une remise
mal a l'aise


Vines (c) Kristin Espinasse
What do French vines do to keep warm in wintertime? DANCE! They shake their hips to the left, shake 'em to the right... hipsway hipsway all through the night and day. Watch out, Moulin Rouge! You've got competition here at Domaine Rouge-Bleu!

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

pipelette (peep uh let) noun, feminine

     : one who "papottes" (papoter = to chat, to be chatty), a chatterbox

...from the Comments Box

Bonjour Kristin!

Your readers may be interested in the origins of the word pipelette, and its masculine form, pipelet. The word comes from a character in the 19th century novel, Mystères de Paris, by Eugène Sue. Pipelet was a Parisian concierge. Over time, the character became so well-known that his name became synonymous with any concierge, and thus by extension with anyone who is known to chat or gossip. I first learned this word back in French 3 in high school in a short story about a concierge named Madame Pipelet. Others who learned high school French in the 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond might remember it as part of a charming collection of short stories entitled Ces gens qui passent. I loved the story and nearly 25 years later, I still share it with my own students. Bon courage à tous les lecteurs!                                                                                                   —Michael Wrenn

Audio File & Example Sentence: Download Wav or   Download MP3

"J’aime beaucoup papoter avec toi!" disait mon ami, la pipelette.
I love to chat with you, said my friend, the chatterbox.

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

Hell's bells, je viens de me casser le ventre! That's right. I've just broken my stomach—something one can do only in the French language, with the help of a French restaurant, and with the arm-pulling of a Canadian expat who invites you to wine-fueled ladies' lunches... (Thanks a lot, Marg!)

Le Tourne au Verre is a colorful bistro in Cairanne that caters to wine makers in the wintertime, but tourists—and teetotalers—are welcome all the same. I shared a table with five other pipelettes, as we were called, by the waitress serving up those savory assiettes.

Wine got the women off to a good chatty start, as they tried to guess the mysterious cuvée in the glass carafe, center table. While the ladies tried to divine the wine, I watched and listened, thrilled to find myself in the cozy company of bon vivants.

The next two hours were spent en papotant, chatting about food (I mental-noted several recipes to share with you, including gratin de courge and gratin d'épeautre...), about politics (mostly about the French President's penchant for high heels), health (apparently oregano capsules help to soothe un rhume...), and language (I hadn't realized Provençale is taught in my village. The local prof de Provençale was just awarded a golden cicada.)
"La cigale d'or!" the woman seated across from me giggled. "It's the Provençal equivalent of winning the Oscar!"

When the waitress returned and dared ask whether we wanted dessert, the women at my table shouted back "DIABLE!"

Go to hell? I guessed my tablemates' aggressiveness had to do with the wine... "Mais, non," one of the pipelettes assured me, ça veut dire QU'ON VEUT DU DESSERT!

Diable? Dessert.... That must be French for The Devil Made Me Do It!

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French Vocabulary

French Word-A-Day: Summer 2009 Stories

je viens de me casser le ventre = I've just stuffed myself; une pipelette (f) = chatterbox; une assiette (f) = plate (i.e. assiette composée = mixed salad); la cuvée (f) = vintage; le bon vivant (m) (bon viveur) = who like the good things in life (wine, food...); en papotant = while chatting; le gratin de courge (m) = pumpkin gratin; le gratin d'épeautre (m) = Gallic cereal gratin (oh, what a translation! "épeautre" is also known as "blé des Gaulois" or wheat of the Gauls); l'épeautre = spelt; un rhume (m) = cold; la cigale d'or (f) = the golden cicada; diable! (devil) = bien sûr (of course!); mais, non = not at all; ça veut dire qu'on veut du dessert! = it means that we want dessert!


A Day in a Dog's Life...
by Braise and Smokey

Smokey says: Hey, Grandma K, it's time to update my photo—this one was taken two weeks ago! And, just like Uncle Max (age 14), I do not appreciate being surrounded by foofy, frilly flowers, in your photos. Finally, I am NOT wearing clay on my face anymore. I'm a big boy now and I'm almost healed!

PS: To Grandma K's readers: those are my 5 sisters, below. One became a truffle hunter, one went to live on a chicken farm, two went to the la-di-dah big city (Marseilles), to shop! And the other sister lives close enough to bug me if she so pleases. (I wish she'd come over and bug me, juste un petit peu. I might even share my bone with her. Nah, on second thought...)


French impressions-1
French Impressions: The Adventures of an American Family
In 1950, John S. Littell dreamed of turning his life into a Hemingwayesque adventure. His wife Mary was an optimist who shared her husband's sense of fun. So what happens when they set off for the South of France with their two young sons? The result is French Impressions, a riveting, whimsical, and uproarious account of the Littells' time abroad, based on Mary's journals and diaries-with a marvelous collection of family photos.

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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