Postcard from Brittany

Bréhat Island English Channel
Agapanthus flowers on the Island of Bréhat.

POSTCARD FROM BRITTANY

When we received an invitation for un mariage in Brittany, Jean-Marc planned a romantic escapade around this joyous event. We only had three days to vacation together, not counting travel time, but it was enough to mark the occasion of our 30th wedding anniversary. After careful research, my former fiancé put together an itinerary including two nights on the island of Bréhat, lunch above the beach in Saint-Sieuc (back on the mainland), and a half-day in the fortified town of St. Malo.

This ambitious périple surrounding his godson’s wedding filled me with doubts, especially after my husband announced we were limited to one carry-on suitcase. Given we were leaving the heatwave in La Ciotat for the rainy north coast—to tromp around a muddy island before heading to a formal affair—packing would be a challenge.

Sacrificing my hairdryer and clothes steamer, I packed two permapress robes, a satin jupe and chemise, two pairs of heels, a raincoat…. (I won’t bore you with the rest), and stepped onto our Volotea flight wearing white jeans and a cream-colored blazer that would hopefully go with all three dressy outfits. Wearing half my party attire, I felt somewhat stiffer than usual, especially for a full day of travel, but how else to keep a portion of my wardrobe pressed for the wedding?

As for my no-fuss Frenchman, he carried a lightweight cotton tote (compliments of our local pharmacy), and somehow managed to fit all his needs inside—with room to spare for my umbrella! The bright yellow floral print on his bag was an amusing contrast against his rugged exterior.

The drive to the airport, the plane ride, the rental car, and la vedette, went smoothly. However, when we stepped off the ferry boat late that afternoon to find a tractor waiting for us, any embarrassment I felt being the only tourist in white was overcome by panic. How to keep these party clothes clean if we were going to ride that muddy thing? This being a car-free island, it was ride the tractor or pédaler!

Soon enough another tractor arrived towing a tiny train behind it. Ouf! Boarding one of the train cars, we enjoyed a scenic tour of the island from the embarcadère to our friend’s house, on a bluff above the English channel, where we would séjour for two nights. Arriving at the little stone cottage, the view during high tide was breathtaking as the sun began to set on the orange horizon.

By morning, three little boats in the cove were temporarily stranded among the seagrass and rocks, making for another charming view from the large rock where we would drink our morning coffee and enjoy the evening apéro both nights. After a breakfast of pain au chocolat and café crème in Le Bourg, a ten-minute walk from our cottage, Jean-Marc suggested we set out to discover le phare du Paon on the northernmost part of the island. But I suddenly felt lazy on learning the distance. It was only four kilometers there and back, but we also had plans to walk to the southernmost end of the island by noon. As I stood there waffling over what to do, the following words tumbled out: “Je te suis!

I’ll follow you! This new mantra would be my ticket to overcoming indecision, hesitation, and always wanting (if not having) my way. With Jean-Marc in the lead, I was free to photograph the hortensias and the hollyhocks (Bréhat Island is classified as the flower island), the neat stone houses made of local rock, the island dogs, the bikes, the beaches, and coves at high tide and low.

We passed fields with cows, rocky beaches, and curious stone structures. During the peaceful marche, Jean-Marc admitted that one thing he loves about these little islands off the coast of Brittany is the feeling of insularity, or safety. Passing an unmanned stand brimming with produce and confitures, I understood what he meant. The little stand was packed with homemade jams, vibrant produce and there was even fresh-baked bread. A sign read: “Petit Marché. Servez-vous et laissez les sous dans la caisse s'il vous plaît.” Serve yourself and leave the money in the cash box.

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“This would not go over well in Marseille,” I giggled, to which Jean-Marc added, “No, they would take the goods and steal the cash!”

When Jean-Marc suggested lunch on the south coast, I resisted the urge to protest and instead said, “Je te suis!” I'm so glad I did. We discovered the island’s only sandy beach, La Plage du Guerzido, with an inviting terrace shaded by a parasol pine. Imagine that! Un pin parasol! We marveled at the exotic flora—jasmine, lavender, fig trees, and even pink tamaris from the desert—all thriving on this enchanting archipelago.

For our last evening, we enjoyed more local huitres, baked brandade de morue, and toasted to our full (and only) day on L'île de Bréhat, hoping to come back and rent a house and bring the family. (The only risk being rain! We were lucky for our sunny day, but rain is de rigueur on this little island along the English Channel. In that case, my family from Seattle would be right at home!)

The next morning we had café and croissants at Hotel Bellevue on the port before boarding la vedette back to the mainland. With time dwindling we hurried to the beach in Lancieux for lunch, before heading to our rental to clean up. Only, there were no sheets or towels in our apartment! (It's not uncommon in France to have to bring your own linens.) Undeterred, we used our t-shirts to dry after showering, and made it to the ancient église in time to see Julia and Baptiste walk down the aisle. I had to split my Kleenex in two when Jean-Marc’s eyes began watering, too! Did he also feel that quiver in his heart? There is something so tender, so innocent, so trusting about two souls uniting pour le meilleur et pour le pire, jusqu'à la mort vous sépare!

Next, we raced back to our résidence hôtelière to put sheets on our bed (Jean-Marc located a janitor who tossed him a duffel bag of bleached linens) and change for the dressy evening reception. Everything had gone incredibly smoothly up till now, so when I saw my horrible chipped toenail polish, pas de panique! I simply let it go. (I would not trade all that walking and sightseeing around the island for a perfect manicure!)

Back at the reception in a picturesque hameau, we joined the bride, groom, and over a hundred invités for a night of dining, dancing, and toasting to une vie à deux. I missed my chance to offer any guidance to the young couple, but now, in retrospect, I suppose one piece of advice I could give would be to incorporate this golden phrase, adopted on this romantic getaway: “Je te suis!” I will follow you! (And then to take turns saying it to each other throughout your marriage.)

Back on the airplane, buckled in and heading home, I am amazed at how smoothly our four-day race to Brittany went. Like the shores of Bréhat, where the tide comes in and goes out, so do our fears, doubts, needs, wants, and moods. We just have to keep our eyes on the horizon, remembering that every little thing will work itself out. As I sit next to Jean-Marc, I reflect on how this trip, with its minor challenges and beautiful moments, has reinforced our bond. “Je te suis, chéri,” I whisper, knowing that these words mean more than just a willingness to follow. They represent trust, love, and a lifelong partnership. No matter where life takes us, I pray we will navigate it together, sometimes leading, sometimes following, but always side by side.

***

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At the church in Saint-Lunaire, the bride and groom are cheered with a fleet of bubbles instead of rice.

Bride and groom
Jean-Marc watches his newly-wed filleul, or godson, and bride as the groom's parents give a speech at the evening reception.

Jean-Marc and Kristi July 2024
Picture taken at the wedding reception we attended on Friday night. I don't know if this is a cultural note, but at many events these days you will find a photo box where guests can ham it up and bring the photo souvenir home. Are you familiar with these?

Friends stone cottage
The property where we stayed while visiting Bréhat. This is our friend's cottage, and we stayed in the second cottage located in the spot where I am taking this picture.

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The charm of bicycles gliding past...

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COMMENTS
Your comments are enjoyed and your corrections are appreciated. Click here to leave a message.

REMERCIEMENTS
Sincere thanks to the following readers who recently sent in a blog donation. This truly is a reader-supported journal and I appreciate your help in publishing it week after week. Merci beaucoup! --Kristi

Ann B.
Jill F.
Jo B-R
Mary K.
John C.
Nancy C.
Marion J.
Colleen M.

Michelle M.
Jeanine WW

Merci Kristi pour tous les histoires merveilleuses. Elles font ma journée. —Nancy C.

Merci for your sharing your heartfelt journey with all of your readers! —Michelle M.

I appreciate and enjoy the engaging and beautiful writing of Kristin Espinasse. Kristi is both a wonderful story-teller and photographer. Thank you for your vivid glimpses of French family life. Merci, Kristi! —Marion J.

JM and tractor
We thought this was our ride! (Jean-Marc and our luggage, including his only tote. I like how the yellow flowers match his shorts :-)

Tractor train for Brehat Island
Finally, we spotted the tractor train coming up the long embarcadère, with its three cales (or docks). Depending on the tide, the boat will arrive at one of the 3 cales. The farthest is a 10 minute walk to the port.

FRENCH VOCABULARY

Audio File: click here to listen to the French and English terms below

le mariage = a wedding
le périple = journey
la jupe = skirt
la chemise = shirt
la vedette = the ferry
l'embarcadère = the dock
le séjour = stay
le phare du Paon = the Paon lighthouse
la marche = a walk
les hortensias = hydrangeas
le pain au chocolat = chocolate croissant
le café crème = coffee with cream (or rather milk)
le pin parasol = umbrella pine
l'hortensia = hydrangea
la lavande = lavender
les huitres = oysters
la brandade de morue = cod brandade
la vedette = ferry
l'église = church
une résidence hôtelière = a hotel residence
une vie à deux = a life together
un hameau = a hamlet
un invité = a guest
pour le meilleur et pour le pire = for better or for worse
jusqu'à la mort vous sépare = until death do us part
pas de panique = no panic
Je te suis = I will follow you
chéri = dear

Brehat Plage du Grand Guerzido
La plage de Guerzido

Fish in the window
Window on Bréhat Island

Palm tree on Brehat island
A palm tree on Brehat Island, along the English channel...
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Earlier I mentioned only one sand beach, clearly there are more!

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In St. Malo, a fortified town where we had lunch and a stroll.

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal each week. If you find joy or value in these stories and would like to keep this site going, donating today will help so much. Thank you for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

Ways to contribute:
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2.Paypal or credit card
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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


La Robe de Mariée: My Wedding Dress Conundrum

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Thirty years ago today, this snapshot from our mariage civil at La Bagatelle Town Hall in Marseille.

TODAY’S WORD: LA ROBE DE MARIÉE 

: wedding dress

"I chose my wife as she chose her wedding dress; not for its shiny and delicate appearance but because it would withstand the test of time."

J'ai choisi ma femme comme elle a choisi sa robe de mariée ; pas pour son apparence brillante et délicate mais parce qu'elle résisterait au temps. --Michel Polnareff

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

Today is our 30th wedding anniversary! To celebrate this meaningful occasion, Jean-Marc has reserved a table in Marseille, at the beautiful Calanque de Sormiou. It's the very place we dined three decades ago, following our civil ceremony. It will be a casual soirée, just us and our kidults, but when I found out about our plans I knew should wear something soigné.

Several days ago it occurred to me. What about my wedding dress? Did I still have it and would it fit?

Upstairs in the second chambre, I carefully climbed onto a chair and found the wedding dress above our dusty armoire in a vintage suitcase. Quelle chance! It was wrapped lightly in plastic from the dry cleaners. The cleaning tag was still stapled to the dress’s label. Nostalgic, I searched for the cleaning receipt but didn’t find it. Google estimates it would have cost 825 French francs (150 dollars back in the day!). I know I would not have paid that much to clean a dress, wedding, or otherwise. After all, it wasn’t an intricate garment, but a simple flowy-to-the-knees affair. My other, floor-length dress, was reserved for the church ceremony two months later. I see it didn’t do as well in storage, considering the large yellow stain on the front. Quel dommage!

I carefully slipped the little dress out of its bag, to find it was in good condition, if slightly off-white—but then maybe this was its original color? “Pearly”—fit for a 30th or “pearl anniversary". To think this delicate garment survived eight déménagements, amid the heat, the cold, the smoke, the inundations, the mold, and any little critters that might have altered its state.

Standing in awe examining my wedding dress of days gone by, I decided to try it on right there and then. To my surprise, it fit (it had the advantage of being an A-line dress, much more forgiving than my church dress, which would no longer button up the back…).

As for this little wedding dress, I now knew I could wear it! I thought to rush down and show my husband, but why not surprise him on our special day? Even if he planned on us arriving a few hours early, to swim in the calanque, I could always sit on a rock in the shade and try to stay put together for our nice dinner. Or maybe after all these years I might finally let go, enjoy a swim and then slip into the pretty dress, salty skin and all. No, I don’t think I’ve evolved enough to be this carefree.

Back to the dress…It was full of plis from being in the old suitcase. I wondered if I might simply steam out the wrinkles? But what if the heat damages it? You know what they say, "never iron or steam clothing that is soiled." Even if it wasn't dirty, could it be "marked" from time? Did I want to steam in those imagined marks? Why not do as the venerable fashion designer Vivian Westwood, and never clean your couture!

Just leave the dress as is, I decided, no marks, only a few wrinkles. You could treat it as a messy beach cover up! Then you could go swimming with your hubby. And hold your head high when you arrive for dinner. There, problem solved.

Except that the idea of wearing the dress as it was thirty years ago—new, pristine, and so pretty—would feel amazing on this special day!

Back to square one (or three…Where were we?) It didn't seem right to steam a dress that's been in storage so long. Alright, I  would take it to the dry cleaners. Even if it didn’t have “Le parfum du Temps” a cleaning would ensure it had a fresh scent.

Le Nettoyage à sec, however, presented further complications. Would it be ready in 4 days? After all, this is slow France! Voyons voir... Let’s see… On closer look, the tag inside said the dress was made of polyester. Not exactly a noble fabric, but un tissue that can be hand washed as far as I know. Hadn’t I handwashed polyester dozens of times? Then again, the tag inside read “dry clean only”… The gentle cycle in my machine à laver might be worth the risk, considering I would only be wearing it this one time (I can’t see myself unearthing it again for our 60th... then again, why not?). Still, it would be a shame to damage the dress.

Purée! I am beginning to develop decision fatigue. Enough! I'm taking it to the dry cleaners!

Feeling my energy return and, armed with a plan, I left one hour early to tackle what seemed an impossible mission here in France: to get anything done easily, logically, and on time. I am reminded of the time my brother-in-law, Doug, brought 7 shirts to the dry cleaners when we lived in St. Maximin and the owner immediately handed back 4. It is still a mystery why she refused the rest. "Everything is complicated in France," I explained to my brother-in-law, and from that point on I rarely visited le pressing (except to clean our down comforters which don't fit into our tiny washing machine).

Back to my plan of action: with Operation Wedding Dress underway, I would put all chance on my side by getting to the cleaners early. If the first establishment couldn't clean my dress, I had a second place in mind. But I did wonder, even if I found un pressing willing and able to clean my dress in 3 days, what would it cost? Looking at my dress, it didn't appear to be a wedding dress. The a-frame slip dress could be worn on other occasions, like the popular Soirée Blanche the French are so fond of during summertime, where all the guests wear white.

Finally, my guess was 30 euros for the dry cleaning.  Just don’t tell them it’s a wedding dress! Or the cost will double. Allons-y!

I collected my keys, ID, a few forms of payment, and the dress, and snuck past my husband. "I'll be back in an hour," I waved. On my way to the car, I said a little prayer. Remember, the Lord is your helper in big things and small. Speaking of small, what if the cleaners shrunk my dress?

Putting on my seatbelt, I shook off my doubts and hit the road... and before I knew it, I'd found a parking spot at the busy Carrefour Centre Commercial. I saw the sign for le pressing right away. So far so good.

The thin woman at the dry cleaners wore all black and a frown. “Bonjour,” I said.

(No reply.)

“Bonjour, Madame,” I repeated, remembering protocol. "Just a little question to begin with," I said, sweetly. “Are you able to clean a dress by Thursday?”

Montrez-la-moi,” came the curt response.

Taking the wedding dress out of my fourre-tout, I began to describe the situation. When I paused, before continuing on, the woman interrupted:

“That'll be 15 euros.”

“You mean it will be ready by Thursday?”

The woman nodded. "Would you like une carte de fidélité or is this an exceptional visit?”

“Oh, it’s exceptional!” I said, delighted at how simple this complicated process was after all.

I paid the 15 euros, thanked the dry cleaner, and headed to my car feeling as light and carefree as a fluttering wedding veil. Au fait, maybe I could have dry cleaned my veil too. Oh! I could think of a lot of outfits I could finally take to le pressing! On second thought, I should have gotten the loyalty card!

This little adventure just goes to show that maybe France isn't so slow or difficult after all. Perhaps it was my own mindset that needed a little pressing. With my dress now taken care of and our celebration on the horizon, I am eager to begin the second half of this French life--loyalty card in hand. Joyeux anniversaire, Mon Chéri!

 

Kristi Sormiou July wedding 1994 Marseille
Arriving with friends at la Calanque de Sormiou, July 4th, 1994. Now, just where did I store that hat? I think it got lost in the shuffle of so many moves.

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The happy day. At La Marie de Bagatelle in Marseille’s 8th arrondissement. 

REMERCIEMENTS
Sincere thanks to the following readers who recently sent in a blog donation. This truly is a reader-supported journal and I appreciate your help in publishing it week after week. Merci beaucoup! --Kristi

Ed T.
Tim W.
Rich M.
Mary B.
Rick C.
Owen E.
Carol H.
Rajeev B.
Marcia H.
Ginger B.
Edgar T.
Michele C.
C-Marie P.

God Bless You! --Owen E.
Dear Kristi, Look forward to your posts! Best regards to you and your family! Ginger B.

FRENCH VOCABULARY

Click here to listen to the French words

un mariage = wedding 

un anniversaire = anniversary
une Calanque = rocky inlet (specific to the Mediterranean coast)
une soirée = evening event
soigné = elegant, well-groomed
une chambre = bedroom
une armoire = wardrobe
quelle chance = what luck
quel dommage = what a pity
un déménagement = move (relocation)
une inondation = flood
un pli = wrinkle
un nettoyage à sec = dry cleaning
le parfum du temps = the scent of time
un tissu = fabric
une machine à laver = washing machine
purée = darn (mild exclamation)
le pressing = dry cleaner’s
allons-y = let’s go
bonjour = hello
bonjour, Madame = hello, ma’am
montrez-la-moi = show it to me
une carte de fidélité = loyalty card
un fourre-tout = tote bag
au fait = by the way
joyeux anniversaire = happy anniversary
mon chéri = my dear

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This past week, in another beautiful calanque, we had the chance to meet up with longtime readers Lou and Gary  (Boulder, Colorado) on Gary's 77th birthday. We also met Barbara and Paul and enjoyed lunch at our favorite Restaurant du Mugel.

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And last Sunday… Jean-Marc holding his bike after arriving at the top of Mont Ventoux. He is preparing for "L'Etape du Tour".
Thank you for reading today's edition through to the end. I'll be back in two weeks with more stories and photos. Happy summertime!

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal each week. If you find joy or value in these stories and would like to keep this site going, donating today will help so much. Thank you for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

Ways to contribute:
1.Zelle®, The best way to donate and there are no transaction fees. Zelle to [email protected]

2.Paypal or credit card
Or purchase my book for a friend and so help them discover this free weekly journal.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


"Mauviette": Getting Old is Not for Sissies

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Une abeille, un papillon, et une cigale. A bee, a butterfly, and a cicada. Street decorations above La Rue des Poilus in La Ciotat

Summer Reading: You might enjoy the book First French Essais, a collection of earlier episodes from this blog. The "essais" part is a play on words, which is explained in the chapter "Valorisant" about how I came to write this blog. Click here to read more.

TODAY'S WORD: LA MAUVIETTE

    : sissy

Vieillir, c'est pas pour les mauviettes.
Aging is not for sissies. —Betty Davis

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

Summer. La saison estivale has begun and I am up at the crack of dawn, partly because my dog wakes me early, and partly because my body is aching. Oh que j'ai mal! 

To soar like a butterfly, to have knees like the bees, or simply not to be sore upon waking… If only arthritis could be poetic. But it isn't, it's pathetic! These are my thoughts as I begin today's edition, attempting to match la photo du jour to the theme of our story about aches and pains.

Barely out of bed and already feeling pressed, I considered opting out of this morning's walk with Jean-Marc. Amidst thoughts of laundry, paperwork, meal planning, and a weekly blog deadline, I realized exercise is as much a priority as working. A stroll through my neighborhood will be the key to getting this creaky engine rolling. De plus, it will strengthen my bones, calm my mind, and exercise my social skills (I'll take brief interactions while out walking over a cocktail party any day!).

Closing our front door, I stretch my sore legs and notice the stiffness in my lower back. Hopefully, these douleurs articulaires will ease with a little warm-up. As I step outside the front gate, the blooming laurier rose and vibrant blue plumbago lift my spirits if not my posture (that will take some mindfulness). Orange trumpet vines, roses, and purple bougainvillea brighten our neighborhood, as seagulls glide by effortlessly. If exercise fails to set me straight, nature will, coloring my thoughts in vivid hues to lighten the mood.

Halfway into our balade matinale, I turn to my husband. "I'm going to pick up Mom’s meds. I'll catch up to you after." With that, I cross the road while Jean-Marc heads down to les roches plates to swim with les chiens (we're dog sitting today). Ricci won't like the water, but she is a willing nageuse, if only to quickly return to shore once Jean-Marc gently lowers her into the water. Izzy, Ana’s beagle, will opt out in favor of playing lifeguard from her perch on one of the rocks above the sea coast.

At the pharmacy, after filling Mom’s prescriptions, I hesitate before leaving. “Could you help me with something else?” I ask la pharmacienne. “When I wake up in bed, I'm sore from my hip to my knee. The pain radiates from inside my bones so strongly that I have to get up and walk around for the aching to stop. No more sleeping in. C’est fini la grasse matinée!

The pharmacist smiled knowingly. "C'est l'âge. What you are experiencing is a mixture of inflammation, hormones, and menopause. Suivez-moi." The woman in the lab coat led me past knee wraps, canes, and Ensure to a shelf of herbal supplements. I keep thinking that surely, by looking at me, she will realize this is not my category. Only, when I study her face it looks very much like mine. She's not yet 60 and yet...

"I had the same aches and pains," she confides.

"Had? Do you mean they will go away on their own?"

"Pas vraiment. They'll just change places." She points to her elbow, shoulder, and neck. "Eh, oui," she sighs. I'm reminded of the daily phone conversations with my older sister, Heidi, who suffered from pain in her arm all last year. “It's just tendonitis,” I assured her. (To think it was probably arthritis all along. La pauvre!)

My confidant hands me a box labeled “Flex Max Articulations” (for flexibilité, mobilité, comfort articulaire). This magic potion has curcuma, glucosamine sulfate, chondroitine sulfate, collagen, and vitamins C, D, manganese and costs 24€99.

“Take two a day.”

Putting the herbal supplement in my basket, I’m feeling a mixture of hope and regret (if only my sister had these pills!).  As for the aches and pains, “C’est juste l’effet de grandir,” I tell the pharmacist and so convince myself I am only growing up!

C’est ça.” The pharmacist smiles. I take a moment to appreciate her openness and the fact that we are relating to each other beside the stacks of diapers that may very well be a part of our futures. If it ever gets to that point, I’ll know who to go to for help: this friendly woman, the same vintage as me, who is going through similar little miseries.

As for ces petites misères, I think of those a decade or two, or three, or four older than me. How is everyone out there feeling?
Aging is not for sissies! I'm reminded, only I don’t know how to share this with the pharmacist, in French. Besides, at only 56, I can’t be sure I’m no longer a sissy. In such redoubtable circumstances, it helps to focus on community: aging is the opportunity to move beyond brief social encounters to nourish new friendships. As the pharmacist handed me the supplements, I realized growing older isn’t just about aches. It’s about forming new connections.  Indeed, aging is not for sissies—it’s for sisters.
  

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From my photo archives: a pharmacy in Paris


COMMENTS
Your comments are enjoyed and your corrections are appreciated.
Click here to leave a message

15b57f3c-9dc6-464a-83d3-63142891e9c5
My son Max and I were at a baptism this past weekend, along with all the family.

REMERCIEMENTS
Sincere thanks to the following readers who recently sent in a blog donation. This truly is a reader-supported journal and I appreciate your help in publishing it week after week. Merci beaucoup! --Kristi

Anne W.
Mary M.
Diane H.
Susan B.
Edred F.

Wendy K.
Cheryl M.
Jeanne G.

Cecilia DA
John and Jana M.

J’adore French-Word-A-Day! —Diane H.

Thank you, Kristin. Your newsletter is a blessing.
--John and Jana M.

I always enjoy your lovely e-letters Kristi (whenever I find the time to read them!). They highlight the commonality of our human experiences, beautifully expressed. . . . and I am right at home, being Franco-American! Take good care, --Cecilia

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In the neighborhood near the flat rocks, les roches plates.

FRENCH VOCABULARY

Click here to listen to Jean-Marc pronounce the French terms

la mauviette
= sissy
la saison estivale = summer season
la photo du jour = photo of the day
de plus = moreover
les douleurs articulaires = joint pains
le laurier rose = oleander
la balade matinale = morning walk
les roches plates = flat rocks
les chiens = dogs
la pharmacienne = pharmacist
c’est fini la grasse matinée = no more sleeping in
c’est l'âge = it's age
suivez-moi = follow me
le confort articulaire = joint comfort
la flexibilité = flexibility
la mobilité = mobility
c’est juste l’effet de grandir = it’s just a fact of growing up
c’est ça = that's right

Izzy and JM mehari car
On the way to the beach. Photo of Jean-Marc and Izzy (Ana's dog) from last summer. Cultural note: here is another popular car in our beach town: the Méhari by Citroën. There is a Méhari club in nearby Cassis. I love to see them and wouldn't mind driving one just inside the limits of La Ciotat. Forget navigating on the freeway in one of these!

IMG_3192-EDIT_Original
La bignone or trumpet vine along the narrow passage above the flat rocks beach. And that’s Ricci, bounding forth, her happiest ever in the ninth month since we adopted her at the age of three-and-a-half.

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal each week. If you find joy or value in these stories and would like to keep this site going, donating today will help so much. Thank you for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

Ways to contribute:
1.Zelle®, The best way to donate and there are no transaction fees. Zelle to [email protected]

2.Paypal or credit card
Or purchase my book for a friend and so help them discover this free weekly journal.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety