Medieval (and very-nearly-melts-the-heart): Les Arcs-sur-Argens, Var.

fondre (fon-dr) verb
  to melt, smelt, merge
  to slim down

     Le même soleil fait fondre la cire et sécher l'argile.
     The same sun melts wax and hardens clay.

                                            --Clement of Alexandria

In books: The Discovery of France: a narrative of exploration--full of strange landscapes and even stranger inhabitants--that explains the enduring fascination of France.

A trail of sawdust leading out of our house, followed by potato chips (leading out of a handyman's hamper) means our parqueteur* is on lunch break. I peek through the kitchen window and watch the would-be lumberjack sitting on the steps en face.* Finally at rest, he soaks in the sun and shares a hearty casse-croûte* with two canine colleagues (a male and female dachshund that doze while their master is paid to pose).*

"It looks like he's finished," I say to the girls who gawk alongside me. "Do you want to take Monsieur Yves his coffee?" My daughter and her friend, Manu, light up. "Oui, oui!" they agree.

On a wooden tray, I set a demitasse cup over a matching saucer. Beside the tiny tasse* I tuck one, two, oh-why-not three, colorfully wrapped caramels. I add a jam jar of sugar and a spoon before handing the tray to the girls who attempt to balance the plateau* between them. Remembering the obstacle course that is our front porch (with ladders and cords to trip over), I caution the candy/coffee caterers to find another method of transport. The girls quickly divide up the tray (Jackie taking the coffee and two caramels, Manu the sugar, a caramel, and spoon). I hand Manu one more bonbon, for balance, and off the girls trot.)

Minutes later, the girls return. I notice the coffee cup is already empty... the wrappers too.
"Well, did Monsieur Yves like the bonbons?" I say.
"He said that he's on a régime!"*
A diet? I think about the trail of greasy potato chips and wonder if he's counting carbohydrates... and candy?

"Well, then," I questioned. "Where did the caramels go?"
"Down with his diet?" the girls supposed.

References: le parqueteur (m) = parquet layer, flooring contractor; en face = across from; le casse-croûte (m) = snack, lunch; pose (poser) = to put down (floors, tiles); la tasse (f) = cup; le plateau (m) = tray; le régime (m) = diet

Shop for sweets-n-French treats:
                ~ Melt-in-your-mouth French caramels from Normandy ~
                    ~12 French Alsace & Guignol Costumed Lollipops ~
:: Audio File ::
Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce today's French word & quote:
Fondre. Le même soleil fait fondre la cire et sécher l'argile.
Download fondre.mp3
Download fondre.wav

Terms & Expressions:
  fondre en larmes = to dissolve / burst into tears
  faire fondre = to melt (chocolate, cheese...)
  fondre dans la bouche = to melt in the mouth
  la neige fondue = slush

Joyeux Noel: Learning Songs and Traditions in French (K - Grade 4)
French in Action : A Beginning Course in Language and Culture
French Country Diary: 2008 Calendar

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