How to say "skin" in French + visit to the dermatologist
couper la parole


I like to run this photo (taken in the summer of 07', in Italy) every now and then. The words painted on the fence are inspiring: "To live well: love well and let others say what they will". ("Pour bien vivre, bien aimer et laisser dire.") 

le sanglier (sahn glee ay)

    : boar, wild pig

Audio File: Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce the French words in the story below: Download MP3 or Wav file

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

Those Swigging Swines!

I was surfing online, looking for information on how to discourage wild boars from gobbling up our grapes, when I stumbled into a forum wherein a poor soul, one with the same dilemma as my winemaking husband's, wrote:

Ici les sangliers font de véritables carnages dans les vignes : ils reconnaissent les meilleures grappes et nous les dévorent juste avant qu'on les vendange (d'ailleurs, ils ont même la délicatesse de ne manger que les grains puisqu'on retrouve les rafles de la grappe encore accrochées à la vigne) !*

Here, wild boars make a veritable carnage in the vines: they recognize the best grapes and devour them right before the harvest (what's more, they have the finicky tendency to eat only the fruit, given that we find only the grape stems left on the vine)! 

Jean-Marc would sympathize with this downhearted farmer, or vice versa, given that we spent a part of Saturday morning out in the field, among the vine rows of ripe grapes, testing a solution to The Gobbling Boar problem.

"Mais, regarde ça!" Jean-Marc pointed to the grape clusters, which were still intact--yet missing several bites full of fruit. Putain de merde! Ils mangent que les meilleurs!

Seeing the butchered fruit, Chief Grape was hopping mad, and his vengeance would come soon enough, only, in an animal friendly way....

ACME Transitor Radio Repellant
(would Wile E. Coyote approve?)

Jean-Marc reaches into a bag that he's been carrying and produces what looks to be like talkie-walkies, but, to my dismay (for it might have been fun to shout "Over and out!" in French--not that I know the translation) turn out to be transistor radios.

"Marche par là," my husband instructs, and I walk south, passing one, two, three... seven, eight, nine vine rows. My job is to march until I can no longer hear the sounds issuing from the transistor radio that Jean-Marc is holding.

As I advance, I occasionally become distracted--for the nearby garrigue (from which all the wild pigs issue) is draped in bright red berries! There are little white flowers which set off the tiny crimson balls and I'm about to reach for a bouquet of flower-berries when my husband shouts:

"Tu entends toujours?"

"Oui, oui.... j'entends! Oui, oui, je t'assure!"

As I walk on, I fall into further distractions, wondering, this time, which radio station we are listening to? What if the current program (some sort of noisy political debate) ends... and the next program contains classical music? Wouldn't, then, Jean-Marc's experiment backfire? I pictured the wild boars arriving en masse, lulled forward by Mozart and the inspiring symphony in the some sort of sanglier Shangri-la, where they would "find the light"... and a bounty of grapes to boot!

Never mind. It isn't my job to question Chief Grape; my duty is to go along with his latest inspiration or invention: this one being The Wild Boar Buster (after the Dust Buster, which was invented by some other lucky duck, else why would we be trying to scrape together a living on a boar friendly fruit farm?!)

When I can no longer hear the static voices on the radio, I stop in my tracks, turn back, and flap my arms suggestively, or in a way that suggests that even a boar could hear no more. I watch as Chief Grape sets down one of the cheap transistor radios--just beside the gnarled and woody base of a very old grenache vine. Voilà, repellent number 1 is en place. Our mission continues in much the same way, I, advancing in spite of distractions (this time I just had to reach for une poignée of romarin... and it was too tempting not to bend down and study an impressive ant colony).... each time Chief calling me back to the present étude with "T'entends? Est-ce que t'entends?"

"Oui, oui... je t'assure. J'entends!"

As I walk on I wonder about rain, about wind, about any number of kill joys--make that kill ploys--that might carry off or damage the repellent radios that Jean-Marc is leaving throughout the parcelle. But these concerns are nothing compared to my next souci. It occurs to me that hunting season begins next week and that this field will be soon be alight with chasseurs! These hunters/locals might have snickered when learning about the music played in Chief Grape's cellar (a comforting concerto with a positive influence on the wine that rests there), but what will they think this time--when they discover that the renegade winemaker is planting radios in his vineyard?

It's no use fretting about my husband's reputation. Besides, I know what he would say: "Laisse les parler!" Let 'em talk! 

Meantime, between the cheap radios and the chasseurs, I'm done worrying: up to the poor wild pigs to fret this time--though I secretly hope, next time I look out the kitchen window, to find them dancing a jig, or swaying a slow waltz.

Selected French Vocabulary and citations

mais regarde ça = look at that!

putain de merde = @$!#

ils mangent que les meilleurs! = they're eating only the best!

le talkie-walkie = walkie-talkie

marche par là = walk that way

la garrigue = wild mediterranean scrubland

tu entends toujours? = do you still hear?

une poignée = a handful

le romarin = rosemary

le souci = worry

French quote, from "fanfan", in the forum at

Exercises in French Phonics Exercises in French Phonics is... 
" a great book for learning French pronunciation" Order your copy here.


Vendange2004 024
In theme with the first photo, here's another picture taken in Italy, years ago, in a hilltop town not far from Ventimiglia.

DSC_0069 Since we're in a traveling mode, why not travel back in the archives, and read a lovely story written by my mom, Jules?


The Greater Journey : Americans in Paris

The Greater Journey is the enthralling, inspiring—and until now, untold—story of the adventurous American artists, writers, doctors, politicians, architects, and others of high aspiration who set off for Paris in the years between 1830 and 1900, ambitious to excel in their work. Order The Greater Journey here.


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


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Maary-Anne Helms

Hm-m-m no sanglier here but just white-tailed deer who accomplish the same mission!!! Never thought of radios...but what happens if there is a thunder storm? But on second thought, these deer have become so fearless, they might change the station!!! And what would my neighbours think of these all-night parties in my garden??? Some things to ponder before there is nothing left to look at!! Bon chance!

Maureen Winterhager

...just be careful, Kristin - no mucking about with those dangerous animals. They eat meat as well! So no loitering in the off at night, please, to watch their antics when they hear the radio. BTW - does he have them on some automatic switch that triggers when the swine arrive for their midnight feast?


Sounds frustrating & scary; I don't suppose these are the kind that could be distracted by digging for truffles.

Sarah LaBelle

--- ils reconnaissent les meilleures grappes et nous les dévorent juste avant qu'on les vendange ---

A great story about fighting les sangliers dans les vignes! In the description by fanfan, was there a typo? nous les devorent -- is that tous les devorent?

I was so pleased I could follow those sentences -- except for that phrase.

Life in the country raising wine grapes seems full of adventures.

Geraldine Ventura

I can hardly wait to hear if Chief Grape's solution worked. Just finished reading your book and I do envey the life you have in Provence. Hope there are a series of books to be written as you have a wonderful way with words. Thanks!


We are currently doing battle with a groundhog that is undermining a stone wall that supports the house on the property next door. I suppose it is feasting on the overripe figs that are falling off our fig tree (the ones that are beyond our reach). We put cantaloupe in the trap, but it doesn't seem to be good enough for this "whistle pig" (the local name for groundhog).

Judd Friedman

I am a big fan of you blog.... I live in the mountains right on the border of Provence in a little town called La Rochette. When I read this story I was laughing out load...the image of the le sanglier dancing a jig, or swaying a slow waltz cracks me up! i know this is a serious matter...they can eat a lot.I hope this will work until the season opens...and they run for the hills...

Ophelia in Nashville

What a great story!

I saw a sanglier one night in the Luberon --one of the scariest, hairiest, animals I have ever seen and not at all like a round, sweet, pink pig. Do be careful!

Herm in Phoenix, AZ

Salut Kristin,

I had no idea you had wild pigs in France. Here in Arizona, we have a similar animal called a javelina (pronounced hav-el-ina, a Spanish word). They tend to be nocturnal and like the roots of the yucca plant in the desert. They are not aggressive, but will attack if cornered.

Though some people think javelina are a type of wild pig, they are actually members of the peccary family, a group of hoofed mammals originating from South America. I wonder if the are related to le sanglier.


Mollie Baker

"nous les dévorent juste avant qu'on les vendange"
Sarah—and someone please correct me if I'm wrong—but I believe this would be translated along the lines of "devours them on us right before we harvest them".

I, too, love reading these blogs! Thanks, Krisitn!

Tammy Jones

Kristin! I just discovered your blog and oh! how I love it!
Thank you so much for sharing your stories... Good luck waltzing away your boars...

Pat Cargill

Oh my, Kristin et J-M, bon chance removing les sangliers! Scarey business. ACME, it's not just for Wily E. Cayoto anymore. Interesting quote by Chuck Close on ACME Wiki page. How we kids of the 50's grew up, outside, running wild with creative PLAY.

Jules Greer

Kristi Darling, Now that is a story for your ....I am so happy to see you set yourself free with your fans. You have brought back memories of all your stories as a child.

I feel you have made another step-up on your writing with this tale...letting go...finally starting to share your inner thought process as you view your life events is your true gift.

I see a great year ahead.



Kay Bean

Hi Kristin,
I have been reading your blog for some time now and it is a wonderful way to keep in touch with France! It helps inspire me to listen to TV Cinq, in Washington DC. It is a slow way to improve my French, but painless!

Like Sarah, I puzzled over "nous les devorent" -- "tous les devorent" sounds better to me.

I have a question: do you sell your photographs? So many of them I could see myself taking - if only I were there! I especially like the one for today because I love the quote: Pour bien vivre ......etc.

Many thanks for the lift you give to my days!


Bonjour Kristin, JM, vous avez le problème des sangliers. Chez moi, ce sont les chevreuils. Ils viennent manger toutes mes belles fleurs. Mon jardin est si vaste que c'est impossible de mettre une clôture (trop cher). C'est pour ça que mon jardin est déprivé de jolies fleurs:-(
Please correct my translation, if I am wrong since I am not a native English speaker nor am I a French speaker. Fanfan's phrase "...nous les dévorent juste avant la vendange" is correct and I would translate it as "(they) eat (devour) it on us just before the harvest".
Here is an example which could perhaps help clarify the French granmmar "Mes gâteaux sur la table ont tous disparu. Quelqu'un me les a volés." Bonne journée!


Wonderful story, Kristin! I was laughing the whole time I was reading it. Jean Marc is so serious about his grapes and you live in the moment as he wages war on the boars - two different worlds.
In Pittsburgh, wild boars are no more but wild pigs may still exist. They both can be very dangerous. Watch out!


There's nothing more delicious than barbecued wild boar. I have so many fond memories of sitting around the table in the hills above La Cardière d'Azur with our provençal friends after a hunt, gobbling up chunks of meat, ratatouille, and washing it down with the local wines.

I know there are many anti hunters about but, if you're a good shot, the animal suffers less than a domestic animal slaughtered in an abattoir. Sanglier are invasive species that wreck havoc in the environment--not just the vineyards. They need to be controlled.

Pamela Samuels

In the Niagara Peninsula wine region of Southern Ontario, Canada, there is one vineyard which uses young sheep to remove the lower leaves from the vines so that the grapes can ripen. Apparently they aren't interested at all in the fruit, and are just the right height for the job! It's a win/win situation, saving human backs, and feeding the neighbour's flock.

Fred Caswell

Chere Kristi, I wanted to answer with q
a post following your peu blog but missed the early opportunity only to delete your story with a typing error. Did I mentioned in the past that a basal cell carcinoma decided to debut on the outside of my left nostril? The surgeon said he almost had to go all the way through the peu! Now we have one more quelque chose in common mais je ne veux pas avoir une seconde! COMME TOUJOURS... Fred

Fred Caswell

Dear Kristi, forgot to tell you that I'm sorry re your skin cancer, hope the repair work doesn't leave a noticeable mark (invisible to all but you), and if the mark on your arm is more than an age mark it, too, will be removed with great skill. When it comes to age marks I win, hands down! Affectueusement, Fred (6:28pm in RI)

Marika Ujvari

Just a short note about Mozart and classical music-loving wild boars. My Siamese cat adored Johann Sebestian Bach. His music had the same effect on her as catnip. She would roll on her back and stare at nothing with glassy eyes, like she was drunk. And you could not lure her out of the room with any treat until the music was over. So be careful!!!


Sangliers ont tres Bon gout
Surtout apres le barbecue
Entrappez la bete ce soir
Puis lui manger avec Pinot Noir


There are several wineries here in Carmel Valley that harbor the same problem "avec les sangliers" Some Russian prince brought them over here to his hunting lodge in 1913 and turned them loose. Well, indeed did they multiply. About 20 years ago I heard of them getting into one of the vineyards and decimating the whole years crop of Chardonnay! Some of the small ones fence the area.
Here are some e-mail addresses of a couple that might be able to have suggestions for Jean-Marc.
[email protected]
[email protected] (vineyard manager)
[email protected]
[email protected]
Bon chance with this one!

Eileen deCamp

Let the hunters hunt and then have a big pork barbeque. I remember seeing wild boar in Germany and they are scary looking with their tusks. We have so many deer here and they ate all the peaches and apples from our trees. They actually stand on their hind legs and beat the branches with their front legs.


Les sangliers are ugly and not nice animals. I had to photograph them for a book and went into an enclosed area where they were being raised. The owner was trying to chase them toward me and succeeded, but I worried that they might run me down. I did rapid shooting with my camera and got some good shots of them.
They do make a tasty meal, but the meat needs to cook for a long time because of the toughness of it.
If the radios don't work, can you use something that clangs, such as wind chimes, but you do need wind. The only real solution is a fence - a strong fence to keep them out.
Bon chance Chief Grape and Kristin!

Robyn France

What a spirited story--so glad you could get a little music and dancing into the main topic of the wild boars. The translation of nous les dévorent given above are on the money.


I could not find the Wav link


I once tried the radio trick for some skunks who decided to live under my deck. it drove me crazy before it drove them away. moth balls did the trick

Amy Kortuem

Oh, I hope it works! I might have to try this in my tomato patch, where some vicious little animal has decided to take just one bite from every single ripe tomato. Why won't it just pick one big tomato and eat it all? Furry little jerk (I think it's a chipmunk...)

Maybe Chief Grape should tune in some political commentary and just bore the boars to death?


I love your phrase "sanglier Shangri-la." So musical!

And while sangliers are a rather nasty and tough-looking animal, they do make a particularly delicious-- and paradoxically tender-- prosciutto. We first discovered this in Italy, where we ate prosciutto di cinghiale. So what would that be in French? Jambon cru de sanglier? I'm pretty sure we've had it in France, too.

So maybe you can find yourself some jambon cru de sanglier and enjoy some delicious revenge!

Jacqueline Brisbane

Les sangliers sont partout. I even saw one, with lots of boarlets (baby boars?) in a drying waterhole in Kakadu National Park (Northern Territory). Licensed hunters shoot them and they get sold to Europe whence they came! Where is Obelix when you need him?! :)
Jacqueline in Brisbane where spring has sprung.


I agree with others that wild boar is tasty. I could certainly feed your picking crew. I thought of another idea that might work. For years I had a terrible problem with, they are not cute. They are mean! I tried everything from BB guns to cougar pee...nothing worked. Then someone told me about ammonia. I diluted it, soaked rags in it and put them around the property in many places. Within 4 days I had no more raccoons. You might have to place jars of it out with a rag trailing out. Again, good luck!
oh, Jacqueline in the paragraph above mine..I love boarlets, but it is still piglets.

Stacy, Applegate, Oregon

Just getting to last week’s stories…so glad I didn’t miss this one! Truly a delight! I was laughing and marching (and day-dreaming) right along beside you. Here, it is the deer that have ravaged my flower beds. Disappointing as the flowers bring beauty to my yard, but I do not rely on them to make my living. I hope Jean-Marc’s plan works.

So glad to see you reposted the photo with the fabulous fence quote. Oh and by the way, I love that Chief Grape plays music for his wine!

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