fils + book giveaway + your own personal talent
Le Memorial Day: We will never forget


Butterfly - Papillon (c) Kristin Espinasse
Smell the roses, see the butterfly's wings... slow to a snail's pace but not so slow as to sleepwalk through the day.

Paris Monaco Rentals

France and Monaco Rentals: short-term holiday rental properties throughout France. Click here for pictures.

(ay-veh-yay) verb

       : to wake up, to excite... "to pull from sleep" (tirer du sommeil)

French Vocabulary & Audio File Hear my daughter pronounce today's word and quote (Note: Don't recognize the little voice? This sound file was recorded 7 years ago, when Jackie was 11-year-old... Ah, nostalgie!):  Download mp3 or WAV

 On ne force pas une curiosité, on l'éveille.  We don't force curiosity, we awaken it.  --Daniel Pennac


Mas-perdrix-2015MAS DE LA PERDRIX. Lovely months to rent this home France: July, for fields of sunflowers & lavender. September, for the grape harvest! October: fall leaves. The exchange rate is great. It's a wonderful time to rent this dreamhouse


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

(The following story was written in 2008)

"Présent!" It is what my son replies when his teacher reads aloud his name for roll call. Every French child answers the same life-affirming way: "Présent!"

The affirmative "Présent!" is so much more lively than bland ol' "Here!," don't you think? And did you ever notice the word's dual meaning: present/present which, whether in French or English, hints that when we are "here," present in the moment, we receive the "gift" of clarity -- where even the mundane takes on magnificence.

I would like to shout "Présente!" to somebody each day or, better yet, each hour!--if only to remind myself that I am truly awake. An hourly roll call might pull me out of this mental slumber. Lately, fueled by caffeine and routine, I manage to get by on automatic. The not-so-sensational sensation could be compared to sleepwalking through sauerkraut, though my mother-in-law would call it "pedaling through choucroute." The vivid imagery that her words call forth is enough to wake my senses--if only that of sight, and if only in the mind's eye--otherwise, it's the same old grind, day after day, though it be a Gallic one and who am I to complain?

Recently, I decided to throw that old foe "Predicable Routine" for a loop. I began by tying my shoes... Next, I headed for the door instead of the coffee pot... and so marched, one foot after the other, out of the house and into the countryside's "classroom".

"Présente! Présente! Présente!" I affirmed, to the whispering reeds and leaf-chattering trees that agreed, enthusiastically, to take roll call for sluggish ol' me.

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Provence Dreamin'? Maison des Pelerins, Sablet. A Vacation Rental Dream in the heart of the Côte du Rhone. Click here for photos.


My mom, in La Ciotat this morning. She cannot simply walk by a motorcycle.... 

Five more days until Mom leaves. We've had the best visit! I hope to remember as many details as possible, and to share some of them with you. Thank you for reading.

Félicitations to AMY JO, who has won the book giveaway and will receive the charmingly illustrated and written book Hudson in Provence or  Paris-Chien by Jackie Clark Mancuso. Amy, the author will contact you soon! P.S. happy you won the book. Best wishes and bonne continuation with your own writing!

If you enjoyed today's post, please forward it to a friend who might enjoy receiving this French word journal. Merci encore and have a wonderful weekend!

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


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Kristin, this essay is one of my favourites from your book. Merci for sharing it. My intention today is to stay focused and mindful. Je suis Presente!

Enjoy every remaining moment of Jules' visit. She looks so happy on that motorcycle!


In grade school, we had to say "present". Don't know what happened or why it changed to "here". I like " present" as well. And if we are "present",
In the moment, mindful, could it be that we will be transformed into that beautiful butterfly?


Hi Kristin! So happy you are having a great visit with your mom. I'm right now at the airport waiting to board a plane to Atlanta to spend time with my mom!


Our dear Kristi,
What an especially beautiful post today!
A wonderful reminder to not only appreciate
being "in the present" but also to utter thanks from our hearts for the gifts of them.
Was so happy to see lovely Jules!From the smile on her face we can see what a happy you are sharing.
Please give her a hug for us!
Natalia. XO

Trina, St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

Love the butterfly photo! I don't remember this story the first time around. (Must have been during my absent period...when I was rushed in work, not following regularly ... not being as present with what was true to me.) Looking forward to the stories (and photos!) of you and Jules!

catharine ewart-touzot

Your right present is far more positive than here...would be a good challenge to get teachers and others to change.

emily harrison

Any update on Smokey's tumor?


I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the photo of your mother on the motorcycle. Her mischievous smile and red Converse sneakers say it all!!

Today's post was uplifting. Thanks for the reminder to be present and enjoy life.

Cheers! SmileyMom im Scottsdale, Arizona

ps Curious is the moto owner offered her a ride? Now that would be a photo!!

Cynthia P. Lewis

If Jules were to give the owner of the motorcycle one of her fabulous smiles, he would give her a ride all around town! ... so glad you are having a wonderful visit together. Best wishes for everyone. (Smokey, too.)


Has not Jules not done some new paintings to present to us in the presence. Do we not have a show of this summer's work? Happy Memorial Day weekend!

Jann feldman

Your sweet blog makes my day! Merci!!!!!


Hi Kristin,
Have loved your books and blog for some time, but perhaps the first time I'm writing a comment. I've always been taught and used reveiller and hadn't known eveiller until just now (thank you for imparting new info!)...I tried Googling the difference but am still foggy on it. Do you typically use eveiller in France? Any insight on the (seemingly subtle) differences would be much appreciated!


To Hannah's aussi....réveiller is the way I learned it in Lafayette, La.

Kathleen from Connecticut

Jule's red converse remindmethat of our minister's red converse which she wore for Penecost Sunday, which is tomorrow. How appropriate.
Glad that your mother is with you and enjoy each moment. You two are a hoot.


Audrey Wilson

Re Hannah's comment ,I'm of the same school, but it is always good to learn new words & your blog is such a good way to do this.
So glad you're having such a good time with Mum.I miss my USA &UK based children a lot
p.s When I was teaching the pupils had to answer "Yes, Miss" or "Yes Sir" & this regardless of the fact I was a "Mrs" . It not only applied to registration , but to any comment addressed to the teacher . I was always "Miss" & male teachers "Sir"
Vive la difference eh?


My curiosity was awakened so I did a little research about réveiller vs. éveiller and found that they are used almost interchangeably but there are subtle nuances of difference. Eveiller is used
in the figurative sense, as in Jackie's example about awakening curiosity and is more literary than réveiller.


Merci! Ma Petite, Alice, a 18 ans aussi (ma Jackie a 23 ans!) le temps avance trop vite...

A1 Car Parts

Beautiful butterfly image!

diane hart

do you know the name of that papillon?

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