Happy Art (or L'art joyeux). The other day I was snapping a picture of this lively fishing boat, or pointu, when a passerby sniffed Quelle horreur! ("How tacky (that boat is)!" I was struck by the comment until I rememembered we don't all see things the same way or, as we say back home, Different strokes for different folks! Even if I wouldn't paint a boat in the colors of a rainbow (had I only one boat to paint), I think this bubbly bateau fits in beautifully here in the port of Sanary-sur-Mer. Taking the hint from today's French expression, we could say, il faut de tout pour faire un port. (It takes all kinds to make a harbor.)
I received some touching feedback from our French readers when recently I posted a "reverse" vocabulary entry (the English term or phrase first, followed by the French translation). I think it's time for another, which would bookend this edition nicely--given the last section includes a letter from Francophone reader Marie-Pierre. Today's reverse entry is...
"different strokes for different folks"
: Il faut de tout pour faire un monde
The French equivalent means, literally, it takes all kinds to make a world. Another way to say it is this: chacun ses goûts (to each his own). Know another way to say it? Comment on this expression, here, or continue reading the rest of this edition, below.
A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse
(This story section will return next week. I have a lot of updates for you--such as Max's first car (can you guess it?) and his summertime job. I could also tell you about the first ever concombre I just harvested (Youpi!!) and the mongolian tournesol growing behind our house. I haven't even mentioned the sacks and sacks of home-grown produce our neighbors, Josette and André, keep delivering--fèves, then haricots verts, then tomates, then a giant bushel of lavender! Our home smells like un champ de lavande. Best air freshener ever!
I leave you with some colorful clichés taken over the past two weeks. Enjoy the photos, and see you next week.
Passez un bon we,
French Vocabulary + Audio File:
Il faut de tout pour faire un monde = it takes all sorts to make a world
le concombre = cucumber
youpi! = yay!
le tournesol = sunflower
la fève = fava bean or broad bean
la tomate = tomato
un champ = a field
la lavande = lavender
bon we (week-end) = happy weekend
un cliché = picture (also means photo negative)
passez un bon we = have a good weekend
With any luck, I thought, these sunflowers will be thriving when Heidi and Brian arrive! The entwined tournesols reminded me of the reunited couple.
In the background, you can see Jean-Marc's green market stand. He bought it with the plan to sell some of his wine roadside! I may let you know if that happens... Meantime, it was so funny, Sunday, to see Aunt Marie-Françoise stride up to the stand and chant "Melons! Achetez des bons melons de Provence!" Melons! ("Step right up and buy some good melons from Provence!") A chorus of chuckles erupted from the front porch, where 20 some family members had just returned from the beach, after an end of summer picnic.
In Cassis during my sister's visit, we passed this graffito. The message was serendipidous, given that my sister Heidi and her ex ex, were visiting us in France--celebrating their reunion. After 24 years apart, they are happily together again. The sign above reads "You can't beat this love". Read the story of their reunion here.
Sometimes French mailboxes are as expressive as French window boxes. More mailboxes here in the French mailbox post.
I love to read the names on the front. The white one on the bottom belongs to the Cassan and the Migraine family. I wonder, does a "Mr. Headache" really live here?
"Babiol" it's both the name of this shop and a favorite French word. And that's a French Vanna White. Just kidding. That's my beautiful sister! (Little sisters love to kid--even though they're poor sports when they're teased.)
The mongolian sunflower growing behind our house, in the potager. When Cousin Audrey saw it, she said it looked like a shower head. (I recently heard creative people can see forms and familiar shapes in the objects they gaze at: whether tiles, clouds, clusters of trees, or sunflowers...) What have you seen recently? (I see hearts everywhere, and recently a "pig" jumped out of the cluster of leaves on a backyard tree! I blinked my eyes, but it was still there, green and rustling in the wind.) Comments welcome here.
That bale of lavenderI told you about... and an update on Braise (left). Occasionally someone writes in to say "so many pictures of Smokey... but what about Braise--is she okay?" Braise is doing fine, though she worried me last week, when she had three accidents in the house (pee-pee par terre, or "puddles" on the floor). It wondered whether she was getting old, but she is only 7. Then I realized the fault was mine! Owing to summertime, we are sleeping in a little later. This means Braise and Smokey have to hold it an extra hour... No more grasses matinées, or sleep-ins, until 7:30 am. If we make it to the front door an hour earlier, we'll avoid all those accidental puddles.
I love your site and find delight in seeing photos of my native, favorite Provence. The word of the Day is helpful to me as I am using it the other way around for perfecting my English knowledge...
One small correction however in the usage of "from the bottom of the heart": it is a personal expression used for a personal feeling avec un sens de provenance (mouvement), and one should say "du fond de mon coeur" ie: je te remercie du fond de mon coeur. "au"fond de mon coeur" means "deep inside of my heart"(pas de mouvement) ie: je garde son souvenir au fond de mon coeur
Merci de me permettre ce commentaire et dans l'attente de votre prochaine lettre. [Thank you for allowing me this comment and I look forward to your next letter.]
Thank you, Marie-Pierre, for the correction and for the helpful example you shared. --Kristin
The stone structure behind the dogs is known as un cabanon. Some say they were used to house farm animals, others say they sheltered farmers during a blistery Mistral. Have you heard of other uses for these beloved structures, salt and peppered across the French countryside? Comments welcome here.
And that's Smokey whispering into Mama Braise's oreille. What is he saying?
Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi