ourlet

Avignon
Photo Vernissage! If you happen to be in Jacksonville, FL between now and February 15th, please stop in to the JU CAMERA CLICK GALLERY (221 Phillips, Jacksonville University; open from 5-7pm) to see select "slices" of my French life -- framed and on display! Mille mercis to Ginger Sheridan for inviting me to participate (and to her photography students for last night's live internet chat). It was great "tchatching" with you!

As for the question: "What kind of camera do you use?" here is an answer. I love my camera for its pocket size. Another question the photography students posed was: What is the best tip that you can give? Answer: always have your camera with you (which brings us back to "pocket size"!). Another camera that I like love, and would buy in a heartbeat if, quelle horreur, I lost my current one, is this one!
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ourlet (oor-lay) noun, masculine

  : hem, border

Also: the adjective: "ourlé(e)" -- as in avoir les lèvres bien ourlées (to have well defined lips). More expressions at the end of this letter.

Ce soir-là, apaisée par la sécurité de cette chambre exiguë, elle avait compté l'argent cousu dans l'ourlet de sa jupe. That night, calmed by the security of this meager room, she had counted the money sewn into the hem of her skirt. --from the book "Les mains nues" by Marie Balka
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A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

Avignon looks good on a sunny day and even on a drizzly one. Though I have never been to Avignon when there is sun, I can tell you that, even in gray, Avignon will take your breath away.

"This is the perfect rain!" Jean-Marc says, thoughtful of his wintering grapevines. We are skipping over puddles and minding slippery curbs, in search of rue Trémoulet and our middle meal* of the day.

The moist air gives the city a surreal feel, and we might as well be walking through the lens of an antique camera and into a depression era drame. There is romance in the absence... of color, of light, and of appetite.

I watch the French weaving in and out of the shops, balancing their umbrellas against makeshift porte-parapluies, tapping dry their feet on the indoor paillassons as the bells on the shop's door chime right along.

The carillon sounds and I listen as the echo makes its way across the cobblestones... bringing me back a century... to when a woman's hemline hovered menacingly close to the wet ground. These days the menace is the other way around: for the hemlines, ever creeping up, are forever being tugged down.


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References: meal = for a good meal in a funky Avignon wine bar go to "AOC" at 5 Rue Trémoulet; le drame (m) = drama; le porte-parapluies (m) = umbrella stand; le paillasson (m) = doormat
                 In books: Simple Sewing with a French Twist .
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:: Audio File ::
Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce the French word "ourlet" and read the day's quote:

Ce soir-là, apaisée par la sécurité de cette chambre exiguë, elle avait compté l'argent cousu dans l'ourlet de sa jupe.
Download ourlet.mp3
Download ourlet.wav
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Shopping:

Instant Recall French Vocabulary : Learn and Remember French Faster than You Ever Imagined Possible!
Poemes, Pieces, Prose: Introduction a l'analyse de textes litteraires francais
Bonjour Les Amis!: French made easy for children:

Related Terms & Expressions:
   ourler (verb) = to hem
   ourlé(e) = hemmed
   un faux ourlet = a false hem
   défaire un ourlet = to let the hem down

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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