" was considered wrong, I felt it was actually an acceptable alternative - especially given that they themselves translate 'château' as both castle and chateau. Today, I received this note:

Hi DrMaxGlobal,

You suggested “map of the chateau” as a translation for “Plan du château” We now accept this translation. :)

Thanks for the contribution, please keep it up!

  • Sitesurf from Duolingo

We carry on, mes amies ~ Max


how could I know it was singular?


If it was « châteaux » ("Map of the castles") you would hear the difference between « du » and « des ». If it was « plans » ("Maps of the castle") you wouldn't hear any difference.


Why did it say chateau as the the english version? Map of chateau?


« du » means "of the" as it is the mandatory contraction of « de » + « le ». It should be "Chateau map" or "Map of the chateau". Of course, "castle" is also acceptable for "chateau".


The options in english included 'maison' but not castle. This seems like an error

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Generally, un château is considered to be a large and imposing residence, sometimes called a "castle", or if in the country, it may be called un manoir (a mansion or manor house). To call such a structure "une maison" is not doing it justice. Not to be confused with the advertising schemes of real estate agencies across France who advertise "châteaux à louer" and you will see how broadly the term is used.


why isn't it blueprint? this is the second time I thought blueprint was appropriate and they insisted on the word map.

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If you mean an actual blueprint, the plan drawn by an architect, it is un bleu. Otherwise, "un plan" as "blueprint" is used in the figurative sense.


why is there no article? i.e. le plan du chateau

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When you buy a ticket to tour the castle, you may receive a little pamphlet or brochure at the entrance. It is likely to be called "Plan du château" (i.e., Map of the Castle) so you can find your way around once you go inside.


I feel like there should be a definite article here. It seems weird without it.

If nothing else, then because French is rather generous with those.


This fragment can be seen as the legend or title of a picture or drawing. It is an example of a situation where an article is not needed. The same will apply to newspapers' titles, consumer goods' labels and packs, signs, etc.


In US English we do not use the word "map" or "plan" in this way. It would be a blueprint or a floor plan.

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Au contraire, we certainly do. A city map is "Plan de ville". FR "plan" may be translated as "blueprint" in the figurative sense (e.g., a blueprint for democratic government). If you mean an actual blueprint drawn by an architect which the construction company uses, that is "un bleu". The French "plan" (when it is used as "map", not an actual "plan") refers to the map of a small area, generally not bigger than a city. It may be a floor plan (or map) of a building. "Carte" is used for "map" when the area is large: a region or even an entire country.


Clicked on the words, it said it translates to floor plan but when i type that in, it corrected me with "chateau plan." Seems like an error


Why isn't it the plan of the castle?


I wrote plan of the castle and out was marked wrong by duo. Any explanation?

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I have read and noted the comments below about the use of "plan" and "carte" when translating into French. However, my exercise here was to translate the expression into English and "Plan of the castle" was not accepted. In English, the plan of a building may be the drawings for the construction of a building, but it is also frequently used for a map of the layout of a completed building. I believe "Plan of the castle" should be accepted as a translation of the French phrase into English.


why"castle's map" not accepted ?

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