To Spill Your Guts in French


Fall colors in the town of Seguret.

Learn to speak French with Rosetta Stone French. Proven effective by NASA astronauts, Peace Corps volunteers and millions of students worldwide

une emplette (om-plet) noun, feminine

  : purchase, shopping, acquisition

Un turfiste n'est jamais aussi anxieux de connaître le résultat des courses qu'en l'attente de sa femme partie faire des emplettes. A racegoer is never so anxious to know the results of the races* as when waiting for his wife who's gone shopping. --Jean Delacour

*a play on words (courses = races) from the expression "faire les courses" = to do the shopping

A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

(The following story was written one year ago...at another time and place.)

                                *     *     *
My eleven-year-old returned from the mini-market with a bottle of wine.
"Wine!" said I, astonished.
"Pour faire plaisir à Papa,"* Max explained.

Earlier, Max and Jackie had offered to ride their bikes to the bakery to pick up some items for breakfast. I hadn't counted on their bringing home booze.

"We need toilet paper," I had said as the kids headed out. Please stop by the supérette* on your way back. The kids wrinkled their noses, complaining that they would look carrément ridicule* shopping for toilet paper. When I insisted, they quickly negotiated (offering to pick up a roll of Sopalin* instead).

A half-hour later, the kids returned from the village, their cheeks crimson from the cool autumn air. When Jackie pulled a six-pack of toilet paper from the bag, I guessed she must have had a change of heart on discovering that toilet paper comes in a rainbow of colors (and fragrances!).
"It's peach-scented," Jackie pointed out. "Smell it!"

That's when Max pulled a bottle of wine from his sac à dos.* Jean-Marc examined the bottle, amazed at the coincidence: the Côtes du Rhône wine was from vines located near our future hometown.
"I chose a young wine," Max said, figuring the price might be more reasonable (he'd forked out 6 euros 80 for the bottle).

Coincidences aside, I thought about my eleven-year-old cruising the wine section of the superétte, selecting a particular vintage before checking out. Checking out...

"Wait a minute," I said. "The store clerk let an eleven-year-old buy wine?"
"I told him it was for my dad," Max replied.
Forgetting the absurdity of the matter, my eyes shot over to Jackie. Well, that explained the toilet paper that she had initially been too embarrassed to buy.
She must have told the clerk that the peachy PQ* was for her mom!

References: pour faire plaisir à Papa = to please Daddy; la supérette = mini-market; carrément ridicule = positively ridiculous; le Sopalin (from "Société du Papier-Linge") = paper towel; le sac à dos = backpack; le PQ (slang) = TP (toilet paper)

:: Audio File ::
Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce these French words:
Un turfiste n'est jamais aussi anxieux de connaître le résultat des courses qu'en l'attente de sa femme partie faire des emplettes.

French Terms & Expressions:
  aller faire des emplettes = to go shopping
  faire emplette de quelque chose = to purchase something
  être de bonne emplette = to be worth buying, to be a bargain

In Gifts:

Ticket to Ride Europe -- Award winning train game
For baby: French Baby Dining Set
Rick Steves' Paris 2008 includes friendly places to eat and sleep, walking tours & more

A Message from Kristi on this blog's 19th anniversary
Thank you for reading this language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on writing. My wish is to continue creating posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation.

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