battre
chauffer

robinet

Place Robinet = 'Faucet Place (c) Kristin Espinasse
La Place Robinet in Brignoles

le robinet (ro-bee-nay) noun, masculine
  1. tap, faucet

Hear my daughter Jackie pronounce the word "robinet": Download robinet2.wav

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Citation du Jour:
Le talent est comme un robinet. Quand il est ouvert, on peut écrire. L'inspiration est une farce que les poètes ont inventée pour se donner de l'importance.

Talent is like a faucet. When it is open, one can write. Inspiration is a farce which the poets have invented to lend importance to themselves.
--Jean Anouilh

A Day in a French Life...
At Le Central café in the Place Caramy the zucchini omelets were fluffy, served with a side salad and frites. My friend Corey and I had met for coffee. We hadn't meant to stay and eat, but when conversation stretched on and the waiter began setting tables for lunch, Corey looked up and noticed baskets of pain.* "You can always tell if a restaurant is good by the bread they serve," she said. We asked for couverts* and settled in.

Over lunch, we talked about the unexpected charm of Brignoles, a city we'd lived near for years, but had never visited. While Corey had worked in antiques fairs outside the centre ville,* she'd never ventured into the walled city and former summer residence of the Counts of Provence. As for me, I'd only visited the local supermarket, beyond the ramparts, far from where the counts once roamed.

Walking through the maze of centuries old homes attached one to the other and rising to the sky, we exchanged impressions. "Do you know what this is?" Corey asked. I'd seen the metal rings dangling from the sides of buildings but never knew their purpose. "Villagers used to tie reins to them," she said. Holding a ring, I imagined an 18th century street scene with a horse nuzzling a metal anneau,* bored by the wait. Presently, just down a path no larger than the tail end of a range rover, workers were digging up the street, attending to modern plumbing.

Not far from la Place Robinet, named after its proximity to the "four seasons" fountain, we could just trace the outline of an old window. "Do you know why they fill them in?" Corey said. She explained that residents were taxed for each fenêtre* and that homeowners would fill extra windows with brick and mortar to avoid paying--I'd always thought it was for extra privacy or to discourage thieves--just one of the 'idées fausses'* I've plucked from my opinionated head. Another was my belief that Brignoles would be as exciting to view as a drippy faucet.

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*References: le pain (m) = bread; les couverts (mpl) = place settings; centre ville = town center; un anneau (m) = ring; la fenêtre (f) = window; une idée fausse = a false idea

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Words_in_a_french_life Words in a French Life: "...a heart-winning collection from an American woman raising two very French children with her French husband in Provence, carrying on a lifelong love affair with the language."
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Also:
le robinet d'incendie armé (RIA) =
fire hose

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