Canvas: Toile, carte bancaire, papeterie and belle époque in French

chambre à part

yellow bicycle wicker basket panier france french tire cord
One of my favorite things about going to the grocery store in Camaret-sur-Aigues is seeing the line-up of vélos out front. Question: do French bikes have more character than others? Are the bicycles in your area as authentic?  What makes them so?

*     *     *

Today we will need to pedal quickly, what with another mise en bouteille* here at Domaine Rouge-Bleu. For this reason we will visit the archives, in today's story column, for an anecdote written one year ago.  Enjoy! Meantime, wish 7 of us luck with this two-day eighteen thousand unit bottling!

*la mise en bouteille = wine bottling. Read several lively stories about our wine bottling enterprises.

chambre à part (shahm-bruh ah par) expression

    : "room separately"

faire chambre à part is to "coucher séparément" (to sleep separately when a marriage or relationship sours).



by Kristin Espinasse

My husband talks in his sleep and this, of all things, is what he says: "Chérie, tu ronfles." ("Darling, you are snoring.")

"Je suis désolée," I apologize, just to appease him--for everyone knows you can't reason with a sleeptalker.

To reassure my husband that peace will return, I roll over to my side as a snorer might.

If Jean-Marc's sleeptalking continues, with his indefatigable Chérie, tu ronfles, we may have resort to what the French call "chambre à part," that is, sleeping in separate rooms for I am worn out by his three-word repetitive phrase.

Meantime, as you can sympathize, it is an exercise in patience for me to sleep beside a man who babbles night after night after night: "Chérie, tu ronfles. Darling, you are snoring." Enough! The next time my husband mumbles "Chérie, tu ronfles," I've a mind to answer back, "Chéri, tu REVES!" Maybe IN HIS DREAMS he hears me snore. God knows *I* don't hear myself snore. Which gets me thinking...

They do say that ronfleurs cannot hear their own ronflements... I wonder whether I should go on faith with this one, you know: believe in something that I cannot perceive. Then again, I remember a scripture that my mom taught me:

"Ainsi la foi vient de ce qu'on entend." Faith comes by hearing.

So if I can't hear, then how am I supposed to have faith? If "la foi vient de ce qu'on entend" then how can I be sure that Jean-Marc is telling the truth about my snoring?

Enough! Let's not lose track of the facts: my husband talks in his sleep! (And who wouldn't snore after hearing the same ol story over and over?)

*     *     *

~~~~~~~~~~~~French Vocabulary~~~~~~~~~~~~
Je suis désolé(e) = I am sorry; Cheri, tu rêves! = Darling, you are dreaming!; le ronfleur (la ronfleuse) = snorer; le ronflement (m) = snoring, snore


Peugeot & Panier (c) Kristin Espinasse

Three Random Words:
la gerçure (f) = crack, chapping
jeûner = to fast, to go without food
le videur (lit: "the emptier") = bouncer (nightclub)

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Bill Lloyd en Libye

Pauvre Kristin! Pauvre Jean-Marc!
Hélas! Ma femme ronfle aussi. Pauvre moi! Mais je parles aussi dans la nuit. Désolé!
J'ai decouvert que pour arreter les ronfles de ma femme il ne faut qu'un petit caresse sur le bras ou le dos et voilà! the snoring stops! C'est jolie,n'est-ce pas? J'aime bien toutes les histoires ici publiées. Merci Kristin, et bonne chance avec la mise en bouteille. I would love to be there to help and watch and enjoy Provence dans le printemps. But we have enjoyed an unusually pleasant spring here in Tripoli as well, so no complaints. I have fresh roses on my desk every day from the jardin and la vie est belle!


I found the bikes in Amsterdam amaaazing, the range of colours, styles, and ideas! So fantastic!

Christine Dashper

You are right Kristin, it must definately be Jean-Marc talking in his sleep. As if you would snore! My husband strangely enough says the same thing...hmmm, must be a bloke/homme thing. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

All the best

Roger Anderson


Your story about not believing you snore at night reminds me of the perennial physics question, "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a noise?" My wife and I both have allergies and spring is one of the allergy seasons as is fall. Our allergist always asks us when we see him whether our spouses tell us we snore. Of course you could ask someone else in your household or try recording yourself at night!

Diana Taylor, Pug At The Beach

LOVE the bike! I live in South Florida (USA) and ride my bike down to the beach everyday with my little dog, Buddy. He sits in the basket up front and gets quite a bit of attention. I'm not sure if it's because he looks so cute or because his ears stand straight out in the breeze.

On Tuesday nights, the local road bike club rides along Ocean Boulevard and, with a large membership, the sight of all those colorful bikes and riders is impressive. It's hard to guess exactly how many bikes there are, but the sheer numbers creates a whooshing sound as they speed by. It's breathtaking.

Before I moved here, I had 4 bicycles!

My bike is here:

What I like to do with my bike is here:

Buddy is here:


Ahh..l'inverse est vrai içi! Is is I who politely says:" Jacques ..arrêtes de ronfler SVP"..Why please? I am even polite in the night!

I had my eldest grandson over for a sleepover Friday night.. he is 3.. and snores:) Age or gender..not a factor I discovered.So cute on him though.Still looks like a curly haired angel.

I enjoy a small child's bicycle I painted white with a basket full of flowers in it leaning against my potting shed:)
Your photo is charming Kristin..
One man here in town has a cover for his bicycle.. rain or shine he sits under the cover and pedals for hours and hours.His own invention.
I like bikes w/ baskets and baguettes:) Streamers and finger flicked alerts:)

Bon boulot~I hope to one day be in France again and taste your wine.Congratulations on all your accomplishments.


Bonjour Kristin!
Are you bottling the 2008 Dentelle? I just received another case of the 2007 from Tim and am looking forward to comparing the two -- if there is any left by September when Tim said the 2008 would be in!

Diane Scott

Betty Bailey

Parfois mon mari ronfle aussi, et je dors dans une autre chambre!
For him, it came with age, but I know that is not the case with you Kristin, as young as you are. I'm sure he's just dreamig. ;-)


Well, somebody is snoring, or else it wouldn't be the repetitive chant claimed by some here! Chances are, the snorer is waking himself up, and presupposes that it is not he/she that is the culprit!

Easy peasy to check - get a small digital tape-recorder (they're cheap these days).
Use it while 'sleeping apart'.

Then, remedy it, because sleep apnea is a sign of more pressing health concerns, and disrupted sleep of the suffering mate who doesn't snore is nearly equally harmful.

Hint: those who sleep-walk and sleep-talk aren't getting their deep cycle sleep need met.

Marianne Rankin

If you have the means, set up a tape recorder in the bedroom. It should catch snoring or talking in one's sleep. Or maybe have one of your children (having had a nap beforehand so as to be able to stay up late) sit in the room as a witness, and report later on.


Gorgeous bike indeed on your photo!
My husband cycles to work. Nothing fancy about his plain black bike!
This w/end, my daughter sent me photos from Copenhagen - some with lots and lots of bikes, near the Central Station. She told me it was as impressive as in Amsterdam!

By the way, here -> c'est mon mari qui ronfle...
When, occasionally, his snoring wakes me up, I say something to him (don't have any specific formula) loud enough -so that he can hear- but not too loud -so that he doesn't wake up- Then I push him slightly, and ... il se tourne sur le côté et tout s'arrête!

You'll be so tired tonight and will sleep so deeply, that nobody will hear any snoring... and the snorer might not even snore at all!

Bon courage pour la mise en bouteille. Which wine are you bottling?
All the very best to you all!




I made a very difficult decision and asked my husband to move upstairs since his snoring kept me awake to the point where I wasn't getting a good night's sleep and was suffering. It motivated him to get a sleep apnea test, which indicated that he indeed had sleep apnea. Starting next week he will be sleeping with a mask which will allow air to flow to his brain and help him sleep better and feel less depressed and more rested.

Insisting on a 'chambre a part' was a great motivator for his getting the sleep apnea test, which indicated a true problem.

I will happily welcome my husband back to our bed, machine and all, since this machine will take care of his snoring and will hopefully solve his sleep issues. I welcome a full night's sleep as well, knowing that I won't be suffering from his insufferable snoring.

Nicole Marcus

I too, love my bike. I always had an alpine or road bike, but recently got a Schwinn comfort bike that looks a lot like yours. Now I don't have to throw my leg over the bike to get on, and I too, can go to the store and put things in my basket in the back. Wish SF had more bike trails though so that I could bike to work.
A bientot, Nicole


Oh yes, the snorer. I remember her well. I have this thing about letting nature take its course, although touching her would stop the snoring for a few minutes - eventually I'd get up and watch TV in the livingroom. That would stop the snoring (it subconsciously disturbed her, she told me).
I had a friend who bicycled across Canada from British Columbia to Newfoundland. He told me that he could make 200 miles a day on the Prairies, with a westerly breeze. In Newfoundland, where the wind routinely gusts to 120 miles/hour, I can feel my truck being assisted from behind.
I hear bottles clinking.

Jeanine Hubert

Kristin : I love your site ! I have forwarded it to a lot of friends and my granddaughters and their husbands who enjoy learning about France.
I came from France in 1954. Still have family in the Provence region so for me it's a pleasure to read about your experiences. Loved the pictures ! Best of luck with the vignoble and your blog.


Beautiful bike in today's photo...from your pictures, I think French velos are more charming, colorful (at least from what I see when I am riding). Like the baskets on the back.

Alas, Je suis le ronfleur chez moi. Ma mari dors in a separate chambre. I am very, very loud. Sometimes I wake myself up. He says he cannot believe such sounds can come out of one so small and sweet (very kind) and we laugh. But it is no laughing matter falling asleep sans ma mari.

(Had the sleep test some years ago. Not apnea)

Bonsoir, all. Going to check on Maman Goshawk, but it's not good timing. Still have not seen les bebe birds.

Good luck, Kristen et Jean-Marc avec la mise en bouteille.


Dear Kristin,

No special bikes in my area but when I lived in San Diego area there were some cool beach cruisers that are so California like.

Et concernant les problemes de ronfler/parler dans la nuit, nous partageons quelque chose de meme sorte. Mon mari bouge beaucoup, meme quand il est dormi, et puis il ronfle. Moi, parfois je ronfle, et d'autre fois je parle. Mais. lui, il est pire que moi dans ce cas. Si vous tombez sur une solution, ..alors j'aimerais bien la savoir.

Et, finalement, je n'ai jamais vu une mise en bouteille. Si je pourrais y voir or plutot assister!...

Merci pour cette histoire tres interessante!




Bicycles! I have a mad husband ( I think I may have mentioned the words ebay and limo) who has a passion for anything with wheels so we do have a shed filled with a variety of bikes including ex-child versions of various sizes, a racer, a "lounger", a tandem (or is that the "fighter"!) and the latest is a retro looking electric bike that turned up the other day that he reckons would be just the thing for going to the supermarket in.....snoring? Mmmmm... maybe I should take that one up seriously just so HE can lose sleep this time!!! :-)


I'd love to see - and try - the (retro looking) electric bike of yours!

Re: Live video from the nest.

Sorry to hear you haven't been able to see the babies yet! You won't miss them when they get bigger! Ideal time to see (and hear) them is at feeding time.

One of the 3 hawklets got into trouble and finally didn't make it. The other 2 are alive and well. The 4th egg hasn't hatched yet... it's getting late, so, it may not hatch. We'll see.
As I am typing this post (and checking on the nest at the same time!), the biggest hawklet is next to Maman Goshawk (how brave of him!), clinging to her. It's terribly windy! The "object" on the right edge of the nest, at the front, is, I'm afraid, the dead body of the 3rd hawklet. The parents (or the strong wind) will remove it.

BTW, if you click on 'Nestcam Highlights', you should be able to watch extracts of previous 'live videos'.

Bonne journée! ( Hmmm, might still be night time where you are... ? )


I just don't see any fantastic bikes in Atlanta like the one pictured here! People are always out riding those Lance Armstrong sport bikes...I have rarely seen a cute and interesting bike with a basket on top for a puppy or groceries...unless there was a homeless guy driving it with all his belongings inside the basket! HA ha ha.

And I am very sympathetic to your cute little snore Kristin! I have one as well, and I sleep like a dead person, so whomever is sharing my bed has to roll me over so I will stop! :)

Have a wonderful day/night...

Marti Schmidt

Cher Kristin,
c'était une telle coïncidence pour ouvrir votre newletter aujourd'hui pour trouver votre poste quant aux murmures du soir du couple épousé. J'ai eu Juste la même conversation hier soir avec mon mari, il parle, je ronfle, ce qu'une paire... J'ai dormi sur le divan et n'ai pas entendu hier soir un coup d'oeil de moi, il cependant bavardé loin dans l'autre pièce. Que peut-il être fait ?
Le vôtre Marti

Susie, a francophile from Indiana

My husband told me for several years that I snored. I always denied it. UNTIL....... he tape recorded me. I was forced to admit it.

Annette Heat

I think that when Jean-Marc talks in his sleep, saying that you are snoring, that he is perhaps just hearing himself snore, and the subconscious believes it is you. I guess the tape recorder test is the truest.
Annette Heath

Michelle de Beque

Give Jean-Marc earplugs.


I love your bike, and it is certainly more bikey than any bike I see around these parts. Alas, my bicycle of Danish origin went by the wayside in my last move, through not choice of mine. I miss biking. I will live vicariously.


Aaaahhhhh...a bicycle to be ridden, perhaps lazily, for a little shopping or a little pleasure, by regular humans. In my neighborhood, velos and their keepers seem to be divided into three camps: Road Bikes to be Raced by Athletes, Mountain Bikes to Thrash (through the woods) by Gonzo Athletes and City Bikes to be Commuted Upon by Liberal Green Folks. None are bad bikes and most are good people, but one longs for less *purposeful* neighbors. Vive la France.

Art Ream - New Hampshire

French bikes are original, nostalgic, creative and bring a consistent old world charm to life...


Thanks for your thoughts and, to Art, you managed to put into words just what it is that those French bikes have (which otherwise might have been a certain "je ne sais quoi"... n'est-ce pas?). Thank you.

To All: Sorry to say that today's (Wednesday's) word will not go out due to our internet connection. Will try again on Friday.


There was a turquoise velo at the bike shop last summer with big fenders and was love at first sight, but I already have a bike. It was the same color of a big old fat Buick sedan my Father tootled home in one day...late 50's, as I recall. A few years later my rents built a split level house and the countertops were a funky turquoise...and Mom painted her old Kelvinator fridge hot pink. My front door is painted turquoise...mottled "old-faded" looking...hum, turquoise seems to be in my stars! Kristin, regards to all the dedicated mise en bouteille group! Hang in there!

Oh, by the could I almost forget this. At 7 p.m. Brit time today I watched Maman Goshawk feeding les bebes! It was beautiful...seeing her regurge whatever it was she had brought home earlier. Another mille mercis, Newforest, for keeping this link alive and well here.

Cynthia in France

Fortunately, neither Bernard or I least not yet. I'm afraid that the bikes in Chambery aren't very attractive. They don't have the Provence flair! But the French Alps scenery makes up for it. Cynthia in France

Suzanne Waddell

hmmm, mon chien was snoring last night. My daughter was in the room and I said (practicing my French), "Arrete. Ca suffit. I don't know the word for snoring; there aren't a lot of opportunities for discussing that." So...thank you?

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