Maison valbonne
Revving it up in the town of Valbonne.

Next meet-up: Phoenix, Arizona—December 26th. Download PHX flyer

réveillon (ray-veh-ohn) noun, masculine

  1. Christmas Eve Dinner, New Year's Eve Dinner, midnight supper
      (réveillon de Noël, reveillon du Nouvel An)
  2. Christmas / New Year's Eve party

Great French-themed books for children, by Catherine Stock:
"A Spree in Paree" and "A Porc in New York". The illustrations are delightful!

Audio File & Example Sentence: Download Wav or MP3

Le Père Noël ne fait jamais de réveillon dans sa maison, car il rentre au mois de mai ; ce n'est plus la saison. Santa Claus never has Christmas Eve dinner at his house, for he returns in May--when it's no longer the season! --Francis Blanche

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

(Note: the following story was written two years ago.)

Preparations are under way for tonight's réveillon and, once again, there isn't much for me to do but twiddle thumbs—in between and among twiddling a bit of dust, twiddling together a bit of decor, and twiddling over to our marriage armoire to check on place settings. We'll need 12 this year.

Santa's helpers, disguised as everyday Frenchmen, are here to stir up the savories and sweets. Cousin Audrey is making la soupe de courge with ginger and pears. Uncle Jacques is bringing oysters. My mother-in-law (en route now from Marseilles, along with my oyster-bearer beau-frère) has in her overnight bag her chocolate cake and some homemade "carrot bonbons" (she is also toting smoked salmon and foie gras)...

Jean-Marc is marinating garrigue sanglier for roasting in our cheminée. Aunt Marie-Françoise is bringing her gâteau de marron and soup bowls for her daughter's potage... Aunt Michou (a.k.a. "Michounette"), in from Paris, will surely have in her bag une devinette.

We've friends here from Texas as well: Phyllis and Tim. Twelve jars of peanut butter arrived ahead of them (this, after the last 12 and the 12 before that—enough to twiddle the tastebuds of any expat).

As for me: I am in charge of finding matching napkins, plates, and glasses. Best untwiddle my fingers and toes—and get to that now, illico presto!

"Joyeux Noël à tous et à tous une bonne nuit!"

French Vocabulary

le réveillon (m) = Christmas Eve dinner; la soupe (f) de courge = pumpkin soup; le beau-frère (m) = brother-in-law; garrigue sanglier (le sanglier de la garrigue) = wild boar from the Mediterranean scrublands (that is, the field behind our farmhouse!); la cheminée (f) = fireplace: le gâteau (m) de marron = chestnut cake; le potage (m) = thick soup; la devinette (f) = guessing game (anyone's guess); illico presto = right away; Joyeux Noël à tous et à tous une bonne nuit! = Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

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


Smokey: When we were young'uns, my sisters and I loved to play Abandon Ship! That is, until Grandma K told us there were sharks in the "sea" below.  See how hesitant we looked, after that?

Braise (laughing): that was just her way of getting you pups to stay put, while she changed your poopy puppy pen, inside the house!

"Sharks!" (Braise collapses in chuckles whilst Smokey looks vexed).


  1.  Le Petit Larousse Illustre 2007: an exceptional French dictionary
  2.  Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Spoken French
  3. Got Nintendo? Playing My French Coach for 15 to 20 minutes a day is all you need to become fluent in French, no matter your age. The simple touch screen interface lets you spend less time learning the game and more time learning French. The game includes 8 touchpad mini-games to sharpen your skills at your own pace, and lets you track your progress with charts showing your performance learning the language.

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.

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


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yvonne Rosenfield

Thank you so much for all
your wonderful effort.
This is such a wonderful site.
So much help to those that want to learn.
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and wonderful new year. May all your wishes come true.


Joyeux Noel, Kristin, and a very happy and prosperous 2010 - I got your new book this week and will read it as my Christmas treat tomorrow! Jeanne

Candy Witt

Thank you for my "puppy fix"! Joyeux Noel a tous - wherever you may be. Love, joy, blessings, hugs, kisses, smiles. May you all be richly blessed for the new year. I can't wait for my son to arrive tonight as he is my biggest blessing. I shall leave you with my favorite Bible passage from Isaiah, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. And His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

Denise Bohbot

Merry Christmas Kristin and readers of FWAD! Our lives are richer because of the window into Kristin’s life, and the comments that are shared with all. I don’t often leave a comment, but I so enjoy the posts, the photos, and the comments of others! Merci beaucoup! Bonne Année à tous!

From Denise in Portland, OR, where today it's foggy over the river, with a beautiful blue sky above and the sun shining through.

Karen from Phoenix, AZ

Merry Christmas Kristin and family. Readers of FWAD Merry Christmas. Jules, Merry Christmas - love reading your stories as
well. I will be stopping in on Friday to see Kristin and family here at Vincent's in Phoenix, where it is Sunny and going to be a chilly 60 degrees. Love and peace to all.

Bob Haine

A very merry and blessed Christmas to all, and the best of everything in the new year, 2010! Joyeux Noel et Bonne Annee a tous! It's sunny but chilly (43F) with a little blanket of snow from Monday's storm, in Idyllwild, in the San Jacinto Mountains of southern California.

Jacqui McCargar

Joyeaux Noel et tous! I'm spending the reveillon with my two sons and my family. Bonne Annee et tous! It's a bright sunny day here in Northern California, 49 degrees currently.

Christine Jackson

Just wanted to say Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah to Kristin, Jules and all the FWAD readers and especially those of you who comment here. Coming here is a bright spot in my week and I so appreciate the insight that all of you share. It feels as if we are all friends.

Love to you all!

From Salt Lake City where it is a beautiful clear sunny Christmas Eve day, currently 31 degrees F

Bill Facker

Mahalo Nui Loa for your creativity and sharing over the last year, Kristin. Mele Kalikimaka to All, and Peace on this Beautiful Planet. Merry Christmas! Bill Facker

Pat Cargill

Merry Christmas and the very best to all in 2010. I have enjoyed the year at FWaD reading Kristin's posts and readers' comments,too. Our Christmas meal today was my husband's Mother's receipe for rigatonis. Cooked the sauce (w/meatballs) all day. This is the first time I've made Mama/Grandma Rosie's receipe and thankfully, the boys judged it delicious.

Loving remembrance to all the Mothers and Grandmothers (and others) who have deeply touched our lives with memories of delicious meals around holiday tables; hearty cheers for friends and family who gather today to celebrate the renewal of Hope for Peace on Earth in Our Lifetime, an earnest prayer. Blessings to all.

Love, Pat Cargill from an all-day cold rainy Roanoke, Va.

Karen from Phoenix, AZ

Hi Jules and all the FWAD readers,
Just wanted everyone to know saw Kristin, Jean-Marc, Max and Jackie a few hours ago here in sunny, 57 degree Phoenix. They look great, spent time talking with them. Just love them all, such a great family. Love to all.

Karen from Phoenix, AZ

Where did everyone go???

Christine Jackson

Karen: I'm here waiting, waiting, waiting for another story from Jules... Jules, Jules, are you there????

Karen from Phoenix, AZ

Christine -I know what you mean, I was so excited to see Kristin and her family, I thought I would hear from Jules. Hope she is okay?
Jules.... Jules where are you???

Sudoku Print Puzzles

I'm just curious about "my French Coach". 15 minutes every day to be fluent in French. It's worth it !

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