Poisson d'Avril

P1000911
It's April Fish Day in France and Smokey's hunting for a live one... Smokey Dear, you still don't get it, do you? But then, I don't understand how the French got "fish" from "fool" either ("fool ish"?).

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Poisson d'Avril! (pwah soh(n) dah vreel)

    : April Fool!

Audio File: listen to Jean-Marc pronounce the words in the following sentence: Download MP3 or Wav

Attention à votre dos... aujourd'hui, c'est "Poisson D'Avril"!
Watch your back... today's is "April 'Fish' Day"!

 

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

Today is April Fool's Day and all across France people are minding their backs... lest a sneaky jester attempt The Paper Fish Attack!

In addition to inventing histoires (and oh, by the way, this is the very last "word-a-day"!), the French will be fashioning paper cutouts (shaped like un poisson) in time to tape them on some aloof one's back. (So soyez prudents and be on your guard!) 

At the venerable age of thirteen, Jackie tells me she is too old for the traditional fish cutout, that she and her friends will be honoring the tradition by taping embarrassing notes to each others dos:"Tapez-moi" and "Je suis nul(le)" rate among the most popular signs.

I think the blagueurs would do well to expand their repertoire: in place of "Hit Me!" and "I'm a Dork!", they might embarrass their targets by tacking on one of these messages:

"J'ai besoin de tendresse!"
I need love!

"J'adore les guili-guili!"
I love tickles!

"Chantez-moi une chanson d'amour"
Sing me a love song!

Chuchotez dans mes oreilles, SVP!
Whisper in my ears, please!

Voilà. Up to you to procure a roll of tape and a pair of ciseaux in time to design your own Fish crimes! Colleagues, teachers, bus drivers, babies, grandparents... all are fair game today! 


Le Coin Commentaires
Join us now in the community corner. Ask and answer each others questions and help to make this an enriching place in cyberspace. (P.S. is it April Fool's or April Fools' ?)  Click here to leave a message


French Vocabulary... followed by Related "April Fool" Terms

une histoire = a "story" (as in "tall story")
un poisson = fish
le dos = back
Tapez-moi! = Hit me!
Je suis nul(le)! = I'm a zero!
blagueur/blagueuse
m/f = jokers, jokesters

Related Terms on April Fools'
se gausser = to mock
un canular = a hoax
faire un canular à quelqu'un = to play a hoax on someone
une plaisanterie = a joke
accrocher un poisson = to stick a fish (on another's back)
la victime du canular = the victim of the prank

 

April Fools and paper fish for Poisson d'Avril in France tradition (c) Kristin Espinasse
Back in the day... Jackie made these when she was 8-years-old. Read about them, click here - you'll also read about the roof tile thief!

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


"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."
--Jacqueline


gober

Boats (c) Kristin Espinasse)
Marseilles is the setting for today's story. (Photo taken in the fishing village of Callelongue).

Who hasn't had the fantasy of leaving his or her old life behind to start over? What would happen if you gave up your job, city, state, and routine to move to another part of the world? Critically acclaimed writer and aspiring painter James Morgan does just that. Risking everything, he and his wife shed their old, settled life in a lovingly restored house in Little Rock, Arkansas, to travel in the footsteps of Morgan's hero, the painter Henri Matisse, and to find inspiration in Matisse's fierce struggle to live the life he knew he had to live. Part memoir, part travelogue, and part biography of Matisse, Chasing Matisse proves that you don't have to be wealthy to live the life you want; you just have to want it enough. Order "Chasing Matisse", here:

gober (go-bay) verb
  : to swallow, to scarf, to gulp down

Also:
se gober: to think a lot of oneself, to fancy oneself
un gobeur, une gobeuse = one who is gullible

And... ever heard of the word "gobe-mouche"? It means, literally, "fly-gobbler" and it is another word for someone who believes everything he hears. Can't you just picture those flies heading, one by one, into the mouth of the astonished (jaws dropped) listener of fantastic stories?

:: Audio File ::
Listen to my daughter, Jackie, pronounce "gober un oeuf" (gobble an egg): Download gober.mp3 .Download gober.wav

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A_day_in_a_french_life
Hallelujah and Dieu merci* that I don't have to translate for a living. After re-writing my brother-in-law's story (originally penned in French), and sweating over certain words, I can certainly sympathize with any interpreters who have ever hiccupped before an unfriendly English equivalent....

The "Gober"* story held a wee dilemma or deux* in the translation department... c'est-à-dire*: what might sound all right in French, can sound altogether awkward in English. For this reason, I admit to having experienced a bout of creative amnesia (particularly near the last paragraph) while transcribing today's story. The convoluted truth is: I "forgot" the English equivalents to all of the doubtful words... and that is how they got dumped.

That said, you can see most of the story here now (in English)... or read the entire story (in French) here.

                         "Gober Un Oeuf" by Jacques Espinasse

Back in the beginning of the eighties, already 28 years ago, the southern quarters of Marseilles stretched out into the magnificent neighborhoods of "Mazargues", "Bonneveine", "La Vieille Chapelle", and "La Pointe Rouge"... not to mention "Le Parc du Roy d'Espagne" located near the hills of "Marseilleveyre" beyond which the famous calanques* of Sormiou, Morgiou, and Sugiton bring great joy to the Marseillais.

The neighborhoods, back then, were not yet exploited by those rich, unscrupulous property developers. Over time, though, the builders eventually bought up the great family farms where "natural" vegetables and fruits grew, and where chickens laid their eggs each day, eggs that delighted me twice each week.

My mother, between two piqûres* (she was a district nurse who made house calls) would stop by one of these farms to buy lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, artichokes... and seasonal fruit: strawberries, cherries, peaches, apricots... but what I looked forward to the most, each time she went to the farms, were those fresh eggs--laid that very day. In fact, when I was little, my greatest delight was to "gober un oeuf"!*

That might seem strange, but I did this with the help of a sewing needle, punching a little hole at each end of the egg, then sucking down the precious contents. It is really a very good treat and, what's more, it's all year long--as chickens don't have seasons!

These days, unfortunately, not one of the farms that my mother visited can be found... as apartment buildings have "grown" in the place of vegetables and fruit trees. Once in a while, though, I still have the chance to "gober un oeuf". Fortunately, in the arrière-pays* of Marseilles, one can still find a few of these fermes,* the owners of which knew how to resist the land developers who do not know the pleasure of eating a farm fresh egg.

                                          *     *     *
Pssst: If you liked Jacques' story, why not drop him a line and let him know? Email him at Jacques.Espinasse [AT] gmail.com  (replace [AT] with @).


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~References~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dieu merci = thank God; gober = to gobble; deux = two; c'est-à-dire = that is to say; la calanque (f) = rocky inlet (from the sea); une piqûre (f) = injection; gober un oeuf = to gobble an egg; l'arrière-pays (m) = hinterland; la ferme = farm


~~~~~~~~~~~Shopping~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Painless French: grammar, pronunciation, idioms, idiocies (culture) and more!

Songs in French for Children

Lego Make & Create Café Corner:

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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"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."
--Jacqueline


chandelle

Santonpainter
A santon maker in Marseilles

French Before You Know It Deluxe--quickly learn to understand and speak 1,000 common French words and 250 essential phrases.

la chandelle (shahn-del) noun, feminine
  candle

French proverb:
  Le jeu n'en vaut pas la chandelle.
  The game is not worth the candle.



                                                        Column_39
All good things must come to an end and in Provence santons* are no exception. On February 2nd, at Candelmas* (what the French call "Chandeleur") the meticulously arranged crèche is finally taken down and the colorful santon figurines are carefully put away. That's when the party begins--for February 2nd is also known as Crêpe Day!

Regretfully, our family didn't have any hand-painted santons to store, but boy did we put away the pancakes! When Jean-Marc couldn't find his mother's crêpes recipe, he rolled up his sleeves and made the batter "au pif"*--mixing together a bunch of flour, several eggs, a drenching of milk, a dash of salt, a swirl of warmed butter and a few tears of water.

Meanwhile, I prepared the fillings tray: the salty and sugary additions that would top off the delicate crêpes. The salé* selections included gruyère, ham, tarama,* smoked salmon and hummus. As for the dessert crêpes, we had sugar for sprinkling and other sweet spreadables including fig jam, caramel sauce, chestnut purée, Nutella and Aunt Marie-Françoise's lavender honey. Missing were the whipped cream and my mother-in-law who, if she were here (instead in Marseilles preparing sarrasin* crêpes for her neighbor) would've loved a drop or two of lemon juice and a powdering of cinnamon to go with the sugar on her crêpes.

Jean-Marc had pre-cooked the crêpes for reheating at the dinner table, this, thanks to the handy dandy "crêpes party" machine (a Teflon coated unit with six mini pancake shaped warmers). Because I didn't see my husband grilling the cakes, I can't be sure if he remembered to flip the cakes with the right hand while holding a coin in the left (an old French "recipe" for prosperity (and good crops!!!).

Some say the golden, round crêpes are reminiscent of the sun and, therefore, the coming of printemps.* While our pancakes reminded me of those things, the golden disks had me thinking of back home where the Arizona desert is lit by the large chandelle* in the sky. I remembered my nieces and nephews, little southwestern marmots who were probably just coming out of a long slumber in time to celebrate Groundhog's day; up in time to enjoy my sister's homemade waffles (a sort of square shouldered, dimply-cheeked big brother to the dainty crêpe and, in my experience, all the better for hogging).

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References: santon and candlemas (see "additional references", below); au pif = "by the nose" (by guesswork); salé = salty; tarama = a pink-colored, fish roe-based creamy spread; le sarrasin (m) = buckwheat; le printemps (m) = springtime; la chandelle (f) = candle

Additional references:
santon (from en.wikipedia.org): In Provence, in the South of France, nativity scenes are sometimes composed of hundreds of small painted clay figurines, called santons, representing all the traditional trades and professions of old Provence.

Candlemas (definition from Dictionary.com) : a church festival, February 2, in honor of the presentation of the infant Jesus in the Temple and the purification of the Virgin Mary: candles are blessed on this day.


Audio Clip : Hear Jean-Marc pronounce the French word for candle in today's proverb: Download Chandelle.wav
Le jeu n'en vaut pas la chandelle

Terms & Expressions:
chandelle de cire = wax candle
chandelle de veille = rush candle
chandelle de glace = icicle
moucher la chandelle = to snuff the candle
voir trente-six chandelles = to see stars
le dîner aux chandelles = dinner by candlelight
le jeu n'en vaut pas la chandelle = it's not worth it (not worth one's while)
brûler la chandelle par les deux bouts = to burn the candle at both ends
tenir la chandelle = (literally "to hold the candle") to play gooseberry, to be a third wheel

In Books & Gifts:
Gourmet 8-Person Raclette Grill -- Perfect for grilling and reheating crêpes!
Red flower french lavender candle and scented petals
Savon de Marseille/Marseille Soap with Pure Crushed Local Flowers
Watercolor Journeys: Create Your Own Travel Sketchbook

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


"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."
--Jacqueline


un filleul

Filleul
(photo of my husband, Jean-Marc, and his filleul, Matthieu)

Easy_speak_frenchEazyspeak French teaches 800 vocabulary words; quickly extends conversational skills

un filleul (fee-yul) noun, masculine
1. godson, godchild

Also:
filleule = goddaughter
filleul de guerre = adoptive son (in wartime)

Mon filleul va bientôt partir, ainsi la guerre va devenir plus personnelle pour moi. My godson is going over soon, so the war's about to get personal for me. --Garry Trudeau.

                                                                          Column_5
"I love Marseilles. When I was young, I loved to feel the Mistral wind blowing through me. I would stand still and just let it whip through my hair. I can no longer bear the Mistral. But I still love Marseilles." --Mme. Chollet

In the spice-scented salon* of the Chollet's home, I marvel at four generations of French women, one as beautiful as the next. The great-grandmother, with her dark chocolate brown hair and large clip-on earrings, recounted her passion for the windy city. Curiously, her lust for Massalia* skipped a generation, to her granddaughter. Her very own daughter (seated beside her, dressed all in black and looking very Cannoise*) prefers La Côte d'Azur, explaining, "Les Marseillais* are violent like the wind that blows through their city! The wind is mild in Cannes."

I sat facing my friend Corinne, her mother, and grandmother, thinking about how my feelings for a city that I once called home had changed. I didn't always like Marseilles. At one point I despised it. Returning now, as a visitor, I am enchanted by this historical town founded by the Greeks over 2600 years ago.

Earlier, as we motored through the 8th arrondissement, past the Bagatelle (where Jean-Marc and I were first married, but that is another story...) I found myself wondering how, newly arrived, I could not see the charm and beauty of this ancient city. Back then, Marseilles felt like a perpetual attack on this desert rat. (I would not recommend moving from warm, dry Phoenix to cold, windy Marseilles; Chicago to Marseilles, why not, but Phoenix/Marseilles--forget it!)

The cruel wind, the absence of a "user friendly" anything, the aggressive, unsympathetic government employees who threatened to deport me, and the lack of edible tortillas were just a few elements that wrecked havoc on the successful integration of this Phoenician, in a town founded by the Phocaeans.*

But now, 14 years later, I can't help but be caught up in the whirl of this action-packed, passionate, multi-ethnic ville.* Marseilles IS violent. Like its famous Mistral wind, it kicks, pushes, whirls, stomps, spits, and sometimes slams, daring you to cling right back to it, for the ride of your life.

My first child came into this world via Marseilles, kicking and screaming like the wind, which might explain his constant joie de vivre. (My daughter was born in Aix-en-Provence, and is reserved like the Aixois, or citizens of Aix.)

But, returning to our story, and to the Chollet's cozy salon, we were about to celebrate the birthday of a little guy who had just turned two. Matthieu, pronounced "ma-tyeuh," is my husband's filleul* (and the birthday boy in question).

Matthieu's mother, Corinne, had prepared five desserts for the celebration and, knowing what a good cook she is, I got in line illico* to sample the gateau au chocolat,* crumble au poires,* Madeleines, gateau au yaourt* and a brownie...or two.

Next we watched the birthday boy (dressed in a t-shirt that read "J'ai 2 ans!" I'm 2!) boogie and chanter.* And what did he sing? A song about St. Tropez! I take it that passion for Marseilles has just skipped another generation.

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References: le salon (m) = the living room; Massalia = Marseilles' original name; une Cannoise = a woman from Cannes; les Marseillais = the people of Marseilles; Phocaeans = inhabitants of an ancient district of central Greece; une ville (f) = a city; un filleul (m) = godson; illico = right away; gâteau au chocolat (m) = chocolate cake; crumble aux poires = pear crumble; gâteau au yaourt (m) = yogurt cake; chanter = to sing

Hear French spoken:
Listen to Jean-Marc recite today's quote: Download filleul2.wav
Mon filleul va bientôt partir, ainsi la guerre va devenir plus personnelle pour moi.

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


"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."
--Jacqueline


The muguet tradition in France: Lily of the Valley sold on French street corners on May 1st

le muguet (mew-geh) n.m.

 : lily of the valley

Question: So what are the French doing today, the first of May, besides la grasse matinée?

Answer: Waving snow-white porte-bonheurs through the air and wishing each other good luck!

Muguet lily of the valley lys des vallees, may 1st French tradition Along little cobblestone paths in the French hinterland, and at noisy intersections across the city, French vendeurs de muguet are taking over street curbs with buckets of lilies of the valley and shouting Le muguet du premier mai!--cashing in on today's national holiday, Labor Day (or La Fête du Travail).

On May 1st it is the custom to offer loved ones little bouquets of those sweet-scented, clochette-shaped flowers--in a gesture of friendship and in celebration of spring. It's la Fête du Muguet!


Today, commerçants are handing out the friendship flowers: the butcher (who should be off work, non?) is offering un brin de muguet to his faithful clients and some fancy boxed cakes have been seen leaving the chocolate shop with the little white flowers--les lys des vallées--tucked beneath the shiny ribbons that fasten the boxes.

"Ah, bon?" My mother-in-law replies over the phone, étonnée. "Shopkeepers here in Marseilles don't offer muguet!"

After a moment of silence, she quietly admits that no one has ever offered her a bouquet of muguet des bois.... But that doesn't stop my belle-maman from taking un petit brin to her 'little neighbor' downstairs, a custom she took up several years ago, to add cheer to the lonely foyer of another forgotten heart.

Selling lily of the valley muguet in bandol france port on may 1st fete du travail
Woman selling lily of the valley at her tiny pop-up stand on the port of Bandol

                                       
Bonne Fête du Muguet! Good luck to you in the challenges you face--bon courage wherever on this globe you may call home

The following lyrics are from the beloved French folk singer George Brassens. Check out his music 

Le premier mai c'est pas gai / The first of May is not cheerful
Je trime a dit le muguet / I slave away, said the lily of the valley
Dix fois plus que d'habitude / Ten times more than usual
Regrettable servitude / A regrettable encumbrance

Muguet, sois pas chicaneur / Muguet, don't be a quibbler
Car tu donnes du bonheur / Because you make people happy...
Brin d' muguet, tu es quelqu'un... / Little bouquet of lily, you are somebody...
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FRENCH VOCABULARY
faire la grasse matinée = "to do the fat morning" (to sleep in); un porte-bonheur (m) = lucky charm; vendeur, vendeuse de muguet = lily of the valley seller; Le muguet du premier mai! = The First of May's Lily of the Valley (buy some now)!; lys des vallées = lily of the valley, la clochette (f) = bell; commerçant(e) (adj) = businesslike; commerçant(e) (mf) = shopkeepers; Ah, bon? = oh, really?; étonné(e) = puzzled; le muguet des bois (m) = "lily of the woods" (woodruff); la belle-maman (f) = mother-in-law; un petit brin (m) = "a little blade" (a little bouquet); coo-toom (pronunciation for 'coutume' (f) = custom

AUDIO FILE--hear my son, Max, pronounce the word 'muguet':
Download muguet.wav

When you order via Amazon your purchase helps support this word journal... 

Floral Lily Of The Valley Luxury Hand Cream, order here

Lily of the Valley cup and saucer - Fine English bone china

Lily of The Valley by Yardley of London for Women Eau De Toilette Spray, order here.

6 Very Large, Fresh, Plump Lily of the Valley Bare Root Plants

children at church fountain in Bandol France on May 1st muguet fete du travail plane platane tree
People relaxing and children playing on the premier mai, or fête du travail in Bandol, France.

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


"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."
--Jacqueline


le toit

Les Toits = French rooftops (c) Kristin Espinasse
Les toits / Rooftops

Overheard in the car on the way to school this morning:
"Eh, Jackie--attention à ton dos aujourd'hui!"
(Hey, Jackie--watch your back today!)

I don't think 9-year-old Max needs to worry about his little sister. Jackie got up early to cut out and color her paper fish... now all she needs is a kilometer of tape and she can "pin" fish until her thumb begins to pulse.

Watch your back today, lest you be the target of this old French practical joke in which the joker tapes a paper fish to your back and shouts "Poisson d'avril!" (April Fool!) when the jig is up!

le toit (twa) noun, masculine
  1. roof

Expressions:
habiter sous les toits = to live in an attic flat
le toit du monde = the roof of the world
avoir un toit = to have a roof over one's head
chercher un toit = to look for a place to live
vivre sous le même toit = to live under the same roof


Un compromis fait un bon parapluie, mais un mauvais toit.
Compromise makes a good umbrella, but a bad roof.
--Robert Lowell

..................................................
A Day in a French Life...

(A true story about a former neighbor in a former village. Our home was attached to the same row of homes as his--and it's a good thing we weren't sharing roofs... read on and find out why.)

                                      *     *     *

What do you do when you are a good-looking, but dirt poor sculptor whose roof tiles are crumbling?

You wait until the Provence sky turns black and the diamond specks begin to pop into view, one by one across the now glittering ciel.* When the campanile* strikes two, you ease open your chipped, on-their-last-limb shutters, slip out from your third floor window, hoist your firm fesses* up to your dilapidated roof...

...inch over to the roof of le voisin* and, one by one, lift his roof tiles, returning chez vous,* to replace, one by one, your own broken tiles with those of your neighbor

Only your neighbor, the aging Italian immigrant and sometime insomniac, does not fall like flies (as all the village women do) before your physique--and he is not charmed senseless by your sweet talk. He wants his roof tiles back--tout de suite -- or he's sending les flics! And they won't drop like flies before your good looks. But your roof tiles will. Oh, your roof tiles will!

...................................................................................................................
*References: le ciel (m) = sky; le campanile (m) = bell-tower; la fesse (f) = buttock (les fesses = buttocks, bottom); le voisin (m) = neighbor; chez vous = your place (your home); tout de suite! = pronto; le flic (m) = cop, policeman

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


"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."
--Jacqueline


un voile

Voile = veil

Jean-Marc and I celebrated ten years of marriage this past weekend. Don't miss today's story about how the bride almost missed her wedding.

voile(vwal) noun, feminine
1. a sail

voile (vwal) noun, masculine
1. a veil

Also:
un voile de mariée = a bride's veil
un bateau à voiles = a sailing boat
un voile noir = a blackout (fainting)
un voile de nuages = a cloud veil

Expressions:
mettre les voiles = to leave (to take off, to scram, to hit the road...)
un voile de larmes = a blur of tears
faire de la voile = to go sailing or yachting
prendre le voile = to take the veil, to enter into religion
sous le voile de la religion = under the cloak, mask of religion
avoir du vent dans les voiles = to have wind in one's sailes = to be drunk
marcher à voile et à vapeur = to go both ways (in romance, to like both men and women)

.........................
Citation du Jour:

La vie quotidienne aliène et voile la vraie vie, la vie quotidienne permet trop de compromis.

Daily life alienates and veils real life, daily life allows too much compromise. --Hélène Rioux

............................................
A Day in a French Life...

The story of my wedding ceremony originally appeared here and is now part of this book

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


"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."
--Jacqueline


un rang

Vendange2004_007

un rang (rah or rahng--silent n & g) noun, masculine
1. a row; line
2. a country road
3. station
4. rank

Also:
un rang de perles = a string or rope of pearls
deux (trois, quatre...) jours de rang = two (three, four...) days in a row

..........................
Expressions:
en rangs serrés = in close order
de premier rang = first class, first rate
de haut rang = noble, of high ranking
du plus haut rang = of highest standing
formez vos rangs! = fall in!
par rang d'âge/de taille = in order of age, of size
le rang social = social status
rompre les rangs = to break ranks; to fall out
se mettre sur un rang = to get in line
serrer les rangs = to close ranks, to close up
sortir du rang = to rise from the ranks
se mettre sur les rangs = to come forward as a candidate

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Citation du Jour

C'est à notre coeur à régler le rang de nos intérêts, et à notre raison de les conduire.

It is up to our heart to settle the order of our interests, and up to our reason to drive them. --Vauvenargues

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A Day in a French Life...

(The story that originally appeared here, with the vocabulary below, is now part of the book "Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love and Language from the South of France.")

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*References: un pape (m) = a pope; un galet (m) = a pebble; les retrouvailles (nfpl) = the reunion; sécateur (m) = pruning shears; un seau (m) = a pail, bucket; sain (adj) = healthy; la pourriture (f) = rot; le fouloir = the grape crusher; une cuve (f) = the tank; chef d'équipe = man in charge of the workers; le repas (m) = meal; les rangs (m) = rows (of vines)

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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--Jacqueline


vendanger

Vendange2004_001_5

We spent yesterday grape harvesting at Uncle Jean-Claude's vineyard in Chateauneuf du Pape. More about that demain!

la vendange (von-donzh) noun, feminine
1. grape harvest; grapes (harvested); grape crop

vendanger (von-don-zhay) verb
1. to pick or to harvest grapes

And:
une vendangeuse, un vendangeur = a grape picker
une bonne vendange = a good vintage
les vendanges = grape harvesting time
un vendangeoir = a grape-picker's basket
la vendange en vert = a green harvest (crop/cluster thinning)

Expressions:
vendanger une vigne = to harvest a vine
pendant les vendanges = during the grape harvest
faire les vendanges = to harvest or pick the grapes
vendanger de bonne heure = to get an early start on the harvesting

Citation du Jour
Comme les vendanges, les amours tardives* sont les plus délicieuses.--Jean Amadou
(Like the grape harvest, love gathered late is the most delicious.)

A "vendange tardive" is a "late harvest" (for sweeter grapes).

Families of the Vine : Seasons Among the Winemakers of Southwest France "Sanders’s book brings contemporary winemaking in France to life....Absorbing and informative." --Library Journal 

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


"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."
--Jacqueline