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Meet up near Bandol!! + Manger la soupe sur la tête de quelqu’un


It's time to meet up at my place--or very near it! Since leaving Domaine Rouge-Bleu, where we welcomed visitors weekly, I have not organized a cozy get-together. How about an April rendez-vous? More details in the story column below... First, the expression of the day:

Manger la soupe sur la tête de quelqu’un

    : to be taller than someone else, so tall you can "eat soup on their head"

Example Sentence
Today's colorful expression was given to me by my friend Sophie, after she saw my 18-year-old for the first time in a year: Here's what Sophie said:

Max! Qu'est-ce que t'as grandi! Tu peux manger la soupe sur la tête de Martin!
Max! You are so tall now! You could eat soup on Martin's head! (Martin is Sophie's 20-year-old). 

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

Sunday's hike along the turquoise coast spring-cleaned my soul! And it got me thinking: why not plan another meet-up? This time with readers!

The little fishing village of La Madrague (a stone's throw east of Cassis) is a real bijou. I love the classic pointu fishing boats, the knotted filets de pêche drying along les pannes, or landings, the line-up of cafés and the sun-dried characters that seem to live there.

But where exactly? Just which wobbly personnage goes with which wobbly boat? 

As I zigzag along the quai, imagination in full swing, the heart of me longs to know every seaworthy soul! On second thought, let me look that one up and see if it's really what I mean:

seaworthy (adjective): Fit to traverse the seas

Fit? Ah là là, non! That would leave out the most important travelers: the misfits!

What use is life's voyage if we're always clamoring to join our "seaworthy" sisters? The ones waiting on the shiny boat? Might as well offer our thin wrists right now--and be led like thieves, via the speedcraft's connecting ladder.

Meantime the misfits beckon! A rowdy class on patched-together rafts, they're headed full steam ahead--fueled by a zillion little vapors. 

Pastis vapors? 

Perhaps. Et alors? Who am I to judge!

Better to search for that fleck of light in a misfit's eyes. Can you see the sparkle? And if you look closely enough, régardant de très très près, you might even catch it: the glittering coattails of a zillion little vapors leading to l'infini.

Infinity, those dots that connect us to each other for miles and miles and milleniums. 

 *    *    *

I hope you enjoyed today's story which, ironically, veered completely off track from the first nonfiction paragraphs! I'm reminded it's not a bad thing to let go and just see what happens! Will you try this today? Letting go of rigid planning? Let me know!

Also, let me know if you'd like to join me for a meet-up in April. I'll take note of the dates you mention, and start planning some reader rendez-vous. Click here to comment.


le bijou = jewel
le filet de pêche = fishnet
la panne = landing (at the boat docks)
le personnage = character
le quai = quay, platform
le pastis = anis-flavored liquor
et alors?! = and what's it to you?! (so what?!)

Wooden fence

 Beyond a delicate wooden fence, Le Grand Bleu, or Mediterranean Sea. In the background the area called Les Lecques. 


Jean-Marc and his high-school buddy, Nicolas (who was best man at our wedding, and who took this steamy anniversary photo on the same beach last summer! and who appeared here in our jittery wedding photo, in 1994:


 That's Nico, between the priest and Jean-Marc (who looks like he's getting cold feet...).


Jean-Marc was in charge of the picnic, which began with an oursin, or sea urchin apéritif. He hunted these a few meters off the pebble beach. He also served up les oeufs de lompe and tarama (fish eggs and fish egg purée), smoked salmon, mini fromages de chèvre (goats' cheeses), and for dessert, Sophie and Nicolas brought kiwi and raspberry fruit tarts, lemon tarts, and chocolate tarts (minis). (Those are Sophie's toes, left. Sorry I didn't get her picture!)


That grotto, to the right, is where they put all the litter bugs, or pollueurs. You DON'T want to drop trash on French beaches or they'll toss you in a cave. (Not really. But could it put a stop to litter bugs?)

Sentier sign

This-a-way or That-a-way? Par ici or Par là?


 Back at the port de La Madrague. Look at that scooter. Some people know how to get around!

If you enjoy French Word-A-Day, maybe a friend would to? Forward this post, and your friend can sign up here.

The hat is great protection from the sun, and the bandana keeps my neck from turning rooster red. Tell me your sun protection tips. I'm always interested!

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J'ai un question sur la phrase "manger sur la tete de quelqu'un".
Est-ce qu'on peut dire "sur sa tete"?
Ou il faut utiliser la phrase entier "la tete de marie" etc?

Merci beaucoup en avance

Carole Alexander

I'm available 25 April or later.
I'd love to see your new place.
Carole Alexander Portland Oregon and Venasque France


For me, the best sun protection is one that does not feel too greasy--or else I stubbornly "forget" to wear it! So I have found moisturizing creams for the face, neck, and decolletage that are 30 spf but do not make me feel like I'm bathing in whale fat.

L'Oreal makes one of the best, in my opinion. I should war a big hat like yours, but most of my time out in the sun is spent on a tennis court.

Robert Wildau

We are just up here in Aix-en-Provence and would enjoy taking part in a meet up in your area almost any time from April 1 to 15 and 28 to 30.

Bunny Freidus

What a lovely idea! April 25 or later would work for us. Sounds like a wonderful excursion.
Bunny Freidus & John Steel. Telluride, CO and Ménerbes, FR

Kristin Espinasse

Akhila, good question. Sophie probably said it that way: il peut manger la soup sur sa tete. Any francophones reading? Can you help us out and share example sentences? Thanks!

Carol, Robert, Bunny and John (and those who are commenting now) will look forward to seeing you end of April! Ill post more info as the date approaches.

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristin,
My mom used to say, "you are a tall drink of water" when she would see my son. I have also heard the phrase, "I could eat beans off the top of your head"

I wish I could twitch my nose like in the old show Bewitched and be able to meet you for a nice walk along the ocean!

Joanne Polner

Manger la soupe sur la tête de quelqu’un

: to be taller than someone else, so tall you can "eat soup on their head"
Error: their

(it's also appropriate to say: so tall that ...)

The French do not make a mistake and say la tête des quelqu'uns. (one head many people)

The French say one tête, one person--quelqu'un.

[It looks like my font makes a space after the apostrophe, but we all know that there is no space.]

also note that the French use the article "la" to mean "the"

la soupe the soup--not just any soup but the specific soup, the soup on the head of some one person

English "translation" should also correspond in "number" :
to eat the soup [that is] on someone's head

to be so tall that you can eat the soup that is on someone's head.

We must respect every language in its best form.

Sophia van Woensel-Mose

I'd love to meet up, Kristin. I live in Aix and am a fellow France Today columnist/contributor (the "En Provence" column).

I'm flexible on dates and can never 100% guarantee that I'll be available (work!), but would love to at least try.



I would love to meet up. End of April would probably work for us...see you soon, I hope :)

Kristin Espinasse

Sophia and Meredith, looking forward to seeing you, too. april 28th is looking like a good date :-)

Joanne, will go back and have a look.

Eileen, love your Moms expression!

Barbara Lynch

I'll be in villefranche for the month of April so it might be possible if it's on a weekend!

Heather in Arles

Oooh...I don't think that I am available then! Drat! But I will keep it in mind just in case and let you know. I love that you are doing this and that you have so many takers...Any chance that Smokey and Braise will make an appearance? ;)


We be there, except April 16-22.....sorry we'll miss the Apres Midi in Paris.......tell JM the beach is nice ici.

Sandy Vann

We would love to join you for un rendez vous if we are nearby at the end of April. How fun!
We may be in Marseillan by then though not yet sure. Definitely will try to attend. We have been to the small ports nearby several times, but never to La Madrague. Always loved that you hosted wonderful gatherings at Domaine Bleu. So hope we can make it over!

Kristin Espinasse

Heather, no worries. Well do onein May, too! Now to train Smokey or Braise. I could bring one... but two would be double trouble.

Yay, Charles and Sandra. See you then!


Your photos are beautiful. We are still waiting for spring to arrive in the Pacific Northwest.

My tips for avoiding the in this neck of the woods.

Thanks for the blue sky!


I will be with you all in spirit! So wish I could be there!

Karene in Southern California

Nancy, San Antonio, Texas

What a beautiful day you have shared. Thank you! Wish I could be there for at least a month but not this year.

Sun tips - use L'Oreal 50 spf (face, neck and hands) everyday, a hat and scarf/turtle neck depending on the weather. Gray and rainy here so really appreciate your pictures. Have a great day!

Diane Young

If only! I would love to be with you and vos amies in Bandol. Please take lots of pictures as it gives us the stuff of which dreams are made.


If I could I'd fly there in a minute to have lunch with you and other in La Madrague. Just thinking of it makes me happy.

Ronald Michael Holden

Hi, Kristin, did I miss something? Did you & Jean-Marc sell Domaine Rouge-Bleu?


Re: seaworthy. Maybe seafaring or...(sorry, I don't know how to translate this to french) vagabundos del mar? I think pretty much all sailors think of themselves as vagabonds, rebels, and even misfits. It's a pirate thing. Ah France...maybe this fall.


Our dear Kristi,
What a wonderful post today,accompanied(as always)by such gorgeous pictures!
Am proud of you for never forgetting your sunblock!SO IMPORTANT! Cancer survivor that I also am, plus living in the West, it is one item we can never go without. I've had terrific results with Lancôme,Bienfait,50 plus sunblock. Non greasy and absorbs quickly.
Will be with you in spirit for the meet up. A beautiful hostess(you!) and lovely company,all in such a!!Love, Natalia XO


Wish I could join you! The walk along the coast sounds very special and beautiful.

And by the way, I think Jean-Marc looks so happy in your wedding photo that he can hardly contain himself! : )

Bonne journée ou bien soirée?

karen mckeon wilson

hi Kristin, it would be wonderful to meet fellow readers of your inspiring writing, thoughts and ways of seeing life. By the way your photography is excellent, your photos like your writing are very original. You are like a Bonnard in that you take ordinary everyday things and make art or a story from them, and make them timeless. I am here all of April,. love from Karen

Karen Rollston

I would love to join your meet-up because I have been enjoying your newsletter so much in preparation for my trip to France. But, the Bandol area is a two hour drive from my Provence gite, in Saint Saturnin-les-Apt, so I doubt it is doable. Just in case, my stay in Provence is from April 26 through May 3. In total, I will be travelling all over France for 5 weeks. Reading your "Word a Day" has been fun and educational! Thank you for the information and inspiration,
Reno NV

Karen from Phoenix

So wish I was in France to meet up with you and fellow FWADers! But alas I will be there in spirit saying hello and wishing you all fun times.



K, I also suffer from sun exposure issues, and have found the best suncreen ever! It is called Sunology. I will have some sample packs with me and if we ever get to the Bandol region this summer as we spend 2 months in France, I will drop you a line.
Sorry I missed my chance to taste wine at your old place....

Peggy Ritchie

Dear Kristin, I would love to join you in April. Unfortunately, I'm at my daughter's now, and flying home the Monday after next. I just had to escape our long cold winter, and made a sudden decision to come here. But I'll be with you in spirit!!!

Sarah LaBelle near Chicago

Maybe customs have changed since I learned the phrases, but I thought
la tête de quelqu'un
would be the usual way in French, and not very common to say
ma tête our sa tête
in such an expression.

One of those small differences between languages?


Kristin, you look gorgeous in your wedding photo ! so beautiful. Your other photos are beautiful, too. Wish I could join in end-April. Someone in Villefrance for April ? what a dream ! I've been there a couple of times, a favorite place.


Hope you will have one in Sept when I will be in Bandol/La Cadiere/Le Castelle.
I use SkinCeuticals 50spf with tint.


Le Grande Bleu, or Mediterranean Sea..
Should be either:
Le Grand Bleu
La Grande Bleue
Jacqueline in almost autumnal Brisbane

June furey

Kristi how lovely to read of your day on the beach together with the delightful pictures. as always your photographs are exceptional. I really love the part of France where you are now living. Have you read" My Mothers Home" by Gully Wells, she writes for many travel publications. The home was on the hill hear Bandol, I have been so delighted with her story I am into my third reading, but then I love stories about the French countryside, bon journee June Gold Coast Qld

John Wm Schiffeler

Max! Qu'est-ce que t'as grandi! This sentence has been translated as
"Max! You are so tall now!" Is this translation correct? Would not "Max, how have you grown" be a better rendering?

Kristin Espinasse

Hi Ronald, yes, we did sell Domaine Rouge-Bleu. We are now investors there and still closely involved in supporting all of Caroline and Thomass hard work.

Wayne & Judy Newsom .. Birmingham, AL USA

We will be in Nice from March 25 - April 23. Would love to meet up near Bandol sometime in April, preferrably between April 8 - 19. Please keep us posted on the firm date and we will try to make it. Merci beaucoup!

Priscilla Williams

Oh how I wish I could meet in April, but I'm in belle France now! Headed to Nimes tomorrow, not too far away am I? Have been taking in splendor of Haut Languedoc but must fly home this coming Sunday.

Cheers from

Mary liz

I utilize the same protection ... scarf and large brim hat. After many bitter and ugly rounds with skin cancer myself I am thrilled to see you protecting your pretty face.
I found your blog by stumbling onto your skin cancer entry one day!
I was searching for something that would pull me out of my fear and grief over another surgery on my face ( why always the face!) ...when I found your Moms "H" poem. Whst a cool lady.
Mary Liz

Suzanne Dunaway

I hate correcting typos of others because Loulou has SO MANY. I think you meant "take note" and yes, a get-together would be such fun.
From Collioure, it's a jaunt but keep me posted!

Sue Whelan

Dear Kristi, another lovely post! What I was looking for was the French equivalent for "seaworthy." Did I miss it? Love your blog and can't wait to read all your books.

Lisa Culver

Just ordered your book from Amazon....I really wanted to support you. Your writing means a lot to me, straight from the heart and honest. I look forward to reading your words more than I can say.
BRAVO for following your dreams, for having the courage to put yourself out there....
With Love,
Lisa Culver
Grateful Reader from Raleigh, NC

Eileen Howell

I love your suggestion of a Meetup..I have a language partner from who lives near there and I will be visiting her the week of June 16th to the 20...We would love to meet you and your friends.

On another note, I read through the tips for learning to speak French and picked up one of the best...someone said to put that English tongue behind your lower front teeth and everything will be easier...And it was! Thanks.
Eileen HOwell Ottawa, Canada

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