A barrique of French flowers for you today... from the wine-making town of Rasteau.
barrique (ba-rheek) noun, feminine
: barrel, cask (wine-making)
Three Tempting Reasons to join Cinéma Vérité today:
1. 15 feel-good photos of Giens, the peninsula & postcard village near Hyères 2. a short, stinging, slice-of-life scene from this morning, here at the wine farm 3. nudity* .
* Then again, if you would rather watch a video on "How to Make a Wine Barrel," suit yourself (one follows, below). But if you would love--LOVE!--to see the movie trailer from the new film with Cécile de France--in French--then don't miss today's Cinéma Vérité edition! You will not regret being a member & recipient of this weekly photo jubilee. Trust me! You will also have access to all 12 photo galleries, a few language videos, two home movies, and more! Click here to sign up.
Cinéma Vérité members: please click on the link in the "Merci Beaucoup" message (sent to you after your sign-up) to view today's movie excerpt and photo gallery.
And now for that va-va-voom video on Wine Barrel Fabrication: .
My fourteen-year-old fiston* on the beach in Giens. He's eating "un sandwich baguette". Learn about another kind of baguette (en bois*), in today's story column.
mauvais perdant (moh-vay pair-dahn)
: sore loser
(feminine: une mauvaise perdante [moh-vayz pair-dahnt)
Audio File & Example Sentence: Listen to my daughter, Jackie, pronounce the following French words: Download MP3or Download Mauvais perdant Battu, il fut aussi mauvais perdant que ses adversaires étaient de piètres gagnants. (Help translate this quote? Click here to share your interpretation.)
It is half-past seven in the evening. My stomach is rumbling, my head is a basket of butterflies, and I am wondering about what to cook for dinner... when my son walks into the room.
"On joue?"* Max offers.
A fun French mom might respond "Allez, chiche!"*; instead, a famished mom's eyes drop to the wooden box in her son's hands. Oh, no. C'est unjeu d'adresse*. I do not feel up to a game of skill, given these pre-dinner jitters and this fluttering brain.
That my son seems to find me a worthy opponent has me re-prioritizing. Hunger will have to hang on.
I look at the rectangular box of sticks and wonder what the rules are and will they be complicated? The name* on the box looks Japanese. So much for instructions! My stomach rumbles and my head spins.
"These colored bands," Max explains, pointing to the painted sticks, or baguettes, "correspond to the Samouraï bâton* and are worth ten points, and this one, un Mandarin, is worth 5...."
Oh no--points!--and more foreign terms... "Okay, okay. J'ai compris. Allons-y!"*
I have never liked games, ever since my Bridge*-busting, card-slinging grandmother-on-the-rocks called me a mauvaise perdante.* "Don't be such a poor sport!" She'd complain, under gin and tonic breath. The satisfaction on her face from winning another round of Go Fish, Slapjack, or, appropriately, Old Maid, was hard to miss. I gave up cards and signed up for a real sport: Little League Baseball. Cleats replaced cards, as I became pitcher for the Yankees, outfield for the A's -- and, oh! -- if those weren't the good ol' winning days!
"So, what do we do next?" I ask Max. I sit on the floor, facing my opponent, legs tucked into a "pretzel" as I watch my son drop une poignée* of sticks. Dozens of spaghetti-thin batons fall to the floor in one chaotic heap.
Max explains the simple rules: "Tu dois déplacer une de ces baguettes sans déranger les autres."*
I stare at the tangled tas.* Every stick seems "stuck" to another. I am to pick up one of these sticks without disturbing the others?
"But that's impossible!" I point out, and my stomach growls in accord. "It's late. Why don't we eat dinner first?" Seeing the disappointed look on my son's face, it occurs to me that hunger will have to hang on, and on... just like those baguettes -- all three or four dozen of them.
"Just how does one pick up a stick without disturbing another?"
"With patience," Max encourages. "Patience?"
And I, the impatient outfielder am awestruck -- by a young Frenchman who runs circles around me, philosophically, having hit another balle of wisdom out of the ball park. And he didn't even have to change sports, as others have tried, in order to find his stride.
* * *
(Encore) "Oh, I guess that one moved..." I say, sad to have to give up the newly-seized stick in my hand. "I didn't see anything..." Max assures. "The sticks didn't move?" "Like I said, I didn't see a thing...." "Oh... thanks. Thanks, Max!"
(Like that, I managed to pick-up 18 sticks. Max picked up almost double that, sans déranger le tas.)
* * *
Comment, send a correction--or share your own story here. Merci beaucoup! ~~~~~~~~~~~~French Vocabulary & References~~~~~~~~ le fiston (m) = son; en bois = in wood; on joue? = shall we play; allez, chiche! = Alright (Let's go), I'm game!; c'est un jeu d'adresse = it's a game of skill; name (of game) = (Max and I were playing "Mikado"); le bâton (m) = stick; J'ai compris. Allons-y = I've understood. Let's get going!; Bridge = the card game (also called "Bridge" in French => jouer au bridge = to play bridge); une mauvaise perdante = a sore loser; une poignée (f) = a fistful; Tu dois déplacer un de ces baguettes sans déranger les autres = you must move one of these sticks without upsetting the others; un tas (m) = heap, pile; la balle (f) = ball; sans déranger le tas = without upsetting the heap
The babe on the beach two towels down from mine has got it made. Made in the French shade.
"On met le chapeau?" Shall we put on our hat? her mother coos. "Un peu de crème?" And a bit of sun cream, her grandmother fusses.
I turn to witness the scene: a doting duo dorlotent their darling de dix-huit mois. In French that's called "le dorlotement."
"Non!" The little girl protests. "Reste assise," the mom corrects. "Quelle chipie!" grand-mère interjects.
Oh to be pampered, and in French! It is the best of both worlds: language and love.
"Tiens, bois un peu, Chérie," I watch as Maman reaches into her wicker panier, produces a bottle of jus. "Ahhh, ça fait du bien," mamie sighs. "Après on va mettre les pieds dans l'eau. Allez, on y go!"
Quelle chance to be reared in France, fed on its language, fussed over en français... or fussed over, pont barre. My own skin is burned and I am thirsty. I want to go into the water and feel refreshed--by so much doting, loving tenderness. Words, even in French, cannot convey our ongoing need for affection: for a gentle humanitarian hum, a caring caress. If we need this at the age of forty, how much more will we need this at eighty? And how much less will be available to us... and who will be there to administer it? "It", or "loving tenderness," le dorlotement if you like. And we all like, want, need.
I watch mother and daughter -- unmistakably related in their fair & freckled skin, curls from heaven and lithe figure oh-so-trim. Between them, a giggly, jiggly Gaul is handled like a precious china doll.
I roll over onto my back, not without a creak--Aïe!--and a grincement. I'm no china doll, but break I could. I set my straw hat over my face, protectively, and stare up through a scented wicker dome. Through the loose weave of my own chapeau, the sky is now several hundred blue dots: it may be an impressionist painting, if I wish it so -- or a thousand doting eyes looking down on me, caringly. And the sounds of the waves clapping over the sand, the sea breeze caressing this skin, that's Mother Nature, there after all--humming, fussing, pampering--all the while holding our hands.
Comments, corrections--and stories of your own--are welcome and appreciated. Thank you sharing in the comments box.
~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~French Vocabulary~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ dix-huit mois = eighteen months; le dorlotement (m) = pampering; reste assise = don't move ("stay seated!"); quelle chipie! = what a little devil!; Tiens, bois un peu, Chérie = Here, have a bit to drink, Sweetie; le panier (m) = basket; le jus (m) = juice; ah, ça fait du bien = oh, that feels good; la mamie = granny, grandma; Après on va mettre les pieds dans l'eau. Allez, on y go! (Franglais) = After, we'll put our feet in the water. Come on, let's go!; quelle chance! (f) = what luck!; point barre = period; aïe! = ouch!; le grincement (m) = squeeking, creaking
"Ulysse" the Great Dane
Three Random Words: la panosse (f) = floorcloth => passer la panosse = to mop the floor le monticule (m) = hillock, mound; heap la papille (f) = papilla => les papilles gustatives = taste buds
I am lying on a sandy beach somewhere in the Giens* peninsula. My suitcase is packed, the floor is swept, et je profite,* taking advantage of the two hours that remain until check-out time.
But before I check back into the real world again, post four-day family vacation, there remains the here and now, no matter how dwindling, with its soaring seagulls, its whoosh of gentle waves, and its soft, rocking chatter of voices along the salt-scented marais.*
Not far from the pungent salt beds, or salins, and the picket fences that line a grassy, dotted-with-daisies-this-time-of-year marsh, other families, like my own, are planted along the plage* unwilling to budge lest that hamster wheel, nommé* "Overkill,"* return too fast, reach into a newly-rested soul (where Peace, the sacred prize, resides), and hasten to shake, ravage, and steal.
* * *
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~French Vocabulary~~~~~~~~~~~ Giens peninsula = seaside town near Hyères; et je profite = and I take advantage; le marais (m) = marsh; la plage (f) = beach; nommé (verb nommer) = named;Overkill (hamster wheel) = work, when unbalanced with life
Three Random Words: infâme = vile, unspeakable, loathsome, despicable parsemer = to sprinkle with antirides = anti-wrinkle
French art and a classic car along the port in St. Tropez
la toile (twal) noun, feminine canvas
Françoise has not changed much in the three years since Mom and I have frequented her art shop. She still has her ballerina-thin figure and still paints cherry-red streaks through her chocolate-brown hair; the contrast is as stark as her customers' paintings, which line the store's entrance hall and make shoppers feel smug about their own art.
At the cash register, when I take out my carte bancaire, Françoise still picks up the phone to call over to the papeterie, shouting for them to bring back the hand-held credit-card processor (the one the two stores have always shared, never mind the inconvenience).
"Moins vingt... moins vingt... moins vingt...." Françoise mumbles, as she tallies up the art supplies. She still gives my mom twenty percent off all items, and then rounds down the total. This morning she even threw in a freebie. "Those paintbrushes have been discontinued," she said. "I can offer this one to your maman."
To this day, Françoise listens to my mom's English, only to reply in French. Just how the two women can understand each other is high art to me. The paintings which result from their exchanges need not be translated either. They are, like the language barrier the women have overcome, indeed like love itself, transcendent.
* * *
Returning a few years later, Mom and I were shocked to discover that Françoise's shop had closed down. Standing out on the sidewalk, we stared sadly at the handwritten sign in the window; it read "A VENDRE". Our eyes caught on a bold reflection in the window; we turned to discover the bigger, fancier, more deluxe store that had opened across the street....
Unlike Françoise's window, which displayed tubes of paint, brushes, and even a few modest creations of her customers, the competitor's windows were filled with a new rage: "scrapbooking"... ink pads, stamps, glue and tiny cutouts crowded the window.
At the back of the glittery new store, a few paint supplies hung, like the end of a belle époque.
la toile = canvas la carte bancaire = credit/debit card la papeterie = office/school supply store moins vingt = minus twenty (percent) la maman = mom à vendre = for sale la belle époque = beautiful era
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!
faire chambre à part is to "coucher séparément" (to sleep separately when a marriage or relationship sours).
A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE
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
Three Random Words: la gerçure (f) = crack, chapping jeûner = to fast, to go without food le videur (lit: "the emptier") = bouncer (nightclub)
Read about neighborliness, or les rapports de bon voisinage, in today's story column, written by one of my favorite in-laws, Tante Marie-Françoise. Enjoy!
Book recommendation:Eiffel's Tower: And the World's Fair Where Buffalo Bill Beguiled Paris, the Artists Quarreled, and Thomas Edison Became a Count Note: if the book's delightful sub-title didn't win you over, then how about the enthusiastic response of both my mom and my daughter--both of whom tried to swipe my one and only copy! Jules almost ran off to Mexico with the book (having just read it!) and, no sooner had I repossessed the book, than my daughter, Jackie, stole off with it to her room. Plucking up the book from the book thief's hands, I paused to listen to my daughter's feedback on the book's numerous photographs (including several of sharpshooter Annie Oakley):
"Ça doit être passionant!" Jackie said of the illustrated chapters, including "Gustave Eiffel and "the Odious Column of Bolted Metal". "Il paraît," I replied.
souvenir remonte à l'époque où le quartier était alors une grande
famille. Pas besoin de clé sauf pour verrouiller la nuit (et encore
il arrivait qu'on oublie) ou pour un départ de quelques jours.
A cette époque on pouvait, peu avant midi, assister au ballet des casseroles et des plats.
Mariette préparait des aubergines à la sauce tomate, elle traversait la
rue pour en apporter chez Lisette. Si Lucienne avait fait ses fameux
beignets de fleurs de courgettes, il y en avait aussi pour les voisins.
De toute façon les petites cuisines de l'époque donnaient sur la rue,
sans hotte aspirante, et donc on pouvait difficilement cuisiner en
secret -- on devinait le menu de chacun -- du coup la transparence
voulait qu'on explique sa recette et les échanges allaient bon train:
"Tu mets l'ail d'abord?" "Moi, ma grand-mère elle faisait..."
On manquait un peu de farine, Hop! On
toquait à la porte d'à côté pour le dépannage minute. De même, si des
invités surprise restaient pour le repas, on ne risquait pas d'être à
court -- oh misère -- de pain craquant.
possédaient hors du village, entre deux vignes, des petits jardins
potagers et des arbres fruitiers. C'était l'occasion de joyeuses
distributions. Les paniers de cerises régalaient tous les enfants; les
récoltes de tomates, d'un seul coup dans l'abondance, se partageaient.
"Tiens, moi, je les ferai farcies ces grosses."
"Je te prends celles qui sont un peu moins mûres pour la salade." "Cette année j'ai bien réussi mes haricots "super violet".
Après ces échanges chacun rentrait pour se mettre à table. La rue reprenait son calme et devenait même presque déserte tandis que le ballet des fourchettes commençait.
J'ai hérité de quelques recettes mais je n'ai plus les légumes du jardin qu'entretenait mon beau-père, mûris tranquillement au bas du village puis cueillis et consommées dans la même journée....
Personne n'aurait compris O.G.M., par contre, on disait, "Oh, J'aime!"
* * *
I hope you have enjoyed Tante Marie-Françoise's story... if so, please let her know, and don't miss the archives to her story columnhere.
Request for English translations: would any of you enjoy translating Tante Marie-Françoise's story and sharing the version anglais, here? Merci d'avance! I will update this page, and include a link to every translation.
Update: The first translation has arrived (thank you Doug!) ...and another... from Ryan Catherine
It is fun to see the differences in English (so far between English English and Canadian English. ), i.e.:
I say flowers... you say fritters... I say bread... you say biscuts Let's call the whole thing off!
A quiet ruelle in the village of Visan, recently featured in Cinéma Vérité. Three Random Words: une piécette (f) = small coin => piécette par piécette le trictrac (m) = backgammon le grisbi (m) = stash, loot
And, regarding comments... earlier I hinted that when language-lovers get together they really know how to party! Here's a case in point: after the most recent post, in which we learned about those rowdy, often raunchy chansons paillardes... many of us hung around--virtually, in the comments box--singing beer songs into the wee hours of the morning. Come to think of it... maybe that was a one-woman party after all? Anyway, I did enjoy singing this French favorite, no matter how off-key:
Ami(e) Lève ton verre Et surtout ne le renverse pas
Et porte le Au frontibus Au nasibus Au mentibus Au ventribus Au sexibus Et glou, et glou, et glou...
Il (elle) est des nôtres Il (elle) a bu son verre comme les autres C'est un (une) ivrogne, Ça se voit rien qu'à sa trogne.
And now, after what may be the longest digression in the editorial history of French Word-A-Day, I present today's word and story, by my soon-to-be 14-year-old son, Max:
nid-de-poule (nee-deuh-pool) noun, masculine : pothole : kind of dessert
French definition : : un trou dans une chaussée défoncée (a hole in a worn, damaged road).
Audio file: (some rug rat stole my microphone so there'll be no sound clip today...)
Les Nids-de-poule par Maxime Espinasse
Dans mon allée pour aller jusqu'à chez moi, il y a plein de nids de poule. Un jour j'ai eu l'idée de les boucher. Figurez-vous que le 3ème nid de poule était occupé justement par une poule. BIZARRE!
J'ai essayé de faire partir la poule. Impossible. Alors je l'ai enlevé et il y avait des œufs en dessous d'elle! Je les ai deplacés mais, tout à coup, le coq arriva! Et c'est à cause de ça que j'ai laissé tomber le projet.
English translation: In my driveway, on the way to my house, there are lots of potholes [or, what we call in French, "chickens' nests"]. One day, I had the idea of patching them up. And wouldn't you know that the 3rd "chicken's nest" was occupied, accordingly, by a chicken! BIZARRE!
I tried to make the chicken leave. Impossible. And so I took it out ... and saw that there were eggs beneath her! I moved them but, all of a sudden, the rooster arrived! And this is why I gave up on the project.
One more thing... What does a nid-de-poule ("chicken's nest") have in common with a dos d'âne ("donkey's back")? Aha! Give us your answer in today's comments box (and thanks, Jed, for the term dos-d'âne!)
Sneak peek at Saturday's photo bouquet, coming soon
Three Random Words: le mal du pays = homesickness le juron (m) = swearword => dire des jurons = to swear le taulard, la taularde = convict, con
Sunday found us staggering through the sweet-scented hills of Rasteau, wine glasses in our hands, soiffard* songs on our hearts. An occasional tumble or slip... was not (in my case, at least...) the fault of the wine, which all but poured from the heavens along our 6-kilometer-long trek, or gourmet getaway....
The wine-fueled cacophony surrounding us, book-ended only by French hiccups, reminded us that we weren't the only ones "getting away"; nearly 2000 people turned out for the 10th annual "Escapade des Gourmets" in which hikers were lured onward and upward to the Vauclusian hills by the aroma of good wine and good food, stocked up and served around every boisterous bend in the pebbled path below us.
Beginning in the old village of Rasteau, we hiked up to the first étape* and were rewarded with a savory mise en bouche* -- but not before presenting our carte de membre honoraire. I reached into the little cloth poche,* provided to all participants back at the check-in stand. There, in the pocket, which hung from a string around our necks, we could tuck our wine-glasses, wine notes, and member card, to be presented at every halt, or étape, before sampling each of the gourmandises.* For those of us who don't drink alcohol, or who were pacing ourselves, water and orange juice were provided.
After the first appetizer (une tranche de caillette* and a few toasts de tapenade*) we stepped soberly forward... but not for long. At the second étape, another kilometer or so upland, we were served une tranche de foie gras* and a glass of vin doux naturel doré.* That's when the giggling began... and complete strangers began to cozy up beside the band. The first animation* (there would be several such distractions both to entertain hikers and keep minds off the miles...) was a two-man reggae band, "Manbouss".
"Rastafariing" our way back to the route, we were on our way to the third stop when the rain began to trickle down. I put my camera away and enjoyed the scene surrounding us, the heady scents of genêt* and pine intensifying the experience. The collines* were carpeted with flowers! There was my favorite, "Lily of Spain," (valerian) in red, and hills of electric blue blossoms.
More mets provençaux met us around the next corner... and the dégustation des vins continued. This time a feuilleté provençal* and several côtes-du-Rhône rosés. By now the crowds were gathered beneath the trees, for shelter against the rain, and at this point those saucy chansons paillardes began. I asked one of the young women in our group, Céline, to tell me about these "drinking songs". "Oh, you know," she said, the lyrics are not very fine..."* I have heard these songs for as long as I have lived in France (indeed, they were sung at my own wedding... near 3 a.m. in the morning!), now I could put a name to the songs, even if the raunchy face-reddening lyrics still escape me. These bar-room ballads certainly don't escape the French, whether at a bar, at a marriage, or in the heaven-scented hinterlands of Provence.
After three more stops (for jambon braisé,* which we ate while seated on pine-needles, cheese, which we savored while sitting on a steep slope, and dessert, enjoyed at the church at the top of the old down) we finally rolled into Rasteau (or titubed into town) chatting all the while with strangers, who were, now, more like old shipmates, or merry matelots,* in time to navigate the winding French roads... with the help of us designated drivers who had filled up on orange juice and eau.*
Note: over a dozen more photos from Rasteau, and the surrounding hills, will be featured in this weekends Cinéma Vérité. Don't miss it!
~~~~~~~~~~~~Selected French Vocabulary~~~~~~~~~ soiffard(e) = drunkard; la dégustation (f) de vins = wine tasting, la mise (f) en bouche = appetizer; la poche (f) = pocket; les gourmandises (fpl) = delicacies; une tranche (f) de caillette = a slice of caillette (round pork sausage); la tapenade (f) = a crushed olive paste; le vin (m) doux naturel doré = a sweet golden-colored wine; une animation (f) = organized activity; le genêt (m) = scottish broom; la colline (f) = hill; les mets provencaux (mpl) = Provençal dishes; le feuilleté (m) Provençal = Provençal pastries; fine = refined ; le jambon (m) braisé = braised ham; titubed (tituber) = Frenglish for swayed; le matelot (m) = sailor;l'eau (f) = water
Art Show / Vernissage in Aix-en-Provence : Monday, May 11th from 6-8 pm, Atélier Marchutz: 5, Ave Général Préaud (Art show of American students who come to Aix-en-Provence to paint en plein air.)
Three Random Words: le taon = horsefly, gadfly périmé(e) = out-of-date, expired le gavage (m) = force-feeding
That's my husband, laboring ploughing the earth. Jules took this photo (by the way, Mom made it safely home and is now on a mission to find a scooter... and motor up to the Mexican hills, yonder, in search of new friends: preferably old, preferably wrinkled, preferably wild-at-heart).
nuage (noo-ahzh) noun, masculine
: cloud Terms & Expressions: un nuage de fumée = a cloud of smoke un nuage de lait = a drop of milk (in coffee) un nuage de poussière = a cloud of dust un nuage de gaz = a cloud of gas
Three Good Reasons To Become a Cinéma Vérité Member Today
1. To see an educational French cartoon, "The Art of The Kiss", with English subtitles. (Ooh là là... not to be missed!)
2. To view a dozen photos of "La Provence Florentine"... some with choice photo captions such as "If these flowers were an all-girl 50s rock band, they might be called Les Grimpettes."
3. To witness the answer to the following question: "How Many Clothespins Does It Take To Hang A French Kitchen Towel?"
Still not swayedto become a contributing member of French Word-A-Day? How about this:.
Feedback by Cinéma Vérité members: I just went to today's edition of Cinema
Verite, it is BEAUTIFUL! Thank you very much. Now my weekends will be really
enjoyable and I will be looking forward to it! The video is very good too. It
helps a lot with learning French. Again, your efforts are much
Note to CM members:
To access today's photo/film edition: you will need to click on the
link in the "Merci Beaucoup!" email that I sent you -- or visit your
bookmarks... or email me and I'll gladly resend the link!