rendez-vous galant

Cabanon & Flower Field (c) Kristin Espinasse
Love Shack. I took a dozen photos of this dreamy field and dashing farm hut, located outside the town of Orange. See several of the images in Saturday's Cinéma Vérité. Updating the French photo site, each weekend, is both a privilege and a pleasure--I hope it brings you as much enjoyment! Check out what CV members have to say, here (at the end of the page).

*     *     *

rendez-vous galant (rohn-day-voo gal-ohn) noun, masculine

    : tryst (amorous)

un lieu de rendez-vous galant = a trysting place

Audio File & Example Sentence
Listen to my daughter, Jackie, pronounce today's word & example sentence:
Download Rendez-vous galant mp3

Braise-La-Chienne est partie pour un rendez-vous galant dans les vignes.
Braise-The-Dog took off for a tryst in the vines.

Book events: Jill Jonnes (author of Eiffel's Tower) will be speaking at the charming & marvelous Red Wheelbarrow bookstore at 7pm!

A Day in a French Life...
by Kristin Espinasse

The thunderstorms have ceased, the sol* is cool and dry, wet beneath the surface. Jean-Marc and I are having lunch in the front yard, under the Chinese mulberry tree-sans-mulberries. Unlike the mûrier* we picked on Saturday morning, our tree is fruitless. But Dame Nature* has a way of evening the score--the reproductive scoreboard, that is--even when we'd rather be on the losing end.

"Tiens, tiens, tiens...."* Would you take a look at that? Jean-Marc remarks.

My eyes leave a plate of aubergines,* halved, roasted with garlic, tomato, and drizzled with local olive oil. I look across the lawn and see a familiar form in the tall wheat-colored grass beyond. The outline, oddly, amounts to a Scottish terrier.

Oh, terror! I now remember the conversation I had with my daughter last week, after she informed me that our dog, Braise, was en chaleur.*
"We'll see about that later!" I had said to Jackie, not wanting to believe that we were about to attack another round of Dogs in Heat; we had only just recovered from the latest one, after the September grape harvest!

I still can't believe Braise is back in heat--can't believe how blind I can be to all the signs--like those sanguine spots that kept appearing (and disappearing) across the kitchen floor.... Turns out Jean-Marc had been cleaning them up this time.

Back at the picnic table, my anxiety sets in, with every seductive step of the terrier trespasser.
"Calme-toi,"* Jean-Marc suggests. Next, I listen, astonished, as my husband's own blinders go on: "Nothing's going to happen," he chuckles. "That dog is too small!"

"Ha! On peut t'étonner,"* You'd be surprised! I say, unsure of my French, certain of my suspicions.

I watch the terrier-terror tiptoe forward, trying his luck... and I notice, with relief, that Braise isn't reacting--but is busy combing her golden retriever coat with her coarse tongue.

"See. I told you not to worry," Jean-Marc points out.
"T'as raison.* I guess it's not that time yet... her hot-to-trot hormones haven't kicked in."

And just as we sit back and settle in, Braise's hormones begin to spin! With that, we watch, mouths agape, as Braise jumps to her feet, leaps across the lawn to greet Don Juan and, illico presto,* our "demure" demoiselle is long gone!

*     *     *

Post note: As if a mother and wife hasn't enough to worry about... I watch, with fright, as my newly-crippled husband hops onto his bike! Off he pedals, his upper body in a sling, one-hand on the bar. The bike zigzags and bounces over the soft, sometimes muddy earth, into the feverish field beyond. "Braise!" the broken man shouts, "Reviens!* Bon sang!* R-E-V-I-E-N-S!"


le sol (m) = ground
le mûrier (m) = mulberry tree
la Dame Nature (f) = Mother Nature
tiens, tiens, tiens = well, well, well
une aubergine (f) = eggplant
en chaleur = in heat
calme-toi = calm down
on peut t'étonner = you'd be surprised
t'as raison = you have a point
illico presto! = right away!
reviens! = come back!
bon sang! = dammit!

*     *     *

Name that Flower...

Ever feel like the odd one out? PS: Does anyone know what kind of flower this is (the blue one, that is!) and do you know what it is used / farmed for?

Three Random Words:
= to gossip
un soubresaut = jolt; start (fearful start)
un trublion = troublemaker

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal each week. If you find joy or value in these stories and would like to keep this site going, donating today will help so much. Thank you for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

Ways to contribute:
1.Zelle®, The best way to donate and there are no transaction fees. Zelle to [email protected]

2.Paypal or credit card
Or purchase my book for a friend and so help them discover this free weekly journal.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


I believe it is delphinium.


Salut, Kristin! Patti is right--it's a delphinium. In French, it's called a dauphinelle. Lovely to look at, and used to want some until I found out that most types are toxic. Attention!

Cynthia in France

So how the story end? Will you be having small puppies now of the mutt brand? Cynthia in France


On Wikipedia I learned that "Gerard's Herbal" reports that drinking the seed of larkspur was thought to help against the stings of scorpions - don't you have some of those in your neighborhood? Be careful!


Even more from Wikipedia"

Grieve's herbal reports that the seeds can be used against parasites, especially lice and their nits in the hair. A tincture is used against asthma and dropsy. The juice of the flowers, mixed with alum, gives a blue ink. The plant was connected to Saint Odile and in popular medicine used against eye diseases. It was one of the herbs used on the feast of St. John and as such warded against lightning. In Transylvania, it was used to keep witches from the stables, probably because of its black color!


Sounds like it's time (or past time) to have your dog neutered. Please do the responsible thing - there are already too many unwanted puppies in this world.


Oh boy - I hope you're keeping Jean-Marc's Carte-Vitale handy! The madness of life seems to be the same no matter where you live. How do you say in French: "He needs a good scolding!"?

Kristin - does the Love Shack in your beautiful photo have boulders on the roof to keep the tiles in place? (a bit dangerous for the lovers, n'est pas? - Don't shake the shack!) :o)


Patti and Leslie: thanks for the "delphinium"

Cynthia: re how the story ends.... stay tuned

Cookie: we have other plans at the moment... but you bring up a great point!

Karen: (still chuckling from your note) as for those rocks on the roof: I think it has to do with old tiles + endless Mistral! I see this architectural "addition" often, 'round here

Jeanne: I thought you were about to give us an anti-puppy potion! And, yes, we do have scorpions. Just got stung yesterday while putting my houseslippers on (thankfully, it was only a small bee!)


This is the most beautiful picture Kristin. In my mind this is always France or Mediterranean France. Oh, my eyes and my soul say Mille Mercis!

Dogs in could they not be with all that beauty around!
And good question about the flower, we too have them here, and now I must investigate or better yet I hope someone here already knows. They are stunning!

Tell Jean Marc to watch out!


Pam Conrad

Delphinium...oh the beautiful fields of flowers in the summer in France. Merci! Sunflowers, poppies, lavender. Any visitors to the route du lavande? So many healing properties and such beauty.

Mike & Michele

Les fleurs sont appellé delphinium. Normally bloom in July in our midwest U.S. zone.


I was going to say the flowers were lavandre-- or perhaps lavendula.


I, too, believe that the flower is a Delphinium. Just a thought, but I have always heard that in order for mulberry trees to bear fruit, you need more than one tree so that you get a cross-pollination (the same with cherries). It may be that if you plant another tree, one of them will bear fruit, unless you have a particular variety that is ornamental ... I am hoping that Jean-Marc recovers very soon from his injury -- it must be very difficult to work in the vines in his condition! Lovely pictures of the flowers. Keep up the good work with your camera!
Take care,

Jacqui McCargar

I second the vote for Delphinium. I used to have them in my backyard, beautiful shade of blue/purple!
BTW, how is Jean-Marc's shoulder?


Ah ha! Such talk of cross-pollinating mulberry trees and cross-pollinating dogs leads me to believe that Spring has arrived in la belle Provence profonde et fecund!

Sandy Maberly

So sorry to hear of JM's injury. Nature sometimes has a way of saying "slow down" that is not at all pleasant. Take care and I look forward to hearing the rest of the doggie saga.

Betty Reynolds

I look forward to the pictures and stories soooo much. Thank you!

Jan Lund

I'm enjoying French word-a-day and since I'm a French prof (Sorbonne, 1969) I am hoping to put it to use in my classes sometime. I have, on occasion noticed mistakes in the emailers' answers or translations. But when I tried to post corrections, I couldn't. Maybe I'm just not "working" the website correctly.
Hope your husband is on the mend. He didn't look any too happy in those hospital pix.

Jan Lund

Augusta Elmwood

Kristin, they appear to be either delphiniums or larkspur (the former being larger than the latter). My mother used to call them rabbit ears. She only used them for bouquets... it didn't even occur to me that they could have a medicinal or homeopathic use.



Good day! What gorgeous flowers & lovely photos! I'd love to nap in that field. Though from what I've read here, best to admire from afar!

As for the ER visit…thankful your fabulous sense of humor and creativity stay with you - even under pressure! God-speed to JM's healing!


A beautiful field and hut and roof!
Great story with useful vocabulary. :)


I think it's Lavender, for parfume.


I think this is just a common lupine....just for enjoying the beauty. We have acres of them here in Central California.

B. J. Lewis

Oh, non, non, non! Today's post is NOT FUNNY! Please have your dog spayed as soon as possible. If she is in heat, you will probably have to wait a few weeks. In the meantime, please keep her confined. Perhaps you have never seen a puppy put to death -- I have -- and it is HORRIBLE! Please, please be a responsible animal owner.


I think that they are larkspur, an annual that can readily re-seed itself each year.
Delphiniums are of the same botanical genus or a closely related one, but the plants are more substantial and perennial. They are a bit too finicky to readily form a whole blooming field.
The flowers are indeed beautiful!

Kathleen Moore

I have to join in with the rest of the animal lovers to beg you to get Braise fixed. I don't know about France but here people who breed their dogs are considered extremely irresponsible. In fact, in my town (suburb of Chicago), it is illegal to breed unless you have passed stringent regulations and received a permit. That's a wonderful thing as the shelters are filled with unwanted pets - purebred as well as mutts. I was very surprised to hear that you haven't had it done yet. It will prolong Braise's life as well as improving her health.


What a place for a tryst! I'm with Dot on the larkspur, the lovely country cousin to the hoitier-toitier delphinium. Larkspur leaves are delicate and ferny, while the delphinium's are larger and shaped something like a spread-open hand, similar to those of the cranesbill geranium.

I'm also solidly with the neuterers and spayers of the world. It really is best. Good luck. I dearly hope the terrier hasn't laid claim to Braise's terroir, or more properly, domaine.


I thought I should clear up something regarding Braise. It was my very own idea to allow her to have babies and experience motherhood.
Once Braise has babies, and most preferably with a Golden Retreiver male, we will have her fixed.
Regarding the puppies, it is our plan to find happy homes and we already have some people on the list.


I think your farm hut photo is beautiful and I also had a chuckle about the rocks holding down the roof tiles of the "Love Shack" ...oops, I think there is one sliding off the back...could you just push it back in a bit, no not you Jean-Marc!!


delphinium..... giving support and encouragement to a lost poppy from a neighbouring field.
Oooooh! What you call the love shack / farm hut, (too big to be "une cabane", but probably functioning as a sort of "grange"???) standing among blue delphinium is simply gorgeous!
Must go..... and will be delighted to see more of them on Saturday, in "Cinéma Vérité" -- this brilliant and colourful extension of FWAD. Can't thank you enough...
Bonne journée!


As much as I enjoy reading your blog, I have to vote with the "please spay her" crowd.

Dogs do not need the experience of motherhood. They don't have a biological clock, and they don't have the urges to have offspring (except while they're in heat, of course, but that's a purely hormonal urge, and not the desire to be a maman!)

While I realise that puppies from YOUR dog will be spoken for -- will the adopting families provide good homes? Will they responsibly spay or neuter their animals? How many of Braise's puppies or their descendants will end up in shelters or pounds?

What if the terrier has indeed sired a litter? Will you still have her spayed after the birth of the half-breed puppies, or will you hold out until she can produce another litter of Goldens?

We recently adopted a black Lab from the shelter, and although someone else's irresponsibility allowed us to have him, it breaks my heart to think how many other sweet-tempered animals like him (and he's a very handsome boy..what about the funny-looking dogs!) are put down every day around the world because someone thought that it would be a good idea to let their dog or cat have just one litter.

Pat Cargill

Yikes. In the 24 hours since I was last here, and did not post because I was looking up some mots, I have returned to find posts that, despite the WELL MEANING, are inappropriately critical and strident. It would be enough to simply ask the question, "have you thought about..." This is not the place for wagging fingers and telling people what they ought to do. It is not the place to imply or say out right! that someone is irresponsible. There are meetings and forums and all sorts of places where one can vent more appropriately on this topic.

And yes, I had Maxine, my sweet pet, spayed when she was a pup for all those good reasons. Sooo

Here is the post I was working on yesterday and which most of your will find inappropriate, mais c'est la vie, c'est une petite memory of someone I loved:

I am laughing at the image of J-M dashing away to prevent La Dame Nature des chiens from having her way. Love (ou dans ce cas-ci, lust!)conquers all! (Ah, lust--true love for a little while!) In the 70's I worked for a Mr. Dyer who would share, as the "High Heat Season" warranted, tales of the family pet, "Tiger," who was want to wander and have beaucoups des rendezvous-galant. He was famous in their neck-of-the-woods in Charlotte, NC, and had been arrested by Animal Control-types numerous times. He truly lived up to his name!

This is not a challenge; please do not feel it your duty to inform me of my irresponsible thinking, as I am wholly in support of neutering pets and being a responsible pet owner.

Robyn Daniels

Beg to differ with your other postees - why would they grow fields of delphiniums or larkspur? looks like Blue Vetch to me used to put nitrogen back into the soil - see link - look at leaves as well as flowerheads


Kristin -- Wow! Just when you thought you had moved over to a safer, more politically correct subject than religion, that being l'amour amongst the fleurs -- WOOF -- you fell headlong onto another live petard! Be careful, dear, as you tip toe through the tulips of themes lest you fall into a pit of vitriole :) I suggest, instead, that we get a rousing debate going about the pros and cons of France's best AOC olive oil producers. That should be a slippery slope if ever there was one!


P.S. As for the flora, my guess is that they are pretty purple flowers.

Jules Greer

Kristi Darling, It looks as though it has turned into a literal hornets nest over here. Thanks Diane and Pat for standing up for Kristi, and the other silent readers that have read this column long enough to understand the sensitivity Kristi wears on her shoulders, and how the smallest bit of criticism could throw her into a 'tizzy' and jepordize OUR RECEIVING this delightful and free entertainment three times a week. I personally like to encourage Kristi to keep her innocense, and not have to edit all of her thoughts and reactions to life in the fear of starting a dog fight. I believe Braise has a distinct part in this life at the vineyard and hope to see her marry that beautiful and sexy guy we met at the little lake where we took photo's of the white swan. Who was it out there that identified 'his breed' ? - we could finally propogate a new variety of VINDOG.
I look forward to all stories about Braise, they lighten my spirit and remind me of life and love in the world.




Hmmm, sounds like we have some animal rights readers amongst our group. I come here to read the stories, to look at the fabulous photos and to indulge a lifelong love affair with all things french.
Is it possible to do all of those things w/out delivering a lecture on the pros/cons of spay/neuter? In truth, folks, it really isn't any of our business anyway. It only becomes our responsibility when we adopt a pet, so can we get on with the pleasure of French Word A Day??

Andrea Hughes

These are delphiniums, and their seeds are used in the developement of insecticide.


Here is a good link for the use of delphinium:
See particularly sections on
- Traditional Uses
- Medicinal uses

First time I saw fields of delphinium was in France, in the Touraine region... in June ... some time ago... ( my daughter Lucy was 6 at the time and "elle aura 28 ans demain"!) Oh! I must have a look at the photos we took then!


Bravo Luci, Pat, Diane an Precious Jules!!!
Let's get on with the pleasure of FWAD :)


I am excited to one day see pictures of cute golden retriever puppies!
When we lived in Germany the culture was different from the states. At least in the town where we lived people were very responsible with their pets. So much so, that the only way we could get our dog was to buy a full-bred as there was no shelter around. We were told most Germans do not abandon their dogs. (at least in the area we lived) I am not sure if that is similar to some areas in France or not but that was our experience. That is how we now own a golden retriever ourselves!
Bon Chance!

Oh and for all you dog lovers out there, we had our dog spaid. :) I'm all for spay and neuter especially in the states.


C'est la vie, n'est-ce pas? Life includes many adventures - some we agree with and some we don't. I believe the afore mentioned French saying is appropriate here. Kristin, please continue sharing your adventures with us! I applaud you for your "courage" of opening up your life to the masses - some of whom feel they must share their feelings with you. Don't you guys remember the old Olivia Newton John song - "Have you Never Been Mellow"? Uh oh, I'm showing my age! :) Oui, je suis une femme d'une certaine age! C'est la vie!
PS. Les fleurs sont si belles! Merci!

Robyn Daniels

Dearest Kirstin
Do not be silenced by judgemental people from giving us your incomparable and delightful thoughts and word pictures. I was always taught that people who use 'should' as far as other people's thoughts/behaviour have issues they need to explore - i.e. look at yourself and make sure you are PERFECT before you throw stones at others, something about stones and glass houses.
Love Robyn x


Kristin & Jean-Marc: Dogs do not need to "experience motherhood"!! They are quite content to be well fed, warm and dry, and be near their human "packs". Projecting human emotions on dogs and cats is one factor in the terrible overpopulation of them in France. The shelters afe full, strays are rampant. This is just as small minded as not neutering male dogs so that they can "experience sex."


Alexandra Villeneuve

Spay shmay! Yes, you need to do that, but a "mommy" dog is 100 % better to have around the house. A question to all who are in such a hurry to "fix" the pooch: Do you'ns guys have children? What a joy they are (children and puppies) and to deny this joy to the lady dog - what a shame. And to see this wonderful miracle of birth will be a lasting memory for Kristin's children. Kristin will find good homes for them! Have a little faith!
Alex =)

Kathryn Gower

I love your blog Kristin!!! Please, please, please keep it up! Don't you worry about people who think they have all the answers. It's really none of their business. They have some nerve turning your sweet sharing into something stressful and nasty.


Kristin, I did not intend to offend, just to ask you to reconsider. I don’t think my original comment was vitriolic, and I didn’t find any of the others to be so either – not even close. In any case, the greater offense – to me – would be to condone irresponsible pet ownership by remaining silent about it. The fact is, as much as you might not want to think about it, for every one of Braise’s puppies you find a home for, that means there’s another puppy sitting in a shelter, facing euthanasia, who won’t be adopted by a family because that family adopted Braise’s puppy instead. You can’t control other people’s decisions to not spay and neuter their animals, but you can control your own. And I can’t control YOUR decision – obviously – but I can add my 2 cents’ worth about something you’ve written. After all, isn’t that what a comments box is for?


ah, well-meaning Cookie, just can't let it go...

you have now added:

2 cents + 2 cents = 4cents worth! Paid in Full! Arretez, chere une.


I've been out of town, and I'm catching up on my emails and my French-Word-A-Day stories, and after reading all the comments, I'd just like to say thanks for the pictures that make me want to return to France bientot, and thanks for sharing your life with us. I love your blog!!!!

Packers jerseys

I forgot to mention another variable is when to wear them... Clearly this look feels better on the weekend near the water.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)