Mama's Bidou: or "the paunch pillow". "Bidou" is baby talk for "tummy". Don't miss this list of French kiddy terms--including hop-là! ("upsy daisy") here.

sommeiller (so may yay)

    : to snooze, to doze

...not to be confused with un sommelier (a wine steward)

Audio File: listen to Jean-Marc pronounce the French words in the example sentence, just below:
Download MP3 or Wav file

Le matin j'aime bien sommeiller un peu après que l'alarme ait sonnée.
In the morning I like to snooze a little after the alarm has rung.

*please see the comments section (beginning at Hannah's comment) about a grammar rule that has been trespassed in the above sentence... Current French allows one to get away with it... but proper French is rolling over in its grave (where it was momentarily buried) at the sight of the above phrase. 


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

"The Snooze Alarm" 

I am tiptoeing through the dark with a steaming hot café au lait. I think I've stepped into a blanket... no, it is un peignoir that's been tossed onto the floor. I kick it aside, relieved not to have stumbled.

I reach across what I know is my husband's côté du lit. I feel the coffee cup being pulled away, thirstily....

I hear slurping. C'est six heures dix! I reply, announcing the hour.

As I head out to my next appointment (just a few sleepy rooms away), I hear, "Could you wake me again at 6:45?"

I make my way down the dark hall, minding the obstacles en chemin. I open my son's door. Same greeting, sans cafe au lait. After a live demonstration of the French verb rouspéter, Max grumbles: "Reviens dans 20 minutes." I consider the request, just as I have the previous one. And then... Attendez un moment! Wait just a minute here!

My pointer finger flies up to my forehead to begin wildly tapping on the thickening skin there. My lips flap furiously:

"Hey-oh! Est-ce que là (tap tap tap on the forehead) c'est marqué 'Snooze Button'?"

And, harrumph... triumph! I continue on down the hall, collecting my coffee en route

Le Coin Commentaires
Help water our growing community with a refreshing comment! Ask a question about France or the French language or answer one! Talk about today's word or story or raconter une histoire of your very own here in the comments box



 Smokey and Mama Braise say, "Qu'est-ce que c'est un 'snooze button'?" Picture taken one year ago. How he's grown!

 Corrections in French and English are welcome and appreciated. Please hit the refresh button (F5 key) first--in case the corrections have already been incorporated)--then add your suggestion here, in the comments box.

French Vocabulary

le bidou = tummy 
*thanks to those who wrote in re "bidou" (suggesting "bidon" to be the correct term). Hmmm. Not sure what to do--as Jean-Marc insists that "bidou" is right. Perhaps it is a southernism? 

le café au lait = coffee with milk

un peignoir = bathrobe

le côté du lit = side of the bed

C'est six heures dix = It's 6:10
*thanks, Newforest, for giving the above term a "go ahead". And thanks, Jacqueline for the proper French version "il est... il est six heures dix" 

en chemin = along the way

rouspéter = to grumble

Hey-oh! Est-ce que là (tap tap tap on the forehead) c'est marqué 'Snooze Button'? = Hey! (tap tap tap...) Does it read "Snooze Button" here? (Or, "Hey! Do I look like a snooze button?")


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Near Tulette. A cabanon ultra chouette. Let's play dress up! What would you add to the lonely front porch, to the façade, to the windows and the doors? Would you put anything in the tree? Tell us in the comments box.
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Bill in St. Paul

I think my wife could relate to being the alarm clock. She's always up first and when she comes to get me up she just has to look at me to wake me, she doesn't have to say anything - must be her thoughts of "I've already done the laundry, baked a cake, set the table,...and you're still in bed?" that wakes me up.

I'd plant a tree just to the South to eventually shade the porch and I'd add an overhang to provide a shaded area until the tree was big enough to provide the shade, so we could have a place outside for our meals.

Karen W  (Towson, Maryland)

C'est la meme ici, Kristin! (And Bill: the visual of your wife standing over you, emitting those signals, is hysterical.)

As for the "cabanon" I would first add a set of lovely painted French shutters and take down that board over the window.


I feel sorry (should I feel ashamed?) to say I never gave my husband a cup of tea or coffee first thing in the morning because he has always been (and still is) "le premier qui saute du lit!" (= the first one to jump out of bed). He seems to have a built-in alarm clock that wakes him up very early ... quite naturally. He loves preparing his own tea and toasts in the kitchen, enjoys taking all his time over breakfast while listening to the news on the radio (he is anti-TV at that time) or reading what I call 'a complicated article' (much too scientific stuff for me). I wouldn't want to disturb his very peaceful "routine matinale".

When the children were younger, I needed my alarm clock to get out of bed, then I would go to their bedroom and wake them up. Both children had their clothes ready on a chair by the bed. Having had a shower the night before, they simply had to 'get dressed and have breakfast', then, teeth, hair, schoolbag ... "et voilà". For them, wearing a dressing gown for breakfast was reserved for weekend or holiday (or when you were ill)
My daughter used to be the one who had to "rouspéter" all the time... because her bedroom was not as warm as her bed (!) and consequently she couldn't possibly "sortir du lit". How convincing! Ah! she would eventually grab her clothes and start getting dressed 'in bed'. A good breakfast used to make her feel cheerful again.
I cannot remember how old my children were when they each got "un réveille-matin" (= an alarm clock). They appreciated the type that rings gently for a while, then rings louder and louder; if you don't press the button, "la sonnerie" (= alarm, ringing tone) would eventually stop and would start again 5 minutes later - by that time they were awake & annoyed and would hit the snooze button!
... can't remember when my son was given a clock radio ...

"Sommeiller" gives you the experience of a light and wonderful sleep, - for me, it's usually full of vivid dreams I can remember when opening my eyes.


i have enjoyed reading your posts for about a year now. my son's french teacher started me reading them. and i especially love the photos of your dogs. thank you for the daily sweetness.


Petite note:

"le réveil" = waking up, awakening - from the verb se réveiller (to wake up)

-> "un réveil" (clock that makes a loud ringing sound to wake you up) is the abbreviated form of: "un réveille-matin" (= an alarm clock)

Thanks for the very inspiring "cabanon" - perfect as it is for the picture point of view. I'd like to see the other sides, at least the left side and the back.
Is the door open? or has it no door? I'd be very curious to explore "l'intérieur"...

Jules Greer

TULETTE - Yes, that would work for me, keep looking HONEY for that perfect little cabanon for Grandma.

Of course since you were just here last month you know the morning routine. John is up at 6 a.m. makes my coffee, devils some eggs for me, showers, blow drys his hair, feeds the cats, brings Breezy a bone so she can have a treat in the warm and cozy bed.

Today he through a BOOMERANG as he hurried to the front door. "Don't forget to type up that little letter for Kristi so I can get it off my mind".

OFF HIS MIND!!! Now he has dumped it on me! I would say he has amplified the art of setting a fire under my pants to rise and shine and get to work like the rest of the world...

John's on his way down the coastline road on a wild blue and white village bus which will deliver him to the Five-Star resort which he slaves at six days a week. I am sure you can hear the jealousy in my voice. What a great life he has. His hours are perfect. He is met down-town by a chauffeured van which will drive him the next fifteen minutes through the most breathtaking, cliff-hanging narrow road along the coastline south of Puerto Vallarta.

Perhaps I will finish the rest of this story if I can pass on John's 'chore' to Kristi and she can clean up and edit his story. Isn't that the way life works in families...and the world, or does THE BUCK STOP HERE???



Letia Henson

Karen, I love fwad and look forward to it each morning. Today's word sommeiller makes me think of a word for wine steward on a cruise
ship which I think sounds similar. Can you help with this?


Suzanne, Monroe Twp., NJ

Ha! I like how close the spelling of snooze and wine waiter are in French. One could write a poem ...

Sweet photo of Braise and Smokey.

And, you look nothing like a snooze button. Why not set the alarm 15 minutes later tomorrow and tell them that you took the "snooze button" into account in advance. That why you can catch a few more minutes of sleep too!

ann ceraldi

Does "bidou" or paunch pillow also refer to to the paunch of humans? Frequently seen on women (like me!) post children and post 40s...My teenage daughter--whoops, she's 20 now!--- told me a new (younger generation) word for that paunch, which I hadn't heard before-- "fupa"--stands for "Fat Upper Pelvic Area". It's a catchy word, and handy. When stroking my somewhat overweight cat's belly, I noticed that cat's also get fupas, or bidous....

ann ceraldi

Sorry, meant for "cat's" to be plural, not possessive....

Jules Greer

Hi Kristi,

I agree with NEWFOREST - I would like to see more detailed photo's of this cabanon. I noticed the sun reflecting off the right side of the cabanon in the photo, so perhaps you clicked the photo when you were taking Max for a basketball game in the late afternoon. That would mean that the entire backside of the cabanon could be facing the beautiful mountains. What about those trees??? Who owns the property??? On and on I could go with questions - please don't even bother to answer I know you are too busy...but please take me to this little treasure when I come and visit.



Marianne Rankin

I sometimes set three devices, to be sure I wake up. I'm a morning person, for sure, but don't always get enough sleep, and don't like to be late for appointments. I wake up to the "reveil," and use a travel alarm and another alarm as backup. The latter, solar-powered!, increases in volume if I don't turn it off right away.

What is the French term for "snooze button"? There must be one. I was, coincidentally, talking with my Francophile American friend in French just a couple of days ago and needed this term. When we talk, we speak as much French as we can, and I jot down French words we don't know, and eventually, most of the time, get around to looking them up. My own invention so far is "eveil-delai."


I see an art studio there - clean out the spiders, definitely put the french blue shutters up as another reader advised, add a covered deck and what about the other walls? Windows? doors? Water? Wood stove for winter heat? A day bed? Tiny kitchenette? Is this on your property? or is it abandoned? You definitely got my mind going.



I would paint the board over the window a nice French blue and plant a "knock-out" rose bush to the left of the door. If France has the knock-out roses - they are bushes that bloom all summer long with little maintaince. Looks like there already is a bush to the left there - does it bloom nicely?

Kristin Espinasse

Bill in St Paul, You crack me up! Love it... can relate to it!

Newforest, so glad to learn more French expressions related to the "waking up" & "morning" theme. And I wish we were as disciplined here (good idea to lie out the clothes the night before and to dress before breakfast. We always choose the instant gratification route 'round here! = coffee, food, coffee, eventually dress... the kids don't drink coffee, so substitute "milk"...)

Terry, so good to see your note. Thanks!

Mom, will show you the cabanon when you get here... (!!!)

RE what does the rest of it look like: I don't know. I was too chicken to investigate. I pulled up my car next to the property line, rolled down the window and, with my handy dandy pocket camera, snapped a few photos. The little cabanon is a ways over from a house, to which it may belong... I'll see if I can snap a photo from the main road, on the other side...

Love all of your ideas. Thanks for playing dress up with me today! Beats dolls, n'est-ce pas?

Lynn, good! I was hoping someone would move inside and begin rearranging furniture (or suggesting it).

Ann, yes, bidou refers to the human tummy too. I liked your daughter's term "fupa" -- and then there's "muffin top" n'est-ce pas?

Letia, I wondered the same. In fact, the words look similar but are spelled differently: sommeiller (to doze) and un sommelier (a wine steward).

Lisa A., CA

Salut Kristin,

After doing all the lovely suggestion above...there are 3 things I would add: Sunflowers, lavender and a little bench to sit and read outside.

Bon journee!


Actually, this is a question: ihave only gotten the audio pronunciation to work twice on my iPad. Does this commonly happen or is it the iPad?
ps--make a terrace with gravel and grow vines overhead.


very cute. Our father and son goldens slept the same way. (at least, until the son was about 2 or so, then they slept apart)


So sweet image of mother and child Braise et Smokey. Comme il a beaucoup grandi, SmoKey!
As for your today's story, Kristin, tu es une femme si douce et une fantastique mère de famille! J'ai honte d'admettre que c'etait mon mari qui nous réveillait, les enfants et moi, tous les matins, sauf les fins de semaine quand nous tous pouvions faire la grasse matinée. Maintenant, les enfants ont grandi et sont partis, mais moi, je dors toujours comme un bébé. Et c'est l'odeur du café préparé par mon mari chéri qui me réveille:-)
Bonne soirée à vous tous, et dormez vous bien ce soir.


un petit coucou en passant,
via my front room full of.... (ok, all sorts of 'objects' lying around),

Le cabanon:
Kristin, I get the impression each time your Mum sees one of your photos of a "cabanon" lost or abandoned in the middle of a field, even if it's in ruins..., she is dying to go and visit it - so much the better if it's suffered from neglect and old age! Actually, a desperate need of "repair" rhymes with "tender loving care" ... and even with your/her "lawn chair", doesn't it?
Jules, what a shame there isn't one of these rustic little buildings available FOR YOU on the Espinasse's estate! From a distance, they always look most attractive! This one has even got a roof in very good condition! The trouble is most of them belong to (and are used by) ...somebody, I suppose - unless restored and basically furbished as a holiday retreat, with (I guess)-> water facilities and a certain (erm, shall I say: minimum?) In your imagination are you looking for a cabanon "A Vendre" ? or, "A louer" ? (for sale? - or rent?)... an art studio a long way away from civilisation?

I am curious to see what they look like inside. Sol en terre battue? (beaten earth floor)? tool storage? basic cooking facilities? how much light?
plenty of light and colours outside anyway...

Marianne, something for you:
the 'snooze button' is "un bouton snooze" and, in proper French: "un bouton de répétition" / "un bouton de répétition d'alarme".

dashing to the kitchen where my pressure cooker is going to whistle in a few seconds.


Une petite note sur la grammaire :
après que l'alarme ait sonnée" doit être "après que l'alarme a sonné" pourquoi ?
- APRÈS QUE +indicatif
- AVANT QUE +subjonctif
- Passé composé du verbe AVOIR ne fait pas de concordance (en général), donc "sonné", pas "sonnée"
Il sera encore mieux si l'on utilise "le réveil" au lieu de "l'alarme" (merci Newforest:)

Anne Daigle

Smokey grew into his feet.

Lee Isbell

I'm guessing the board over the window is actually closed shutters. So, for that nice coat of paint....

I don't suppose Jules will be chicken to look at it up close!

Jennifer in OR

I'm the queen of hitting the snooze button in my house! So ashamed to admit...I'm not a natural morning girl!

Kristin Espinasse

Millie, I should point out that it is Jean-Marc who sets "le reveille-matin" each night (without it I'd have a hard time getting up before the chickens... not that we have chickens yet. Are you reading Jean-Marc? I said "not that we have chickens 'yet'! But they are on sale at Jardiland! What's that? Oh, I've already told you so!).

Newforest, how funny that "un button de snooze" (love it!) and thank you for that "sol en terre battue". I can see it now... with a little broom tucked away beside the door. I fancy a little fireplace... it would add golden light at night to an otherwise dark room during the day. And, oh, to stare into the flames, while snug in one's iron bed.

Hannah, thank you very much for the grammar help. Not to tell on Jean-Marc... but I did have it correct the first time around! (Happy accident). Still, I had to endure my husband's heckling "ça va Mrs. French Word-A-Day?". It's his favorite retort each time he hears a language mistake on my part (which is often). I'll have a lot of fun now with "ça va Monsieur Grammar?" or something similar :-) But I'd best have him change the sound file before I begin rubbing things in!

Now to remember this grammar lesson...

Jacqueline (Brisbane)

Actually, BIDON is the cute argot word for tummy or paunch. Hence the verb Se bidonner when you're having a good laugh or a belly laugh! Lots of other meanings but it's cutest in this context.
Also: c'est six heures dix should be il est six heures dix. Remember Jacques Dutronc's song: Il est cinq heures, Paris s'éveille... Brilliant lyrics...
Kristin, how many times your chosen subject has somehow stimulated memories of French songs from my Brussels youth.... My Brisbane heart hums with nostalgia... Thank you for yet another desktop trip.


When I had the honor of being the family alarm clock, I had my trusty Buddy (huge rott/lab) who always did the honors of jumping on every bed and licking the occupant until he/she woke up. Happy memories.
Thanks for the reminder. Mary


Coucou Kristin, by chance I returned and saw your response. I'm still learning how to surf around your blog, there are still hundreds of stories pour rattraper. So, where do I read jean Marc's stories or blog?
Dans la phrase "Le matin j'aime bien sommeiller un peu après que l'alarme ait sonne", le mot l'alarme est-il un "faux ami". Car soudain, je me souviens de l'expression "donner de l'alarme" qui veut dire "prevenir d'un danger". (le clavier de mon portable n'a pas d'accents)A propos de la locution "apres que", normalement, on utilise l'indicatif, mais le subjonctilf s'emploie aussi assez souvent, donc ce n'est pas une erreur, a mon avis. Et le mot pour ventre (de Braise), c'est bidoN si je ne me suis pas trompee.
Bonne journee a vous tous!


Bravo ! très joli blog !


Hi Letia
--> yes, "sommeiller" and "sommelier" look nearly the same.
--> Kristin already gave us a clue about their meaning.

--> Pronunciation:
They both start with somm, but don't end in the same way

"eiller" ---> to be pronounced like [é-yé]
"sommeiller" - so-mé-yé
other "eiller" words in same context:
- "(se) réveiller" (ré-vé-yé)-> to wake up
- l'/un "oreiller" (o-ré-yé) -> a pillow

elier ---> think of [e-li-é] Don't pronounce final r
"sommelier" - so-me-lié
other "elier" words:
- le chandelier -> candlestick, candelabra
- le chancelier -> chancellor
- l'(un) atelier -> workshop

Marianne Rankin

Newforest, thanks for the French terms. Not everything is in the dictionary. I appreciate it.


***About il est (six heures) and c'est (six heures)

Quelle heure est-il?
the proper answer to that question is:
-> IL EST (trois heures...)

In spoken French, some people use "c'est" instead of "il est", for ex:
-> "Oh! c'est déjà trois heures... je vais être en retard! (already 3 o'clock... I'm going to be late!)

In the following example, "c'" is not at all needed but it's used in 'ordinary' (familiar) conversation:
-> ce film à la télé, c'est à quelle heure?
- c'est à vingt heures trente...

You could eliminate c'
-> ce film à la télé, est à quelle heure?
- à vingt heures trente... /

Of course, you could say (style "soutenu")
-> (ce film à la télé) à quelle heure commence-t-il?
- Il commence à 20 heures 30.

***yes for "se bidonner" = very familiar for "to laugh"
and "bidonnant", is familiar for 'hilarious'

true, "bidon" means lots of things...

just wondering whether you had in mind the word "la bedaine"?
- la bedaine = gros ventre (often used for men)
- phonetically connected with the familiar word: "bidon"
- when I read "bidou", I thought Kristin wrote a variation of "bidon", used in baby language.

***après que l'alarme ait / a sonné
I didn't listen to the audio file and missed the sentence.

-> Strict grammar rules to follow in "style soutenu": indicative (and not subjunctive) after "après que"
-> Common use: there is a tendency in spoken language to use "après que" in the same way as we use "avant que" - perfect case here!

-> Petit conseil: if in doubt, get rid of "après que" + verb".
Here, the alarm is -> la sonnerie (du réveil)
Easy solution -> You could just say:
---> Le matin j'aime bien sommeiller un peu après la sonnerie du réveil.
(no point saying "la sonnerie du réveille-matin", as the word "matin" is already at the beginning of the sentence)

valencia siff

Salut Kristin,
Question de grammaire: Pourquoi as-tu utilisé le subjonctif avec après que et pas le plus-que-parfait. Nous, on apprend que l'on emploie le subjonctif avec "avant que" mais pas avec "après que"


Hi Valencia,
I think Kristin is very busy. I'll try to reply to your post.

conjunction "après que " + verb in the indicative ---> Yes
See previous post.

2) About your question regarding the use of a "plus-que-parfait" instead of a passé composé in: "J'aime bien sommeiller un peu après que mon réveil a sonné".
- look at the tense used in the main clause,
- consider the meaning of the subordinate clause introduced by the conjunction "après que"
- think of the balance in the use of tenses ("concordance des temps")
Now then, why would you conjugate the verb "sonner" in the plus-que-parfait de l'indicatif (pluperfect)??

Here are some sentences with "après que".
See whether you're happy with the tenses - and also with the suggested alternatives.

***J'aime bien sommeiller un peu après que mon réveil a sonné.
- Le matin, j'aime bien sommeiller un peu après la sonnerie de mon réveil.
- Le matin, après la sonnerie de mon réveil, j'aime bien sommeiller un peu.

***Après qu'il est allé en Afrique, il a travaillé pour l'UNESCO
- Après son séjour / son voyage en Afrique, il a travaillé pour l'UNESCO."

*** Il aime commencer son travail après qu'il a pris son petit-déjeuner.
- Il aime commencer son travail quand il a terminé son petit déjeuner.
- Il aime commencer son travail après son petit-déjeuner (pas avant!)

***Je vais préparer le repas après qu'il arrivera.
- Je vais préparer le repas à son retour / dès son retour / quand il arrivera"
- Dès qu'il arrivera, je commencerai à préparer le repas.

Hope this is helpful.


Cabanon cries for a trellis - climbing with flowering exotic scents. A big pot filled to support an umbrella with a chair to sit under. A creation workshop for grapevine wreaths. :)

Suzanne Codi, Washington, DC

I love to read all the reader's comments, but I specially love the photos of Braise and Smokey.
I'm curious to find out combien de freres et soeurs Smokey Dokey has. Our two dogs are litter sisters, and are glued at the hip. Smokey is so lucky to live with his dogma and his adoptive ma Kristen under the same roof!!!


I would love to see the "cabanon" freshened up the French way....since you asked. Though you could love it just the way it is biensur. How about an old door painted that wonderful faded lavender/blue that alot of shutters are painted in France. And also paint the shutters. And around the round opening at the top put an old rusty medallion, one that lets the air through. Have the kids paint. It will fade and look even better

We have a village house now in Valbonne. It's been fun painting it and furnishing it ourselves.

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