Accueil, mille-feuille and "bringing the squirrels to their feet"
Homeless in France

Becot, bise, bisou: kisses in French on Valentine's Day

Smokey and heart shutter

Don't miss our daughter Jackie's soundfile today, and enjoy this snapshot of Smokey and the heart shutter (roses are from Cousin Audrey).

On this, the 14th day of February, la journée de la Saint-Valentin or la fête des amoureux we begin with a string of lip-swaying nouns. Go ahead and pronounce the first line in the next paragraph and just feel your lips move to and fro—the exercise is a perfect warm up for un bisou!

TODAY' WORD: un bécot

    : a little kiss

A smack, a smooch, a peck--un bécot or une bise--were once upon a time (and only in the land of lavender) known simply, humbly, endearingly as a kind of poutoun (poo-toon).  And in the Provence of yesteryear, Marilyn's "a kiss on the hand" might have been, and rhymingly so, "un poutoun sur la main".

Listen to Jackie read the following: Download MP3 or Wav

Un bécot, une bise, ou bien un poutoun (en Provençal)--voilà trois façons pour dire "kiss" en français! A smooch, a peck, or a kiss--there you have it: three ways to say "kiss" in French!

Heart on Stone (c) Kristin Espinasse

Given that this letter comes to you just a few beats away from the heart of Provence, not far from where La Festo di Poutoun, or "Kiss Festival," is soon to be underway, I hope you'll give today's word—un poutoun / a kiss—more than lip-service by sharing this edition with a sweetheart.

Thank you for reading and I'll now sign off, with a welcome change to cordialement, amicalement, best regards, and even cheers....


Les Mots Doux ~ Terms of Endearment

It may seem strange that the French, widely regarded as one of the most sophisticated and beautiful people on the planet, use some of the most strange (and not so beautiful) terms to refer to their belle/beau, or loved one. Take, for example, "ma puce" which means "my flea" (very popular here) and mon chou or "my cabbage" (beau, n'est-ce pas?). 

French shutter (c) Kristin Espinasse
The heart shutter in the first photo we saw today, and please check out these sponsor messages:
SOUTH OF FRANCE RENTALS: An elegant Aix apartment or a seaside village home – make France your home for a week!

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MORE AUDIO! Be sure to listen Jean-Marc (mon trèsor...) read the list: Download MP3 or Wav file

mon amour (mohn a-moor) = my love
mamour = my love
mon bébé (mohn bay-bay) = baby
ma belle (mah bel) = my beautiful (one)
ma biche (mah beesh) = my doe
ma caille (mah kahy) = my quail
mon canard (mohn ka-nar)= my duck
ma chérie/mon chéri (mah/mohn shay-ree) = my dear
mon chou* (mohn shoo) = my cream puff (sweetie-pie, cupcake)
mon coeur (mohn ker) = my sweetheart
mon lapin (mohn la-pahn) = my rabbit
ma moitié (mah mwa-tyay) = my half
mon poulet (mohn poo-lay) = my chicken
mon trésor (mohn tray-zor) = my treasure
mon poussin (mohn poo-sahn) = my chick
ma puce (mah poose) = my (little flea)
mon sucre d'orge (mohn sookr-dorzh) = my barley sugar
*from mon chou à la crème



Blue door and shutters (c) Kristin Espinasse
Photo taken in Sérignan (VAR).

More Love Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Amoureux:

  les billets doux = valentines
  fréquenter = to see / go out with someone
  amouracher & s'amouracher de = to become infatuated with
  tomber amoureux = to fall in love
  être fou amoureux/amoureuse de quelqu'un = to be crazy in love with someone

Valentine's Day in France (c) Kristin Espinasse

Grow your French Vocabulary:
Bonne journée de la Saint-Valentin = Happy Valentine's Day
la fête des amoureux = the lovers' celebration
bee-zoo = pronunciation for "bisou" = kiss
cordialement = cordially
amicalement = best wishes, yours
The Kiss
  "The Kiss." Jean-Marc and I on our 20th wedding anniversary. The beach is near La Madrague (St. Cyr-sur-Mer). 

Get away for Valentines Day. Locate a cozy bed and breakfast here in France.

 Selected "heart" expressions:

  un coup de coeur = a spontaneous attraction
  vider son coeur = to reveal one's feelings
  Aimer de tout son coeur = to love with all one's heart
  Laisser parler son coeur = to let one's heart speak
  Donner son coeur à quelqu'un = to give one's heart to someone
  un bourreau des coeurs = a ladykiller
  Faire le joli coeur = to seduce
  joli(e) comme un coeur = ravishing
Jean-Marc and bougainvillea
And here is my Valentine, Jean-Marc.
"Hold the ladder," he said. 
"OK, but can I take a photo? Wait. Don't answer. Hang on!"

I'm calling this picture "Superman of the Bougainvillea," unless you have a better caption? Meantime Happy, happy Valentine's Day!

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


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Le Bal des Courtisans

Lovely photos - Bonne journée de la Saint-Valentin!


merci pour toute la vocabulaire de l'amour!

Audrey Wilson

I hope everyone received a valentine . I did !!
Lovely collection of photos Kristin

Kathy in Kansas

What a lovely post, happy Valentine's day to all.

Brittany Stolle

What a great post! I enjoyed all the love related vocabulary. Thanks and happy Valentine's day!


Merci, Kristin. Wonderful post and photos. I retweeted on twitter to share all the hearts.

Tracy B. Snyder

Love all the hearts! Happy Valentine's Day to you and all yours.


*Loved* today's post Kristin! Merci! <3 <3

Vada Hendrickson

Happy Valentine's Day to you all - Smokey & the gang ~~
Your photos are just beautiful ~ as always.
Thanks for everything ~ and please take lots more pics ~ I so enjoy them as well as everything in your newsletter/blog/etc.
thank you...! Cheers.

Francine Hufrfman

Hello, Kristi,
I thoroughly enjoyed your Valentine's Day posting!
How can you have possibly celebrated your 20th wedding anniversary when you still have the rockin' body and looks of a 20 year-old?
You are such an inspiration to your devoted readers on so many levels and I always appreciate your informative and beautifully-written blogs.
Kudos to your for living the dream and Happy Valentine's Day to You and Jean-Marc!

Ruth Massaro

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's the man who can do everything! Kristi's Superman tresor, indeed. Great photo.

Kristin Espinasse

Your fun and lovable comments are the BEST valentine! Thank you so much and please visit my instagram page where Ill post more photos in between these blog updates:

Cynthia P. Lewis

Thank you, Kristi, for this wonderful Valentine's Day feast of words, pictures and audios (thank you, Jackie and Jean-Marc)! Happy Valentine"s Day to you and your family and those whom you hold dear to your heart.


Our dear Kristi,
What a totally,completely WONDERFUL post today!
Especially love the pictures(particularly the one of you both on your 20th!You,dear Kristi,are awesome!No other word will do!)
Happy Valentines!!


Absolutely loved your post. Happy Valentine's Day to you and your beautiful family. Thanks for all the vocabulary and thanks for the audio; always enjoy!

Frank Chappell

Kristin, Joyeuse Saint-Valentin.
Will you tell me the correct etiquette for the bisou, which I think, is the kiss on the cheek. I have often wondered. And, if you kiss someone on the neck instead, is it considered poor etiquette ? :^)

Diane Young

Great way to spend Valentine's Day, reading all the luscious French words and enjoying the happy couple's 20th anniversary pix. By the time you read this, it'll probably be after midnight there, but every day is Valentine's Day when you have your amour to biser.

Don Read

Great vocabulary list! One thought: perhaps next year post this vocabulary a week in advance so we who are teachers can share these words with our students.
I always enjoy reading French Word-A-Day!


Don Read
Middle School French Teacher
Moraga, CA, USA

Leslie in Oregon

I'm fortunate enough to be able to make good use of all of these words and phrases. Thank you, Kristin, and Happy St. Valentine's Day!

Heather in Arles

All of these made me smile. It is so true, Kristen, why are some of these words so...odd? I have come to take it for granted. :)

And as to Frank's question: if you kiss someone on the neck, prepare to get slapped!


So clever of Jean Marc to wear a top that went so well with the flowers in the photo. Great "styling", those French are Naturals!!

Nancy  in Canada

Great photos. Loved the anniversaries picture.
Lots of words and sayings. Liked the increased opportunity for vocabulary.

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