The word "chateau" is a French word that has entered the English language, where its meaning is more specific than it is in French. The French word "chateau" denotes buildings as diverse as a medieval fortress, a Renaissance palace and a 19th-century country house. Care should therefore be taken when translating the French word château into English, noting the nature of the building in question. Most French châteaux are "palaces" or "country houses" and not "castles", and for these the English word "chateau" is appropriate. Sometimes the word "palace" is more appropriate. To give an outstanding example, the Château de Versailles is so called because it was located in the countryside when it was built, but it does not bear any resemblance to a castle, so it is usually known in English as the Palace of Versailles. In French where clarification is needed, the term château fort is used to describe a castle, such as Château fort de Roquetaillade.
The urban counterpart of château is palais, which in French is applied only to grand houses in a city. This usage is again different from that of the term "palace" in English, where there is no requirement that a palace must be in a city, but the word is rarely used for buildings other than the grandest royal residences. The expression hôtel particulier is used for an urban "private house" of a grand sort.