The upper city is the fashionable area in which the royal palaces, galleries, museums, and society meeting places are located. In one of the art galleries, the exhibition of a painting occasions an argument between Lucy and Monsieur Paul. At one of the theaters, she attends a concert also attended by the king and queen. Later, she spends the night enjoying a festival of lights and fireworks. It would be true to say that Lucy belongs to neither of these worlds, low or high.
Bretton. Old cathedral town in England. Lucy’s godmother’s family have lived here on St. Ann’s Street for generations; in fact, her family name is also Bretton. Her son, John Graham, lives there with her. On one of Lucy’s visits she meets Polly Home, a little girl.
Lucy’s home. Situated fifty miles north of London, the place is never named or described. After her parents’ death, she lives in the same place as companion to Miss Marchmont, an invalid. “Two hot rooms” become Lucy’s world for a while until Miss Marchmont’s death. Almost destitute, Lucy feels guided to go to London. There, Lucy stays near St. Paul’s Cathedral and is captivated by the energy of London, the commercial and financial center of Great Britain. It emboldens her to sail for Europe.
Pensionnat de Demoiselles (pan-see-OHN-ah deh deh-MWAH-zay). Girls’ school run by Madame Beck on the rue Fossette, five minutes walk from Villette’s city center. On Lucy’s nighttime arrival in Villette, she providentially stumbles straight to it and is offered a place there, first as governess to Madame Beck’s children, then as one of four regular teachers. The school consists of a former convent plus some extensions, large enough for twenty boarders, the teachers, six servants, and Madame Beck’s family. There are also one hundred day students. Madame Beck knows everything that goes on at the school, a picture similar to the girls’ school portrayed in Brontë’s first novel, The Professor (1857). The discipline is not too strict, and there is plenty of food and exercise in the large garden, in contrast to the Lowood School of her second novel, Jane Eyre (1847). There is a neighboring boys’ school, as in The Professor, where Monsieur Paul also teaches.
La Terrasse (lah teh-RAHS). Villette House leased by Lucy’s godmother, to which Lucy is taken in a state of nervous collapse by the school’s physician, Dr. John, who turns out to be Graham Bretton. It is a small country house just outside the city limits, a mile or so from the Porte de Crécy. The interior is done in English fashion with many paintings and furnishings from the house in Bretton. Lucy stays there until fully recovered and then visits for a while.
Hôtel Crécy (oh-TEL KRAY-see). Grand hotel on the rue Crécy where Count de Bassompierre has his apartments on the second floor. De Bassompierre turns out to be Polly’s father, now elevated through marriage to the country’s aristocracy. He has also inherited Ginevra as his niece, thus completing the English network of friends that Lucy finally rejects in favor of Monsieur Paul.
Faubourg Clotilde (FOH-bur kloh-TEELD). Monsieur Paul rents a space to enable Lucy to start her own little school. At the end of the novel she is also able to rent the house next door as a “pensionnat” or boarding facility for the school.