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Entries from May 2006


A message on a shopfront vitre in the town of Sommières. The book "Mots D'Heures" will delight readers with its Frenchified, phonetic high jinks. See "Books/Livres" at Something French. la vitre (veetre) noun, feminine pane, windowpane; window; glass Il ne faut pas avoir plus d'enfants que vous n'avez de vitres à votre voiture. Never have more children... Read more →


An art gallery in Lorgues, France 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. Order it here. cuisiner... Read more →


My son and daughter, waiting for the wind to souffle at the Presqu'ile de Giens. In books: "Michael Le Soufflé and the April Fool." In the small town of Bakonneggs, France, the grumpy mayor, a pig named Melon de Plume, and a happy red rooster, Michael le Soufflé, battle wits until they learn to enjoy April Fools'... Read more →


le gîte (zheet) n.m. : shelter, lodging, home : self-catering holiday rental Il n'avait pas de gîte, pas de pain, pas de feu, pas d'amour ; mais il était joyeux parce qu'il était libre. He had no shelter, no bread, no fire, no love; but he was glad because he was free. --Victor Hugo, from Les Misérables... Read more →


View from my mother-in-law's apartment, in Marseilles. Tapenade (tapenahd) noun, feminine olive paste When my mother-in-law, Michèle-France, looks out the window of her two-room apartment, she can just about see the paquebots leaving Marseilles's Old Port, for Casablanca. That is when the memories of childhood in her beloved Maroc come flowing back. One floor below, Janine is... Read more →


photo: a street vendor of sweets in Nice. Paris Sweets : Great Desserts From the City's Best Pastry Shops: An elegant gift for Francophiles, armchair travelers, bakers of all skill levels, and certainly for oneself. --Broadway Books parier (par-yay) verb to bet Le meilleur moyen pour ralentir un cheval est de parier sur lui. The best way... Read more →


Faire-part fehr-par noun, masculine an announcement (of birth or marriage or death) This morning I received an email from a longtime reader. Only, on closer look, there was something unusual about the courriel: the sender's full name was repeated in the email's subject line. The last time I received such a letter from a subscriber address it... Read more →


In the mid-1880s... more than 42,000 cafés may have been operating in the city of Paris. (In comparison, Seattle, America's stereotypical coffee capital, has only about 60.) Unlike the members of today's drink-on-the-run coffee culture, 19th-century Parisians lingered in the café... --Bertina Loeffler on "The World of the Paris Café" le kawa (kawa) noun, masculine --informal or... Read more →


"French football"... Check out the vintage poster and note card. le but (bewt) noun, masculine aim, goal, objective Le but n'est pas le but, c'est la voie. The goal is not the goal, it is the journey. --Lao-Tzu A Day in a French Life... Across from my desk, the long-legged bistro chair looks past the undressed window... Read more →


Receive a free subscription to French Word-A-Day or sign up a friend. froisser (frwa-say) verb (sound clip at the end of this letter) 1. to crumple, crush, crease 2. to hurt, offend ...l'indépendance de l'adolescent. Si on froisse en lui ce droit qu'il vient de se découvrir avec ravissement, il... révolte. ...the adolescent's independence. If we crush... Read more →