how to say "from the bottom of the heart" and "shooting star" in French?
Send a Texto or SMS message in French - short dictionary of text abbreviations....

Braise the dog update + how to say "different strokes for different folks" in French

Happy Art (c) Kristin Espinasse

Happy Art (or L'art joyeux). The other day I was snapping a picture of this lively fishing boat, or pointu, when a passerby sniffed Quelle horreur! ("How tacky (that boat is)!" I was struck by the comment until I rememembered we don't all see things the same way or, as we say back home, Different strokes for different folks! Even if I wouldn't paint a boat in the colors of a rainbow (had I only one boat to paint), I think this bubbly bateau fits in beautifully here in the port of Sanary-sur-Mer. Taking the hint from today's French expression, we could say, il faut de tout pour faire un port. (It takes all kinds to make a harbor.)

I received some touching feedback from our French readers when recently I posted a "reverse" vocabulary entry (the English term or phrase first, followed by the French translation). I think it's time for another, which would bookend this edition nicely--given the last section includes a letter from Francophone reader Marie-Pierre. Today's reverse entry is...

"different strokes for different folks"

    : Il faut de tout pour faire un monde

The French equivalent means, literally, it takes all kinds to make a world. Another way to say it is this: chacun ses goûts (to each his own). Know another way to say it? Comment on this expression, here, or continue reading the rest of this edition, below. 

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

(This story section will return next week. I have a lot of updates for you--such as Max's first car (can you guess it?) and his summertime job. I could also tell you about the first ever concombre I just harvested (Youpi!!) and the mongolian tournesol growing behind our house. I haven't even mentioned the sacks and sacks of home-grown produce our neighbors, Josette and André, keep delivering--fèves, then haricots verts, then tomates, then a giant bushel of lavender! Our home smells like un champ de lavande. Best air freshener ever!

I leave you with some colorful clichés taken over the past two weeks. Enjoy the photos, and see you next week.

Passez un bon we,

Comments welcome here.

French Vocabulary + Audio File:


Il faut de tout pour faire un monde = it takes all sorts to make a world
le concombre
= cucumber
youpi! = yay! 
le tournesol = sunflower
la fève = fava bean or broad bean
la tomate = tomato
un champ = a field
la lavande = lavender
bon we (week-end) = happy weekend
un cliché = picture (also means photo negative) 
passez un bon we = have a good weekend 


sunfllowers or tournesols (c) Kristin Espinasse
View from the kitchen window


With any luck, I thought, these sunflowers will be thriving when Heidi and Brian arrive! The entwined tournesols reminded me of the reunited couple

In the background, you can see Jean-Marc's green market stand.  He bought it with the plan to sell some of his wine roadside! I may let you know if that happens... Meantime, it was so funny, Sunday, to see Aunt Marie-Françoise stride up to the stand and chant "Melons! Achetez des bons melons de Provence!" Melons! ("Step right up and buy some good melons from Provence!") A chorus of chuckles erupted from the front porch, where 20 some family members had just returned from the beach, after an end of summer picnic. 

Heidi in Cassis (c) Kristin Espinasse
In Cassis during my sister's visit, we passed this graffito. The message was serendipidous, given that my sister Heidi and her ex ex, were visiting us in France--celebrating their reunion. After 24 years apart, they are happily together again. The sign above reads "You can't beat this love". Read the story of their reunion here.

All decked out in Cassis, where French windows are full of wonder and whimsy.

Sometimes French mailboxes are as expressive as French window boxes. More mailboxes here in the French mailbox post

  French mailboxes (c) Kristin Espinasse

I love to read the names on the front. The white one on the bottom belongs to the Cassan and the Migraine family. I wonder, does a "Mr. Headache" really live here?

"Babiol" it's both the name of this shop and a favorite French word. And that's a French Vanna White. Just kidding. That's my beautiful sister! (Little sisters love to kid--even though they're poor sports when they're teased.)

Mongolian sunflower or tournesol geant (c) Kristin Espinasse
The mongolian sunflower growing behind our house, in the potager. When Cousin Audrey saw it, she said it looked like a shower head. (I recently heard creative people can see forms and familiar shapes in the objects they gaze at: whether tiles, clouds, clusters of trees, or sunflowers...) What have you seen recently? (I see hearts everywhere, and recently a "pig" jumped out of the cluster of leaves on a backyard tree! I blinked my eyes, but it was still there, green and rustling in the wind.) Comments welcome here.

That bale of lavenderI told you about... and an update on Braise (left). Occasionally someone writes in to say "so many pictures of Smokey... but what about Braise--is she okay?" Braise is doing fine, though she worried me last week, when she had three accidents in the house (pee-pee par terre, or "puddles" on the floor). It wondered whether she was getting old, but she is only 7. Then I realized the fault was mine! Owing to summertime, we are sleeping in a little later. This means Braise and Smokey have to hold it an extra hour... No more grasses matinées, or sleep-ins, until 7:30 am. If we make it to the front door an hour earlier, we'll avoid all those accidental puddles.  


I love your site and find delight in seeing photos of my native, favorite Provence. The word of the Day is helpful to me as I am using it the other way around for perfecting my English knowledge...
    One small correction however in the usage of "from the bottom of the heart": it is a personal expression used for a personal feeling avec un sens de provenance (mouvement), and one should say "du fond de mon coeur"  ie: je te remercie du fond de mon coeur"au"fond de mon coeur" means "deep inside of my heart"(pas de mouvement) ie: je garde son souvenir au fond de mon coeur
Merci de me permettre ce commentaire et dans l'attente de votre prochaine lettre. [Thank you for allowing me this comment and I look forward to your next letter.]
Bien amicalement.

Thank you, Marie-Pierre, for the correction and for the helpful example you shared. --Kristin

The stone structure behind the dogs is known as un cabanon. Some say they were used to house farm animals, others say they sheltered farmers during a blistery Mistral. Have you heard of other uses for these beloved structures, salt and peppered across the French countryside? Comments welcome here.

And that's Smokey whispering into Mama Braise's oreille. What is he saying?  Home sweet home (c) Kristin Espinasse

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


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Great post. Those tomatoes are making me drool!


Chère Kristin I love the brightly painted fishing boat! Quelle beauté ! Enjoyed today's post. Bisous pour Smokey et Braise.
Je te remercie du fond de mon coeur. 

Lee & Bill Mears

Lovely post. It was good to see Braise and Smokey looking happy and healthy. Pictures of them always make my day. Regarding the boat in the first picture, I love it! It's so true about "different strokes etc."

Eileen deCamp

I love the colorful boat! It seems to fit in with the landscape! The poppy mailbox is so cute! What does Babiol mean?

William F. Swiggart

How about this translation of common phrase (popularized in Margaret Hungerford's 1887 novel, "Molly Bawn"):

Beauté est dans les yeux de l'observateur.

Julie Farrar

Merci for the photo essay today. I'm all in favor of going wild on the paint for the little boat. The passerby might have thought the boat was tacky, but I've seen French windows decorated just as tackily (a word?). More power to the owner!

Julia ~ Falling Off Bicycles

Love the boat, love that charming scene on that mailbox, and appreciate hearing about the furry kids. Thanks for your charming blog, Kristin! I've been enjoying it for years now.

Heather in Arles

It is physically impossible for me to not smile upon seeing Smokey and Braise. Impossible. Those are some seriously happy puppers.
Merci à Marie-Pierre--that is a mistake that I have made!
And apparently it is Labor Day weekend coming up in the States, so wishing you a wonderful one, dear Kristin. :)

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks, Heather! Wishing all who participate a very relaxing Labor Day weekend, too.

Eileen, whoops! Forgot to add the translation: babiol means *trinket*

William, thanks for the translation -- fits this edition beautifully!

Many thanks, again, for taking the time to write a comment. Its such a treat to read your words and cheerful responses! I had set out to write a post yesterday, but it was as flowing as cement. To all who struggle to complete a task, whether writing or folding laundry--keep on truckin!

Marcia Douglas

I love that boat - it's very "Caribbeanish" lol. It would fit in quite nicely in the Bahamas. I once lived in a big house with a woods behind it, the tallest tree sticking up looked like a horse with a rider on it - he would gallop through the thunder storms!


Many thanks a usual for this lovely post. Thank you for improving my English! (though I don't understand "as flowing as cement" in your comments... ;-) . I love your collection of old keys. Do they open Jean-Marc's cellars?? And of course I'm fond of the doggy family picture!

Kristin Espinasse

Hi Adeline, By *as flowing as cement* I meant that my words did not flow at all--and so I gave in (abandoned) yesterdays writing session. Glad you like the keys. I wish I could see all the doors they once opened. For now we can pretend they open some of the doors here--including JMs cellar :-)

Herm inPhoenix, AZ

Salut Kristin,

Regards the boat. . .“To each his own”; Thank goodness! Can you imagine what a boring place our planet would be if everyone had similar likes and dislikes?

Those tomatoes look so delicious! I used to grow tomatoes when my kids still lived at home. In Phoenix, they had to be planted in January so the fruit was ready before the 100+ degree heat arrives. (I understand the tomato is technically a fruit)

One of my favorite foods is fried green tomatoes….Yum!

À bientôt

Carmen Clarke

En espanol: 'Sobre gustos no hay disputos'. or 'No accounting for taste!'

William F. Swiggart

'Continuez le camionage'?

Young Paciello

From when I was a child, I remember the governess wagging her finger at me and saying "les gouts et les couleurs ne se discutent pas". In other words "you can't argue with either taste or color". Ask Jean-Marc if I'm right about the expression.


chacun a son gôut?


Bonjour, Thank you for the lovely photos and interesting story/s. I too struggle with "words stuck in cement". So glad you keep at it to the delight of us all.


It's obvious that Smokey is saying, "Je t'aime, Maman."


Don't mean to be weird, as I am a dog lover and owner....but the subject line "Braise the dog" sounds like a recipe!

PS: People keep telling me about Lynn McBride 'cause her mom lives here.

dorothy dufour

wONDERFUL photos as usual, how your camera likes the sea, and such good comments! One of the reasons I'm so in love with the French language is its honesty - like calling all critters betes, so a skunk is a stinking beast!

Jo Statham

Have been gorging on your lovely photos once more, Kirstin, and remembering my days years ago as an 'au pair' in Cassis. Re: your sunflower and 'shapes in nature': what a coincidence! I've just found an ancient pruned branch on one of our trees which looks exactly like an owl. I took a photo and am currently making someone a birthday card with it. Perhaps the ancient goddess Minerva, one of whose attributes was an owl, is encouraging me to think a little more deeply!

Kristin Espinasse

S. - yikes! Thanks for pointing that out. I am so used to our dogs name that this did not occur to me (*Braise* is from the Breton language--I think the correct spelling is Breizh)

Susan Kee

Did ta tante really say "Achetez des bons melons"? I remember being taught that with /bon/, on dit toujours "de" et jamais /des/.
Alors, elle aurait dit: "Achetez de bons melons."
Est-ce que c'est possible que j'ai oublie une partie de la grammaire francaise? Quel horreur!" ;-))
Susan Klee


Bonjour Kristin,
Thank you so much for this beautiful website, I love it.
I am growing some Lavender and I was wondering if you have any suggestions or ideas of how I can use it in cooking, if possible...
Thanks and have a lovely day.

New friend, HUDA


Twingo, Fiat Panda, Citroen C3, those are my guesses xxoo

Stacy ~ Sweet Life Farm

I immediately saw the sunflowers in embrace as you and Jean-Marc! I love J-M’s market stand, such a find! I would find many uses for it here; this week for the over abundance of ripe cukes and zucchinis. I ate my first ever grown eggplant this week, such a treat. I am loving having a garden.

Enjoyed all the photos; especially the tasteful graffiti, the “showerhead” and beautiful Vanna (funny as my beloved is always telling me the way I point at things I look like Vanna)!

Max, a new car? Hmm... Enjoy your week!


Thanks for the update on Braise and I'm sure Smokey is saying "Look, Mom, she's taking our picture again!"

Kathleen from Connecticut

I think that Max Got a Deux blue.

Love the pics and always love seeing Braise and Smokey. He is saying " Je j'aime!

Tomatoes...canning, sauce or mozzarella and tomatoes?


Kathy en Californie

Definitely enjoyed this post. Maybe it wasn't so bad that you wrote less than usual; folks seemed to enjoy the way you wound up doing it! Your pictures just did more of the talking than the words. Nothing wrong with that. :-)

"Keep on trucking." is very literal and wouldn't translate well or have the thought you're going for. Maybe "Bon courage." and/or "Ne lâchez pas." Can we hear from the true francophones? I'm still a "wannabe" even after years of learning and working in, with and around French. Just can't ever, ever learn all the colloquialisms, and there isn't always a good translation for ones we'd like to use.

pee-pee = "pipi" in French

"A chacun son goût." (With "À" at the start of the phrase.)

"Achetez des bons melons." works here because "bons melons" is used as a unit. But you're right, Susan; normally "des" changes to "de" before a plural adjective preceding a noun--at least in careful French. But it's not a pattern even native speakers always follow.


Our dear Kristi,
What a wonderful post today and such gorgeous pictures!
Really enjoyed seeing those precious pups again! Regardless of many words or few,through your gifted writing you privilege us to be in your life!
What a pleasure!
Thank you!
Love, Natalia. xo

Diane Young

Loved the pictures and especially the colorful boat. What a dull world it would be if all the boats were just white and all the mailboxes were grey. Thanks for the mouthwatering mention of fruits and vegetables. Great that you have room and can grow these plus flowers and plants. The world was meant to be colorful and nurturing, n'est-ce pas? Bisous indeed to les chiens, mere et fils.


Miss you, Krisin. A wonderful post. Looks like you've had a wonderful summer.

Faye Stampe, Gleneden Beach, OR

Thanks for a great post and fabulous photos! I love the pups!
Stay well!

Judi Miller, Lake Balboa, CA

Kristen, I've been a bit low lately and I can't tell you how seeing your post in my inbox this morning gave me the "happies." It always does. I love the photos, the great 'French lessons,' the stories, everything. In fact I've read the post a couple of times now, including all the great comments. I think Max might have gotten a little pickup truck! I wish I painted like Jules, and if I did, I'd paint that boat!

John Sanders

You said that "Babiol" is a favorite French word. Please help me understand what it means, and why it's a favorite word.

John Sanders, Nashua, NH

Donna Grieder

Love the abundance in the window photo - find the dried skull a bit disconcerting - feels like a touch of our American southwest decor slipped in.



I did two paintings of one I photographed on my first visit to France,

I was told by a French woman we know, that the cabanon"s were used for shelter for the farmers tending the vines or fields.


oh I forgot I love the colorful boat it is fun and does make you feel happy

Thanks for all the wonderful photos and stories I often share with a
friend and I told her she can sign up and get them in her box, she said " no I so enjoy when you think it is one I would enjoy", I will be
sending her this one today

Marja van Straaten

The boat is gorgeous ... perfect for those colours though I couldn't imagine my brother's 15m yacht painted up that way, I could suggest it to him as it's due for some maintenance ;) ... Have just bought one of your books for the kindle, the weather is looking cold and wet for the weekend so instead of mowing my lawn I'll be curled up with a book... um kindle, remembering my own images of Provence ... that lovely warm sun and the juicy peaches bought from a roadside stall.
And what Smokey is saying to Braise? : I wuv ou mama.
All the best to you and your family :)

Yinka Fedden

I've just discovered this glorious resource. My husband and I are going to be spending the winter in France - Avallon in Burgundy - we reckon if we can survive a winter in France it's more likely that we can live there longer term!

So I'm sruggling like mad to bring my French up to speed and have come across your wonderful Word a Day. And what a delight to see all of the other marvellous information that you include. I'm looking forward to reading more.

Thank you!

Kristin Espinasse

Judi, more happy photos on the way. Meantime, keep smiling.

Yinka, welcome abord! Very happy to have you with us :-)

John, Babiole is one of those fun-sounding words--i like it for that reason. As for what it means: a trifle or a trinket or a knick-knack.


My friends, Claudine and Jean-Pierre who live near you in La Cardière were the first people I knew to use the word "cabanon". They own a great deal of hunting land near where the great French movie , "La Source de Jean de Florette" was filmed and refer to their hunting shack as "le cabanon".

Carolyn  Dahm,  Sharon, MA

Chere Kristi,

I can't get enough of these gorgeous photos! When are you going to do a coffee table book of your best photos??? That would be a hit!

I would love to sail off in that colorful boat and then go back to your place for a delicious lunch (that included your tomatoes) and then a walk and playtime with Braise and Smokey. Thanks for sharing them-I've missed seeing those beautiful faces! Give them kisses from me please!


Hi Kristin my name is Michael I work at an optical store in puerto vallarta, I had the pleasure of meeting your mother the other day and she talked to me about this site and I really liked the idea of it. I hope I get to learn a little french with the help of this site.
P.S your mom is a very wonderfull person I´m very glad I had the chance of meeting her :-)

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