Fuir: A Story from Grenoble, France

Grenoble (c) Kristin Espinasse
Yesterday, in Grenoble: fleeing oeufs.

fuir (fweer)

    1.  to take flight, to flee, to run away
    2. to avoid, to shun

ListenDownload MP3 or Download WAV

     Le temps fuit. / Time flies.

French christmas music
French Christmas Music: "Mon Beau Sapin", "Saint Nuit", "La Marche des Rois", "Petite Ville Bethléem", "Il est né Le Divin Enfant".
Order CD here.

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

Tempus Fugit / Time Flies

Ever opened your eyes to find that 18 years have passed in "no time"?

"No Time": it must be that other dimension, such as the one we're sometimes in when driving. We arrive at Point B and wonder how we got there: as if automatically! We don't remember turning left, after the redundant ramshackle shed, and we don't remember passing the monotonous maple tree. (We did pass them, didn't we?) 


Grenoble. A birthday celebration. In the living room of longtime friends, I stood looking up at their son, who'd not yet been born when...

Have 18 years gone by since I moved to France, on the fly? 

The bearded boy looked down at me. Just how, I wondered, did time flee? (Can time flee? Or are two decades of Frenglish taking a toll? See?)


Champagne on the buffet, cake on trays... The guests gathered round with gifts. Jean-Marc offered a dusty, cobwebbed magnum of his uncle's Domaine du Banneret 1992. I wondered, did we pick those grapes, too? It was the year Jean-Marc and I shacked up. The year the bearded boy was brand-new!

                           Baptiste, 18 years old for the time being.

The wine went down in "no time". Next, we passed the bottle round to sign. It would now be a souvenir. Another one of those.

I stared at the magnum and imagined... this bottle... on a shelf... twenty years from now. A treasured keepsake of a former boy, now a journalist (and was that a thread of gray in his barbe?). I could just picture the bottle, next to the framed awards. Two decades from now....

"J'aurais trente-huit ans," added the birthday boy. Yes, he would then. He would be 38 years old one day. And I'd be sixty-two. I could see it as clearly as I could see the freckles on the back of my own hand as I clutched the pen and stared at the wine label inked over with signatures.

Pen in hand, I hesitated. What to say? Hopefully not something outdated!

I drew a tiny heart so as not to take up too much space. I'd already taken up a bit of time....

French Vocabulary

Domaine du Banneret = an award winning wine from Chateauneuf-du-Pape 

la barbe = beard

 j'aurais trente-huit ans = I would be thirty-eight


Smokey playing "Tug of Ear" with Mama Braise. Photo by Braden.


On the way home from Grenoble, entering the Drôme.

Still reading? Check out Jean-Marc's cork story at the Southern Fried French blog


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I have been having an incredible sense of time "fleeing"...where is it going so fast? Next year will be my 20 year anniversary in France. I feel like I just got here yesterday....

Bill in St. Paul

Yes, time does fly and when you have grandchildren it REALLY picks up speed!

Jean-Marc has a great blog/article at Southern Fried French if you want to know about cork corks, plastic corks, and screwtops.


Time does "flee".....especially when you are happy and busy and creative. Or maybe that is because those moment exist out-of-time to be remember and cherished as jewels in one's life. Have a wonderful busy, joyful week.

Jeanne Robinson

Well, I can't let another moment pass by without asking about that birthday cake. Sure doesn't look like any I've enjoyed in my many decades worth of cakes. Looks positively decadent!


It has been 10 years(!)since we left Grenoble and our beautiful, ancient apartment building in centerville. Friday my grandson celebrated his 5th(!)birhtday.
Time...the illimitable, silent, never-resting thing called time, rolling, rushing on, swift, silent...
On the other hand as we say down here in the swamps, "Cher, laissez les bons temps rouler!"

Linda R.

Boy, does time ever fly! and one wonders "where did it go?" What a neat idea to have thought to put aside a special wine for a special occasion (birthday, wedding)and give it at just the right moment. Cesare Pavese's words, "We do not remember days, we remember moments," are definitely true; I love Mary's thoughts in the post above mine. Beautiful words.

gail bingenheimer

The indefinite article, singular or plaural is normally omitted when it denotes a recognized social category, such as profession, nationality, relition, family status.
- and it follows a form of devenir, se faire, rester, or être with a subject other than ce;
Elle a hâte de devenir grand-mère.
Time waits for no one.
Le temps attend pour ne personne?

Mary in Memphis

Great photo of Tricastin at Bollene. Always a great landmark to orient you to time and space.

Now that makes me homesick for Provence!

Jan in Colorado

I've set my screen saver to display photos stored on my computer. Sometimes I just sit and smile as it randomly cycles through memories of times past--what Mary so aptly called "jewels" of my life. Some of the family and friends in the photos have passed on, which makes the recollection even more poignant. Unfortunately, my computer photos only cover the last decade or so. I wish I had my whole life recorded there, especially my times in France! Instead of sitting at my computer with my coffee, gazing out at the fluffy newly-fallen snow, I could be digitizing old pictures. A New Year's resolution???

Pat Cargill

Ecoutez - to the haunting, bittersweet sound of time flying by a master songsmith:


With a son about to enter into the armed forces, I am truly haunted by the swiftness and relentless passage of time.

Peter Bull

It is 41 years since we left England for Vancouver (BC, Canada), it seems like 41 minutes! We have sons, a granddaughter and now, time. While working we had some money and no time, now we have time and less money. There was both this year when we decided against re-visiting the Vaucluse we love and opted for the haunting Somme, Picardy and Normandy. One day we will see them all again. It is now that I fully understand the term, Carpe Diem.
Chilly and grey here today.

Franca Bollo

Bonjour, Kristi!

Corey posted her 5-year anniversary column today. Because of you and your dare, she's a member of the blogosphere. For that you deserve a heartfelt "Merci beaucoup"!

Michael Reardon

Thank you for your photo today. I once lived directly under les oeufs, il y a trente trois ans. Le temps fuit!

Cheryl in STL

Le temps fuit pour moi aussi---it's been 41 years since I arrived in Grenoble for the school year. Gosh--how can that possibly be? And fyi---there were no oeufs back then, just cabines. One of the wonderful things that resulted from that school year---a dear friend whom I visit every time I'm in France. No husband for me, but an amazing friend!

Bill Facker

Aloha Kristin ... This one is a beauty - Bravo!


Chere Kristin, what a sweet and sentimental post! Besides 'time flies'(!),I've also heard that 'time's a thief'(!) Sometimes it surely seems so.I cherish the memory of our wedding day,and trying then to imagine what it would be like for us at 20,30,40....Just like (well,ALMOST like!) yesterday (as it must seem for you!)We recently celebrated our 45th,and are still looking ahead.
THANK YOU for both your beautiful pictures
and the warm smiles around my heart.Bon journee!

Natalie Thiele

I just popped over from Tongue in Cheek to say THANK YOU! for daring Corey to start a blog 5 years ago. I have been a huge fan of her blog for years and appreciate you getting her going.
Your blog looks like fun, as well. I love the photos. I will read through the archives and get up to snuff with you.
Thanks again.

Marianne Rankin

The audio files are again not working. For WAV, I get a blank screen. For MP3, there is a space with an arrow, but if I click on it, it doesn't work, and number to show elapsed time remain at 0:00.

We need to cherish every moment while we have it.



The sunset is so breath taking. Lately I've been seeing the most incredible sunsets and then I think of the first time that I saw a a Hudson River Painter's (Church and Bierstadt) landscape and the skies seemed so unbelievable - but they do exist!

Rod Crislip

Are you sure you are feeding your dogs enough?


Hello Kristin,

Generally speaking, "je ne vois pas le temps passer".

Already Tuesday afternoon! "Les heures filent" / "volent à toute allure" ("à toute vitesse"). This is exactly the way time went these last few days when so much was going on here,
or was it me getting involved with too many things at the same time?
or probably taking too long with each matter & each person I was involved with?
Whatever happened ... once again, I can say: "une fois de plus, je n'ai pas vu le temps passer!"...

and so, "les jours filent, filent bien vite",
and one by one "les années défilent, défilent, défilent"...
and there I am today, saying "Once upon a time....", and I really mean: fifty years ago... (What? half a century?... "mais oui"!)
Le temps fuit...

Yesterday, I hardly took the time to read FWAD. Twenty four hours later, the image of "fuir" is haunting me... I share the feeling that hits everyone of us specially when celebrating birthdays, when looking at old photos!

"Le temps s'enfuit, le temps s'envole"...


"La fuite du temps" affects everyone of us. Sometimes, we'd like a week's holiday to have an extra day, we wish a happy day could last forever. W'd like to ask Time to linger on, a wish, almost a prayer, beautifully expressed by the French poet Lamartine (1790 - 1869):
" Ô temps ! suspends ton vol, et vous, heures propices,
Suspendez votre cours :
Laissez-nous savourer les rapides délices
Des plus beaux de nos jours" !

but Time doesn't 'suspend its flight', and with some sadness Lamartine adds:
"Le temps m'échappe et fuit;......
..... le temps n'a point de rive
.....le temps coule, et nous passons." (... Time has no shore, it flows... and we go on)
(extracts from "Le Lac")

Pierre de Ronsard (1524-1585) in his "Sonnet à Marie" emphasized the fact that, it's not Time that goes by, but us, going, one day at a time, from "la jeunesse fleurie" to "la vieillesse", and towards the day of our death.

.... "Le temps s'en va, le temps s'en va ma Dame,
Las ! le temps non, mais nous nous en allons"...

Objectively speaking, "le temps passe", and every year, we are one year older, but, subjectively speaking, "le temps fuit"... "le temps s'enfuit" and... if you added some wings to the image of Time, wouldn't you agree that "le temps s'envole"?

It's amazing how time flies! Celebrating a birthday can indeed make us look back to "all those years now... gone", and desorientate our sense of time! "La fuite du temps" is a topic that will never be outdated!
"Toutes mes félicitations" for the dramatic photos of the sky", taken at... the perfect time!


Hello Gail,

You wrote: Time waits for no one.
Le temps attend pour ne personne?

As you were wondering about your French translation, I hope that what follows will help.

someone / somebody = "quelqu'un"
no one / nobody / = "personne"

In a negative sentence, you may have:
-> verb... + no one
-> doesn't + verb... anyone

- I can see no one
- I can't see anyone

to wait for = attendre

- Time waits for no one
- Time doesn't wait for anyone


Jennifer in OR

"Time goes, you say? Ah no!
Alas, Time stays, we go."
- Henry Austin Dobson

Love the picture of the perfectly swirling waves of smoke drifting above the cake...


What an interesting quote, Jennifer! It made me realise that what Ronsard said, in the second half of the sixteeth century:
"Le temps s'en va, le temps s'en va ma Dame,
Las ! le temps non, mais nous nous en allons"

is exactly what H Austin Dobson repeated three centuries later in these two lines:
"Time goes, you say? Ah no!
Alas, Time stays, we go."
With curiosity, a bit of patience, and of course, with Google's help, I now know the quote was from 'THE PARADOX OF TIME" poem, part of "Proverbs in Porcelain" (1877)
Very pleased to have been able to read the whole poem! Many thanks to you, Jennifer!

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