Meet "Dot" the exotic caterpillar we met last Saturday morning while picking grapes in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. S(he) has lovely painted "fingernails". Maybe I'll show you those another time?

Today: Your French Vernissage. Read today's story column and find out how you, or a friend, might participate in our second vernissage, or "art showing", here at French Word-A-Day.

Message to UK readers: find out how to get free tickets to our next wine-tasting event

(shuh-nee) noun, feminine
    : caterpillar

Le plus beau papillon n'est qu'une chenille habillée. (French proverb)

A "véhicule à chenilles "is a "tracked vehicle" and a "chenille du mûrier" is a silkworm. Do you know any other terms or expressions associated with today's word? Would you like to translate today's proverb? Please share your "chenille" savoir faire here, in the comments box.

Audio File: hear today's French word, "chenille" and the proverb (above): Download chenille.wav . Download chenille.mp3

Check out the Complete Guide to Conjugating 12000 French Verbs

There is a real whirlwind of creative activity going on around our household, ever since Diane and Ralph sent in the winning bid for "Pear". (Congratulations and remerciements* to Monsieur et Madame Scott!)

I am working on a personalized gift for these two, one I hope to share with you a little bit later on (just as soon as I've crossed those T's and put "les points sur les I"...*).

Meantime, regarding this all-consuming creative "twirl" sweeping through our home... why dance alone? Here's a project to stir you, too!: See that photo,* above? You have until October 18th to send in your own creative interpretation of "Dot" (the caterpillar), using watercolor, oil, pastel, pencil, collage... anything!) at which point we'll pop open several virtual corks and, champagne in hand, view our second virtual vernissage!* Don't forget to tell your favorite artist (friend, neighbor, colleague, grandchild...) to join in!

Merci beaucoup for following these guidelines:

1. Email photos / images, as jpg attachments, at 500 pixels minimum, to kristin.espinasse(AT)gmail.com
2. Put the word "Dot" in the email subject line, mention medium (watercolor, oil, Crayola...)
3. Please direct any questions to the comments box.

Now... à vos pinceaux!

In children's books "La Chenille Qui Fait Des Trous"

un remerciement (m) = thanks; les points sur les I = dots on those Is; vernissage = art showing, viewing; à vos pinceaux! = (off) to your paintbrushes (or pastels, or pencils...)
~~~~~~~~~~In Store~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Spoken French
Learn French in a Hurry: Grasp the Basics of Français Tout De Suite
In Film: Paris Je T'aime: Stories of Love. From the City of Love.
Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love & Language from the South of France

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I'm going to try and translate the French proverb; " The most beautiful butterfly is nothing more than a dressed caterpillar?"


A big round of applause to Diane & Ralph, the new guardians of THE PEAR!

About today's proverb:
"Le plus beau papillon n'est qu'une chenille habillée".
I'll have a try.
Here is my step by step homework!

1) The nicest butterfly / the most beautiful butterfly is only (is but / is merely) a dressed up caterpillar.

2) The nicest butterfly / the most beautiful butterfly is nothing but a caterpillar in dressing up gear.

3) The nicest butterfly / the most beautiful butterfly is nothing but (is only, is but, is merely) a caterpillar in disguise / a beautifully dressed caterpillar.

so... Kristin or anyone,
make up what sounds the best out of my scribble.

Warning given by the proverb --->
-> "Don’t judge people by their appearance".
-> "Don't judge a book by its cover".
-> "Appearances can be deceptive"

because --->
"L'habit ne fait pas le moine."

Thanks Kristin for the beautiful caterpillar on your photo!


The most gorgeous butterfly is only a caterpillar in costume.


Chenille is also a fuzzy yarn used in tying flies for fly fishing. You wrap it around the shaft of the hook to form the body of the lure:



La rose, dans Le Petit Prince de Saint-Exupery,, chapitre 9, dit: "Il faut bien que je supporte deux ou trois chenilles si je veux connaitre les papillons."
When I taught this book in high school, I asked my students to choose their favorite quote in the book and then write and decorate a t-shirt with it. This past year this quote was one of the favorites.
Sorry that I don't have the correct accent marks-don't know how to do that on my computer or underline the book titie.


Translation: The most beautiful butterfly is only a well-dressed caterpillar.

Possible interpretations:
The clothes don't make the person.
All that glitters is not gold.

Kristen, this is a fantastic photo! I love the color dynamics in it. Your dear Dot's colors got me curious, so I looked her up to see what she will look like later on when she dons her butterfly costume. I've included the link below so anyone curious can check out Madame Butterfly in her resplendent "papillon de nuit" form as a Sphinx de l'Euphorbe, known in the States as the leafy spurge hawk moth. Elegantly beautiful, I must say! Also, some good news for Jean-Marc--Dot is a teetotaler! Grapes and other aspects of viticulture are not part of her regime.

Link: http://pagesperso-orange.fr/liliane.pessotto/hyles-euphorbiae-imago1.html

Cerelle Bolon

Do remember that however beautiful those critters are, they have prodigious appetites but I suppose those leaves are soon to shed and can afford to be eaten.
As to the word chenille there is the soft furry fabric..and the name of my brother's cat.

Kay Thayer

Remember those chenile bedspreads and sweaters?
That name was inspired by the fuzzy (French?) caterpillar

Fred Caswell

My translation: "A butterfly in only a smartly dressed-up caterpillar."

I've been feeling better, doing more, and miss you (knowing there must be hundreds more who feel the same) when life keeps me from receiving or sending communications to and from Kristi.

Comme toujours, my best wishes to you and your family,

Your friend for life --- Fred

Bruce T. Paddock

The caterpillar is certainly beautiful, but the moth it's going to become is really creepy-looking!

Le plus beau chenille s'habillera bientôt dans un costume de Hallowee'n effrayant.


What kind of caterpillar (moth to be?) is it? I've never seen one like it.

Karen Greenbaum-Maya

Don't envy the butterfly--he is only a well-dressed worm.

Karen Greenbaum-Maya

Don't envy the butterfly: he's nothing but a well-dressed worm.

Mickey McBride

In the southern U. S. - country bumpkin is very good...we talk the talk. Well, how DID the interview go?? That graceful American journalist has to be my daughter...she, who grew up in the 70's and wore ragged jeans, floppy t-shirts and grungy Keds...I am delighted to know she has shaped up and is now poised and pretty.

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