Bignonias always remind me of our home in Les Arcs, where the flowers clambored up and over the metal pergola beside our driveway, throwing shade onto the boules (or "pétanque" or "bocce ball") court just beyond. Our house in Les Arcs-sur-Argens was a 30-minute drive from Bagnols-en-Forêt, where my English friend, Michèle, had a "pied-à-terre", or second... Read more →

The iron campanile in Camaret-sur-Aygues, where the following drama takes place.... poursuivre (poor-sweevre) to chase In the town of Camaret-sur-Aygues, we had found good seats beneath the shady platane at an outdoor café when our luck took a swift turn for the worse. Our five-month-old chiot, Braise, had curled up beneath the table, her leash attached to... Read more →

Canvas: Toile, carte bancaire, papeterie and belle époque in French

French art and a classic car along the port in St. Tropez la toile (twal) noun, feminine canvas Françoise has not changed much in the three years since Mom and I have frequented her art shop. She still has her ballerina-thin figure and still paints cherry-red streaks through her chocolate-brown hair; the contrast is as stark as... Read more →

Jean-Marc's frangine. la frangine frahn-zheen noun, feminine sister (in informal French) . CHAPTER FROM BLOSSOMING IN PROVENCE When Jean-Marc's sister comes to stay with us, the kids want to touch their aunt's pink hair, ride in her orange car, and give up their beds for her comfort. Do you still live in a school bus and can... Read more →


In the town of Sérignan (Vaucluse) cafard (ka-far) noun, masculine 1. cockroach 2. melancholy, blues (depression) Chaque minute de cafard vous prive de soixante secondes de bonheur. Each depressing minute deprives you of sixty happy seconds. --Blas de Otero In books: Provence: The Collected Traveler: An Inspired Anthology & Travel Resource by Barrie Kerper . Chocolate cake.... Read more →


Season's Greetings from La Morra, Italy. Learn French in your car : a simple, direct approach to language learning. indigne (an-deen) adjective shameful, disgraceful, unworthy, worthless, inadequate Qui ne continue pas à apprendre est indigne d'enseigner. He who ceases to learn cannot adequately teach. --Gaston Bachelard * * * When my 9-year-old came running out to the... Read more →


Fruit and vegetable crates at a corner market in Orange (Vaucluse). une emplette (om-plet) noun, feminine a purchase When Max and his soeur cadette, Jackie, offer to ride their bikes to the bakery, I request a little detour along the way. "Please stop by the supérette. We're out of toilet paper!" The kids wrinkle their noses, complaining... Read more →


Braise (Brez) at her first harvest. Printed in French, Cuisine Et Vins De France features dozens of recipes in each issue along with articles on wine, cheese, appetizers, table decorations, and more. Subscribe to C&V here. la pourriture (poo ree tewr) noun, feminine 1. rotting, rot, decay 2. rottenness 3. stinker, louse (person) Proverb: Ce que tu... Read more →


A quiet corner in Marseilles. aisselle (ay-sel) noun, feminine armpit, underarm Jean-Marc's dear friend, Laurence, sits on the edge of Jackie's bed. Her long, wavy hair is pulled back into a clip, revealing her luminescent complexion, which is set off by dark Corsican eyes. "Coucou, ma puce," she says to my daughter, who was up heaving part... Read more →


Nothing to do with today's word... just a dog days photo taken in Draguignan. "My Life in France." In her own words, here is the captivating story of Julia Child's years in France, where she fell in love with French food and found 'her true calling.' une gourde (goord) noun, feminine 1. gourd, flask, canteen 2. simple... Read more →