araignée
voisin

trottoir

   Sidewalk / Trottoir restaurant chalk board menu, France, brick path (c) Kristin Espinasse, www.french-word-a-day.com
   a sidewalk under autumn leaves in the Varois village of Flayosc

le trottoir (troh-twahr) noun, masculine
  1.  sidewalk, footpath, pavement

[from trotter (to trot)]

Hear my son, Max, pronounce the French word "trottoir": Download trottoir.wav

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Expressions:
le trottoir roulant = moving walkway or "travelator"
le trottoir couvert = arcaded sidewalk
faire le trottoir = to "walk the streets"

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Citation du Jour:
Pardonnez à ceux qui vous ont offensé et apprenez à changer de trottoir.
Forgive those who have offended you, and learn to change sidewalks.

--Jérôme Riquier

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A Day in a French Life...

"La Collecte de Fonds"

I sped up to the trottoir before easing my car's right front tire onto the curb. Next, I inched the vehicle forward until the second tire climbed the curb, level with the first. Voilà, curbside parking à la française.

As I waited in the warm bagnole for my children's school to let out, my eyes traveled up to the window in the bâtiment across the street. Each day I park my car as mentioned and each day I look for the grandma in the window. There, behind the chipped flowerpots with their thirsty, petal-thinning marguerites, beyond the dull window and the parted lace curtains, I see the soft outline. That's when I lower the volume on my radio, not wanting to annoy la mémé in the window.

This afternoon two men, dressed identically in navy blue uniforms and black steel-toed boots, approached la porte just below Mémé's window and rang the sonnette. I looked up, noting Mémé had disappeared from behind the curtain. She must be on her way down the stairs to open the door, I thought. Anticipation grew as I realized I was about to see the full version of Mémé and
not just a puff of gray hair and a dark profile.

The men continued to ring when, upon closer look, I realized they might be paramedics. "Mémé!" I rolled down my window and shouted, "Elle est là! Je l'ai vue! Allez-y--foncez!" She's there! I saw her! Go ahead--charge on in!

"Merci, madame," they replied, casually. That's when I saw the calendars under one of the pompier's arms. And then it clicked. Mémé hadn't fallen ill. Mémé was hiding from the firemen, in order to get out of forking over 10 euros for the Firefighter Fundraising Calendar. And she might have gone unnoticed--until a clueless bonne Samaritaine went blowing her cover.

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References: le trottoir (m) = sidewalk; voilà = (and) there you have it; la bagnole (f) = car; le bâtiment (m) = building; la marguerite (f) = daisy; mémé (f) = endearment for grandma; la porte (f) = door; la sonnette (f) = doorbell; le pompier (m) = firefighter; bon(ne) samaritain(e) = good samaritan

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