Our story takes place here...

subrepticement (soo-brep-teece-mehn) adverb

    : surreptitiously

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Et là, nous découvrons ce qu'est le festival [de Cannes]: des queues interminables, des dames très « BCBG » qui se glissent subrepticement devant nous... And there, we discover just what is the Cannes Film festival: interminable lines, chic (BCBGBon Chic Bon Genre) women who slip surreptitiously in line ahead of us... (L'Union)

Bonne cuisine French Cooking

First published in 1927 to educate French housewives in the art of classical cooking, LA BONNE CUISINE DE MADAME E. SAINT-ANGE has since become the bible of French cooking technique, found on every kitchen shelf in France.


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

It might have been Cretan's glance for all I know. All I know is that I threw it his way, if such a side-long regard can be subrepticement thrown.

Did he see me? I can't be sure, but judging from the way he picked up speed, I'd say he did, indeed did he.

In the perched village of Ramatuelle, I was bee-lining my way up to a sunlit café. Before sensing the interloper, my eyes had been trained on the corner table at the edge of the boxed terrace, the one with a view of the fountain and les passants. My eyes—mes mirettes—were focused, locked now on the table du coin, the one drenched with Saturday morning sun. Précisément, I wanted that east-facing banc! More than to my muse, it spoke to my aching back.

For an altruistic instant I wondered: perhaps his back was aching too, that interloper who was now taking the terrace steps two by two.

Only, when he raced forward, there came the moment of truth...

That is when I found myself diving for the same booth!


:: Le Coin Commentaires ::

Did you enjoy today's word or story? Do you have something to add to this edition or would you simply like to share a friendly "bonjour"? Your feedback, corrections, and stories are most welcome. Click here to comment.

French Vocabulary

Cretan glance = many thanks to Johanna and Will Demay for introducing me to this fascinating term. My regrets for not using it in the most correct context... but I was ansy to try it out! The term was coined by Greek philosopher Nikos Kazantzakis who wrote Zorba The Greek  (about a philosophizing, larger-than-life mine owner who confronts life with exuberance and wit).

Nikos Kazantzakis once said: A man needs a little madness, or else he never dares cut the rope and be free.

le regard = glance
les passants = passers-by
la mirette = eye
les mirettes (fpl) = peepers
la table du coin = corner table
= specifically
le banc = bench, seat


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French playground French Playground : a collection of French language songs

Words in a French Life: Lessons in Life and Language from the South of France


Thank you Cynthia Bogart at The Daily Basics for including this blog in your Francophile alert. Read the story here!

And you will love Anne-Claire's My American Market newsletter. Check out the gluten-freee chestnut cake recipe... :-)


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"Olivier" serves cocktails and breakfast..... Wonder what order that might be in?? :>)))

Marianne Rankin

I didn't quite get what the "Cretan's glance" was supposed to mean; how it it different from a regular glance?

Who finally got to the table first?

I haven't had an experience like that, but getting a seat on the subway train can be a challenge. Whenever I can, I hurry to get a window seat, because I like the view when the train is above ground, and because if I'm tired I can lean against the side of the car. But getting a seat at all is the main thing, as many passengers have to stand, and it can be fatiguing to stand without moving for all or most of a trip. Some people are unfortunately not very courteous, and I'd rather let them have a seat than have a nasty confrontation about it. Others put their backpacks on seats that could otherwise be sat in.

I hope you got the table you wanted!


Did you share the table and make a new friend?


How about, "to be continued..."??

Kristin Espinasse

Jeanne: Bingo! ...on one account :-)
Marianne: I got the table

cynthia at the daily basics

Now I must know - did you get the table, but better yet, what did you have to eat??

Thank you so much for the shout out about our post on your fantastic site- I am so glad you liked it!!


Are the cocktails so good you end up staying for breakfast?

Barbara Andolsek Paintings

Recommended your blog - again. So many Francophiles out there, lol. Glad you scored on la table au coin.

Herm Meyer

Salut Kristin,

Since you vacationed on jeudi de l'ascension last week, will you also celebrate the public holiday "lundi de pentecôte" (Whit Monday) on May 24th?

À bientôt,

Herm in Phoenix

Kristin Espinasse

Hi Herm, oui pour le lundi de pentecôte (and there is no school on Monday...)


Nice vocab word today! :-) I'll have to see how I can subrepticement slip that into a conversation to practice it!

Vera Marie Badertscher

Thanks for the link to the Daily Basics. I didn't know that you were a U of A graduate. I live in Tucson. Do you miss Sonoran food? Even in the midst of all that wonderful French food, maybe need a little hot sauce once in a while?

gail bingenheimer

Definitely in France if you snooze you loose. The French are different in that they like to cut in line. In America we are more proper, we wait in line.

Kristin Espinasse

Hi Vera Marie, I miss Mexican food daily! (Re school: I went to ASU)


Thank you !

Vera Marie Badertscher

Whoops! Sorry to accuse you of going to U of A. I thought that is what the article said.


Perhaps the answer to the dilemna is "the space(chair, table, parking spot) is that it belongs to the one who sits , or parks there first. It allows at that time for a chance meeting of new found friends, or the flip side : meeting the scowls of poor sports. Either way, one need not feel guilty, nor blessed, just be in the moment, and of course, in "your" space. LOL

Kristin Espinasse

Hi Patty,

Your comment (Perhaps the answer to the dilemna is the space(chair, table, parking
spot) is that it belongs to the one who sits , or parks there first. It
allows at that time for a chance meeting of new found friends) reminds me that I need to post Part II of this story. Ive sketched the story, now to finish it and share!


When I have time, I just click on any word that appears at the top and that's what I just did to get to this anecdote. Reading about the people who cut in line, in France, I've got something to add.
I was in Paris in the 80's. I rented a room in an apartment, in the Vème arrondissement. One beautiful evening, the apartment propriétaire asked me to go to cinéma with her. La queue était longue. I told her to forget it, but she motioned me to follow her. She walked towards a movie poster near the cinema entrance, pointed at it and told me about those names on it. While talking, lentement et subrepticement, she eased herself in the queue, ahead of must-have-been hundreds of people... And to say she was the professeur du lycée, she has set a bad example to me :-)

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