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Entries from July 2016

We meet a trio of angels. Did they deliver a message for Jean-Marc?

Eigh-months-in-provence

So many of you are now reading Diane's inspiring memoir about her time in France. I received my copy a few days ago and by page 16 I had teared up three times. I can deeply relate to Diane's longing for  France! In an honest and very modest tone, Diane writes about what it is like to feel that innate pull that is calling you to France--and what it is like to venture here, all alone, after patiently waiting decades for the chance. Diane's book will encourage you to honor those longings.

Read Eight Months in Provence, A Junior Year Abroad 30 Years Late. It is never too late to fulfill a dream. CLICK HERE to order the paperback
For the Kindle edition or E-book, click here

TODAY'S WORD: accrocher

   
: to hold onto

ECOUTEZ - Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce today's word: Download Accrocher


On ne peut jamais tourner une page de sa vie sans que s'y accroche une certaine nostalgie. -Eve Belisle
We can never turn a page of our life without holding on to a certain nostalgia.

  More practice with Exercises in French Phonetics


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    by Kristi Espinasse

Creer, c'est vivre deux fois

Albert Camus said, "To create is to live twice." Anais Nin expressed it another way, "We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect." Being someone with a split attention span, I am so grateful for this tool -- the ability to recreate or review meaningful events. I will put it to use, once again in this journal today, by remembering a very special visit we received this week, by a lovely Scottish family.

The woman had sent us a message, last week, explaining that she and her family had spent a month, almost every summer, renting this house by the sea (the home we purchased in August of 2012) and were nostalgic to see it again, four-and-a-half years after their last visit. 

We welcomed the nostalgic trio as they stepped out of their car, at the end of our gravel driveway. Our golden retriever, Smokey, was the first to make contact, via a slobbery version of the handshake. Jean-Marc and I extended the greeting the traditional French way: la bise! We took turns kissing the mom, the dad, and then the teenager--who, I suspected, would have been more comfortable with Smokey's slobbery handshake.

Tant pis! Young Ross was about to receive another round of kisses, this time by our neighbor, Annie, who was presently walking up the driveway to share in this tender reunion! "I remember when you were un infant!" Annie said, cradling an imaginary baby in her arms. That was 14 years ago...."

"Why don't we walk over to the porch and have a glass of wine," Jean-Marc suggested. I watched, as the family took in the changing landscape. Several trees had been cut back to reveal a sweeping view of the Mediterranean sea. "It's lovely," Rona, the wife, offered.

Looking behind the house we viewed the forest where husband Robbie arrived after a morning run up the hillside from the opposite slope. Not far from there was Annie's house, where her grandchildren were about to charge down the path to play with Rona and Robbie's children, once upon a time....

We laughed as we listened to the stories of so many happy times spent in Maggie and Michael's summer house. Robbie was friends with Maggie and Michael's son, Alexander, and this is what brought the young family to spend summers here in Bandol wine country.

As they shared memories, Rona siting on the cement bench in front of the window, reached into her purse and produced a picture: it was the same scene, only it was her mother, sitting in the very same spot. I recognized the brown wooden shutters and the faded wall--and even a few cracks were there!

"Would you like to see inside the house?" I offered.

Our guests stood politely in the entryway. "The essence of the house is the same," Robbie remarked.

"That is so good to hear," I said. "When we first walked into this house, Jean-Marc was struck by a familiar scent. It flooded him with pleasant memories of cottages by the sea, and other happy times he had as a boy living on the coast of France.  "We wanted to keep the relaxing "summer house" atmosphere intact," I added.

Walking into the kitchen, I pointed out that all of the tones were the same: wood and white. We had  switched out a few elements, for a  more functional work space. As the nostalgic  family approached, one member tripped on the way in to the kitchen, which was a few centimeters higher than before.  "Oh, and we changed the floor, too! Sorry...."  We gathered around the kitchen window, some of us remembering yesteryear's view....

"Let's go see the former library and living room!" I said. Walking through a  passage with a very low, wood ceiling, all the books from a previous life were gone--replaced by a worn couch where my daughter enjoys watching reality shows, and where Jean-Marc and I occasionally watch movies. "This is now the TV room," I explained. Did I feel sheepish? No! One day that awful reality TV would be shut off forever, and my little girl will be out of the nest. Oh! Now who was being nostalgic!

"Let me show you something..." I walked up two short flights of stairs, to the former living room which was now our bedroom. A copy of Diane's book was open, spine side up, on a bed made up in white sheets and covered with my grandmother's homemade red afghan blanket--perfect for a summer night's breeze through the open window!

"We used to watch movies in this room!" Robbie said looking around. Rona added, "we would project them across that wall!" And over there, was the couch where my mother slept when she went on vacation with us one year!" Missing was The Big Black Chair -  belonging to Maggie's father. "The kids loved to spin in it!" Rona admitted.

"Oh, really? So did our kids! And my Mom, too!" I said. Nostalgia was now running rampant as we shared more and more stories of this gentle and much loved house by the sea.

As we said our goodbyes, Rona's eyes swept across the vineyard. "It is so nice to see how this place has been cared for!"

"I will be sure to let Jean-Marc know what you have just said. He is worn out after making it this far, and is going through a period of doubt--unsure of whether he can continue." Maybe I had overshared, for a period of silence followed my remark... But the next words, offered by Robbie and Rona, lightened my spirit.

"Thank you so much for allowing us to visit you. This has meant so much to us." Rona said.

Robbie added, "Coming back here--driving up the old lane--it was as though my heartstrings were running up the hill alongside of us."

I smiled, remembering those same running heartstrings Jean-Marc and I had felt,  when we moved here 4 years ago. This visit by a trio of Scottish angels had helped to strike a hopeful chord. But would the melody reach a weary wine farmer? Is wishing so only to interfere with destiny?


COMMENTS
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Foutas and Snorkeling (c) Kristin Espinasse

Foutas - cotton bath, beach, yoga, pareo or throw towels. So versatile! In sharing with you some of my very favorite things, I cannot leave out these foutas! There is a veritable foutas craze here in France, and you will see these wonderful striped towels on the beaches from coast to coast--and for sale in the outdoor market stands. Click here to order one.

Colorful Foutas - perfect gift : quick dry towels for camping, sauna, gym, massage, water park--and they make very pretty table cloths, too! Click here to order

Tour de France Roadmap T-Shirt and don't miss the boxer briefs!  Click here.

Espadrilles -  everyone's wearing them this time of year - in the south of France and elsewhere! Click here.

PLEASE FORWARD THIS POST
If you enjoyed today's word or story, thanks for taking the time to share it.

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 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"I have enjoyed this blog for years and watched your children grow up. You are staying strong through all the changes. Merci pour tout."
--Betty D.


Don't worry be happy & SAIP: the official government alert system to inform populations

Rainbow-over-bandol

Joy alert. On the eve of the 1st anniversary of our dog, Breizh's, passing, there was a rainbow on the horizon. More joy alerts in today's story.


YOUR AD HERE. Reach 26,000 readers. Place an ad in the French Word-A-Day newsletter. Click here.

SABLET HOME - for high quality vacation rentals in the heart of Provence. Click here for pictures.

FRANCE & MONACO We offer exclusive short-term holiday rental properties throughout France and Monaco. Click here.


TODAY'S WORD: avertir

    : to warn

ECOUTEZ--Listen to our son, Max, read today's word, conjugated below:
Download  Soundfile
   
SAIP pour « système d’alerte et d’information des populations » est l’application d’état d’alerte géolocalisée du gouvernement qui vous permettra d’être averti en cas de crise majeure (attaque terroriste, alerte à la bombe, enlèvement, etc.). Ce service a pour objectif le renforcement la sécurité en France.

SAIP, for Alert System to Inform Populations, is the geolocalised state of alert application of the government, permitting you to be warned in case of a major crisis (terrorist attack, bomb alert, kidnapping, etc). The objective of this service is security reinforcement in France.


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    by Kristi Espinasse

Yesterday, while reading the news about the terrorist attacks, I learned about a new mobile application offered by the French government. The app is called SAIP, and it stands for System d'alerte et d'information des populations. (Alert System to Inform Populations.) Sounds like something out of a Sci-Fi book or George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, doesn't it?

An article in The Guardian explains:

Available in English and French, the app can be configured to receive an alert if an attack occurs near the user. In the event of a terrorist bombing or shooting, the smartphone screen turns crimson and displays the word “ALERT”, a brief description of what is happening and advice on how to react.


Whether by curiosity or by vigilance or by my internal drama queen's insistence--I downloaded the app onto my smartphone. Three seconds later, superstition rattled me. Had I, in preparing for such an outcome, just sent a message to the universe? Checking the screen, I noticed it hadn't suddenly turned crimson. But would it? When?

"No, Mom! You don't need that thing." Max's response had nothing to do with superstition or the power of suggestion. My son probably thought there were better things to track in life, than terrorism. And this got me thinking....

Instead of waiting around for a doomsday warning, what the world needs now is an app that alerts us to all the positive events happening each instant!   An app where, at any given moment, people from around the world can send happy alerts for all of us to see!....

Lyn writes: "Over here in Portland, my 1st grandson "Jack" has been born!"
A message from Adela reads, "Coming to you from Puerto Vallarta, Valentino is out of the hospital!"

Those were a few example inspired from news, this week, of my family and friends. Do you have a happy alert to share? Something that recently happened to you or your child or your friend? While you are thinking about that, here's one more joy alert-- a photo of my daughter and her new copain (see below).

Your turn. Share a happy alert concerning you or someone you know. I look forward to reading some good news!

Click here to comment.

 

Romain-Jackie

 Romain, Smokey, and Jackie

  Caprese-salade
More photos on my Instagram, follow me there!

A PICTURE RECIPE
For as fancy as the French language is, they don't seem to have a term for the caprese salad (they call it, simply, salade tomate-mozzarelle--more often than salade caprese)!
No matter how much I talk about gardening, and post pictures, the truth is only two tomatoes have grown in this year's potager. Neglect and the heat have taken a toll. Still, I took those tomatoes and some wilted-and-near-death basil, and made this! The olive oil is from our trees. And the tapenade is from Michèle-France, my mother-in-law.

I leave you with a few items, chez nous, that you might enjoy chez vous!

Salt and spice mix - I used one of these types of sea salt/herb mixes on the salad, above. Click here

French Facial Moisturizer - though we have different types of skin, my daughter and I both love this well-known-in-France moisturizer. Also good for removing makeup and for ues as a primer, before applying makeup. (And men use it for aftershave!) Click here!

French chair. If you like the wicker chair in the opening photo, you might find something similar, or French-inspired,  here.

 

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 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"I have enjoyed this blog for years and watched your children grow up. You are staying strong through all the changes. Merci pour tout."
--Betty D.


Retourner sa veste? Would we be safer in Mexico? State of Emergency in France

Coastline

Jean-Marc with friends who came to visit, yesterday. That is little Céline and Raphael, and Laurence (wearing the hat. Her father was best friends with Jean-Marc's father.)

TODAY'S WORD: retourner sa veste

    : to change sides (politically, etc), to go over to the other side

ECOUTER- Listen to Jean-Marc read the following French words:
Download Sound File

Changer de camp ou d'opinion par intérêt et non en vertu de principes moraux, afin de saisir une occasion ou d'échapper à une menace.
To change camp or opinion by self interest and not by virtue of moral principals, in order to seize an occasion or avoid a threat.

SABLET HOME - for high quality vacation rentals in the heart of Provence. Click here for pictures.           

FRANCE & MONACO exclusive short-term holiday rental properties throughout France & Monaco. Click here.


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE


    by Kristi Espinasse

On Tuesday Jean-Marc and I cut through a Mediterranean pine forest for a walk along the craggy coastline near Bandol. As waves of saltwater slammed against the ochre-red cliff across the bay, we were struck by a not-so-new reality. We just hadn't spoken about it yet.

"I read in three different newspapers this morning that France is on the verge of a civil war. Don't you think the press is sensationalizing things?" Finishing my sentence, I fully expected my husband to brush off such fears. But he did not answer right away.

"I didn't want to admit this--but there are 10,000 terror suspects on the watch list in France. And if they all activated at once...." Jean-Marc did not need to finish his sentence. Instead my mind carried on with a scary string of images. I remembered one of the articles which reported certain Southern French countrymen (truffle farmers?) were, in response to the threat, stocking up on hunting rifles in recent weeks. I recalled the one Jean-Marc bought last year. I didn't know how to use it. Would I use it? Would he?

Such a scenario was surreal. Or was it "sur" "real" -- "on" to reality? If we are not to live in denial, are we to be coming up with a plan?

"We could move to Colorado." Jean-Marc offered, with a half-smile (so he was kidding? right?). But how much safer was Colorado--given the news of civil unrest in America?

"We could go to Mexico." Almost as soon as I said it, I could hear a collective Booooo! (Coming from where? My conscience? Or from you, dear reader. Was that you who just bood? Maybe you overheard me bragging, recently--proud to tell others I have lived more than half my life in France (did that make me more French than American? Or just horribly smug? or, worse, unpatriotic?)

After pride comes The Fall. As those salty waves, below, continued to crash against the cliff, I looked over at the Frenchman walking beside me, and I thought about my would-be plan: You cannot take all the good that a country has to offer --and then abandon ship when the going gets tough! You cannot be an expat expat!

But I have never been an expat. A foreigner in France, yes. A resident, yes. An alien, often! An immigrant, by definition. An expat? Not in the sense of being unpatriotic! But I would feel like an ex-patriot if I left France during her time of trouble.

During France's current state of emergency, I will not, as the French say, retourner ma veste. I will not skip back and forth to whichever country benefits me at the moment. But I cannot lie, I am tempted to. If it means finding refuge.


COMMENTS
To leave a comment, click here.

  Celine

Just two of the perks France has to offer. Jean-Marc, with 8-year-old, Celine, who was decorating Chief Grape, with the help of the blue ribbon that came on the box of cake she and her family brought us. I leave you with this tender image, and thanks for reading.

When you shop, via the links below, you help support this free word journal.

Tour de France Roadmap T-Shirt and don't miss the boxer briefs!  Click here.

Shop for French groceries: Carte d'Or coffee, berlingots candies, cassoulet and more. Click here.

Beautiful French Kitchen Towels by Garnier-Thiebaut. Order here.

Espadrilles -  seen them everywhere this time of year -in the south of France and elsewhere! Click here.

Kristi-laurence-jm
I got the floral-embroidered top in Mexico. (You can get one by clicking here).Jean-Marc got the pretty satin headband in France, remember? Not sure where Laurence got her hat, but you can buy one - click here and scroll down the page.

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 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"I have enjoyed this blog for years and watched your children grow up. You are staying strong through all the changes. Merci pour tout."
--Betty D.


Nice: Words to those who are saddened. Parler. Talk.

Lone-chair

I was listening to my car radio, as a French psychiatrist spoke about trauma. He mentioned three groups of victims.

The first are those directly affected (physically injured) by the event.
The second are those who witnessed the event.
The third are those who are aware of the event: you and I.

I don't know anyone personally who was in the attack in Nice. A friend of my daughter's lost her aunt. Typing those words brings a swift physical reaction, tears shooting to the surface of this vessel. It is a strange and mysterious vessel, sometimes out of my own control (tears, twitchings). We walk our vessels around, our souls nestled somewhere inside. Where? In our big toe? In the depths of a dilating pupil? Or somewhere in the brain where, like God beyond a cloud, I have always pictured this to be. (I don't mind if you think I'm naive.)

It is all un mystère. It is not vital to know our origin. We will go on breathing, hearts beating. Some of us search for meaning, knowing (or reminded by others) that we cannot know beyond what we see.

(Love being one exception.)

This brings us to another mystery: our emotions. How are we feeling right now? Numb, guilty, sad, angry, misunderstood, in love, in despair, confused? Do we want to eat? Shop? Sleep? Is it right, wrong on a day like today?

As France begins three days of national mourning, we are given a hint on how we should proceed over the next days: en deuil. Up to each one of us to decide what it means to mourn and how we will do it.

The radio psychiatrist I told you about went on to give advice about what to do after a traumatic event: Parler. Talk. This is what I am doing now. Thank you for listening. If you would like to talk, too, join us here in the comments box.

Amicalement,
Kristi

Hug-each-other
Picture of our dog and our precious daughter. I have learned over the past 6 months that words cannot always ease suffering. So I have narrowed down my words, to two in particular, and I believe these two words do help those experiencing despair: Hold on.

Thanks for sharing this post. This poem might be of help to you as well: Desiderata, in English and in French, click here.

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 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"I have enjoyed this blog for years and watched your children grow up. You are staying strong through all the changes. Merci pour tout."
--Betty D.


Temoignage + Do you remember finding a Gideons in the hotel dresser? In France?

Eight-months-in-Provence

Maybe it is because I am a leftie (une gauchère), or because I do things backwards  (reading magazines)... but the marketeer in me thinks the back of Diane's book is most enticing! Satisfy your curiosity by viewing the front cover, here.

Eight Months in Provence, A Junior Year Abroad 30 Years Late. It is never too late to fulfill a dream. CLICK HERE to order the book



TODAY'S WORD: le témoignange

   
: witness, testimony
    : evidence, account, record


FRENCH PRONUNCIATION

=> Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce today's quote, CLICK HERE

Soyez partout charitable, reconnaissant, facile à vivre, et tous vous rendront témoignage.
Everywhere, be giving, thankful and easy to live with, and all these things will be your testimony.

From the words of Bernard of Clairvaux. Read more of Bernard de Clairvaux here.


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE


    by Kristi Espinasse

Saturday, not far from Salon de Provence, we celebrated Marianne and Michel's 50th wedding anniversary. You may remember them from their 40th anniversary, recounted somewhere in this blog. Brèf, Marianne and Michel are the parents of our son's godfather, Fred.

But let me get right to my story, which I thought would be about our two-day fête where one hundred friends converged in an historic inn deep in the Provencal countryside. Until something that happened at the piscine, that second day, changing the orientation of my story, orienting it towards the blond disciple in the bikini.

As Jean-Marc dragged our lawn-chairs over to the pool's shaded area, where two other chaises-longues were already occupied, I said bonjour to the blond in the bikini, figuring she was part of the wedding party. "Qu'est-ce qu'on est bien ici dans l'ombre," I said, as a way to break the ice.

"Ah, vous êtes americaine!" came the warm response.

"How did you know? I could be English!"

"I recognize your accent. I traveled to the States, years ago, on a TWA state-to-state trip, and stayed with Christian hosts.

A couple of the stranger's words jumped out at me and, after a short debate, I decided to hone in on them.  (I avoid using the French word for Christian -- afraid of bumbling it with the term cretin, which I'm not quite sure of the meaning (fool? hypocrite? dummy?). Playing it safe, I asked my question in English: "Did you say your hosts were Christian?"

I soon learned that the woman and  her husband (presently returning to his lawn chair, dripping wet from a swim in the pool) were distributors of Gideons bibles. Remember them? You used to find them in every hotel room - in the dresser drawer. Remember?

"It is hard to find a Gideons these days!" I said, "especially in Europe! But my Mom found one years ago, in St. Moritz! Reading it changed her life."

The woman in the bikini whipped out a notepad. "May I take your Mother's temoignage?"

Around this time Jean-Marc returned, dripping wet from his swim. I tossed him a towel and  ushered him to sit down. This was our chance for some hands on healing! Only things didn't quite turn out that way--and thank God for that--as we were beginning to make a big enough spectacle of ourselves....

Having learned that my husband has been suffering from depression for 6 months, with another setback just this week, the woman in the bikini whipped out another item from her purse--a thin volume of Psalms--and flipped to no. 84.

As she read about the Valley of Tears, I marveled at how it was the exact message for Jean-Marc!: lorsqu'ils traversent la vallée des Larmes, ils en font une oasis (As they walk across the Valley of Tears, they will make from it an oasis.)

"That's it! Just the message needed!"

Hearing my enthusiasm, the woman in the bikini offered a suggestion: "Do you know you can sing the scriptures?" And with that, she snapped her fingers to the beat, and sang out the rest of the passage! At first I thought this was kind of cool...until I became aware of the wedding group at the other end of the pool. How chic everyone looked with their fedora hats and fine linen towel wraps. Meanwhile the four of us sat huddled together, dripping wet and singing the Gospel off-key.

Growing increasingly self-conscious, the thought occurred to me: Then again, we might have been chanting La Marseillaise--in preparation for the night's well-anticipated soccer final between Portugal and France!

This reminded me to ask the stranger a pertinent question? Which side was she on? I mean, was she here at the wedding party as a friend of Marianne's or Michel's? That is when she answered,

"Who are Marianne and Michel?"

My eyes shot over to the wedding party, where we might have been stylishly congregating--if we weren't sitting like wet hound dogs, howling hallelujah! Just who were these people, after all? I looked at the couple facing us.

The woman was singing and snapping her fingers, her face the picture of peace and joy. "Don't worry if you sing off key! Just sing!" she said, opening her eyes to look at me. The louder she sang, the more I began to fidget... until some familiar words came to mind:

Aucun prophète n'est bien accueilli dans sa patrie.
A prophet is not welcome in his home town.

I realized it was true. If these four lawn-chairs--this small gathering of believers--was her home town, then my current vibes were making the disciple feel less and less welcome!

I just couldn't help it. Perhaps 24 years in France had made me as reserved as the French? I guess I now worshiped a little more discretely. Concerned Jean-Marc was feeling ill-at-ease (or projecting my feelings on him?), I was about to whisper we needed to be moving on... when the woman in the bikini made our escape easy on us: "I think they are calling you to the lunch table," she said, pointing to the well-heeled party headed to the dining hall.

"Well, it was lovely meeting you!" I said, "Give me a call!" and fast as that I ran to join the group, most of whom were as foreign to me as the two evangelicals I had just ditched. As Jean-Marc and I ate with friends of friends at the table, I looked toward the pool to the couple who had become familiar to me. But they were gone.

The next morning I took my dog, Smokey, for a walk in the forest. The woman's words came back to me, tree by tree: "What's important is love and serving others," and "Try singing the scriptures. Don't worry. It's okay to be off-key!"

I tried remembering Psalm 84, and a few words came back, something about better to be a doorkeeper in God's house, than to dwell somewhere else. But mostly I thought of the disciple in the bikini. And how she could not know the impression she had made on me. And I thought of others, out there, who may have felt just like her, on watching their captive audience suddenly high tail it out the door.

To the woman in the bikini, and to you who are reading, remember this: it did not mean your message wasn't heard. Little do you know the difference your words may have made--to a friend, to your teenager, to your spouse, to your colleague, to your sister, your father or to a stranger. Your message may have found them peacefully singing, to their dog, on a quiet evening, somewhere.


Smokey-calanques

Postnote: I found the woman's phone number in my beach bag. I'm going to give her a call. Anyone who feels free enough to sing her heart out among strangers is someone worth getting to know!

COMMENTS
To leave a comment, click here.

Sunshine-lavender
Snapshot from our garden.

SABLET HOME - for high quality vacation rentals in the heart of Provence. Click here for pictures.           

FRANCE & MONACO We offer exclusive short-term holiday rental properties throughout France and Monaco. Click here.

Front-porch
Our front porch this time of year, and a few shopping suggestions to bring a bit of France chez toi!

Tour de France Roadmap T-Shirt and don't miss the boxer briefs!  Click here.

Shop for French groceries: Carte d'Or coffee, berlingots candies, cassoulet and more. Click here.

Laguiole steak knives are for sale in many of the local French market stands, and these bright colors are extra-Provencale! Order here.

Beautiful French Kitchen Towels by Garnier-Thiebaut. Order here.


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 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"I have enjoyed this blog for years and watched your children grow up. You are staying strong through all the changes. Merci pour tout."
--Betty D.


Rondelle + Recipe everyone's asking for! My Mother-in-Law's Summer Pizza!

Eggplant-tart
Michèle-France's Pizza d'Ete. Summer Pizza.

TODAY'S WORD: une rondelle

    : slice

Note: rondelle, in this sense, is used for slices of tomato, zucchini, lemon, sausage etc. Careful not to ask for a rondelle de pizza! Instead, ask for une part de pizza.

ECOUTEZ - hear Jean-Marc pronounce today's word and read his mother's recipe.
First, listen to the soundfile, then check the text (in the story below) to test your comprehension.
Download MP3 or Download Rondelle

Suzanne-dunaway

BREAD, PIZZA CRUSTS,
and Tuscan bread with roasted grapes!
(By Suzanne Dunaway, author of the Rome, At Home recipe book)

No-knead French and other breads in 90 minutes and easy classic Roman dishes in your own kitchen. Click here.


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE


    by Kristi Espinasse

A favorite comfort food of mine is toast--and toast, in French, is pain grillé (think of it, "grilled pain"! No wonder it is so effective!).

My second favorite comfort food (nourriture de soulagement?) is anything my mother-in-law makes.  Lately, I am loving Michèle-France's summertime tart (really a pizza), and she recently posted the recipe on Facebook! For those who missed it, here's the recipe in French and English. Enjoy it and share it!:

LA RECETTE
Pour vous je donne la recette que j'ai improvisée...
Au lieu de coulis, j'ai mis une sauce avec tomates, ail, oignon, thym sur fond de tarte.
Ensuite, rondelles de courgettes, aubergines, rondelles de tomates, et au dessus quelques olives
Arroser d'un peu d'huile d'olive, du thym parsemé, sel, poivre.
Préchauffer le four. 180C degrés .
Laisser cuire en surveillant la cuisson. Bon appétit. !!!

RECIPE
For you I am offering the recipe I have improvised...
Instead of coulis, I put tomato sauce with garlic, onion, and thyme at the bottom of the tart (pizza dough)
Next, slices of zucchini, eggplant, slices of tomatoes, and a few olives on top.
Drizzle a little olive oil, and sprinkle thyme, salt, pepper on top.
Preheat the oven at 350F.
Keep an eye on it while it cooks. Enjoy!


COMMENTS
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Smokey-reads
Smokey's reading recommendation (ebook, Kindle version here) and a few selected products for summertime. He is also dreaming of baking and his own French baguette pan, to help mold the ideal gallic loaf. A selection of French loaf pans here.


Tour de France Roadmap T-Shirt and don't miss the boxer briefs!  Click here.

Beautiful French Kitchen Towels by Garnier-Thiebaut. Order here.

Espadrilles -  seen them everywhere this time of year -in the south of France and elsewhere! Click here.

Classic Market Basket - I use mine for the beach, the store, for overnight trips... Jean-Marc takes it on his boat (to tote chips and wine). Click here.

Jackie-fair

Congratulations to our 18-year-old daughter, Jackie, who received her Baccalauréat yesterday! She will go on to university in Aix-en-Provence, continuing her studies in Fashion Design.

Did you know...
International schools following the French Curriculum of education may offer the Baccalauréat (Le Bac) in lieu of or alongside a traditional high school diploma. The Baccalauréat is the traditional school-leaving qualification of French schools. The Baccalauréat is offered in several streams; subjects chosen for the Baccalauréat depend on the stream chosen by the student. (Wikipedia, "High School Diploma")

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 
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"I have enjoyed this blog for years and watched your children grow up. You are staying strong through all the changes. Merci pour tout."
--Betty D.