Two Milestones: News about Jean-Marc and Jackie

Jackie Jean Marc Max Kristi at Vin Sobre Wine shop La Ciotat
Photo of our family in Le Vin Sobre wine shop--a project Jean-Marc has been working on all summer. The doors officially opened, here in La Ciotat, on Friday. (left to right: Jackie, Jean-Marc, Max, and Kristi.)

Today's word: vieille canaille

    : old scoundrel

Click here to listen to the following sentence
Bonjour, c'est Jean Marc. Je vous invite à venir visiter ma cave à vin - épicerie fine à La Ciotat. Vous y découvrirez toutes mes sélections ainsi qu'une section intitulée "vieilles canailles".

Hi, Jean-Marc here. I invite you to visit my wine shop/épicerie fine in La Ciotat. You will discover all my best selections as well as a section called "old scoundrels".*

"Old scoundrels, here, refer to Jean-Marc's old vintages, for sale at the shop.


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE
, by Kristi Espinasse

Two Milestones

The picture, above, was snapped moments before we took our daughter to the train station in Marseilles.  Her voyage to Miami, where she began bartender school on Monday, was about to begin. Sometime last year our youngest began a transition, leaving behind her fashion studies in France to find work in the States. The job she found at the Ritz Carlton, serving drinks and occasionally helping as barback, awakened a longtime interest in mixology. Voilà for the first milestone which passed the week of her 22nd birthday (which is today, September 18th! Happy Birthday, Jackie!!).

The second milestone belongs to Jean-Marc, who opened his Vin Sobre wine shop here in La Ciotat on Friday! He could not have known when he began his journey into winemaking that he would end up here. But, if there is one thing I am learning, "to end up somewhere" is not in his vernacular.

There is no "end," only a day to day trek towards the future. Happy travels to all and, should you find yourself in the area of La Ciotat, please enjoy a rest stop along your journey... at the Vin Sobre wine shop, located conveniently off the motorway :-)

Le Vin Sobre La Ciotat
45 Voie Ariane, 13600 La Ciotat
Tel : 09 88 06 18 58 - 06 65 21 35 92
Instagram : @le_vin_sobre_la_ciotat
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/LeVinSobreLaCiotatCaveAVinEpicerieFine/ 

Vin sobre cave wine shop la ciotat

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Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue doing what I love most: sharing vocabulary and cultural insights via these personal stories from France. Your contribution is vivement appréciée! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
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"Bonjour, Kristin, I have enjoyed your blog now for a great number of years, watching your children grow up, your moves from house to house, enjoying your stories and photos and your development as a writer. It's way past time for me to say MERCI with a donation to your blog...which I've done today. Bien amicalement!"--Gabrielle


Freedom & Fer: L’homme est né libre et partout il est dans les fers.

Bird tracks on the beach and the sea
Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains. Don't miss the translation, below.

Today's Word: le fer

    : iron
    : shoe, horseshoe
    : rail

les fers = chains

Click here to listen to the following sentence

L’homme est né libre et partout il est dans les fers.  --Jean-Jacques Rousseau

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE
    by Kristi Espinasse

Have you ever noticed the self-imposed prisons we sometimes check into when we put limits on our freedom? Jean-Jacques Rousseau famously wrote: L’homme est né libre et partout il est dans les fers.
 
La liberté is a gift. To some it is a right. Either way it is something to be thankful for each and every day, so why would anyone ever restrict their own champ des possibilités
 
We do this in ways in which we are often unaware...
 
Out walking along the seafront this morning, I suddenly froze at the sight of a familiar figure in the distance. I felt the urge to turn around and hurry home, or else bump into somebody I was avoiding. I could have bucked up and continued on, but it would have been an awkward march forward. Which, come to think of it, is better than a bloody march forward, as those who have fought for our freedom have suffered on not-so-distant sandy shores....

Because of this absurd social dilemma I now had to change directions, which was dommage as it would curtail my daily walk (an exercise that began a year ago, with the goal of restoring peace of mind. Quelle ironie!
 
Alors, in a quick change of itinerary, I took up a parallel path on the sandy beach just below. By zigzagging up and down the narrow plage I could elongate this alternate route and--unexpected bonus-- improve my workout, thanks to the different niveaux along the beach, and to the sable, which is more challenging to walk on.
 
No sooner did I begin snaking my way home (down to the water, back to the boardwalk, and down again) than I became aware of just how dorky this looked (in comparison to the other morning sportifs, all advancing in a straight line, on a designated path), for who loops up and down a narrow beach if not a loopy person! 
 
Oh, but it was enjoyable while it lasted! even if the couple in their beach chairs stared (I swear I could read their thought bubbles: "What's up with Loopy Doop?").
 
That's when a thought bubble of my own came up: YOU HAVE GOT TO PRACTICE YOUR FREEDOM! 
 
This was true... And here! And now!

At that moment I looked down and saw hundreds of fine tracks in the sand--made up of little affirming steps just like mine! The tiny four-toed footprints zigzagged and looped up and down the beach... What was striking was who left these exquisite tracks... it was no other than the symbol of freedom herself. For who is freer than a bird? 

Allez. En avant! No matter your setbacks, keep moving forward in your own original way, thankful all the while for the freedom to be able to do so.
 
Doves by the sea in la ciotat
 
FRENCH VOCABULARY
les fers = chains
partout = everywhere
la liberté = freedom
le champ des possibilités = field of possibilities
dommage = too bad
quelle ironie = How ironic
alors = so
la plage = beach
le niveau = level
le sable = sand
le sportif = athlete
allez = go on!
en avant = keep move forward

Bird tracks on the beach

 

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Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue doing what I love most: sharing vocabulary and cultural insights via these personal stories from France. Your contribution is vivement appréciée! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
♥ Send $10    
♥ Send $25    
♥Send the amount of your choice

"Bonjour, Kristin, I have enjoyed your blog now for a great number of years, watching your children grow up, your moves from house to house, enjoying your stories and photos and your development as a writer. It's way past time for me to say MERCI with a donation to your blog...which I've done today. Bien amicalement!"--Gabrielle


Un coup de bol + ras le bol and recipe for "le pain en cocotte" (dutch oven bread)

Kristin and Jean-Marc Espinasse by Cynthia Gillespie-Smith
photo by Cynthia Gillespie-Smith

A SPECIAL WELCOME to students who have just signed on to this journal. It is an honor to have you with us! This blog began in the South of France in 2002 when our children were 5 and 7, and I worked at a  Swedish-owned winery while my husband sold Italian wine bottling machines. (I am American and he is French.) We left our jobs, focused on writing and wine and eventually bought a vineyard of our own. Currently, we are sharing a more personal story and you may follow along as we write it: The Lost Gardens goes behind the scenes of this lighthearted, cheerful (in the style of today's column, below) blog to the dark and hopeless moments that punctuated our private life. Feedback on our memoir:

"A raw, honest, and heart-wrenching telling of a trying period. So vividly told." -Janet
"Your combined story is powerful..." --Chris
"This book will be a great help to others, and a testament to the strengths you have each discovered in yourselves." -Ellen 

Anyone who has ever chased a dream while trying to hold on to their loved ones will be moved by our book's dual narrative: my husband writes about his ambitious pursuit of winemaking, and my chapters focus on our relationship as our vineyard rises.... and ultimately falls. But that is not the end of the story.... Purchase the memoir here and begin reading right away.  

Today's phrase: un coup de bol

    : a stroke of luck, a fluke, lucky break

Sound File: click here to listen to the French phrase below

Un coup de bol... à ne pas confondre avec le ras le bol (ce qui veut dire " fed up").
A stroke of luck... not to be confused with le ras le bol (which means "fed up").

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

by Kristi Espinasse

"Wonder Bread"

Quelle Trouvaille! I was hunting through the second-hand shop, with Mom, when I stumbled upon a dutch oven. Le Creuset no less. The torn white sticker read 5 euros. But it weighed a ton! Did I really want to buy this empty canon ball?

Oh, but it was canon! A real knock-out as go dutch ovens. Cherry red. A slate-black handle (so handsome you'd forgive it the first time it blistered your fingers). The retro typography L E  C R E U S E T. The creamy enamel interior. Tu vas regretter, a little voice said as I began walking away. And so I turned back...et on connâit la suite....

I am typing this with burnt fingers which reminds me to include the following disclaimer: pay attention when baking today's wonder bread and porter des gants!

Now that you've been warned, and you promise to be mindful while making this fastoche bread recipe--don't hold back! This is every bit as good as a French baguette and simple comme bonjour...to make.

IMG_20190824_140329_905

Follow the simple video instructions at the end of this post for a no-fail loaf that will wow your family and friends! If you don't have a dutch oven and can't locate one second-hand, check out these dutch ovens on Amazon.com

FRENCH VOCABULARY

le pain en cocotte = dutch oven bread
quelle trouvaille! = what a find!
canon = gorgeous
on connaît la suite = the rest is history
porter des gants = wear gloves
fastoche = easy
simple comme bonjour = easy as hello
MVIMG_20190829_120611
The antique hachoir berceuse (rocking chopper) was another find at the second-hand store! You can find these new here

MVIMG_20190829_115352
Even the underside is beautiful, reminiscent of the marbled French yogurt cake!

MVIMG_20190829_120718
I've finally run out of farine, or flour, after making so many loaves :-) Latest obsession: to add Everything but the Bagel seasoning mix to the top. So good! I leave you with the video that simplifies the steps:

Has a friend forwarded you this post? Receive your own FREE subscription to French Word-A-Day. Click here

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue doing what I love most: sharing vocabulary and cultural insights via these personal stories from France. Your contribution is vivement appréciée! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
♥ Send $10    
♥ Send $25    
♥Send the amount of your choice

"Bonjour, Kristin, I have enjoyed your blog now for a great number of years, watching your children grow up, your moves from house to house, enjoying your stories and photos and your development as a writer. It's way past time for me to say MERCI with a donation to your blog...which I've done today. Bien amicalement!"--Gabrielle