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May 2006

Entries from April 2006

le muguet (mew-geh) n.m. : lily of the valley Question: So what are the French doing today, the first of May, besides la grasse matinée? Answer: Waving snow-white porte-bonheurs through the air and wishing each other good luck! Along little cobblestone paths in the French hinterland, and at noisy intersections across the city, French vendeurs de muguet... Read more →


From now on I will leave fear to these guys (on duty, and looking to scare a few French crows in the Southern Alps). 'French Stories': 10 unusual stories by French literary masters from Voltaire to Camus. Accurate English translations appear on pages facing the original French. le trac (trak) noun, masculine stage fright, jitters which come... Read more →


la méridienne (may-ree-dee-yehn) n.f. 1. siesta, nap 2. type of sofa/couch whose seatback gradually descends from one side to the other (a.k.a. "fainting couch," "Grecian couch" or "gout couch" and, in French, "recamier" or "chaise longue") synonyms: le repos (rest), la sieste, le somme,* le roupillon (nap) *faire un petit somme = to take a nap, to... Read more →


A bandage maker along rue Sade... Words in a French Life continues to ship and is now arriving in stores across the United States. I only wish I could see it on the shelves! From the French countryside, I try to imagine my book in some American librairie.* If you haven't seen it, please ask for it... Read more →

Never miss a word or photo: sign up to have these posts delivered, free, to your inbox Tremper (trahm-pay) to soak I search the kitchen for récipients. I pull a salad bowl from the cabinet—trop gros. I take a soup bowl from the armoire—pas assez profond. I settle on an old wine glass, a jam jar, a... Read more →


Translated into English for the first time since its original 1927 publication, La Bonne Cuisine has long been the French housewife's equivalent of... The Joy of Cooking--a trusted and comprehensive guide to "la cuisine bourgeoise" or home cooking... Julia Child called LBC "one of my bibles"... --Publishers Weekly. fade (fahd) adjective insipid, tasteless, flat Répétés trois fois,... Read more →


Noeud (neuh) noun, masculine bow Heading down the couloir, I hear a low hum coming from my daughter's room. Peering around the door, I find Jackie sitting on the floor, one leg extended, the other bent with the knee up. Her arms encircle the bent leg with its scraped genou and her fingers are caught in her... Read more →


Image: Mister soi-disant* Malade. Photo taken last summer in Queyras. 501 French Verbs includes a bilingual list of more than 1,250 additional French verbs, helpful expressions and idioms for travelers, and verb drills and tests with questions answered and explained. feindre (fehn-dr) verb to pretend, to feign Feindre, c'est se connaître. To pretend is to know oneself.... Read more →


(Photo: the poppies are here!) Today's story originally appeared (in a different form) in Volume III of Words in a French Life, the third in a series of self-published books, parts of which have been selected for this Touchstone edition. un jeton (zhuh-tohn) n.m. token; counter (game); chip Un conquérant est un joueur déterminé qui prend un... Read more →


Photo: Jean-Marc, right, tastes wine near Montpellier. My Life in France by Julia Child is a "playful memoir of the famous chef's first, formative sojourn in France with her new husband..." --Publishers Weekly. le troc (trok) noun, masculine exchange, barter Synonyms: échange (m) (swap), commerce (m) (trade) L'amitié n'exige rien en échange, que de l'entretien. Friendship demands... Read more →