Common menu bar links

Manoir-Papineau National Historic Site

Learning Experiences

School Program

A new school program is under development. Details to come!

Colloquial Expressions Then and Now

Louis-Joseph Papineau, 1843
Louis-Joseph Papineau, 1843
© Musée du Québec / Patrick Altman / 55.111, 1843

The language of French Canada features a number of colloquial expressions associated with the family name Papineau, all of which derive from Louis-Joseph Papineau. While some of these expressions are no longer in use, a number of others remain a staple of everyday verbal imagery.

"Avoir la tête à Papineau"

Intelligence and even genius are evoked in the expression "Avoir la tête à Papineau", which literally refers to the head, thus to the intelligence of this major historical and political figure. A comparable use in contemporary English might consist in describing someone as a real Einstein.

As well, Papineau is referred to in a rhetorical figure that is abundantly used among French-speaking Quebecers–the understatement, or litotes, whereby a person affirms something by negating its opposite. Thus, "Ça ne prend pas la tête à Papineau" means that it doesn't take a genius to figure out a particular situation or problem–in truth, something is dead obvious.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Louis-Joseph-Amédée Papineau family in front of the manor. In the forefront, the children and the calèche, and in the background, the adults in front of the manor's entrance The family of Louis-Joseph-Amédée Papineau in front of the manor house, circa 1894
© Fonds Jacqueline Papineau Desbaillets / 206/ic-1G/PR-6/S-65 no 2, 1894

How is it that the Papineau manor house was built on the grounds of Château Montebello?

First of all, the manor house was constructed in 1850, a full 80 years before the Château Montebello. It is true, however, that the seigneurial domain originally included the area where the Château Montebello was later constructed. In 1929, the Papineau family sold the manor house and domain. In 1930, under a new set of owners, the Log Château was constructed on acreage where hayfields had been located during the Papineau era.