How to address a (maybe titled) french person by letter


I met a lady who is from (now i'm not sure of how to express myself here) a french noble family - the kind that would be listed in Who's Who in the UK. I don't know if this makes any difference on how to address the letter....

She is a widow - in the UK that would make the letter to "Firstname Surname de Ville" - because (in the UK) you wouldn't write "Mrs Firstname Surname" unless Firstname was the husband's first name. I know that a lot of people in the UK do, but it's not correct, believe me.

E.g. (in the UK), it is correct to write "Mrs Peter Smith", but not "Mrs Jane Smith". I believe that if Jane Smith were widowed, one would write to "Mrs Smith", or "Jane Smith" - but not "Mrs Jane Smith".

What should I do here? And the fact that this lady's family is "noble" and is a "de Ville" type name - does this make any difference?

I'm not suggesting this lady is a snob who takes offence easily - in fact she's warm and friendly and quite the reverse. However, she is very elderly and I'd like to treat her with respect!

Any help well received


If she is a widow , just write her maiden name , think that s what it s called , i never used the name of my husband , In france and belgium as well , u are born and die with the same name , here again a big difference with english ladies who change names and bank accounts with each marriage and you never able to find again unless u know which unlucky fellow they married next ... my name never changed through marriage , yes we are allowed to use our hubbies name if we choose to , but it s not always the case ...

Mme Hildegarde Youplala de Ville or Mme Youplala de Ville Hildegarde

then just enter the normal mail address so Madame first name last name

name of the house or chateau or building she s living in

street and nr

and the village

ok , my french neighbour says as long as you don t have her real nobility title , just write to her as Madame telle et telle and you ll be fine

if u can wait about half an hour , i am going to visit my french neighbours and ask to be on the safe side of it, but I think if the letter or mail you want to send her is of a very chaleureux contenance she ll be thrilled no matter how you adress her .... but i ll ask

it s the thought about writing that counts especially if you getting older

if getting a letter not mentioning the titles .... think the french nobility glad if you just take them the same as anybody else ...remember this is not England