No "tire-bouchon"? + How to open a bottle of wine with a BOOK! (video)
How "to pamper" in French & some intruders...

Flic: A near-collision with the cops!

1-Eileen DeCamp
Thank you, Eileen DeCamp, for your photo vignette of Jean-Marc's wine & my First French Essais! Eileen titled her picture, "Two of my favorite things!!!" With any chance, Eileen's photo, taken on Seabrook Island, SC, will work better than my publicity stunt, filmed here near Bandol!

le flic (fleek)


Audio File: listen to Jean-Marc pronounce today's word and example sentence
Download Flic or Wav

A Toulon, j'ai été poursuivie par un flic.
In Toulon, I was pursued by a cop.

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

Now that my daughter is in drivers' school, we, the chauffeurs and members of her family, are under constant surveillance.

"T'as pas le droit de doubler," Jackie points out, as I speed around the tiny car that was ahead of me. It's one of those voitures sans permis, or "no permit needed" cars--owing to an engine so small it couldn't hurt a fly, or a flying saucer (i.e. faster-moving vehicles that usually require permits). 

Voiture sans permis

Normally my kids get a kick when Mom overtakes one of these "washing-machines," as they are the only other cars that travel as slowly as Mom does.

But back to Mom's misdemeanor... My daughter is right, that was a continuous white line (signaling "no passing!") and not a broken white line that allows drivers to "pass with care."

Yikes! What was I thinking? I must not have been thinking.

Gosh! I've really got to put on my thinking cap, especially now as we are entering the city of Toulon. Suddenly the autoroute forks--and forks again--until we find ourselves about to be swallowed up by an underground passage!

Mon Dieu! They've finally opened the tunnel! After more than a decade in the planning and a false start (the tunnel opened a few years ago, but quickly shut down because of a fault in engineering...). Since, it has become a favorite target for my husband's sarcasm. Each time we pass by the barricaded, would-be shortcut my husband snickers:

"Fine undergrounds we pay for in France! Maybe one day we can actually use them!"

Apparently this was the day. Only, crossing Toulon sous terre was not on our itinerary (the mid-town mall was)!

Seeing the signs to centre ville, I edged two lanes over, trying to avoid the city's underbelly. No sooner had I changed lanes, than a loud grumbling startled me. A glance in my foggy rear-view mirror revealed another car, inches away! 

As the driver blared his horn, the hairs on the back of my neck shot up and my heart raced. But the beads of sweat that had appeared on my brow were instantly dried as my arm flew up and began waving excitedly, along with my tongue, en franglais:

"Mais ça va pas? Gosh! Haven't you ever gotten lost, Mister!"

On second thought, that probably wasn't even a mister, but some just-got-his-license whippersnapper--one who was bent on correcting MOM!

This realization sent my arm waving wildly again. Road rage is a bad thing, but a wee waving of the finger (or arm) at the little big shot ought to teach him a lesson!

Only, a second glance in my rear-view mirror revealed a surprising detail. This was no little big shot. This was a cop!


"What's the matter, Mom?" my daughter's words were warm with concern.

"That's a flic! I just went ballistic on a flic!"


"Jackie! I can't translate right now. That's a policeman behind me!" 

Our voices grew silent as I studied the rear-view mirror. "Please God, please. Please. Please God..." I did a quick mental inventory of my purse, realizing both my driver's license and certificat d'immatriculation were back at home!

"Mom, there's nothing to worry about."

"Please God, no. Please no."

"Mom, that policeman is not going to pull you over!"

The quiet assurance in my daughter's voice caught my attention. I quit babbling in time to listen to Jackie, who enlightened me:

"He is the one that's breaking the law, not you!"

"Ah bon?"

"Blaring your horn at another driver can cause a serious accident," Jackie explained. "It stresses the driver, who might then panic, or even pass out!"

"You did nothing wrong," Jackie continued, confident in what she had just learned in drivers school. "You were only changing lanes!"

As my daughter spoke, I glanced into the rear-view mirror and saw the cop turn onto another road, and disappear.... My 16-year-old was right! Well that ought to teach the flic, the whippersnapper, not to give Mom a heart-attack next time she lawfully changes lanes!

To leave a comment or to read one, click here.

French Vocabulary

T'as pas le droit de doubler = you don't have the right to pass
la voiture sans permis = no-license car, license-free automobile
une autoroute = motorway, highway, freeway (US)
sous terre = under ground
centre ville = town center
mais ça va pas?! = What's the matter with you?!
mon Dieu = my God
certificat d'immatriculation = formerly "la carte grise" or car registration document
ah, bon? = oh, really?


Photos from a French Life... The red iron bed once held my daughter, then my Mom as she recovered from her first mastectomy. Then my brother-in-law slept there, months and months, healing from a broken heart. After, the bed moved poolside, but any lounging there was shortlived when my husband decided to set his 500 liter wine barrels there to rest on the springs (a good night's sleep for his wine?). 

A little bent out of shape now, here is the iron bed's current life--in the permaculture garden behind the house. That peeping Tom, in the right-hand corner, is really a flowering fava bean. Spend more time in a garden. There's so much going on in a veggie patch! 

Book Update for First French 'Essais'!
The first week of publication book sales were nearing 800 copies! A promising start for a self-publisher... But things quickly slowed down by day 5. Maybe a publicity stunt was needed afterall? 

On day 8 (Thursday) I posted a video of a first attempt to open a bottle of wine without a corkscrew! Plenty have tried this feat with a shoe, but with a paperback?...

Using my new book, I drove out that cork in under 20 whacks! Alot of people shared the video... but did book sales go up with viewcounts?

Hard to say, because something very strange happened instead... Readers began receiving notes from Amazon: shipping for First French Essais would be delayed one week. That was odd, given the book is printed on demand!

Next, I received a note from Amazon's publishing company. Here is what the senior publishing consultant said:

I've been aware of the success you've experienced with your title and I wanted to reach out to you personally to say, congratulations! We are thrilled for you and want you to know that we are here to support you in any way we can.

It is exciting to receive this kind of offer, and my mind is reeling with possibilities. Meantime, can a publishing company help me sell more books? Stay tuned.... 

Enter The Battered Book Giveaway! Winner gets the book used in the video! Find out why this battered book is meaningful to me: listen to my message near end of the video!

To Enter:

  1. Share the video
  2. Tell me (here, in this box) where you've shared it (Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, with a French class, or via email).

A Message from Kristi on this blog's 19th anniversary
Thank you for reading this language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on writing. My wish is to continue creating posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check
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3. A bank transfer, ZELLE is a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

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