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Entries from July 2010

machine à coudre

Chez janine
 This picture may help illustrate what the shop (in today's story) looks like. Replace "Blanchisserie" with "Chez Janine" and the blue panels with dark lacquered wood... et voilà! Note: the next post goes out in one week, on Monday....

 

une machine à coudre (ma sheen ah koodr)

    : sewing machine
 

Audio File: hear Jean-Marc pronounce these French words: Download Wav or  Download MP3

Savez-vous opérer une machine à coudre? Do you know how to operate a sewing machine?



 A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

 I set out to write a journal entry today, but a writer's fingers sometimes have a mind of their own! The following story is fictional.... Enjoy it. Meantime, time to pack for les vacances!   

"Chez Janine"

In front of the little Parisian shop window, I stared at a handwritten note taped to the glass door, just above the iron handle from which a rope with cow bells hung. The words, in typical French curlicue cursive read: Cherche Quelqu'un pour le mois d'Août.

Looking for someone for the month of August... The words made their way over my tongue like a sweet pastille of possibility. Cherche. Quelqu'un. Mois d'Août.

I stood back to study the seamstress shop.  The window was framed in lacquered wood. Two columns flanking the vitrine held a larger, boxy, three-dimensional sign. The heavy letters protruding from the wood spelled Chez Janine.

My eyes trailed back down to the sign-printed window where a menu proposed the following prestations:
 
réparations 
- retouches 
- création
- couture
- anecdotes...

To the bottom right of the window, a painted carte de visite read:
Janine, "couturière et conteuse"

Beyond the window pane, in the immediate display area, was an old Singer sewing machine. Baskets full of striped, floral, and unicolor linen crowed around the machine à coudre. Inside one of the paniers, a calico cat napped.

Beyond the work station, I saw shelves and drawers lining the walls of the small shop. Buttons filled tall glass jars, lace and other trim were gathered on large wooden bobbins. There were giant scissors too!—so large my eyes tired beneath their weight. In the corner, a dressmaker's mannequin loomed, its hourglass figure a little more curvy than those belonging to the Parisian woman passing behind me, on the trottoir (I could see their reflections in the shop's window, where my nose now flattened up against the glass). I raised my hands and cupped my eyes, straining to discover more of the shop's personality. I could just make out some stairs in the corner... where an antique escalier en colimaçon took up a minimum of space. The steps turned abruptly, ascending within the tight, rounded stairwell, one so narrow that it took four complete turns to reach the upper level.


I wriggled my shoulders, freeing them from the heavy pack on my back. I set down the sac à dos on the cobbled sidewalk in time to reread the curlicue announcement but no sooner had I translated the first word than the shop door flew open setting off a commotion of cowbells.
 

A whiskey-worn voice sounded before even the bell chimes had settled: 

"Je peux vous renseigner?" the voice inquired.


***

:: Le Coin Commentaire ::

Would you like to read another chapter of this story? Note: The next edition goes out in one week....
Click here to comment.

French Vocabulary

une prestation = service offered
une retouche = alteration
le panier = basket
le trottoir = pavement, sidewalk
Je peux vous renseigner = Can I help you?
une conteuse (un conteur) = storyteller 

 


 

***

 

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 A Day in a Dog's Life by Smokey "R" Dokey

As you can see, I have been doing some growing up lately! Now that my face is almost full-size, I will be getting some shee roo roo gee, to finally fix my left cheek!

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Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this French word story. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next letter, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving these posts. Your support is vivement apprécié. Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
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"I’m a high school French teacher, and I love how your blog gives me everyday vocabulary and glimpses of French character and tradition. Your gentle expression of your faith and rare transparency of emotion inspire me."
--Melanie


moeurs

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 Please take a minute to read my interview with Janet Skeslien Charles. Click here. Photo taken in Cassis. Many more Cassis photos in the weekend edition of Cinéma Vérité. Please join me.


Paris Monaco RentalsFrance and Monaco RentalsExclusive Vacation Rental Properties throughout France. 

 

les moeurs (lay muhrs) noun fpl

    1. morals  2. customs  3. manners, ways

c'est entré dans les moeurs = it's become normal practice
avoir des moeurs simples = to lead a simple life

Please help me welcome guest columnist David Shaby, (pictured below, right). He talks about a few of the differences he has noticed since arriving in France, on Saturday. 
 

 Kristi and DavidHello, my name is David Shaby. For the last couple of days, I have been living in the Espinasse home. My good friend, Maxime Espinasse, invited me to stay with him on his family's beautiful vineyard. Throughout my stay in France, I have noticed two differences between French and American culture.
 

One of the major cultural differences is the type of commercials. During second night in France, Max and I were watching  TV when a few peculiar commercials came on. In the first commercial, a man and women were laying down in a meadow cooing to each other. Being from Los Angeles, I was expecting some corny body spray commercial. To my surprise, the commercial was advertising cheese.  In the second commercial I saw, there was a young child who appeared to be depressed. His mother called him over for lunch, the depressed child sadly walked over to the table until he saw his mother take a warm baguette out of the oven. His heart leaped with joy, and the boy was no longer sad. In France, instead of perfume, make-up, and deodorant, there are more food commercials trying to appeal to emotions rather to looking good.
  

The second major contrast I noticed between French and American culture is the food. Wednesday, I was taken to a French McDonalds where I noticed a major difference in the taste of fast food. I ordered two double cheeseburgers, expecting to taste what I would taste at an American McDonalds. At the French McDonalds, the Double Cheese Burger actually tasts like a double cheeseburger. Unlike in America, there was minimal grease, not very salty and the meat tasted a lot fresher. I believe that the McDonalds in France is overall healthier because the animals in France are more active and better treated than in America.

***

:: Le Coin Commentaires ::
Would you like to comment on David's article? Click here. You might also help me to thank him for sharing his impressions.

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***

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Sara midda's South of France: a sketchbookSara Midda's South of France is a place of ripening lemons and worn espadrilles, ochre walls and olive groves, and everything born of the sun. It lies between the Mediterranean and the Maritime Alps, and most of all in the artist's eye and passion. Read the glowing reviews, click here.

 

In film:  Paris Je T'aime Paris I love You.

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  Max and David in Cassis
 
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Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this French word story. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next letter, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving these posts. Your support is vivement apprécié. Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
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--Melanie


composite

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                                               Chez le dentiste in Morocco. 

 


  Robins Paris apt 
 
Rent Robin's Paris apartmentClick here for details.


 composite dentaire (kom poh zeet dahn tair)

    : a type of dental filling made up of composite materials
 

Audio File hear these French words via Wav or MP3

Un composite dentaire. J'ai perdu un composite dentaire.
A filling. I lost a filling.
 

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A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

I was flossing my teeth the other day when the minty thread caught... and something disengaged. An ever so slight ting! had my eyes following sound down into the sink....

I bent over to study the object. Was it a composite? Forlorn, I reached for the jagged form (no bigger than a peppercorn). 

Was it a tooth or a filling? The thought had me faint, heart reeling.

Staring at the little lost limb (or so it might have been!) I wondered about age, loss, and whether or not to give a toss? 

Hair, belly, teeth, and all that striving to keep them neat! Brush after every meal! Careful what you eat!

I looked into the palm of my hand where all those life lines meet... There sat the toothy thing, menacing like middle age, haunting like hormonal heat.
 
  

:: Le Coin Commentaires ::

 Comments, corrections, and stories of your own are welcome. Click here to leave a message.


 :: Toothy Expressions ::

croquer la vie à pleines dents = to fully live life
 avoir les dents longue = to have long teeth = to be ambitious
faire ses dents = to cut teeth (new teeth emerging from the gums)
œil pour œil, dent pour dent  = an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth
avoir une dent contre quelqu'un = to hold a grudge against someone

 

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 Words in a French LifeBut however imperfectly, I can speak French! I can chew out and rattle off; I can small talk, sweet talk, and even talk back; I can crack a joke and, if need be, lay down the law, in a language that once intimidated me to the point of silence. -from Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love and Language from the South of France. Read more, here.

Paris France Shower Curtain - featuring the Eiffel Tower. Order one here Paris shower curtain  

 

        Paris shopping bag

I Heart Paris Shopper: made of recycled material. A percentage of sales will support the nature conservancy. Order one here.

 

 Dog in Seguret (c) Kristin Espinasse www.French-Word-A-Day.com
 
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Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this French word story. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next letter, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving these posts. Your support is vivement apprécié. Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
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"I’m a high school French teacher, and I love how your blog gives me everyday vocabulary and glimpses of French character and tradition. Your gentle expression of your faith and rare transparency of emotion inspire me."
--Melanie


decalage horaire

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Les juillettistes, or July vacationers, make their way south to the sea... read on.

  
le décalage horaire (day ka lazh oh rhair)

    : time difference, time change

related terms:
le syndrome du décalage horaire = jetlag
le fuseau horaire = time zone 

 

Audio file: listen 
Download MP3 or Download Wav


PThe Pleasing Hour by Lily King  featured book: The Pleasing Hour
 

A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

"Le Décalage Horaire"
 
 The autoroute du soleil is flanked with sunflowers and the hills are purple with lavender. We are on our way home from the train station in Valence, advancing as though escargots: s-l-o-w. Our beat-up Citroën is a welcome distraction for the traffic-stalled tourists in the lanes beside us; they have hours to go before reaching the sea, the color of which mimics the hue of dusty blue coating our car (evidence of organic farming here at the vinery, where our family car doubles as a tractor-delivery vehicle... door dents and all).

The two American boys in the back seat are snoring after a 24-hour voyage east, from Los Angeles. We have tried to keep them awake, in hopes of adjusting them to France time. We have blasted the radio, clapped our hands, pointed to the French girls, just outside the window....

Hélas, they are in love with sleep, lured lackadaisically lower, to the depths of dreamland, where the scent of lavender from the hills outside the window makes for a sweet Provençal pillow.

***

Would you like to hear more about Max's and David's summer exchanges? Our son had the chance to stay with an American family, for two weeks, and now we have the pleasure of hosting their 16-year-old, David, here at the winery. Stay tuned....

:: Le Coin Commentaires ::

Comments, corrections, and stories of your own welcome. Click here to comment. Merci d'avance.

In Reader Recommended Books:
 
The Pleasing Hour is the story of an American in Europe whose coming-of-age defies all our usual conceptions of naivete and experience. Fleeing a devastating loss, Rosie takes a job as an au pair with a Parisian family and soon finds the comfort and intimacy she longs for with their children and the father. See reviews, here 

Shopping

Decalage horaire  In French film: Décalage Horaire. After they meet repeatedly at Charles de Gaulle Airport outside Paris, beautician Binoche and chef Reno decide to share an airport hotel room during a layover. She's a self-dramatizing chatterbox with a fondness for make-up and perfume; he's a fussy neurotic who can't stand artificial fragrances. They've just met and they're headed to different parts of the globe, but still... could this be... amour? (Order it here.)
 

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Europlate



A great gift for a Francophile: French licence plate (replica of actual European-issue plate). 


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Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this French word story. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next letter, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving these posts. Your support is vivement apprécié. Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"I’m a high school French teacher, and I love how your blog gives me everyday vocabulary and glimpses of French character and tradition. Your gentle expression of your faith and rare transparency of emotion inspire me."
--Melanie


agrafer

Cliff - Falaise in Cassis (c) Kristin Espinasse
 Today's story takes place in Cassis, where risks are taken... especially with fashion. Read on...

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.
agrafer
(ah graf ay) verb

    : to staple, to fasten, hook up, clip together

Audio File: hear Jean-Marc*: Download MP3 or wav
J'ai agrafé mon pantalon. I stapled my pants.

Have a moment? Check out my husband's wine blog & see videos of our farm. 
Click here.
 
 


Sara Midda's South of France: a sketchbook  Featured book: Sara Midda's South of France: a sketchbook

  

A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

In the narrow lobby of Hotel Le Golf (Cassis), I wait for my husband. I am flipping through a slim Souleiado catalogue that I have found on a little side table. The model on the cover is wearing a seductive evening gown en soie. Her shoulders are bare, her neckline, golden before the plunge.

I look down at my own pasty "plunge".... As for my dress, I begin to have doubts. We are on our way to a wedding... will this dress fera l'affaire? It is knee-length, showing off my neon-white legs. The fabric is black and made of gauze. There is raspberry stitching along the square neckline, voilà for subtle design. My daughter has helped me by gathering the side ties into a noeud papillon in the back of the robe. The bow tie she has fashioned reminds me of the way I wore my dresses... in the third grade.

I try to put aside doubt, reasoning, the dress is new! Shouldn't newness alone guarantee it is not démodé? 

Suddenly all of my self-doubts dissolve the minute I see my husband, whereupon the focus is no longer on my threads... but on his.

Tossing the magazine onto the table... I study my husband's getup. What an entrance he has made! Even the woman behind the counter has dropped her calculator and lowered her glasses. Take a look at him

I wonder, why isn't his dress shirt tucked in?
"I like it this way," he insists.
"But you must tuck your shirt in when you wear a cravate!"

"Do you have a stapler?" my husband asks the woman behind the counter, dismissing me. That is when I notice his jeans, the bottom seams of which are coming undone. Jeans?! Undone seams?! 

"A big one or a small one?" the woman asks, searching for une agrafeuse. The question seems absurd.
"Une petite fera l'affaire," Jean-Marc answers.

And just like that—with a no-nonsense sweep of the stapler, tac! tac! tac!—he fixes his pantalons.

I look over to the woman behind the counter, whose reading glasses are now dangling from her hand, as if knocked over by one Frenchman's innovation. "Pas mal!" she declares, appraising Mr Fix It. 

I gather my purse from the side table, when my eyes catch on the Souleiado catalogue. The model on the cover is now looking up at me and her head is shaking, condemningly. Tsk! Tsk! Tsk! Next time help him dress, darling. As for you....

But, not giving her the chance to utter one word more, I turn my head and hurry out the door. 

 

:: Le Coin Commentaire ::

Corrections, suggestions, and stories of your own are most welcome! Click here to comment.
 

*** 

Part One (or the last scene in this story)
 In case you missed the "suite" to this story, read part one: click here.

French Vocabulary

Souleiado = a maker of Provençal fabrics, clothing, and linens
en soie = in silk
fera l'affaire = will fit the bill
voilà = presto
noeud papillon = bow tie
une cravate = tie
une agrafeuse = a stapler
une petite fera l'affaire = a small one will do it
le pantalon = pants

 

 Thank you for visiting our sponsor!

Les portes tordues (The Twisted Doors): The Scariest Way in the World to Learn and Listen to French! Check it out (if you dare). 

***

When you shop via any of the following links, you help support this free language journal. Merci d'avance! 



Sara midda's South of France: a sketchbookA book that steered me, subsconsciouly, to France. Sara Midda's South of France is a wondrous sketchbook of a year's sojourn in the South of France. This is a very personal journal, crammed with images, notions and discoveries of the day-to-day. In tones of sea and morning sky, stucco and brick, olive leaf and apricot, rose and geranium, exquisite watercolors capture the landscape, the life, the shimmering air of a region beloved by all who have fallen under its spell.

Sara Midda's South of France is a place of ripening lemons and worn espadrilles, ochre walls and olive groves, and everything born of the sun. It lies between the Mediterranean and the Maritime Alps, and most of all in the artist's eye and passion. Read the glowing reviews, click here.
 

Soir de Paris perfume  Soir de Paris. Introduced in 1928. Fragrance notes: the classic scent of roses, ultra feminineand romantic. Click here to order a bottle.

French for Beginners 
...by Michel Thomas, enables you to naturally and intuitively develop the building blocks for language comprehension. You learn at your own speed--listening, speaking, and thinking through the language. Read reviews, click here.

Herbes De Provence Flatbread Crackers with Sea Salt, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Marjoram, Anise, Savory

 

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (French film)
 The story of a man imprisoned in his paralyzed body becomes a dazzling and expansive movie about love, imagination, and the will to live. After a stroke, Jean-Dominique Bauby (Mathieu Amalric, Kings and Queen) can only move his left eye--and through that eye he learns to communicate, one letter at a time....an intimate visual poem, a humble sonata about life at its most fragile. --Bret Fetzer View the movie trailer, click here.

Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this French word story. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next letter, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving these posts. Your support is vivement apprécié. Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"I’m a high school French teacher, and I love how your blog gives me everyday vocabulary and glimpses of French character and tradition. Your gentle expression of your faith and rare transparency of emotion inspire me."
--Melanie


l'heure bleue

L'Heure Bleue. The Blue Hour in Ovada Italy (c) Kristin Espinasse
A magical hour in an ancient town: Ovada

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***

l'heure bleue (leuhr bleuh, listen to MP3 or wav) noun, feminine

1) the blue hour, the magic hour... crepuscule, twilight... the hour between daylight and night when the sky's luminosity draws artists out of their studios to see light's last glimmerings.


    2) the hour (between 5 and 7) in which one meets their lover before returning home from work, to one's spouse

L'heure bleue, the blue hour of twilight when the sky and the earth are at the same level of luminosity, when well-to-do gentlemen throw open the shutters of their mistresses' rooms and stretch and yawn and think about returning home. -Michael Bywater, The Independent

And, from Wikipedia: "The phrase is also used to refer to Paris immediately prior to World War I, which was considered to be a time of relative innocence."  (The Blue Hour)
 


"Soul of Creative Writing" by Richard Goodman
Because French often places its modifiers after its nouns, there is a kind of poetry that English cannot, because of how it works, achieve. So, for example, there is the French expression, l'heure bleue, which refers to that often shimmering time between the hours of daylight and darkness. We say “the magic hour” for that concept. It's sort of sad to write that next to l'heure bleue. French knows what to do here. French knows that the concept of “blue” is critical; that time of soft, subtle waning is about hue. French knows that emphasis should be on the idea of blue, but also that sufficient strength is given to the idea of the hour, to l'heure. L'heure bleue sounds like subtle magic
. From The Soul of Creative Writing, by Richard Goodman. Order a copy.


  

A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

Happy Bastille Day! Just like firecrackers streaming through the air... here and there... the following story veers offtrack (I was supposed to reveal the fashion victim of our latest story. You'll just have to "patienter"... meantime, here is an episode that took place just before the fall from fashion grace.)


Following the usual routine, having stepped out of the shower (so as not to say "douche"), I rifled through my husband's trousse, snapped up the stick of Mennen Musk. Summer in the canicular South of France requires an extra-strength solution! Not that that should keep a woman from using un déodorant d'homme in wintertime. 

Having applied a generous coat of protection optimale, I reached into my overnight bag for the pretty bottle of L'Heure Bleue, the one I had selected years ago, as some choose books or lovers: by their covers. My neighbor and friend, D, had helped me pick out the perfume during a crash course on French fragrance, there in a little beauty boutique in Draguignan. How I had hesitated between "The Blue Hour" and "Coco" by Chanel, choosing the former for its name, as some choose entrees on a menu. L'Heure Bleue... it spoke to the supposedly suffering artist inside of me. She was in there somewhere, wasn't she?  

L'Heure Bleue won out. The cut glass flask and its little flourish of an étiquette spoke of art nouveau, transporting the scent-wearer to fin de siècle Paris, over 100 years ago... the Paris of the past... alas!

But here, in 21st century Cassis, the air in the cramped hotel bathroom was now redolent with manly musk: a cause for hesitation.... With my finger posed on the perfume pump, I began to doubt. Might these scents clash somehow? 

The muse answered as she is wont to do in situations which call for an artist's hup two...
 
H
ere, here, a suffering artist must start somewhere! Give no thought to the outcome. Spray it onand with abandon. Remember—the idea is to continually risk rejection! 


Fortified with fragrance, I stepped out of the little loo, sporting strong musk and a feast of florally feminine dew. I could have sworn my husband wavered as he walked ever so unsteadily toward me. He looked a little faint, mind you. And his face, the color of it, was... sort of... bleue


:: Le Coin Commentaires ::

Corrections, comments, and stories of your own are welcome. Click here to comment. Merci d'avance!

French Vocabulary

la douche = shower
la trousse (de toilette)
= toiletry case
une étiquette = label

  L'Heure Bleue perfume
 The perfume l'Heure Bleue by Guerlaine
Introduced in 1912. Fragrance notes: a floral blend of orientals with powdery undertones. Order it here.



 Marseilles soap Savon de Marseille (Marseille Soap) with Pure Crushed Local. Gentle and moisturizing. World-Famous Since 1688 Flowers. Click here to order.

Coco Before Chanel 
 Audrey Tautou shines in this intriguing portrait of the early life of Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, the orphan who would build a fashion empire and be known universally by her nickname, Coco. She journeys from a mundane seamstress job to boisterous cabarets to the opulent French countryside, possessing little more than her unwavering determination, unique style and visionary talent. Click here to order this film.


Eiffel Tower Cookie Cutter - handcrafted by artisans to last for generations. Order a cookie cutter here.


  

Interviews, photos, videos from our farm and beyond!

=> See a video interview from our kitchen at Scott's Alaska TravelGram!

=> Visit Pat & Lew's blog and see photos of their visit to our farm, Domaine Rouge-Bleu

=> Bonjour Paris scroll down to Counting Cicadas: naptime in the South of France

  Cicada
 cicada photo by Dave Prout (married to one of our dear Dirt Divas, Doreen.)

 

 

Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this French word story. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next letter, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving these posts. Your support is vivement apprécié. Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"I’m a high school French teacher, and I love how your blog gives me everyday vocabulary and glimpses of French character and tradition. Your gentle expression of your faith and rare transparency of emotion inspire me."
--Melanie


court-métrage

 Le vélo (c) Kristin Espinasse
A picture that appeared in Cinéma Vérité: "a weekly photo périple through France and beyond." Click here to join: your subscription keeps this word journal on its tip-toes, instead of feet-dragging & putt-putting. 
 


 
Why We Love France...


 
Salut!

In the interlude between yesterday's story and its suite, here is un court-métrage* to delight your senses: foremost, your sense of humor, and then: sight (look at the flower field!), sound (the put-putting of a classic French moped: le VélosoleX), etcetera, etcetera. Enjoy it, share it.

Note: 
If you are reading via email, you will need to click over to the blog, here, to enjoy this clip (do not miss it! This oh-so-French scene will lighten—and set the delightful tone—of your day!) 

un court-métrage (koor may-trahzh) = short film (in this case, but a clip!)

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Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this French word story. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next letter, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving these posts. Your support is vivement apprécié. Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
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regard fixe

Cassis (c) Kristin Espinasse
The parasol pine trees of Cassis, where today's story ends in mystery...

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un regard fixe (reuh gaar feex)

     : a stare 

regarder fixement = to stare into the distance


 

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 A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

"Fashion Sin"

In a small southern French port teeming with little fishing boats, where the windows above the cafés sport pots of petunias or geraniums or begonias or, tout simplement, leavestheir green tresses flowing out from the window sill, down the faded façades like little leafy Rapunzels...

Yes, here, just east of Marseilles in this sparkling, bateau-bustling bay, where the locals and the tourists sit sipping coffee or wine at the outdoor cafes...

Here, ici... all eyes are feasting! No longer trained on the little cotton dresses, or the giant falaise littorale beyond (its name escapes me after so many guesses)...

As I walk along the dock I follow the stares, which issue from amused eyes and land—paf!—smack-dash on me and my oblivious partenaire.

One of us has done it again: fashion sin.
 

 ***
Stay tuned for the next installment. Hint: the next word of the day will be agrafe....
Update: read the next intallment here

  

:: Le Coin Commentaires ::

Corrections, comments, and stories of your own are most welcome! Click here to comment. Merci d'avance!
  

***

New France Reader Guide: Cassis! 
Thank you for sending in your tips and "what to sees" in Cassis. Click here to share your suggestions on where to stay and what to do. You'll find a video on the following page, too!



French Vocabulary

tout simplement = quite simply
le bateau = boat
ici = here
la falaise littorale = sea cliff
paf! = smack!
le / la partenaire = partner


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Book excerpt: When I graduated with an honors degree in French the following year, ads mentioning "French language a plus" weren't exactly crowding the classifieds in Phoenix, so I seized the first opportunity I could find. I tried my luck as a receptionist for a construction company with ties to France. But the only ties to France it had for me turned out to be opening the mail that was sent from there.... Read on, here.

  DSC_0150
 


Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this French word story. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next letter, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving these posts. Your support is vivement apprécié. Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
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--Melanie


nolife

Door in St Tropez (c) Kristin Espinasse at www.french-word-a-day.com
Knock knock. Who's there? Life, just outside the door. Read on, in today's story.
 

nolife (noh life) noun, masculine

 A nolife is a person who devotes a very big part (if not an exclusive part) of his/her time to practicing his/her passion (or work) to the detriment of other activities.

Un nolife est une personne qui consacre une très grande part (si ce n'est l'exclusivité) de son temps à pratiquer sa passion, voire son travail, au détriment d'autres activités. (from French Wikipedia)
                                                   

A Day in a French LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

There is a new term getting quite a lot of tongue time here in France lately. I hear it spoken by the twenty-somethings and French teens. I heard Alexi say it, when I asked him if he was on one of the social networks. (Je ne suis pas un nolife, he informed me.) And I sometimes hear my children say it, when greeting me in my office at the start of their day: salut Nolife, say they.

So what better word to
celebrate the 1000th post here at French Word-A-Day?: "nolife"

Au contraire!: to live one's passion is to be a yeslife! For passion fuels creativity, and to create is to be
en vie. (By the way "envie"—not to be confused with "en vie"—kills life... the envious are the original no-lifers. I will remember this the next time jealousy strikes, as it does never mind how hard I try.)


As for this "nolife" writing life: 1000 posts, five self-published books, one house-published book, a handful of unfinished manuscripts, a pile of diaries dating back to 1980... and odd bits written on napkins, on envelopes, on the backs of receipts, in letters, or
on skin beneath rolled up sleeves...  how to justify
 this as a life

More than one writer has made the following observation: to write is to experience life twice. I'd say that's "new life" rather than "no life". 



We leave off with a quote from Anais Nin

We write to taste life twice, in the moment, and in retrospection. We write, like Proust, to render all of it eternal, and to persuade ourselves that it is eternal. We write to be able to transcend our life, to reach beyond it. We write to teach ourselves to speak with others, to record the journey into the labyrinth. We write to expand our world when we feel strangled, or constricted, or lonely. We write as the birds sing, as the primitives dance their rituals. If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don't write, because our culture has no use for it. When I don't write, I feel my world shrinking. I feel I am in a prison. I feel I lose my fire and my color. It should be a necessity, as the sea needs to heave, and I call it breathing.


:: Le Coin Commentaires::

Corrections, suggestions, and feedback are most welcome. Click here to comment.
 


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Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this French word story. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next letter, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving these posts. Your support is vivement apprécié. Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
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"I’m a high school French teacher, and I love how your blog gives me everyday vocabulary and glimpses of French character and tradition. Your gentle expression of your faith and rare transparency of emotion inspire me."
--Melanie


vadrouiller

  Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris (c) Kristin Espinasse, french-word-a-day.com
 Shelter on a rainy day. Read on, in today's story.

vadrouiller (vah-drouih-ay)

    to roam, wander, trail along
    

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Vadrouiller. 
J'ai vadrouillé toute la journée à Paris, en attendant mon train. 
To roam. I roamed all day in Paris, waiting for my train.


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A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

I have waited out the rain for two hours in a family run café along Boulevard de la Tour-Maubourg. Family run, if you consider the conical condition of the waitress (a pointy pouch predicates a boy, the French told me, when I was in the same condition as she. Three months later, Max was born, as if by symmetry). 

Shouldn't she be resting instead of dashing to-and-fro, drying the raindrops that land in perpendicular plop-plop!-plops! on chairs which line the shoulder of the trottoir?

From my perch, beneath a glass awning, one step up from the flooding sidewalk, raindrops land on the tables, not far from my feet. I have been watching the locals, the vagabonds, the globe-trotters, and the tourists duck into door frames, eke out asylum under awnings, jump puddles, and dash for metro, just opposite, kitty-corner.

I study the darkened square en face. One side is lined with taxis. Out of the question. I will not take a taxi, the price of which represents one night in a youth hostel (single room: 40 euros, no bath, no toilet). I should know: I have been doing homework for my next périple through Paris. (Apropos youth hostels: one doesn't have to be a youth to be hostel, or to lodge in one.)

I stare at the hostile heavens. It is my turn. I must go, must quit entertaining thoughts of how to get the waitress to sit my bags. How she might be bribed—up to 10 euros (yes, it would be worth every centime to be freed of this weight)—to store the bag until my train leaves (at the end of the day...). But visibly, this won't work. I can tell by the way the produce arrives—lettuce, potatoes, céleri-rave, tomatoes—via a delivery truck. (The driver is drinking a complimentary café-au-lait at the bar). I watch the legumes being lowered, via an ascenseur that  just appeared, out of the floor, from beneath a large tile—next to where the driver is sipping his complimentary crème.  I stare as the lettuce bottoms out into the belly of the bar, disappearing into the basement below, where an invisible chef will labor in cramped quarters for the lunch crowd that arrives at noon.

Every nook and cranny of Paris is filled, by lettuce, a cook, by raindrops.... There is no place for my bag, not here anyway. Not in the 7th arrondissement. But what about the 12th? I will need to take the metro to the Gare de Lyon and search for a baggage sitter.... It is called une consigne isn't it? They do exist, don't they? I have another look at Paris Insider's Guide a free booklet that Clydette gave me. It is chock full of information, everything but where to store one's bags during that precarious  "in transit" time: neither here nor there, loaded down with a suitcase filled with books and sportswear... I might be ready for a marathon, but for the books. So many books!

I should call Robin, or Christine or Meredith or Janet or Penelope or Laurel... or Ann... they want to help. Why not let them? I have my doubts. Self-doubts. 

Ann! I could go to the American Library. Hang out all day... 

Loiterer! Espèce de vadrouilleuse! I look up and notice the pregnant waitress, who is quietly considering  me from behind the comptoir. It is time to press on. Liberate this perch for another self-conscious, soaking, stranger.  

I pay for the tartine and the two crèmes.... Leave a tip for a college fund, never mind that the university is free. Maybe the unborn child will study aux états-unis? Next, I wait in the corner café until a light at the end of the crosswalk turns green at which point I travel, perpendicularly, like the rain, jaywalking across the intersection. Beyond, I see the cannons of the Invalides. The eyes at the end of their barrels are watching me.

***
Le Coin Commentaires
Comments, corrections, and suggestions are most welcome. Click here. Merci d'avance!
 

 


They say that a writer is influenced by the stories she reads... I am re-reading and loving Good Morning Midnight. It is not for everyone... read the reviews first!


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"No one who reads Good Morning, Midnight will ever forget it." -- New York Times

Sasha Jensen has returned to Paris, the city of both her happiest moments and her most desperate. Her past lies in wait for her in cafes, bars, and dress shops, blurring all distinctions between nightmare and reality. When she is picked up by a young man, she begins to feel that she is still capable of desires and emotions. Few encounters in fiction have been so brilliantly conceived, and few have come to a more unforgettable end. Order a copy here and read along with me!

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Paris Metro (c) Kristin Espinasse at www.french-word-a-day.com
 Smokey says: if you aren't going to show photos of me (because you are behind...), at least tell them that you saw a few golden retrievers in the metro, and how it scared you when they got so close to the danger line on the platform -- but not as much as it scared you when their non-seeing master followed close beside. Can we have a round of applause, now, for seeing-eyed dogs who deliver their charges safely over the worlds danger zones?

Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this French word story. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next letter, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving these posts. Your support is vivement apprécié. Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"I’m a high school French teacher, and I love how your blog gives me everyday vocabulary and glimpses of French character and tradition. Your gentle expression of your faith and rare transparency of emotion inspire me."
--Melanie