Ever been to the castle in Cassis? It overlooks the colorful fishing port and gives tourists one more reason to look up. Other things to look to: The upcoming AMA Seine Normandy River Cruise! Join Jean-Marc and me in Paris on November 8th. For more information, click here.
l'influx nerveux (uhn-floo-ner-veuh)
: nerve or nervous impulse
On entend souvent parler de relation entre barbe et influx nerveux ; ainsi, beaucoup de joueurs de foot ne se rasent pas avant un très grand rendez-vous, une finale, généralement, pour "garder leur influx nerveux". Qu'en est-il scientifiquement ?
We often hear about the relationship between beards and nervous impulse; therefore, a lot of soccer players don't shave before an important event, a finale--generally to "keep What does science have to say?
A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse
When Jean-Marc returned from his marathon wine hunt (Paris, Champagne and beyond), he looked like a caveman.
"Ça alors! A beard!" I said, opening the front door and welcoming my husband home.
"It's for tomorrow's semi-triathlon," Jean-Marc said, mumbling something about influx nerveux.
I gathered the barbe was one of those trucs or astuces--or things athletes did to put all chance on their side before a challenge. I'd heard of another, called chambre à part, where sportsmen sleep away from their wives the night of a big event. (Ten days apart and we had that one covered, I thought, as I pulled my husband close, planting a kiss on his furry face.)
The barbed truc or astuce seemed to work, for Jean-Marc made it across the finish line, some four hours after diving off the coast of Cassis. After completing two loops from the shore to the bouées, he got on his bike and pedaled to the town of Roquefort-la-Bédoule. All was going smoothly when he left his bike (back at the beach in Cassis) to run to the presqu'île of Port Miou. Along the way, the triathletes encouraged one another. "Bon courage! Allez!" they cheered, when passing.
Nearing la ligne d'arrivée, Jean-Marc needed to dispose of one of those energy gel packs. Approaching one of the race volunteers, he flashed a winning smile and pitched the plastic tube to the side of the road. "Veuillez la jeter pour moi?" he kindly asked, not seeing a trash can anywhere.
His troubles began when a race official, standing nearby and seeing the tail end of the exchange, held out a yellow card. Jean-Marc was sanctioned for littering! In the minute that followed a fiery argument erupted, ending when the official told Jean-Marc to run back and pick up the trash.
The fiasco may have shaved a few minutes off my barbed man's timing, but I like to think the irritation served to stimulate more of that influx nerveux--pushing Jean-Marc past the finish line.
Félicitations, mon chéri!
To comment on this post, click here.
ça alors! = well take a look at that!
la barbe = beard
le truc = trick, knack
une astuce = trick (or clever way to do something)
faire chambre à part = to intentionally sleep apart from your partner
la bouée = buoy
une presqu'île = peninsula
bon courage! = courage! good luck! hope all goes well
allez! = keep going!
la ligne d'arrivée = finish line
veuillez la jeter pour moi? = would you be so kind as to throw it away for me?
félicitations = congratulation
mon chéri (ma chérie) = my dear, my darling
My belle-mère, or mother-in-law, sends me these retro postcards. She's particular when it comes to postcard art, and is known to visit several shops before finding just the right card.
La Cigale et La Fourmis - a restaurant in Cassis... and a famous La Fontaine fable
- French Country Diary 2014 is available here - everyone's favorite weekly engagement calendar!
- Provençale design tablecloth
- Listen to this French music CD by Zaz
- Paris Metro bracelet. THE gift for a Francophile!
After retro postcards, we have retro shopfronts, or vitrines. How do you like this one? To comment on this post, click here.
Thanks for forwarding this post to a friend, who might like to sign up here for the free French Word-A-Day newsletter.
* extensive pronunciation exercises including supplementary help based on poetry, proverbs, familiar sayings, historical quotations and humor
* A guide to French pronunciation expressed in the phonetic symbols of the International Phonetic Association (IPA)
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