Solitude revives the soul and the senses. Solitude is the crucible of the mind, the good is purified there; the fake evaporates there. La solitude ravive l'âme et les sens. La solitude est le creuset de l'esprit, le bon s'y épure; le faux s'y évapore. Citation de Pierre-Claude-Victor Boiste ; Dictionnaire universel (1800) Photo taken in St... Read more →

After I began watching Invisible People (homeless interviews) a series of unusual things happened here in the sunny south of France. Our heater broke. Then it snowed. Then our water heater broke. Then our car would not start. And then our daughter's car broke down! And then I ended up all alone for two weeks. This is... Read more →

I woke up this morning thinking about my grandmother, Audrey Young. I was remembering a phrase she shared with me at the end of her life, in a nursing home. "The squeaky wheel gets the grease!" she would say. It meant that if you don't pipe up people will not help you! Sister Emmanuelle, who we learn... Read more →

Read The Family Under the Bridge to a young person and help spread homelessness awareness. "Armand, an old Parisian living on the streets of Paris, relished his solitary life. He begged and did odd jobs for money to keep himself warm and fed, and he liked his carefree life. Then one day just before Christmas, a struggling... Read more →

In order to express thanks and gratitude, in Arabic, the term "chukran" is used. (Hear this sentence in French, below.) Photo taken on the northeast coast of Morocco, at Tmadet Sidi El Bachir. Today's word: "afin de" : so as, in order to, AUDIO FILE: Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce the following sentence in French: Click here to... Read more →

After a recent dog-walking clash there was no time to linger in the comfort zone of home, dwelling on a negative experience. Une nouvelle expérience awaited just around the corner of North Africa.... LE DÉPAYSEMENT : change of scene * dépaysement can also have a negative connotation, for it also means "culture shock" or "disorientation" AUDIO FILE... Read more →

La Prise de bec - unexpected run-in with a stranger while walking my dog

Ever since I dislocated my elbow while walking my dog, outings with my golden retriever have changed. I am more aware of the dangers around every corner. Giant barking dogs can leap out of nowhere, causing a dog on a leash to react in self defense, and even tiny chiens can wreak havoc. For walks to go... Read more →

By tradition, in France, two minutes of silence are respected at 11 am, the 11th day of the 11th month: it is at this time that the armistice was implemented. Listen to this sentence in French, just below. JOUR DE L'ARMISTICE : also known as Le Jour du Souvenir, and Veterans Day, November 11th is an official... Read more →

I don't have a story to go with today's word. Tout simplement, I learned it Friday night on the backstreets, or les ruelles, of Cassis. About a hundred steps from the old port, Jean-Marc and I were dining with another couple when the word ristourne popped up in conversation. Here's what it means, followed by a few... Read more →

Enjoy Jean-Marc's bilingual story about meeting Lukas and Fabienne Vollmy, winemakers in the historic Panier neighborhood of Marseille. First, today's French expression, followed by its correct pronunciation.... "donner le meilleur de soi-même" : to give one's best AUDIO FILE - hear Jean-Marc pronounce the following sentences in French Click here for the sound file ("donner le meilleur... Read more →