lapin

Smokey-and-asparagus

"Where's my chocolate bone?" Smokey, a day or two after Easter. I post pictures daily at Instagram. Follow me, here, to see what's next...

le lapin

    : rabbit, bunny

Improve your French pronunciation with Exercises in French phonetics. Click here. 

AUDIO FILE: Listen to Jean-Marc read this list of lapin terms and the example sentence which follows: Download MP3 or Download Lapin

le coup du lapin = whiplash
le civet de lapin = rabbit stew
le lapin nain = dwarf rabbit
poser un lapin = to stand somebody up, to not show up for a date.
avoir des dents de lapin = to have buck teeth

En France, les oeufs en chocolat sont apportés par les cloches de Pâques et non pas un lapin. In France, chocolate eggs are brought by the Easter Bells and not a bunny.

Lapin is also featured in this long list of French Terms of Endearment



A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

Our neighbor stopped by yesterday with un petit colis for our family. But when she handed me the freezer bag I saw an eye staring back at me!

"C'est le lapin que je t'ai promis," Annie explained.

Well, the day had come! It had been easy, last fall, to accept Annie's offer as we strolled arm in arm. Walking  past her rabbit hutch, we were delivering les plantes sauvages we had just collected from the field that joins our properties. Her rabbits feed on the wild fennel, the plantain, and the luzerne, or alfalfa, that thrives at the foot of the giant fig tree. After 6 months of feasting, they are ready, themselves, to eat.... 

Standing on my front porch, this many months later, holding the chilled bag (which sunk right into my hands, molding into them as the bag's contents settled), I cleared my throat. "Thank you, Annie... I'll be right back!"

Hurrying to the kitchen I set the skinned rabbit gently in the frigo... eyes facing the back wall. Next, after a one minute composure pause, I returned with a cup of coffee for my guest.

Annie was sitting on the concrete bench that runs the length of our front porch. She is familiar with the cozy spot, having watched over this property for decades. The tenderness that she shared with Maggie and Michael, who sold us their home in late summer of 2012, was transferred to us like an Easter basket: brimming with treasures and sweetness, yet discreet and shining in the background, waiting to be found.

Hidden-eggs

Unsure how to broach the rabbit topic, I pushed a small tray of Easter chocolates across the picnic table towards Annie. There were symbolic eggs and fish, turtles and the famous bells (in France, it is les cloches that deliver the eggs, and not the Easter bunny.... if only they could deliver me from this next chore...).

Chocolate-laundry
  Our grocer was out of Easter chocolates, but the boulangerie sold these

Chewing anxiously on a chocolate bell, my mind hopped through the fields of French history, as I tried to come to grips with the task at hand. After all, French countrywomen have kept rabbits from time immemorial! Most families had clapiers, or cage aux lapins and were skilled in animal husbandry. Even my aunt-in-law raises rabbits and turkeys for Christmas dinner!

...Others of us, habituated by the sight of chicken legs or hamburger patties, feel uneasy when presented with meat in its entirety...

Perhaps Annie sensed the thoughts burbling through my head like a pot of rabbit stew. And there, she offered her own wisdom ... in an industrialized world where chicken legs are shrinkwrapped and sold by the dozen: 

"Au moin on sait d'où ça viens et dans quelle conditions." At least we know where it comes from and under which conditions.

 

French Vocabulary
un colis = package
C'est le lapin que je t'ai promis = it's the rabbit I promised you
une plante sauvage = wild plant
le frigo = fridge
une cloche = bell

 

Aix-window

 

Most of us love most French culture, but is there anything the French do that doesn't appeal to you? Thanks for sharing here in the comments box.

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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Happy Easter in French

Joyeuses Pâques!

(Smokey se trompe de déguisement... et de fête aussi...)
(Smokey mixes up the costumes... and the holiday, too...) 

Braise and Smokey (c) Kristin Espinasse

Braise (left): Mon fils... My son....


Conversation (c) Kristin Espinasse
Smokey (right): C'est moi-même. That's me.

Mama Braise (c) Kristin Espinasse
Braise: Quand je t'ai demandé d'aller chercher les déguisements... When I asked you to go and get the costumes....


Mama Braise (c) Kristin Espinasse
...Je voulais dire LES OREILLES DE LAPIN. I meant the BUNNY EARS.

Hula Girls (c) Kristin Espinasse
Braise: "Hula Girls," c'est pour le 31 October. "Hula Girls" is for October 31st.

***
Bonnes Pâques! Comments and corrections welcome here.

Click the following link for more about the French word for Easter
Related Easter story: How to Eat Chocolate Mousse for Breakfast on Monday 

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    
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"Your blog has added much richness to my days for many years. High time to acknowledge your generosity toward your readers, by offering some small support."
--Candy T., California


smala

  French heart shutter (c) Kristin Espinasse
My husband tells me that today's word is a little too argot... and not something he uses very often. But Jean-Marc is from Marseilles... and I'm betting people in Paris would pucker up in pleasure at pronouncing today's term, which is a synonym for "tribe" or "clan" or "posse" or even "bercail". It is especially in theme with today's story about my kindly kin.

smala (smah-lah) noun, feminine

    : big family (famille nombreuse); entourage

from the Arabic, zmalah: tribe

Audio File & Example Sentence: Download WAV or Download MP3

Pour la réunion de famille, ma belle-mère était la première arrivée, suivie de toute la smala. For the family reunion, my mother-in-law was the first to arrive, followed by the rest of the tribe.



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

How To Eat Chocolate Mousse for Breakfast on Monday

1. Invite your in-laws over for an annual pique-nique de Pâques. Overlook tardiness when the belle-famille arrives on Mother's day, two months later. Sympathize (they are French)

2. Offer to be in charge of the BBQ and apéros (easy-pois-peasy, especially when you've delegated this task to your husband). Suggest that each in-law-invité bring along un truc or une bricole; sit back and rest on your lauriers as they negotiate among themselves to come up with the rest of the repas.

  French BBQ (c) Kristin Espinasse

3. Watch as cousins, tantes, uncles, brother-in-law, and belle-mère arrive from as far away as Verona and Fuveau, marching happily to the maison like ants returning from a newly-planted radish patch, each holding a caloric unit: there will be fresh-picked pois chiches, olive-oil pressed from hand picked olives, home-made tabouleh with apricots, hand-rolled chocolate truffles à la noix de coco.. gâteau de canard fumé avec figues, buttery biscuit cake...

4. Before dessert—and already filled to the French gills—ease back in your chaise and listen to Provençale traditions, like bird-calling. Feel your ears tremble to the timbre of merles, alouettes, rossignols, grives... close your eyes and marvel that you cannot tell the difference between man and animal, birdsong or the wistful whistling of a wine farmer.

  DSC_0028
           Uncle Jean-Claude, left, whistling wine maker (André), right

Ask Winefarmer where he got that treasure of a golden locket that he wears around his neck (the cylindrical piece of gold, fashioned into un appeaux, that he lifts to his lips before letting loose a lulaby of birds in flight. When he looks over, lovingly, to his sweet bride of 40+ years, wish on the next shooting star that you will find as thoughtful a present for your own winemaker husband.

5. Follow your family outside (now that the rain has stopped), over to the tree-lined driveway...

  How to prune an olive tree (c) Kristin Espinasse
  Wine-maker-bird-caller André, thoughtful gift-giving wife Annie, Jean-Marc

Carry a pair of secateurs and a spindle of string... hoping they'll need assistance in this olive-pruning undertaking. Watch as the pros shape the olive trees that once made up an untidy row.  Agree wholeheartedly when they stand back and declare, indeed an hirondelle could now fly through the tree, now that some branches were spared.

  Family (c) Kristin Espinasse

6. Return to the house and look at the crowded kitchen counters, casseroles climbing high to the French sky. Go and get jam jars, plastic ice cream tubs, and tin foil... tell the ladies load up on leftovers. Insist when they resist!

Divide and conquer the casseroles, calling out: est-ce que tout le monde a eu des pois chiches? Et le taboulé? Prenez-en! 

Eight hours after sitting down for lunch, kiss everyone goodbye three times. Steal a few more bisous. Remain planted on the front patio, waving goodbye, never mind that the aunts have told you to get back inside...

You'd rather catch cold than miss the chance to see them off... to the end of the olive-lined road.
Broken branches flanking their path.
When will they be back?

7. The morning after, sit there feeling devilish as you dine on dessert for breakfast. Notice the calm. It isn't the quiet house or the mood altering Mousse Charlotte. It is kinship and kindness.

:: Le Coin Commentaires ::
Corrections, feedback, and stories of your own are welcome and appreciated. Click here to comment


French Vocabulary

l'argot (m) = slang
le bércail = fold ("sheep back to the fold")
la belle-famille = in-laws
le pique-nique = picnic
Pâques (f) = Easter (click here for more on the French word for Easter: Pâques
le pois = pea

invité(e) m/f = guest
le truc (as in un petit truc) = (a little) something, thing
la bricole (as in "un petit bricole)  = (a little) something, thing
le laurier = laurel
le repas = meal
la tante = aunt
le pois chiche = chickpea 
à la noix de coco = with coconut
le gâteau = cake
le canard fumé = smoked duck
la figue = fig
la chaise = chair
le merle = blackbird
une alouette = lark
le rossignol = nightingale
la grive = thrush (faute de grives on mange des merles = beggars can't be choosers)
une hirondelle = swallow
un appeux = bird calling apparatus (see photos)
est-ce que tout le monde a eu des pois chiches? Et le taboulé? Prenez-en!  =
Would anyone like some chickpeas? How about some tabouleh? Go on - take some!

le bisous = kiss
la mousse charlotte (see similar chocolate charlotte recipe here)

 

 

***

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Eggplant caviar
Eggplant Caviar: use with toast or crackers as an apéritif. Lovely alongside hard-boiled quail's eggs (as my mother-in-law serves it!) Order a jar!

Rosetta Stone French Level 1, 2, & 3

Fluenz French 1+2

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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Pâques

Mustard_flowers
White mustard flowers near the town of Travaillan

Below, you will discover a popular French adage (and nifty weather predictor!). It says that if you have sunshine and mild times at Christmas, watch out! You're in for cold weather at Easter! I can vouch for that. This morning the grape fields were blanketed by snow! And only yesterday "snowy" flowers covered the countryside.

Pâques (pak) noun, masculine

  : Easter

            Noël au balcon, Pâques au tison*
       
Christmas on the balcony, Easter by the fireside.

*un tison (m) = a half-burned log

Listen to my mother-in-law, Michèle-France, pronounce today's word & proverb:
Download paques.mp3 . Download paques.wav

.
A_day_in_a_french_life
"If this is Pâques," I asked Jean-Marc's aunt, then what do the French do on Easter Monday? After a thoughtful pause, Marie-Françoise answered. "On récupère de la fête!"

Well, I could relate to that! There we were, all eighteen of us, halfway through a 10-hour Espinasse family festin. If a mere eight of those hours were spent eating, that's because we were sensible enough to take a two-hour break from the interminable table.

Our "pause digestive" sent us outdoors, chasing wild "col vert" mallards from the marais beyond the backyard vine fields. Only, the duck detour was short-lived when an ice-cold wind numbed our ears--as well as our envies. Fireside, my French family settled into a *seated* siesta. Impressed, I noticed the not-so-novice nappers who could nod off without even falling from the chair!

Marie-Françoise and I went upstairs to chat in a second-story study.

"People sometimes ask about the French equivalent for "Happy Easter," I explained. If the answer is "Joyeuses Pâques" then, tell me: What is the exact translation of the word Pâques?" After another thoughtful pause, my aunt came up with a suggestion.

"Cherchons dans le dictionnaire!"

Flipping through the pages of Le Petit Larousse, we found a definition. There, below "papyrus"--and just above paquebot--the French words in between yielded the answer:

PAQUE n.f. (from the Greek "paskha," and from the Hebrew "pessah" [passage])

1. Fête annuelle juive qui commémore la sortie d'Egypt du peuple hébreu.... (Annual Jewish festival that commemorates the exodus from Egypt of the Hebrew peoples...) 2. Agneau pascal. (Passover lamb.)

Further down the page, just after the word pâquerette, and one column across from paraclet, the word Pâque gains an "s" and loses its femininity:

PÂQUES n.m. (from pâque)

1. Fête annuelle de l'Église chrétienne, qui commémore la résurrection de Jésus-Christ.... (Annual festival of the Christian church that commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ.)

I admit to having felt the need to sleep on all that information and, by this morning, I was ready to piece together some of what I'd learned. At the breakfast table, I turned to my husband to share some facts.

"I learned a little about the word Pâques yesterday," I informed him.
"Alors," Jean-Marc replied. "Just what does the word EASTER mean?"

"Easter? Easter! But Aunt Marie-Françoise and I didn't look THAT one up!"

"Well, if I had to guess," Jean-Marc said, "I think it has to do with the word "east," the direction in which people walked during the Exodus."

Though I didn't tell my husband, the truth is I was as impressed with him and his Easter answer as I was with those not-so-novice nappers, who never did fall out of their chairs.

.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~References~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Easter Monday = le lundi (m) de Pâques; On récupère de la fête! = We recuperate  from the festivities!; le festin (m) = feast, banquet; la pause (f) digestive = digestive pause; le col (m) vert = green-collared; le marais (m) = marsh(land); une envie (f) = desire; Cherchons dans le dictionnaire! = Let's look in the dictionary!; le Petit Larousse (m) = French/French dictionary (recommended); le paquebot (m) = liner, steam(ship); la pâquerette (f) daisy; le paraclet (Le Paraclet) (m) = an advocate, The Holy Spirit (le Saint-Esprit), the Comforter; alors = well, then

French chocolate Easter egg (c) Kristin Espinasse

A French chocolate Easter egg for sale at the baker's. 

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


"Your blog has added much richness to my days for many years. High time to acknowledge your generosity toward your readers, by offering some small support."
--Candy T., California