Bonbon (c) Kristin Espinasse
photo: a street vendor of sweets in Nice.

Paris Sweets : Great Desserts From the City's Best Pastry Shops: An elegant gift for Francophiles, armchair travelers, bakers of all skill levels, and certainly for oneself. --Broadway Books

parier (par-yay) verb
   to bet

Le meilleur moyen pour ralentir un cheval est de parier sur lui. The best way to slow down a horse is to bet on him. (From Murphy's Law: "One way to stop a runaway horse is to bet on him." )

A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse
After circling our town's parking lot, then heading down the lane that runs between the old music kiosk and the town hall, we have come to the end of our parking possibilities. There are no available spaces. Even the illegal spots have been snapped up.

When Jean-Marc stops the car in the middle of the road, killing the engine, my nerves perk up and prepare to be rattled.

"If someone comes," he says, now half-way out of his seat, "move the car."

At this point, I am beginning to wonder if stopping for bonbons is really worth a parking amende.
"Why don't we just go straight to the beach, as we planned?" I suggest.

"Because I promised the kids candy," Jean-Marc insists.

I convince my husband to park in front of the Crédit Agricole bank when the no-parking zone near the ATM becomes up for grabs. Jean-Marc pulls up to the strip of yellow diagonal lines and parks over them. Next, he gets out of the car and crosses the street to enter the Maison de Presse, where the man who sells magazines and newspapers doubles as the candy man.

After a few minutes spent waiting in the car, Jackie's patience wears thin. "Je parie qu'il regarde les journals," she bets. 

"JourNAUX," Max pipes in, correcting his sister's grammar.

We pass the time betting or correcting or just watching the villagers walk by, occasionally waving to those we know. When the kids begin to wonder what is taking their father so long, I realize Jean-Marc has indeed perused a few newspapers, scanning the sports headlines, before walking up to the counter and asking for "deux mélanges" (the owner's clue to fill two small white sachets with a mix of candy from the plastic bins next to the register).

"Je parie qu'il mange un de nos bonbons," Jackie says, causing Max to zero in on the shop window and see if anyone is stealing HIS sack of candy.

Meanwhile, I am amused at the thought of Jean-Marc eating bonbons in the book shop.

Finally Jean-Marc--in shades and a Hawaiian shirt that reflect his casual attitude--returns. The kids verify that the bonbon sachets are intact and I look down to discover a third bag of candy. Qu'est-ce que c'est?

"It's for you and me," the man in the aloha shirt smiles.

Mirroring his sourire, I pick up the small white sachet and notice the slogan next to the candy maker's name: "C'est beau la vie!" it reads.

The French words mirror my thoughts: Life is beautiful.

French Vocabulary

le bonbon

une amende
parking ticket

la Maison de Presse
store selling newspapers, magazines, and books

Je parie qu'il regarde les journals
I'll bet he's looking at the newspapers

le sachet

Je parie qu'il mange un de nos bonbons
I bet he's eating one of our candies

qu'est-ce que c'est?
what is this?

la sourire

Listen: hear the word 'parier' pronounced: Download parier2.wav

Terms & Expressions:
un parieur (une parieuse) = a punter, better
parier pour = to bet on
parier contre = to bet against
parier à coup sûr = to bet on a certainty
parier aux courses = to bet on the races

Conjugation: je parie, tu paries, il/elle parie, nous parions, vous pariez, ils/elles parient  => past participle = parié

501 French Verbs includes a bilingual list of more than 1,250 additional French verbs, helpful expressions and idioms for travelers, and verb drills and tests with questions answered and explained.

Dictionary of French Slang and Colloquial Expressions lists approximately 4,500 common slang words and colloquial expressions. Entries include grammatical information, the definition in English, a sentence or phrase to illustrate usage, and an English translation of the example and, where applicable, a corresponding English slang expression. Each entry also identifies the word or phrase by type: student or youth slang, political slang, literary slang, and criminal and drug-related slang.

.....Le Kawa, continued................................................................
More on Friday's word, le kawa (coffee), from a few friends (who also offer total immersion language programs in France--just click on their emails (replacing "AT" with @) for more info)!

From Maribel (mzabbanATclub-internet.fr):
"...l'origine de Kawa vient d'Afrique du Nord...tout comme "kif kif" pour pareil.... les français se sont appropriés ces mots qui ne sont ni de l'argot, ni du français, mais que tout le monde connaît et utilise."

(...the origine of kawa is North African, like (the term) "kif kif" for "the same"... the French have adapted these words that are neither slang, nor French, but that everyone knows and uses.)

From Nadine (nadalangATcomcast.net):
"Saviez-vous que le mot kawa est le mot arabe (francise)  kahwa? (tout comme "toubib", docteur?)
(Did you know that the word kawa is the (Frenchified) Arab word "kahwa" -- like "toubib" is for doctor?)

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


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