rendez-vous galant
chien perdu


I've lived on funny-named streets before ("Never Mind Trail" back in Carefree, Arizona...) but this one takes the cake: "Rue des Emmerdeurs" (un emmerdeur/euse = a pain in the neck).

*     *     *

Please excuse the temporary change in format. Your editor is feeling very much like a rebel *without* a cause today. (And, Mom, if you are reading this, don't be too mad about my swiping your unfinished painting (see below). I didn't have any other "hooker" photos on file (after my computer crashed last March, remember?) to illustrate today's journal entry. Note: ALL of my mom's paintings are for sale because of the Swine Flu fiasco in her adopted country of Mexico. (Mom's husband has been out of work for several months now! Pray for him and her). Bon, while I'm on a roll now--writing down things that I shouldn't normally speak of--let's see, what else can I share... How about a brothel story?

*     *     *

"Le lupanar" is a synonym for bordel French. Another synonym is "maison de tolérance" (house of tolerance) and the humor is not lost on me as I go about putting together this unexpected edition...

Lupanar... loop... loopy... it is how my brain feels after over-thinking the subject of animal procreation--and ethics--this, after an unexpected response to Wednesday's story column ("tryst"). Against (or following?) my own animal instincts, I offer the following "micro missive".

A Day in a French Life...

Kristin Espinasse

"Stripteaseuse" a painting by my mom, Jules. To inquire about a painting, contact my Mom via Facebook (look for "Jules Greer") We are shipping Braise off to a brothel in Marseilles this morning (room, board, and amour in exchange for one case of Côte du Rhône rouge*). That's right, wine for would-be chiots*--evidence that troc* is alive and well in modern France!

I was going to write a story about our dog's unlikely** journey to motherhood... until some unexpected courier arrived in my inbox, this, in response to a recent journal entry.

And now, in a strange reversal of roles, it is *I* who have performance anxiety.

*     *     *

PS:  The economy is bad everywhere. The Madame in Marseilles (who runs the brothel I mentioned) tells me they're down to one client: Sailor Sam (the seven-year-old Golden Retriever who happens to be a perfect match for our Braise). Wish 'em luck.

Note: I realize today's vignette might be more maladroit than funny. Comic relief (if only for myself) was my intention. When writing an on-line journal, sharing one's personal life is often a hit-or-miss operation. What's important is to aim with the heart.

Thanks again for tuning in to life here at the vineyard. It is a dream come true to share it with you. I wish never to offend--or to step on anyone's toes--only to capture and share French life... as it ebbs, as it flows.

*     *     *
Comments, corrections--and stories of your own are still, and always, welcome!

~~~~~~~~~~~French Vocabulary~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
côtes du Rhône rouge = Rhone slope reds (see our Domaine Rouge-Bleu wine ); le chiot (m) = puppy; le troc = (see here)

**Braise's unlikely (journey to motherhood) : Normally, Braise would have been spayed (if I'd have had my way). Note: any further contrarious commentary should be directed to Monsieur Espinasse. (Merci beaucoup! But please go gentle on him... he's still healing from an épaule luxée. Oh, what a week it's been!)

"Stripteaseuse" a painting by my mom, Jules. To inquire about a painting, contact my Mom via Facebook (search for "Jules Greer").


Parisian Bistro Chairs (c) Kristin Espinasse
What could be more delightful than a French town named "Orange"? Photos of a French town called Orange. Don't miss at least 15 pictures in tomorrow's Cinéma Vérité.

Three Random Words:
un épulche-légumes (m) = vegetable (potato) peeler
une olivette (f) = plum tomato
un pressoir (m) = wine press


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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


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Bob Head

Well----I DID wonder for a minute what was coming next!!! You certainly have a knack for engaging our attention!!


Kristin you are delightful. Your photography as well as your writing brightens my day. Merci Beaucoup for sharing so much with us.

Christine Dashper

Keep up your lovely work Kristin. It is a gutsy effort to put yourself out there the way you do each week and you do it so well!

Good luck with Braise. Hopefully we will see some puppy photos in the future??

warm wishes


I love Jules'/Jules's/Jules'es/Jule's-like this one bestest- painting; she is inspiration for me to put brush in hand and try again. Will def'ly visit her cyber gallery.

The old gnarled vine in the picture is takes years and years to grow into an old wise vine, twisted and reaching out in so many direction, always working upward and outward...sort of like life in general. Beautiful in all its twisted shapes and forms. If only we have eyes to see it and hearts to appreciate it.

Bon chance Braise as you go a-trysting.

"Rue des Emmerdeurs" - great new mot de jour pour moi. A must-commit-to-memory one; here is my practice sentence: a ma cher mari - "Ah, ma cher mari, je t'adore mais quelque fois, tu es un petit emmerdeur," - "de rien, m'ange."

(Well, I too will appreciate help avec le francais, anybody)

Have a great wkend chez Espinasse, a bientot!


Could not get through all the comments about Braise. I think it is time to introduce us to the French word for "dogmatic."

Evelyn Jackson

I love Jules' painting...very provocative. Kind of like your post on Baise! Yikes...I think everyone should keep soap-box opinions on their own blogs, no matter how gently they are presented.I'm amazed as I read your blog and others which topics spark the most opinionated comments. As for me...fat, cuddlely balls of fur with puppy-breath are among my favorite things in the whole world!


This brings to mind a time when we were matching our 120 lb German Shepherd with a friend's dog – smaller model of the same breed.... Their rendezvous was scheduled to occur in our friend's kitchen and boy, what a mess!!! Because of the size difference, they needed a little "help" and next thing you know, our Humphrey's business was all over my husband!! Served him right for messing with Mother Nature. The two dogs were happy, each in their own world, and obviously much better off!!!

On the topic of Jules' bold paintings, is there somewhere we can see them all together, like you did with the Auction not so long ago? Or maybe it wasn't the auction, but the marriage between her paintings and a fellow reader's photos?

Thanks, Kristin, for sharing so poetically your ebbs and flows so openly throughout the week!:)


Ánimo Kristi!!! :)
I want to hear more about Braise's love story!


HA! I love your bartering system! Only in France!

In the movie, "La Vie en Rose" we got an interesting view into Edith Piaf's early life being somewhat raised in a brothel. I wonder if that part of her life was portrayed correctly.

Also..... this is "your" journal that you are kind enough to share with us. We love it and we WANT to read about EVERY ebb & flow. Life can't be edited. Have faith that your readers will understand the intentions and innocence of your heart and your topics and just go with it. As Billy Joel sings: "Don't go changin'..." COURAGE, Kristin!

Betty Bailey

I love hearing about all episodes in your life, Kristin. I'm not quite sure what occurred regarding your previous post, but I assure you every one of them pleases me beaucoup! And I love Cinema Verite!


Being a wine junkie that I am Jean-Marc must hear this one. About a year ago cleaning out my shed where my vin du cellar exists in all it's glory I discovered a bottle of French wine I forgot I had bought some 30+ years ago. It was a 1958 Haute Brion Premier Grand Cru! On line I found it could be worth up to $3200! At a local wine store the owner said he would give me $600 for it as he had a byer for $800. I politely said non that we would drink it. So for Thanksgiving I took it to my father's. All my family appreciate good wine (we are part French and part Swiss-Italian). Anyway, it was properly decanted, allowed to breathe for half an hour (not long enough). Poured and enjoyed. Was it worth $3200...probably not...was it very good...yes, once it opened up....but more than anything I could say I shared a very expensive bottle of French wine with my family.


Dear Kristin,

Your blog could not be more delightful. Though it makes my life appear more 'ordinary' with each passing day, I delight in tuning in. I am starting to think that one must live next door to you to have such interesting things in their lives.
I will pray for Mom + husband. Prayers are most effective when someone says it for another one, I think only because the motive is more pure. (all my own opinions)

The only bizarre street names I have encountered were in Amish Country, PA. Pardon me, I am not making fun but streets named 'Blue Balls', 'Intercourse', and others like that are just plain weird to me. I love the Amish though and the delicious food they make and the beautiful country they tend to.

Where is mom selling her paintings/

Love to your dog...and you, a rebel? Naah!



A wonderful follow up to your last story. It brings back memories of my wonderful lab Tessa. We too wanted her to have puppies and I remember the hardest part was leaving her at the 'brothel'. I was informed she was quite 'easy' and enjoyed herself. I personally agree with Jules, a Vindog , created in the vineyard! Sounds like a good idea:)
I was very particular about who I would let have one of the puppies. We have stayed in touch with the families and know that all the puppies were well cared for. Of course Tessa was spayed after that, as have all our dogs. No more cleaning up after a dog in heat, and no unwanted puppies.
Having read your column for a long time it is easy to know that Braise is a lucky dog. Well cared for by a loving family. I look forward to many more stories about your French life and family, and puppies! I will be praying for Jules, her husband, and your family too.
Best wishes

Mary Pace

Dear Kristin,
Your post reminds me of the only dog I ever had. My husband at the time refused to allow him to be fixed, so the poor thing regularly wandered about, fighting for bones and female attention. One day he came home so scratched and bedraggled after a successful "romantic" encounter that he required medical attention. My husband joked (his humor was not particularly wholesome) that he would have paid a lot less for a good puppy bordelo. Since then I have visions of feather-bedecked female dogs lounging about on scented velvet cushions. Your post made me laugh--and I think you have found a better way.


Dear Kristin, J-M and Jules,
My apologies - I didn't mean to contribute to a strident reproductive kerfuffle! Clearly breeding Braise with her fancy beau is a different matter than an impromptu tryst with a tenacious terrier. I grew up with the occasional, carefully planned batch of purebred puppies who had fabulous homes waiting before they even opened their eyes. Speaking from that experience, it is something that your kids will never forget. Can't wait to see pictures.

ps - Jean-Marc: your Mistral is breathtaking. We have three bottles left, and hope there will be more at Solo Vino.


So caring and conscientious are you, dear Kristi, and such a joy of you to share stories of your life with us. I was astonished to see, as Pat Cargill described so aptly, the criticism in some readers’ comments and that they would use your sweet blog as the avenue to do so! It amazes me how some people feel entitled to tell others what is right for them.

All of my beloved animals, whether adopted from a shelter or bought from a caring breeder, are an absolute blessing to me. I wish for your family the blessing of puppies. Lovely day to you!


Rock on Kristin.

Now here's a truck singing 'Carefree Highway,' just for you:


Just wishing the Espinasse family a wickedly wonderful weekend!! ;-)


"Dear Kristin, You always "aim with the heart", and your writing always hits my heart. Good luck with your puppies, Jean-Marc's shoulder, and all the ebbs and flows of your life.

Candice in NY


Keep following your heart. You always do the right thing.


Ah life......stories sometimes come TO us.....we need not look for life is full of the odd, strange, and funny........

Karen Burnichon

To tell you the truth - this story is the Kristin that I love to read about - the one I read about in your book years ago...about the simple things of everyday life there in the country I call my second home, but only get to visit every 15 months or so...we visited your Domaine last year at harvest time; met your (handsome) husband, but you were gone somewhere with your son, I think....we just passed through Orange last week hoping to see lavender fields, but were a little too early to see the carpet of colour that we love. I really wanted to visit you (if you were at home) but time was not on our side. Could not believe the rose population this year in France!! Anyways (from me to you) I have 2 sons in Mexico that are also affected by this media driven disaster)and I am heart sick for all the people living there in any business depending on tourists. Keep it simple...Karen

Elayne Molbreak

HI Kristen,
Mon Ami Jean is a fabulous restaurant near Rue Cler. Reservations a must as the locals love this place and a few days in advance. Also in this area right on Rue Cler and Rue Grenelle is a wonderful ancient pub/cafe called Cafe Rousillon. The drinks are well priced but it is also a local hangout for a cafe.
Also the Catacombs are a must see just because it is so unusual and fascinating.
Musee D'Orsay as well is my favorite museum


Hi Kristen,

To follow Elayne's very hip picks of Rue Cler cafes and great sites, take a look at This photographer captures the Paris known to locals that a visitor cannot miss. Oh and since your friends are staying on Ile Saint Louis, Boulangerie Martin and formagerie Bernard make for a divine daily treat!

Michael Morrison

Hi Kristin,

Another entertaining story--as usual. If I may, I will offer a translation suggestion. The translation of "côtes du Rhône" is more likely "slopes (or hillsides) of the Rhone." The word "côte" can be translated as "coast," but the Rhone is a river. The reference is more likely to the hillsides that slope down to the river.

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