quand le jour viendra
zone de confort

surclasser un passager

Mom has arrived!  Here she is in her bump-me-up outfit (do you see Frida Kahlo on the cape?), the one that got her whisked into business class the moment she stepped onto the airplane. "Who can resist Frida?" Mom demanded, with that testy twinkle in her eye, when I asked for the specifics of her airline upgrade. (Picture taken last February, during my visit to Jules's home in Mexico.)

surclasser un passager

    : to upgrade or bump up a passenger

Audio File: Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce these French words: Download MP3 or Wave file 

Hier, Jules a été surclassée dans son vol Mexico-Amsterdam.
Yesterday, Jules was bumped up for her Mexico-Amsterdam flight. 


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

Mom arrives

The call of the rossignol pierced through our flowery courtyard, tickling my ears with poetry. I was standing in the doorwell of the studio we had prepared for Mom, peeking out from behind the climbing jasmine, when I realized that there was some sort of delay over there in the driveway....

Wearing house slippers, I scuttled over to the front gate, beyond which I saw Jean-Marc unloading Jules's carry-on. "But where is Mom?"

"Elle est dans la cave," he answered. Alors comme ça, my chipie of a mom had disappeared into the wine cellar!

When next I saw a cloud of red, I recognized Jules in her favorite Frida Kahlo cape. She wore her panama chapeau with the thick red hat-band, in which she had tucked two red roses en soie.

"John bought these from the blind Mexican on the corner...." Mom explained, wanting me to know of her husband's thoughtful gesture the hour before her departure from Puerto Vallarta. 

"This one's you," Mom indicated, her hand reaching up to locate the first flower, "...and that one's me". She patted the silk flowers, "They represent his love for us".

I recognized another of Jules's attempts to bond her husband and her daughter. If only my darling mom knew that, just like that nightingale singing in the hedge, her family communicates clearly now and the best is yet ahead.


Postnote: Standing there in the driveway, no sooner did I have all of Mom's attention.... when four thieves rushed in and stole her affections!  I stepped back to offer my place to two tinsel-toothed teens and a couple of gushing goldens. Waiting in line, behind the dogs, my joy was not diminished in giving the others first dibs.

Le Coin Commentaires
To respond to this story or to today's word, click here.

French Vocabulary
le rossignol = nightingale
elle est dans la cave = she's in the wine cellar
alors, comme ça = and so, like that
la chipie = little rascal, little devil
le chapeau = hat 

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 Three characters in Villedieu (Vaucluse): one of the places I'd like to take Jules while she's here.

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 check out this one with matching boots (click here)!






Sunflowers can be just as happy on a small balcony as in a field wide as the breeze. Why not plant one this weekend? Photo taken in Cassis.

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Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Jens, Copenhagen, Denmark

Looking forward to many interesting stories from your Mom's visit au Domaine Rouge-Bleu -- the start was good: ("Ou est Mamie?"..."Dans la cave!").

For how long will she be staying?

Margaret in Durham

I am so happy for you and Jules. You must be floating on air. You can have a belated Mother's Day celebration. I can see the two of you wandering the winding steets of the surrounding villages now stopping at a sidewalk cafe for coffee and a wonderful chat. I know you will soaknup every minute. It is hard to share all the love but be sure to get your fair share!

Lisa@ Tarte du Jour

The lovely reunion with your mother is such a special gift... anyone who has kids and pets knows how that all too familiar line-up goes. We joyfully wait and watch the others hug and gush first. Your story warmed my heart.

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristin and Jules,
Enjoy your time together! Looking forward to hearing about all your fun adventures together!
I love the word "chipie"!

alicia brown

Bonjour -

Liked your story and love your mother's cape! Stunning!

Lynn at Southern Fried French

Hi Jules, welcome back! LOVE the cape!


I see I've missed a lot of your stories while I was out galavanting these last several seasons. I still remember the first story I read about Jules was in your book - the lawn chair - and her spirit stays with you. 1) LOVE that you spend so much time together & you have this beautiful bond with your mom 2) LOVE Jules' style 3) LOVE that her style got her bumped up to business class. See - and all this time I was resorting to a 'businessy' blazer ... oui, noir. Finally - LOVE that the first place she goes is the wine cellar - she's a woman after my own heart.


Merci for the photos of le tournesol sur le balcon. Now I don't feel so bad about the one that has emerged in the half whiskey barrel outside my front door. I am certain that you will have a wonderful visit with your mom.

Herm in Phoenix, Az

Salut Kristin and Jules,

Enjoy your time together. Lots of shopping, sightseeing, chatting and giggling ahead I’m sure!

It is great, Jules, that you can spend time with Kristin and family. Bonding time with the grand-children is something that will never be forgotten. Just because you’re over there does not excuse you from posting some comments for the FWAD followers. We always enjoy your musings and we’d like to hear your side of the stories.

À bientôt


Mysterious quick disappearance in the wine cellar?!... All very theatrical, isn't it?
Hi Jules, was it the right place for you to re-adjust your cape and hat... and red roses...before the 'stage appearance'?

Kristin heard a nightingale a few minutes before your arrival - nothing more poetic and joyful than its delightful whistles, trills and gurgles to welcome you!

Have a good rest first!
You'll sure have a great great time!!!

Kristin, the nightingale you mentioned - 'tickling your ears with poetry' - reminded me of something Shelley wrote in “A Defense of Poetry". I could only remember the first half and had to look for the complete quote.
... found it!
So, here it is, to share with you and with "tous les amoureux du rossignol":

"A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds; his auditors are as men entranced by the melody of an unseen musician, who feel that they
are moved and softened, yet know not whence or why."


Oh! I forgot the photo with the sunflower on a balcony. Yes, anyone can surely grow them... at least, one!
Kristin, I should send you the scanning of a charming little story about a dearly loved sunflower (back in the late 80s)...


That is the way it is here when the dogs "Gwandma" arrives. It takes me five minutes to give her a hug. Then when we sit down, the dogs lean into her and stare adoringly at her; while she rubs their topknots and shoulders. Have a wonderful visit with Jules! I hope that Jackie enjoys the cosmetics lessons from her grandmother. Do the kids call her Jules?

Robin Katsaros

Dear K & J,

In anticipation of what is to come, the excitement builds! The giggles, the pictures, the sweet bond between you two, the stories, the love ... I can't wait to hear what is about to unfold before all of us. Let the journey begin.
Kisses and hugs to both, xx Robin
PS WHERE did she buy that cape? Do tell!

Julie Schorr

Wishing you both many happy adventures together during Jule's visit! I think Jules is off to a great start, already visiting the cave! I look forward to reading about more adventures to come.
Amusez-vous bien toutes les deux!!


I can't wait to hear all about the fun all of you are going to have!
The red cape is as fabulous as Jules!

Gwyn Ganjeau

I always feel an unexpected excitement on the days Jules arrives chez vous! It was what I thought about as I was eating my breakfast. Ah, what a fabulous time you are going to have--sheesh, are ALREADY having, no doubt! I always love the infusion of new energy a house guest brings into my home--and I am sure Jules' energy is a big swirling fushcia cloud of delight and love. I'm sure even the walls are smiling.

Let the games begin!!


Hahaha, Newforest was funny saying your mom's mysterious quick disappearannce "dans la cave" was theatrical LOL.
Happy to hear Jules has arrived safe and sound. Lovely that even the rossignol was there to welcome her. Her bubbly nature will surely keep you busy.

Here's wishing Jules a wonderful visit!
I love your flowing cape, Jules!

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you for these very affectionate notes and wishes! Mom and I picked up Max from collège, had a hot fudge sunday at MacDo (McDonalds), pretended not to know Max when he pretended not to know us, were touched when he bragged to his friends that "that's my grandmère from Mexico".. next, a visit to the nursery for some of Mom's favorites: peach-colored verbena, whitish peach snapdragons, pansies... laughing all the way and all the while.

Yes, Gwen, even the walls are smiling!

Newforest, thank you for sharing Shelley's "A Defense of Poetry". WOW!


love, Love, LOVE that you gals are together creating mischief and memories together! Enjoy being en famille in a beautiful southern France springtime! (Is your "rossignal" the same as my "rossignol"?) xoxox


Kristin, thank you for another wonderful story ! Once again,it has wrapped itself around my heart! What a gift you , your dear mom, and your family share!
Your words paint the picture that gives your fortunate readers privilege to be part of your lives.
How gifted you are!!
Mille merci!
Bon journee!!!!

Stacy, Applegate, Oregon

Good day! What fun we will have tagging along with you and Mom, on your adventures! Jules arrival has already brought smiles to many! Oh, how I love verbena, snapdragons, pansies...and hot fudge!

Thank you, Newforest; it's been too long since I've read one of my favorites, Shelley. Such a sweet addition to the merriment found here today!


Oh, what fun you are going to have. And adventure as it always seems to be with your mom. What she writes and what you write about her always make me smile from the heart.
I always thought a rossignol was a rooster...why? because that is what was on my Rossignol skis.
And I am going to go out and plant some sunflowers in pots. It will be interesting to see if they grow as we are headed into our foggy season....june through August!
Have fun you two. Carmel(sunny today)

Candy in SW KS

Oh, my heart is filled with happiness for all of you! Can't wait to hear of the lovely adventures you will have beyond the verbena and hot fudge! I love Gwyn's description of JULES' energy: "a big swirling fuchsia cloud of delight and love!" How perfect! And a grand merci a Newforest for the Shelley quote. How funny that joie thought a rossignol was a rooster because of her skis! Love it! I love all the sweet anecdotes that we can all share and enjoy - and all because of the generous and creative spirit of Kristin! Grands bisous a tous!!

Marianne Rankin

As I recall, Jules is a painter. How well that ties in with Kristin's photography! Maybe you can go a few places and look for scenes to paint or photograph. Will school be out in time for Max and Jackie to come along on some of your excursions? Also wonder if Jules has ever worked with the vines/harvest? I hope you all have a wonderful time.

Jennifer in OR

I may have been "dans la cave" myself! We're all smiling from ear to ear knowing all the grand adventures ahead. Some people just positively attract good stuff!!

Robyn Daniels

Glad Jules arrived safely Kristin and that she brought that favourite artist's cape with her to cut a dash. Red roses are of course the symbol of love and it will be a lovely reminder to keep with you when she has gone home again. I l
ike the photo of the captive kitty on a leash on the doorstep - obviously a precious pet not allowed to wander far. It reminds me of Collette's famous comment on arriving in New York as she stooped to pet a cat: "Enfin quelqu'un qui parle francais!" Love to Jules and have a great time together exploring intriguing neighbourhood tableaux! Look forward to seeing the pics and posts. xx


I look forward to reading about your adventures with you Jules. What a precious relationship you too have. It doesn't happen in all families.

Love the cape and and I give her credit to wear it in France, where the natives seem to wear more somber colors. She is a strong individual.

Have fun you two!

Kristin Espinasse

Hi Marianne,

School will be out for the kids mid June... theyre counting the days! You asked whether Jules has harvested. Does 10 minutes count? :-)  On second thought, thats not fair: she did put in a mornings work one year...

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