How to say discount card in French: Carte de Fidelite


"Winter Provisions"

s'égarer (ay gar ay) verb

    : to lose one's way

French Verb Conjugation:
je m'égare, tu t'égares, il s'égare, nous nous égarons, vous vous égarez, ils s'égarent pp= égaré


ne nous égarons pas!
= let's stick to the point!

s'égarer du droit chemin = to stray from the straight and narrow

s'égarer dans des détails = to lose oneself in details

...More expressions in the Robert Collins Dictionnaire



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Nos invitées se sont égarées sur le chemin qui amène au Domaine Rouge-Bleu. Our guests lost their way along the road that leads to Domaine Rouge-Bleu.

The Road to Domaine Rouge-Bleu

by Suzanne Dennis... with Margaret et Portia
Late in the afternoon … late in September … our last full day in Provence … we set out to find Domaine Rouge-Bleu.  We included my mother Portia, my sister Margaret, and me.  We had dinner reservations in Gigondas … but first … a long-anticipated visit with Kristin and Jean-Marc Espinasse. After years of following Kristin’s blog, reading her book, and watching Jean-Marc’s progress with their vineyard and wines, we were looking forward to finally meeting the Espinasse family and to tasting their wines.

Staying in the lovely Maison des Pelerins in Sablet not far from Ste. Cecile les Vignes, and remembering Kristin’s offer to just call when we were in Provence to arrange a visit, I realized we had arrived at the height of la vendange!   Each morning when we opened our windows, we could see the grape gathering in the vineyards below Sablet.  As we drove through the countryside, we saw the grapes ready to be picked and also the bounty of the harvest piled into orange carts traveling from vineyard to cave.  What was a delight for us I knew was incredibly hard work for Kristin and Jean-Marc. This was confirmed when reading Kristin’s posts and seeing her photos.  La vendange AND puppies … surely the Espinasses did not need to have us descend upon them.  Mais, non! 

Kristin invited us to come and emailed a map that, without a printer, I had to replicate by hand.  I didn’t copy it exactly leaving off a lot of side roads.  Because of my shorthand, we became lost. We turned around at a collège, stopped at a pizzeria, and I inquired at un marché.

Because I only understood some of what the helpful residents of Ste. Cecile les Vignes told me in rapid French, we winged it and began to search!


(photo: Margaret)
I thought I was leading my sister (who was driving) and my mom on a wild goose chase.  We drove down a dirt road into “no man’s land” amidst vineyards but thankfully turned around before offending anyone or being chased off. I turned to my sister suggesting, “It’s ok; let’s just go to Gigondas. I will email Kristin and apologize.”  (Our cell phone had lost power so we couldn’t phone from the road).  Margaret looked sternly at me and said, “This is the one thing you have wanted to do since arriving in Provence so we will find Domaine Rouge-Bleu.”  I had been calling out the names on Kristin’s map along the way and at the point when I was ready to abandon our search, Mom said, “There’s the sign!”  And indeed it was.  Mom had spied the pancarte and we knew we had found the right road.



In minutes we arrived at our destination.   Jean-Marc greeted us with a warm “Bienvenue” and escorted us to a table under the tree, where we joined a couple from Los Angeles, and Kristin, who was holding one of the puppies (Sugar).


(left to right: Margaret, Sugar, Angela and Bob Fowler, Portia, Jean-Marc, Suzanne)

Over the course of an hour, as the sun began to set and a light Mistral stirred the leaves, we tasted wines, gazed out at the lovely countryside agreeing with Kristin that it looks a lot like Tuscany.  We had set out from Sablet to find the Espinasses, we lost our way and had to search, and finally discovered warm and welcoming people, lovely wines, and the most splendid way to spend our last evening in Provence.  And of course we brought a little bit of Provence back home with us … the wines of Domaine Rouge-Bleu!


Suzanne Dennis grew up in Monrovia, CA, but now lives in Monroe Township, NJ, just east of Princeton. She is a senior administrator at Brooklyn Law School in Brooklyn Heights (oldest neighborhood in NYC). Suzanne and Margaret's mother, Portia, were born in Duluth, MN, and grew up in Nashwauk, MN and So. CA.  She was a Navy WAVE in WWII stationed on Treasure Island, San Francisco, where she met her husband, an ensign in the Navy.  She now lives in Durham, NC, and is writing her memoirs.

Margaret Dennis was born and raised in Southern California. She moved to Durham, NC, in 1997 to take a position at Duke University. On the side, she sells antiques in Hillsborough, NC. Yes, her luggage was filled with "finds" from brocantes and puces in Paris and Provence!

Each September, Suzanne, Margaret, and their mother, Portia, travel together, they having been to Canada, Oxfordshire and Devonshire, Paris, Venice and Provence.

Thank you for leaving a message for these ladies in the comments box. (And please wish Margaret, who is recovering from a cold) "bon rétablissement"! Don't we all wish we had a sibling like Margaret, one who reminds us of our chemin... just when we are about to make a U-turn... and give up on our goal.

This just in... Angela and Bob's response:

Hi Suzanne ~ Yes, we are here! We, too, got lost that afternoon trying to find Domaine Rouge-Bleu. Fortunately, while driving home after picking up her children at school, Kristin spotted us parked at the side of a country road (trying to interpret that infamous map!) and led us the rest of the way, getting there just a few minutes before your arrival. But the frustration was well worth it -- such a warm, friendly welcome by Kristin and Jean-Marc -- and such great wine (and adorable little puppy!) It's not often that tourists have an opportunity to experience even a little slice of real life in France. Our bottles of Rouge-Bleu didn't make it past our next stop, near Lyon, visiting the family of a high school girl who stayed with us two summers ago to work on her English. (Fortunately, we have a source at a wine store a half-hour drive from our home -- how lucky can one be!) As we told Kristin, we thought it might be a faux pas to give a gift of wine from one region to those in another (they live in the heart of the Beaujolais), but they said absolutely not -- they loved it. We enjoyed meeting you, your sister and mother -- and Bob especially enjoyed chatting and sipping wine with Portia! We thank you and Kristin for posting this little story as a reminder of our visit. And we wish you, Margaret and Portia many more years of such wonderful family vacations. Angela and Bob Fowler Monterey Park, California

French Vocabulary

la vendange (f) = harvest; la cave (f) = cellar; mais non = not at all; le collège = junior high school; le marché = market; la pancarte (f) = (road) sign;
la bienvenue (f) = welcome 



And here's a puppy healing update for Becky: Smokey is full of flageolets (or beans, if you like). He is one jumping, burglar barking, puppy machine (by this, I do not mean "maker of puppies", no! I mean he just keeps on going -- as a paper shredder (so long Arizona Highways, goodbye William Blake), a stuffing sucker (au revoir couch cushion), or a  meuble muncher (that little antique bassinet... the one in which we store books and magazines? It now sports a few new "etchings"). I guess you could say Smokey's got all of his energy back and then some. As for his wounds, they continue to heal. Some things take time.

"Réserve de Chasse" (and Vines on Fire) just outside the town center of Sainte Cécile.

English Grammar for Students of French: The Study Guide for Those Learning French

Clean Provence. Eau De Parfum Spray

Sweatshirt "Provence-Alpes-Cote D'azur"

Sea Salt by La Baleine -- a classic on every French table



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