l'heure bleue
How to say "time change" in French

How to say "to staple" in French? And a wardrobe malfunction on the way to a wedding in Cassis

Cliff - Falaise in Cassis (c) Kristin Espinasse
 Today's story takes place in Cassis, where risks are taken... especially with fashion. Read on...

agrafer (ah graf ay) verb

    : to staple, to fasten, hook up, clip together

Audio File: hear Jean-Marc*: Download MP3 or wav
J'ai agrafé mon pantalon. I stapled my pants.

Have a moment? Check out my husband's wine blog & see videos of our farm. Click here.

Sara Midda's South of France: a sketchbook  Featured book: Sara Midda's South of France: a sketchbook


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

In the narrow lobby of Hotel Le Golf (Cassis), I wait for my husband. I am flipping through a slim Souleiado catalogue that I have found on a little side table. The model on the cover is wearing a seductive evening gown en soie. Her shoulders are bare, her neckline, golden before the plunge.

I look down at my own pasty "plunge".... As for my dress, I begin to have doubts. We are on our way to a wedding... will this dress fera l'affaire? It is knee-length, showing off my neon-white legs. The fabric is black and made of gauze. There is raspberry stitching along the square neckline, voilà for subtle design. My daughter has helped me by gathering the side ties into a noeud papillon in the back of the robe. The bow tie she has fashioned reminds me of the way I wore my dresses... in the third grade.

I try to put aside doubt, reasoning, the dress is new! Shouldn't newness alone guarantee it is not démodé? 

Suddenly all of my self-doubts dissolve the minute I see my husband, whereupon the focus is no longer on my threads... but on his.

Tossing the magazine onto the table... I study my husband's getup. What an entrance he has made! Even the woman behind the counter has dropped her calculator and lowered her glasses. Take a look at him

I wonder, why isn't his dress shirt tucked in?
"I like it this way," he insists.
"But you must tuck your shirt in when you wear a cravate!"

"Do you have a stapler?" my husband asks the woman behind the counter, dismissing me. That is when I notice his jeans, the bottom seams of which are coming undone. Jeans?! Undone seams?! 

"A big one or a small one?" the woman asks, searching for une agrafeuse. The question seems absurd.
"Une petite fera l'affaire," Jean-Marc answers.

And just like that—with a no-nonsense sweep of the stapler, tac! tac! tac!—he fixes his pantalons.

I look over to the woman behind the counter, whose reading glasses are now dangling from her hand, as if knocked over by one Frenchman's innovation. "Pas mal!" she declares, appraising Mr Fix It. 

I gather my purse from the side table, when my eyes catch on the Souleiado catalogue. The model on the cover is now looking up at me and her head is shaking, condemningly. Tsk! Tsk! Tsk! Next time help him dress, darling. As for you....

But, not giving her the chance to utter one word more, I turn my head and hurry out the door. 
Part One (or the last scene in this story)
 In case you missed the "suite" to this story, read part one: click here.

French Vocabulary

Souleiado = a maker of Provençal fabrics, clothing, and linens
en soie = in silk
fera l'affaire = will fit the bill
voilà = presto
noeud papillon = bow tie
une cravate = tie
une agrafeuse = a stapler
une petite fera l'affaire = a small one will do it
le pantalon = pants

Sara midda's South of France: a sketchbookA book that steered me, subconsciously, to France. Sara Midda's South of France is a wondrous sketchbook of a year's sojourn in the South of France. This is a very personal journal, crammed with images, notions and discoveries of the day-to-day. In tones of sea and morning sky, stucco and brick, olive leaf and apricot, rose and geranium, exquisite watercolors capture the landscape, the life, the shimmering air of a region beloved by all who have fallen under its spell.

Sara Midda's South of France is a place of ripening lemons and worn espadrilles, ochre walls and olive groves, and everything born of the sun. It lies between the Mediterranean and the Maritime Alps, and most of all in the artist's eye and passion. Read the glowing reviews, click here.

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