We spent Valentine's Day in Marseilles (not the easiest place for a wrinkling wife to keep her husband focused on the love of his life!). Posters, such as this one and the one below, were plastered all over the city. Dozens of demoiselles en dentelles. Oh no!

Meet-ups: We'd LOVE to see you!

Jean-Marc will be in IOWA CITY next month and elsewhere in the States... meet him!
Kristin will be in Paris on March 1st at Shakespeare and Company (Talk begins at 7 p.m.)

pimenter (pee-mohn-tay) verb

    : to give spice to, to spice up

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

The Gift of Listening

For the record, he did not forget a present on Valentines Day.

Though, je dois admettre, I have never received anything like it before, from mon amour. True, it is a useful gift!—and I certainly could not enjoy life without it, nor, perhaps, could you.

Without dallying any longer, I'll spill it—or, rather, sprinkle it: My husband gave me salt and pepper on Valentines Day.

No, I'm not using anymore mystical metaphors here—my better French half really did give his sweetheart seasoning! On second thought... looking at things that way—spice for Valentine's Day—I can't help but appreciate the accidental entendre.


"Accidental" or pas fait exprès, for my husband did not set out to buy spice for his bride on Cupid's Day. Although it did turn out to be the perfect topping to our overnight getaway, the one that brought us to Marseilles and, eventually, to that charming little place (where we had our cafés au lait...) on V-Day.

While Jean-Marc read the morning paper, my eyes scanned the boutique-bistro. The walls were lined with sweet and spicy temptations (chocolate and praline spread, honey, jam... as well as some specialty seasonings). As my husband read the sports pages, I commented on the sweet and savory products for sale, especially that attractive salt and pepper duo.... I admired the attractive baies roses inside the glass salt mill and commented about how nice and useful the salt and pepper set would be on our kitchen table!

But my Valentine didn't seem to be listening to me and, after 16 years of marriage, I have learned not to take it personally. Instead, I let Jean-Marc catch up on his favorite games while I practiced one of my favorite sports: people-watching. I studied the clients at the café, and the writer inside of me fell in love with each and every character. Oh, the stories they could tell!

When the handsome personnage facing me shook out the newspaper, folded it, and set it down beside the empty coffee cups and crumbs, I knew it was time to head home.
"Tu es prête, ma cherie?"
"Oui, allons-y!"

At the check-out counter Jean-Marc paid the waiter. Next, he paused, turning to me. "Chérie, would you like the salt and pepper?" And just like that, I got all giddy. Turns out he had been, after all this time, listening to me.


:: Le Coin Commentaires ::

Possible topics of conversation.

  • Would you like to comment on today's word or photos?
  • What did YOU get (or give) for Valentine's Day?
  • What is your favorite French term of endearment?
  • Have you given "the gift of listening" lately and to whom?
  • Are you the jealous type? Or is he (or she)?
Thank you for sharing your answer/s here, in the comments box.

French Vocabulary & Audio File:

Listen to these French words: Download Pimenter
Il n'y a rien de mieux qu'un weekend en amoureux, pour pimenter sa vie à deux.
There's nothing better than a romantic weekend to add spice to life as a couple.

la demoiselle = young lady
en (la) dentelle = in lace
je dois admettre = I must admit
mon amour = my love
entendre (double-entendre) = double meaning
pas fait exprès = not done on purpose
le café au lait = coffee with milk
une baie rose = pink peppercorn
le personnage = character
Tu es prête, ma chérie? = Are you ready, dear?
Oui. Allons-y! = Yes. Let's go!

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A Day in a Dog's Life... by Smokey "R" Dokey

Here, I look like something in between the flying nun and a cranky cat. By the way, no worries, it's just Ma and I playing.

We are full of Golden Lab love for each other.

And tenderness, too....

See how tall I am? That makes this an even higher love!


Pizza herbes

Herbes de Provence (Special for Pizza) in Crock:
Herbes picked in Provence with a blend of oregano, thyme, basil & marjoram

Kindle Wireless Reading Device (my dad and belle-mère are addicted to theirs!).

France Magazine subscription

Easy French Reader
: A fun and easy new way to quickly acquire or enhance basic reading skills

In film:  Paris Je T'aime Paris I love You.

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