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Entries from February 2017

Yada yada in French + Your favorite words and expressions

Almond blossoms outside Roussillon church
The first time I heard the words "Et patati et patata" was in church. The whimsical expression was even funnier coming out of the mouth of a priest. (Photo taken inside church, in Roussillon)

BORDEAUX AND THE DORDOGNE small group tour Sept 18-26 - culture, cuisine & wine. Click here for itinerary.



TODAY'S WORD: Et patati et patata

            :  and so on and so forth, blah blah blah
         : yada yada


Try Mastering French Vocabulary with Audio MP3

EXAMPLE SENTENCE:


Et patati et patata, évoque des bavardages intarissables ou une suite de paroles qu'on ne peut deviner. -Larousse.fr
And patati and patata, evokes inexhaustible chatter or a series of words that one can not guess. (Google translation)


Listen to Jean-Marc read the example sentence in French

Improve your spoken French with Pronounce it Perfectly in French


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    by Kristi Espinasse

Just as I was wondering how to present to you a disjointed amount of information (our weekend in review) I noticed the definition of the word of the day and took heart:

"And patati and patata evokes inexhaustible chatter or a series of words that one can not guess."

Isn't that the beauty behind the blank page? It is no more than a series of words that one can not guess.

Though I always anticipate the challenge of recounting a story, today I did not count on so many computer and technical problems discouraging me from writing more about our weekend away (we spent the night near Roussillon, at Domaine des Peyre--a vineyard and gîte that welcomed our dog, Smokey--and on Saturday enjoyed celebrating Aunt Marie-Françoise's birthday at Domaine Tourbillon along with all the Espinasse family).

So before any more computer blips (including these italics which come and go as they please) prevent me from finishing, I shall turn the rest of this post over to you: please share with us today your favorite French words and phrases in the comments at the end of this post. Merci beaucoup and have a great week!

Amicalement,

Kristi

Edible French Clotilde Dusoulier

The idiosyncrasies of language can tell us a lot about a culture. In this delightful book, Clotilde Dusoulier, creator of the award-winning food blog Chocolate & Zucchini, delves into the history and meaning of the most popular food-related expressions.

Accompanied by beautiful watercolor illustrations by artist Mélina Josserand, Edible French explores whimsical turns of phrase such as:

Falling into apples (falling into the apples) = fainting
Be rolled in flour = being fooled
Having an artichoke heart (having the heart of an artichoke) = falling in love

Order a copy of Edible French here.

Smokey in front of roussillon landmark
The new ambassador to Roussillon. Smokey would like to encourage everybody to come visit this charming town perched above the famous ochre canyon. See some inspiring places to stay in Roussillon, here.

Stories you may have missed...
Most Difficult French Words to Pronounce (+ soundfile)

Teachers - your students are encouraged to sign up to French Word-A-Day to receive this vocabulary-building journal.

Sheep donkey and goat
(photo by Jean-Marc) Good things come to those who wait. Do you remember when Jean-Marc was looking for sheep? The sheep that were supposed to graze in our vineyard and help with all the weeding? He wrote about this in his bilingual story, here. Well, they finally showed up. And they brought friends!

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.


Fourmillement: Restless Legs Syndrome in French

Boxer-dog-espadrilles
Restless leg syndrome affects men and women and, when it strikes, my face looks very much like this dog's face: Oh no! Not again! (Those legs belong to my friend Tanja. That's her wonderful dog, Ricard. If you like her espadrilles, they are found here, by Soludos.)

TODAY'S WORD: le fourmillement

      : pins and needles, tingling (sensation), itch, numbness
      : swarm, swarming

3-minute video : there is no Y sound in the French word for "pure." Watch the demonstration.


EXAMPLE SENTENCE & SOUNDFILE


Le syndrome des jambes sans repos, appelé aussi impatiences dans les jambes ou impatiences nocturnes, est un trouble neurologique qui cause un besoin irrépressible de bouger les jambes. Ce besoin naît d’un inconfort dans les membres inférieurs - fourmillements, picotements, sensations de brûlure -, dont l’intensité varie beaucoup d’une personne à l’autre. Ces sensations désagréables surviennent particulièrement durant les périodes de détente ou d'inactivité. Par conséquent, il peut être très difficile de simplement se reposer, ou encore de rester assis pour assister à une réunion ou de voyager en avion, par exemple. (PassportSante.net)

LISTEN TO JEAN-MARC READ THE FRENCH TEXT


Restless leg syndrome, also called impatience in the legs or impatience at night, is a neurological disorder that causes an irrepressible need to move the legs. This need arises from discomfort in the lower limbs - tingling, tingling, burning - the intensity of which varies greatly from person to person. These unpleasant sensations occur especially during periods of relaxation or inactivity. Therefore, it can be very difficult to simply rest, or sit still to attend a meeting or travel by plane, for example. (Google Translation)

Improve your spoken French with Exercises in French Phonetics


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    by Kristi Espinasse


I know
one sure-fire way to relieve an agonizing bout of Restless Leg Syndrome--that horrible ailment that attacks during periods of rest. Would you believe it if I told you that a UFO sighting--even so much as the thought of a UFO sighting--will stop those annoying fourmillements--those pins and needles tingling sensations--stop them right in their tracks?

Read on in the following story from the post "EFFRAYEUR" (FRIGHTENING)... and many thanks to C-Marie for bringing up this story in the recent comments section of this blog.



*    *    *

Soludos espadrille
Springtime is around the corner. The French, here down south, are already reaching for their espadrilles. Order a pair here.


FRENCH GOURMET GROCERIES - including French delicacies like herbs, mustard, cakes

FRENCH KNIT REUSABLE ECO SHOPPING BAG - made and knit in France

VARIETY OF ESPADRILLES by Soludos

Tanjas espadrilles

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.


Hay fever in French: rhume des foins

Almond-blossoms
Is it a cold or maybe hay fever? With so much blossoming going on, and le printemps around the corner, it is probably le rhume des foins causing this sneezing and stuffy nose and not simply le rhume.


TODAY'S WORD: le rhume des foins

        : hay fever, rhinitis

3-minute video : there is no Y sound in the French word for "pure." Watch the demonstration.


EXAMPLE SENTENCE & Audio File


Démangeaisons du nez, éternuements, écoulement nasal clair, sensation de nez bouché en sont les principales caractéristiques [du rhume des foins]. La rhinite allergique s'accompagne le plus souvent de démangeaisons du palais, des conduits auditifs et des yeux.  La fatigue, les maux de tête, un écoulement dans l'arrière gorge, les difficultés à se concentrer et à s'endormir ainsi que la perte d'odorat sont des signes caractéristiques de la rhinite. (Le Journal des Femmes; Rhinite Allergique)

Itching of the nose, sneezing, runny nose, stuffed nose are the principal characteristics [of hay fever]. Allergic rhinitis most often accompanies a itchy palate, itchy ear canals and eyes. Fatigue, headache, post-nasal drip, difficulty concentrating and falling asleep as well as loss of taste are characteristic signs of hay fever.  

LISTEN to Jean-Marc read today's example sentence: Download Rhume-des-foins

Improve your spoken French with Pronounce it Perfectly in French or  Exercises in French Phonetics


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    by Kristi Espinasse

Every year I am duped, completely duped, by a little yellow ball of fluff. Le pollen!

This year was no different. I thought I'd caught a cold and so began acting like a cold victim (or maybe even a flu victim!). I tucked myself into bed. Took a Dolipran for my aching body, and cancelled my Thursday night meetup, not wanting to share microbes, as the French say.

Friday, when we went looking at houses, I bundled up with a thick scarf around my neck. I apologized to each realtor and homeowner who reached for my hand to shake it: Désolée, je suis enrhumée....

But as we drove along country roads flanked with blossoming almond trees--mimosa dotting the hillsides, Jean-Marc had an intuition: "Peut-être c'est tes allergies...."

Sneezing 5 times in succession convinced me. "Et oui! Ce n'est pas le rhume -- c'est le rhume des foins!"


At the pharmacy I asked the man behind the counter if many people have come in complaining about hay fever. "Non," he said. "But they'll soon be pouring in. C'est la saison." Indeed it is--it's allergy season!


***
Share any tips for hay fever relief in the comments at the end of this post. Thanks.
Be prepared for hay fever season: a selection of products, here.

 

Goat-cheese-quiche-tarte-chevre-menthe

Stories you may have missed...
RECIPE FOR MINT & GOAT CHEESE QUICHE + Le Badinage - a story about bantering, repartee & discover the EMLA patch, used here in France: it prevents any pain from shots! It is for kids and squeamish adults.


FRENCH VOCABULARY

le Doliprane = medication containing paracetamol
le microbe = germ
désole(e) = sorry
je suis enrhumé = I have a cold
peut-être c'est les allergies = maybe it's allergies
la rhûme = cold (sickness)
la rhûme des foins = hay fever
c'est la saison = it's the season

larkspur flowers purple stone hut cabanon
Blossoming larkspur (I think...) near Orange, France.

Want to speak French fluently? 30-Day French will teach you everything you need to know to speak French on your next trip to France with 30 lessons based on real-life conversations. Try it out.

 

La vie rustique by Georganne Brennan
Georgeanne Brennan's latest book is available for pre-order. With lovely recipes and tips to sustainable life, La Vie Rustic allows you to live the French lifestyle in your home. Order here.


PROVENCE TABLECLOTH and linens for the house

LAGUIOLE STEAK KNIVES

FRENCH-THEMED KITCHEN TOWELS

forsythia blossoms
Forsythia blossoms in Cameret-sur-Argens

BORDEAUX AND THE DORDOGNE small group tour Sept 18-26 - culture, cuisine & wine. Click here for itinerary.

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.


Stylo: Is Handwriting still necessary? French cover letters & How he stole my heart

Stylo pen pitcher lavender wand
Will handwriting soon be obsolete? Currently, French employers still appreciate a penned cover letter. (Picture of the handmade pen my sister gave me for my birthday.)

TODAY'S WORD: le stylo

        : pen

un stylo bille = ballpoint pen
un stylo plume = fountain pen
un stylo feutre = a felt-tip pen

Try Mastering French Vocabulary with Audio MP3

EXAMPLE SENTENCE:


Votre lettre doit être irréprochable : écrivez sur une feuille blanche A4, au stylo bille noir ou bleu foncé (pas de bleu turquoise, fluo ou paillettes!). (Texte issu de l'article 10 erreurs à ne pas commettre dans votre lettre de motivation)

Your letter must be irreproachable: write on a white page A4, with a black or blue ballpoint pen (not turquoise, neon-colored, or with sparkles!). (Text from the article 10 mistakes not to make in your cover letter)

ECOUTEZ - Hear Jean-Marc pronounce the example sentence in French: Listen to today's example sentence


Improve your spoken French with Pronounce it Perfectly in French or  Exercises in French Phonetics


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    by Kristi Espinasse

There are status symbols and then there are story symbols. The first tells the world you are rich, the second tells the sentimental story of who you are and where you have been.

When I returned from France in 1990 as a junior in college I wore a pair of Eiffel tower earrings, I wrote with a fountain pen, and I owned a pencil case. Every student in France had one such trousse - swimming with crayons, stylo billes, highlighters and an exotic form of Wite-Out. When I pulled out my pencil case in an American classroom, I felt a tiny bit French. (Sitting behind the wheel of a Ferrari must feel as exhilarating.)

Maybe it's pushing things to compare pencil cases and Ferraris, but the excitement is there. That small leather trousse symbolized a still-exotic-to-me art de vivre--a way of living I yearned for deep down.

Not long after my return from France a young Frenchman I had met in Aix-en-Provence searched his own pencil case for a suitable pen in which to write me a letter, the first of many. And that is how my husband stole my heart. We eventually married and had two beautiful children--one of which, now in design school, stole my pencil case :-)



FRENCH VOCABULARY

la trousse = pencil case
le crayon = pencil
le stylo bille = ballpoint pen
l'art de vivre = lifestyle



Apron french script
Shopping:

APRON WITH FRENCH SCRIPT

PENCIL CASE - every French student carries one!

EIFFEL TOWER EARRINGS

Selection of FOUNTAIN PENS

Jackie and cousins
A handwritten sign is the most welcoming! Here are my niece and nephew welcoming their cousin to Denver a few years ago.

A few comments from the post about French Cover Letters, bring up some interesting topics about handwriting in France:

Chez nous, employers would expect that the cover letter would be computer generated and printed even were a teenager applying for such a job as candy seller or life guard. Is it not the same in France? - Robert
                                                            *
I also am amazed that the handwritten letter is required. I'm sure that in the USA, someone would be quick to "find" it to be a subtle form of discrimination, against those who do not write as legibly as others...  Joan

These points and the following questions make for good conversation. Should handwriting stay or go? Should it still be taught in schools? Required for a cover letter? Does handwriting still matter?

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.


Ecureuil, Pronunciation Fears, and most difficult French words to pronounce (read aloud by Jean-Marc!)

Artichoke and golden retriever
Using the keyword "squirrel," I searched my google photo archives for an image to illustrate today's word...and this is what came back. Do you see un écureuil in there somewhere?


We begin this edition with a quote from a reader:

When I studied French decades ago, I was told by one prof that during the war, écureuil was a test word used to ascertain whether the speaker was, indeed, French or perhaps a spy. This word remains difficult for me to this day. - Mary



TODAY'S WORD: un écureuil

        : squirrel


Improve your spoken French with Exercises in French Phonetics


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    by Kristi Espinasse

One of the things we language learners have in common is the fear of speaking in a foreign tongue. The first time I can remember being afraid to pronounce French was just moments before meeting my host family, in 1989.....

My Dad had accompanied me to Lille, France, and we were now arriving in some parking lot. Had he driven me? I can't remember, for my brain can only recall a car window, beyond which the gray unknown awaited.

The gray was no more than the clouds, so typical of the industrial town of Lille, and as for the unknown it was about to reveal itself via two sunny faces: Mr. and Mrs. B. 

Thump, thump, thump, went my heart. How would they ever understand me? Had two years of college French, learned back home in the wild west, made me a fluent speaker? On a more practical note, what to say now?! What if it all came out garbled?

To this day I can't remember what my first words were to Robert and Christiane B. But I can still see the kindest faces, looking back at me, as if to say, Do not worry. Go ahead and speak.


Dad and me walking in cassis
Almost 30 years later, my dear Dad & me - in sunny Cassis :-)


A year ago I asked you to share the hardest words to say en français. Here, now, are your "Most Difficult French Words To Pronounce," followed by a recording for you, by Jean-Marc:


la rue - street

le yaourt -yogurt

l'écureuil
- squirrel


trois
- three


dessus and dessous
- above and below


Reims
- (the French town)


heureuse
- happy


la cucurbitacée
- cucurbit


le pouilly-fuissé
- type of white wine


la chirurgie
- surgery


la fourrure
- fur


la grenouille
- frog


l'ours
- bear


mille-feuille ou millefeuille
- kind of dessert


Buoux
- (a town in the Luberon)


la serrure
- lock


le RER
- (high-speed train between Paris and suburbs)


la bouteille
- bottle


l'accueil
-welcome


l'oeil
- eye

(Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce all these French words, click here)


Kissing-boothEnjoy this French word journal and find it helpful in any way? Please consider leaving a small donation to keep things running. 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.


Candidature, Applying for a job in France & Jackie's cover letter in French

Lettre-de-motivation
Today we talk about cover letters in France--an important part of French business etiquette. Listen to Jackie read her lettre de motivation, for a summer job she is applying for.


TODAY'S WORD: la candidature

        : application (for a job)

un appel à candidature = a call for applications
poser sa candidature = to apply for a job

    3-minute video lesson: When does the S in French sound like a Z ?
    By Dave at www.FluentFrench.com

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE....


    by Kristi Espinasse

When I asked my daughter about the cover letter sitting on the kitchen table, Jackie informed me it was not she who wrote it.

"I didn't think it was your handwriting," I said. "Whoever wrote it is left-handed." (The writer, though French, had the same back-handed slant as I once had.)

It was her boyfriend, Jeremy, she said, adding he was indeed gaucher--a lefty. "He was bored and asked if he could help me with my homework. I told him that because my assignment was to draw a self-portrait, that would be impossible! But that he could help me with something else... a cover letter for the summer job for which I'm applying...."

I was impressed. Anyone who would sit down and take the time to forward my daughter's career (and list all of her qualities at the same time), is GOOD in my book! I leave you with a great example of a lettre de motivation in French and in English (Any errors are mine in the retyping.)

Click here to listen to Jackie read aloud the following letter


Madame, Monsieur,

Actuellement jeune diplomée du PSC1, j'ai appris avec intérêt que vous recherchez des employés saisonniers. Je vous présente donc ma candidature qui semble correspondre parfaitement au profil que vous recherchez.

Currently a young certificate holder of PSC1 , I've been interested to learn that you are looking for seasonal employees. I therefore offer my application which seems to perfectly correspond to the profile you are seeking. 

Ayant déjà fait l'expérience l'année dernière en tant que vendeuse au kiosque à bonbons, je souhaite aujourd'hui me diriger vers un poste de sauveteuse. J'éspère intégrer vos équipes et compte sur le sérieux de mon travail pour faire perdurer la reputation de votre établissement. Dynamique et polyvalente, je suis resistante et très attentive aux consignes de sécurité.

Having already had an experience last year, as saleswoman at the candy stand, today I wish to turn (my attention) toward a lifeguard position. I hope to join your team and count on the seriousness of my work to carry on the reputation of your establishment. Dynamic and versatile, I am strong and very attentive regarding security instructions.

On me reconnait également organisée et autonome, deux qualités indispensables pour répondre efficacement aux attentes dans ce domaine. Dans l'attente de vous rencontrer, je vous prie de bien vouloir agréer l'expression de mes salutations distinguées.

I am known to be organized and independent, two indispensable qualities to efficiently respond to the needs in this area. I look forward to meeting you, and please accept my very best wishes. 

 

Jackie-and-jeremy
Picture of Jeremy and Jackie. Did you enjoy the cover letter? Don't miss hearing it, click on the link below to listen to Jackie read aloud the lettre de motivation.

Click here to listen to Jackie read aloud her cover letter


Provence tablecloth


PROVENCE TABLECLOTH and French-themed linens for the house.

LAGUIOLE STEAK KNIVES are for sale in many of the local French market stands.

BEAUTIFUL KITCHEN TOWELS by Garnier-Thiebaut.

Coreys-Kitchen-antiques-pears-copper-French-lunch
Saturday, Jean-Marc and I had the pleasure of eating at Corey and Yann's. There was Barbara, and Philippe, and a new friend Gina, who made the most lovely pear recipe. Corey shares it in her post Pals and Pears. On a similar culinary note, please check out our returning sponsor, just below.

BORDEAUX AND THE DORDOGNE small group tour Sept 18-26 - culture, cuisine & wine. Click for itinerary.

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.


Soins des animaux: Why can't our dog sit down? Visit to the vet & collerette

bicycle across from Notre Dame and in front of Shakespeare and company bookshop in Paris France
Benjamin Houy, a young Frenchman from Paris, has written some helpful language posts for this blog. His 30-Day French program will teach you everything you need to know to speak French with 30 lessons based on real-life conversations. Try it out.

TODAY'S WORD: le soin

        : care, attention, treatment


EXAMPLE SENTENCE:

Don't miss the soundfile for this text, click here.


Une collerette vétérinaire, cône pour animal ou collier élisabéthain, est un ustensile de soins des animaux. Ce cône tronqué et fixé au cou de l'animal de façon à entourer sa tête, sert à l'empêcher de se mordre, de se lécher, ou encore de se gratter la tête ou le cou, le temps de la cicatrisation d'une plaie. -Wikipedia

A vet coller, an animal cone or an elizabethan coller, is a treatment implement for animals. This truncated cone, attached to the neck of the animal so that it surrounds its head, serves to keep it from biting itself, licking itself, or scratching the head or neck, for the time it takes for a wound to scar.


Improve your spoken French with  Exercises in French Phonetics


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

"Furry humans and the Collar of Shame"

    by Kristi Espinasse


The other night my heart seized up after I was awakened by a rapping at the front door. Startled, I sat up in bed and listened closely. Was someone shaking the door handle? As I grew conscious I began to recognize the noise and it wasn't a knock - it was sheep bells clanking (my rustic farm alarm! the cloches are attached to the door bolt. I've got sheep bells on my windows, too--lest un cambrioleur try to break through! Never mind the sound of broken glass....).

Oh! It's just one of our kids rolling in after midnight, I thought. Until I remembered the kids were far away...in Montpellier and Aix. My God, someone was trying to break in to our home! I went to elbow Jean-Marc awake when I recognized another sound: my dog's collier -- it makes a certain bruit when he shakes down his furry body, as dogs do throughout the day. So it was good ol' Smokey, after all, just having a bit of a sleepless night.

The next morning after tidying up the kitchen and hanging the laundry out to dry, I finally could turn my attention to writing. I was grumbling about how long it took to get to my writing desk--what with so many other things screaming for attention--when Smokey came into the room, his head held low. Now what!

"OK, Smokey, here's a câlin, but now I've got to get to work! A ta place! " I motioned for our golden retriever to go to his bed, just beside my desk. Only, when he got there he could not sit down....

"Couché! Smokey, Couché là!" I said, but poor Smokey could not settle in. It was as though each time he lowered his backside to the ground, an invisible fire sprang up!

I went over to my dog and helped him lie down. Examining his tail I could see it was enflammé. Did he sit down on some sort of poison ivy? Or, worse, was this the beginning of another méchant growth?

I decided not to wait things out--and got Smokey right to the clinic. A moment later a very pregnant vet and I and Smokey were all on the floor wrestling. One of us shaved the tail, the other gripped the dog, and the patient looked up at the ceiling, his world turned upside down.

I was amazed at how far along our vet was (this pregnant) and yet able to wrestle a 35 kilo dog. And I was impressed by Smokey, who managed to keep it together, despite losing so much hair (when humans go to the doctor, they sweat it; for sensitive dogs, like goldens, they lose their hair during such a nerve-racking visit.

By the end of the examination, the pregnant doctor and I were plastered in golden fur, and we still hadn't uncovered the mystery of what got Smokey. "Clean the area twice a day. Apply this pommade, and give him these comprimés," the vet instructed. The final instructions she gave directly to her patient: "Et si tu n'arrêtes pas de te lêcher, tu vas devoir porter la collerette!"

"Oh no, Smokey, you don't want to wear the cone of shame!" I said. It was, come to think of it,  a curious thing to say, coming from two humans covered from head to toe in clumps of golden fur.



Stories you may have missed...

Did you know about this rule for cheese? (Read this post)

A Tip Jar (Read this post)

Cone of shame
I keep this recovery cone (I have two) in our first-aid cabinet. The new cones (soft, pliable) are much more comfortable and easy to use. Get one for your dog or cat, here.


FRENCH VOCABULARY

la cloche = bell
un cambrioleur = burglar
le bruit = noise, sound
le collier = collar
le câlin = hug, cuddle, caress
à ta place = go to your bed
couché! = lie down!
méchant = bad
enflammé = inflamed
35 kilos = 77 pounds
la pommade = cream
se lécher = to lick oneself
le comprimé = tablet

A special note to teachers - your students are encouraged to sign up to French Word-A-Day and receive this family-friendly journal. Thank you for sharing this site.

French-Dirt-Richard-Goodman
One of my favorite books. Order a copy 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 
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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.


Vocabulary Roundup + Audio file for all the French terms we learned in January!

Roses-and-madras-door-curtains
If you read all the stories posted here in January, your French vocabulary grew like the dickens (il a beaucoup poussé)! Let's go over some of the terms we learned in the context of this French life. Click on the titles below to read any stories you missed. Be sure to click on the sound file below each list.
 

1. Hospitality, a recipe, and keep things simple

pas si simple que ça
= not so easy as that
comme d'habitude = as usual
un oursin = sea urchin
le déjeuner = lunch
une patate = spud, potato

   Click here to listen to the vocabulary list above



Sea-urchins


2. False Friends, La Deception, and it wasn't meant to be?

la bastide = farmhouse or country house
le notaire = (in real estate transactions) attorney, lawyer, notary
un pot = drink, cocktail
ça reste à voir = that remains to be seen
consacré = devoted
divertissant = entertaining
gratuit = free

   Click here to listen to this vocabulary list


3. Le Soulagement: Relief after a stormy delivery at our vineyard

une allée ou voie privée = driveway
le prestataire
= a service provider
avec une telle efficacité = with such efficiency
la camionnette = small truck or van
une bouteille = bottle
un souci = a worry
c'est bon = everything is under control
tu peux rentrer = you can return
à la maison = to home
c'était la paix = it was peace

   Click here to listen to the list above



3. Bilingual Post, Broche, and Jean-Marc's surgery

(translation and soundfile , click on link above)
Jm-prunning


4. Amitié: What Balzac said about Friendship

une année = year
une amitié = friendship
avec une telle = with such
le pointu = traditional Provencal wooden fishing boat
trop tard = too late
le voisinage = neighborhood, vicinity
la gare = train station
en avance = early
le couloir = corridor
faux-pas = etiquette mistake
la soupe aux lentilles = lentil soup

   Click here to listen to the list above



5. Bavarder: Catching up with a friend amid canine chaos

(A guest post by Tess, sans vocab....)

6. Hygge in French: Cozy Weekend & Easy 3-Ingredient Duck Recipe

la pantoufle = slipper
le feu de cheminée = chimney fire
le câlin = hug, cuddle
le plaid = throw blanket
le coussin = pillow
à table! = everyone to the table now!

   Click here to listen to the words above



7. Biliingual Story "Time to Prune the Vines"

(Click on the link above to listen to the entire story in French)

8. Undressed in Aix: A surprise warning post at Jackie's apartment building

faire le linge = to do laundry
le drap = sheet
un étendoir = drying rack
putain! = expletive, worse than dammit....
Tu vas me donner une crise cardiaque! = you're going to give me a heart attack!
la pantoufle = slipper
le poulet rôti = roast chicken

   Click here to listen to the words above



9.  A Tip Jar, A Girl, And Wings

(Here's a translation of some of the words used in my letter)

le pourboire = tip
un travail à temps plein = full-time job
le bulletin = newsletter

   Click here to listen to the words above


Words-in-a-French-Life-book
On the cover of this book, below the farmhouse, French words sprinkled across the Provencal countryside. Order a copy for yourself or for a friend. Click here for the paperback. For the e-book, or Kindle, click here. Merci beaucoup!

Did you enjoy today's vocabulary review? Would you like it to be a monthly feature? How to improve it? Let me know in the comments. 

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.


Vallon : an update on our move... to Le Beausset?

Valley-of-queyras
Today's post is illustrated with valleys, in theme with today's word and story.

Wish to speak French fluently? 30-Day French will teach you everything you need to know to speak French on your next trip to France with 30 lessons based on real-life conversations. Try it out.


TODAY'S WORD: le vallon


        : valley, little valley

Try Mastering French Vocabulary with Audio MP3

AUDIO FILE:

listen to the word "vallon" in context:

La nature est inimitable
Et quand elle est en liberté
Elle brille d'une clarté
Aussi douce que véritable.
C'est elle qui sur ces vallons,
Ces bois, ces prés et ces sillons
Signale sa puissance ;
C'est elle par qui leurs beautés,
Sans blesser l'innocence,
Rendent nos yeux comme enchantés.

Now listen to Jean-Marc read it in French! Download Vallon


Nature is inimitable;
And when she is at liberty,
She shines with a brightness
As sweet as it is genuine.
It is she who by these valleys,
These woods, these fields and furrows
Shows her power.
It is she who by their beauties,
With no harm to innocence,
Renders our eyes as though enchanted.

Louange de Port-Royal, Jean RACINE


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    by Kristi Espinasse


An Update on Our Move

Looking out our kitchen window, past the bright pink bougainvillea dripping down the front of our farmhouse.... I looked down past the vineyard, down, past the neighbor's olive orchard, down past his house and, down, past another's--all the way down to the sea....

When the thought came back to me: This view! This beautiful view! How will anything ever compare to it?

Leaning over the kitchen counter close up to the window, head resting in my hands over bent elbows, I thought about the latest house a realtor had shown us in "Old Beausset" (as opposed to modern Beausset, which is a bit more lively?). The place was somewhat isolé. And neither Jean-Marc nor I felt that telling "coup de coeur", that crush, that this is it! notion (as we did here, 5 years ago). But both of us agreed the "stone chalet" (for it looked very much like a mountain chalet tucked, as it was, into a grassy valley) could very well be a place to call home.

Located at the end of a dirt road, past a few abandoned cars and sheet metal (the realtor promised the neighbors would move them), the little house boasted a stone facade. In fact, there was stone stuck all around the house. It wasn't like the stone on our farmhouse, it was tacked on. I wondered, did it look tacky?

It was funny to suddenly be so picky about how things looked. And where was I looking anyway? What was I focused on? I leaned into our kitchen window, nose to the glass, to that perfect view down--down the hill, down past my neighbors.

And where would I be looking at the new place--tucked deep into a vallon with its towering trees. Well, there would be no place to look, but UP!

This suddenly seemed like a very good vantage point to me. Look up! Look up! to Greatness above, to a sky full of stars, dazzling. How had I missed them before?




Stories you may have missed...

Why we are leaving this special place: Jean-Marc's open letter

Valley-near-serre-chevalier
Our friend's stone chalet, near Serre Chevalier. In these valley photos, I have not shown you the house I wrote about to day...last time I did that bad luck followed!


FRENCH VOCABULARY
Increase your vocabulary with this list. More tools here.

isolé,e = isolated
coup de coeur = a sudden crush for something - an immediate like
le vallon = little valley


Shopping...
FRENCH KNIT REUSABLE ECO SHOPPING BAG - made and knit in France!


PROVENCAL TABLECLOTH, French-themed linens for the house.

KITCHEN TOWELS by Garnier-Thiebaut.

Valley-in-queyras
Another valley in Queyras. So many lovely valleys in France. A great place to get perspective on where we are in the grand scheme of things.

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.


Bilingual Story: Tondre, Domaine Tempier, and Tant Pis

sheep moutons grazing in Domaine Tempier vineyard beneath La Cadiere d Azur

TODAY'S WORD: Tondre

        : to mow, to cut, to shave, to shear

1 Minute video : learn to say "monsieur" correctly. By Dave over at www.fluentfrench.com 



BIILINGUAL LETTER by Jean-Marc

Il y a 4 ans, alors que nous venions tout juste de nous installer dans notre mas, nous avons eu la surprise de voir un troupeau de moutons et brebis dans nos champs d'oliviers, qui allaient bientôt accueillir notre futur vignoble.

Four years ago, when we had just moved into our farmhouse, we were surprised to see a herd of sheep and ewes in our field of olive trees--a field that was going to welcome our future vineyard.

Sheep grazing in our vineyard in st cyr-sur-mer among century old olive trees

En dehors du plaisir des yeux de voir des bêtes pâturer en pleine Nature, guidées par des chiens experts qui assurent que le troupeau reste groupé, cela était fort bienvenu car notre philosophie de culture de la vigne est de laisser faire la Nature, autant que possible. Mais, dans le vignoble, les herbes poussent et c'est souvent un problème car elles concurrencent les petits plants de vigne et puis, nous n'utilisons bien sûr pas de désherbant chimiques...

Apart from the pleasure of seeing animals graze in the middle of nature, guided by expert dogs who make sure the herd stays grouped, it was a welcome visit given our philosophy for caring for vines is to let nature do the work, as far as possible. But, in the vineyard, weeds grow and it is often a problem as they compete with the little vine plants and then, we do not, of course, use chemical weed killers.


Nous ne souhaitons pas également apporter de nourriture extérieure au sol afin de garder l'origine du terroir du sol intact. Aussi, le passage d'un berger avec son troupeau permet à la fois de tondre naturellement les herbes et d'apporter, une fois digérées, un amendement organique issu des herbes de leur propre sol et donc parfaitement aptes à le nourrir et le faire vivre.

We do not wish to bring in soil amendments from outside the area, either, so as to keep the local origin of the soil intact. As well, a shepherd passing through with his herd allows, at the same time, a natural mowing of the grasses and to bring in, once digested, an organic amendment which from grasses which came from the very soil and is therefore perfectly suited to nourish and keep it living.


En 2014, ce même berger était malade mais son remplaçant est venu à nouveau avec son troupeau. Mais depuis 2015, à mon grand malheur et malgré mes appels, le berger et son troupeau ne passent plus dans nos vignes. Peut être a t-il changé son itinéraire ? Peut être n'a t-il plus besoin de venir si près de la mer pour trouver des champs enherbés en hiver, lui qui descends de ces si lointaines montagnes en été pour passer l'hiver dans des prairies plus clémentes et avec de quoi faire manger ses bêtes.

In 2014, this same shepherd was sick but his stand-in came once again with his herd. But, since 2015, to my great sorrow and in spite of my phone calls, the shepherd and his herd no longer pass through our vineyard. Maybe he changed his itinerary? Maybe he no longer needs to come down this close to the sea to find grassy fields in winter, he who comes down from these far off mountains in summer to spend winter in milder climates, which have what is needed to feed the animals.


Hier, j'ai eu la chance d'assister à une belle dégustation de vins au prestigieux Domaine Tempier. En arrivant sur place quelle n'a pas été ma surprise de voir un troupeau brouter dans une parcelle de vignes à côté de la cave. "Est-ce Sylvain, le berger ?" demandais-je à Daniel, espérant que ce soit lui afin de lui rappeler que quelques kilomètres plus loin, il y a d'autres champs de nourriture offerts à son troupeau. Non, ce n'était pas Sylvain...et puis Daniel me dit que le troupeau allait rester tout l'hiver, lui qui a 40 Hectares de vignes à entretenir...

Yesterday I was lucky to participate in a wonderful tasting of wines from the prestigious Domaine Tempier. Arriving there imagine my surprise to see a herd gracing in the parcel of vines beside the cellar. "Is that Sylvain, the shepherd?" I asked Daniel, hoping it was him so that I could remind him that just a few kilometers farther away, there were other fields of nourishment free for his herd. But no, it wasn't Sylvain...and then Daniel told me that the herd was going to stay all winter, for him who has 98 acres of vines to take care of...


Tant pis pour moi et tant mieux pour les vignes de Tempier. Dans un monde idéal, peut-être que la solution serait d'avoir quelques brebis dirigées par Smokey =). En dehors de faire le travail d'entretien sur notre petite exploitation agricole, on pourrait avoir du bon lait et même quelques fromages.

Too bad for me and all the better for the Tempier vines. In an ideal world maybe the solution would be to have Smokey manage a few sheep =-) Outside of doing the work for our little farm, we could have some good milk and maybe a bit of cheese.

Download available:  CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO JEAN-MARC READ HIS STORY ALOUD

 

Smokey sheep

Lulu provencal table domaine tempier vineyard recipes from france


Lulu's Provencal Table: The Exuberant Food and Wine from Domaine Tempier Vineyard - many used versions of this beloved book exist, forward by Alice Waters. Click here.

Jean-marc-and-laurent
Jean-Marc pruning. Read his previous bilingual story--and get your French on!

 Un petit rappel amical. A friendly reminder:
If you enjoy this word journal you may wish to support the effort and time that go into creating it, your contributions, via this link, are greatly appreciated.

 

Sheep or moutons grazin in a field in the medieval village of Les Arcs sur Argens France

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.