French Word-A-Day: Gourde + summer camp in France
Rondelle + Recipe everyone's asking for! My Mother-in-Law's Summer Pizza!

French Word-A-Day: Brevet + Max's exciting news!

Attempting to pose for a family photo. See the final result at the end of this post!

Today's Word: un brevet

    : diploma, school certificate
    : patent

ECOUTEZ: Listen to Jean-Marc read the following sentence in French
Download MP3 or DownloadWav

Le brevet. Notre fils, Max, a eu son bts! Le brevet de technicien supérieur (BTS) est un diplôme national de l'enseignement supérieur français. Il se prépare normalement en deux années après l'obtention du BAC baccalauréat. A la rentrée, Max va commencer une ecole de commerce à Montpellier. (definition of BTS from Wikipedia)

Diploma. Our son, Max, has obtained his diploma. The Brevet de Technicien Supérieur (BTS) technician certificate is a national diploma of higher education in France. is usually earned in two years, after graduating with a Bac (baccalauréat). In the fall, Max will begin business school in Montpellier.


    by Kristi Espinasse

As the sky wakes up this morning summertime is in clear view from my kitchen window. Beyond our lounging golden retriever, Smokey, and the pink flowering oleander, all the deck chairs are covered with beach towels--drying in time for the next swim in the sea. There is a bright sunny patch of sunflowers to the left of our wooden deck, and another crowd of tall stalks with yellow-petaled tops to the right. As if this wasn't symbolic enough, of summer, the cicadas have begun singing, or trilling, and the bougainvillea is covering the front of our farmhouse, where butterflies weave in and out of the vine's fuchsia-colored petals.

Sunflowers, cicadas, and papillons, or butterflies--c'est l'été! Another thing synonymous with summertime, is this: French students waiting anxiously for their exam results. One of our children has just received word on his ....


Congratulations to our Max who passed his BTS (brevet de technicien supérieur) and will now go on to a 3-year business school, most likely in Montpellier!

Photo caption from my Instagram: A very relieved and happy son, who just got his BTS (a two year university program that will allow him to get into business school) . Seven out of 13 classmates passed, and Max was was sweating it out until results came in! In more good news, he was accepted into two business schools. (No, the watch is not a present. He is getting ready for work, delivering pizzas by night and working as a lifeguard by day. He will work 7 days a week until the end of summer.)

Voilà. A little compte rendu from our vineyard, where the sunflowers and the cicadas -- with their bright shining petals and their clamoring vocal chords, seem to be celebrating one young frenchman's success. As for the butterflies, they've fluttered over to my daughter and settled inside her tummy.  We'll know her exam results next week. If all goes well, she will receive her baccalauréat ... and go on to design school in Aix-en-Provence.


(find Jackie in the photo at the top of the page...then whisper bonne chance". Hint, she is walking toward baby Christian.

l'été = summer, summertime
le papillon = butterfly
voilà = there you have it
le compte rendu = update, news
bon chance! = good luck
amicalement = yours truly


“There is no better way to experience France than by wandering aimlessly through a farmers' market in Aix or Avignon―the colors and fragrances, the wild strawberries and fresh cheeses. Marjorie Williams's Markets of Provence is indispensable, an authoritative and seductive guide to the best of the region.” ―Luke Barr, author of Provence 1970

One more shout-out for Markets of Provence, after so many French Word-A-Day readers ordered a copy! When you shop at Amazon via any link in this newsletter or blog, you help support French Word-A-Day.  Click here to order Markets of Provence.


Here's one last French phrase for you for today: sage comme une image. Google translate "sage comme une image" as "good as gold". Me thinks "sage comme une image" = "well-behaved as a photo"!


A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal each week. If you find joy or value in these stories and would like to keep this site going, donating today will help so much. Thank you for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

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


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Suzanne Dunaway

Auguri, felicitations, bravo, fantastic Max!!!
And if you are in HAVE to visit the toy shop with SEVEN rooms that a loving man put together with all of his beloved ancient toys everywhere. He also has glass eyeballs that light up (!) and all sorts of lovely masks for your mama and papa for fetes.
It is called Pomme de Reinette and mama fell in love with everything...she is such a child!
We are so happy for you, Max.


When I first saw the photo of Max, without having scrolled down far enough to see the caption, I thought it was a picture of Jean-Marc when he was Max's age. Max looks so much like his dad. Congratulations to him!

Our French Oasis

Huge congratulations to Max. I bet he is relieved, now the summer can really begin! Our second daughter takes the Bac L in two years time, that will be followed by our son, then daughter number 3 and daughter number 4 - we'll be old hands at it by then!!!

catharine ewart-touzot

Well that is indeed a major event..Congratulations Max! Now let your adult life begin how exciting. I note also that both of your children have a clear direction of where they want to go in life....that in itself is exciting. Not so many American children do..hum says a lot about yours and perhaps also the French educational system.


What a beautiful family. Congratulations to Max and best of luck at. Business school. I am sure Jackie has a great future in store for her as well.


Bravo! He is also a very handsome young man--Plus, obviously not afraid of hard work. What a great future he will have. Congratulations.

Kathryn Duchene

Congratulations to Max! And best of luck to Jackie.
Your family photos are both charming, lovely, relaxed.


Félicitations to Max! Wow... So impressive all the work he is doing this summer, too. BRAVO. And your family photo is beautiful.

Kristi, your description of the view outside your kitchen window transported me to southern France this morning and reminded me of why the colors, sounds, and scents of the Provençal countryside have lured me back so many times. Thank you for the "quick visit."


Congratulations to you of luck for your beautiful daughter as well. Max is such a mixture of his parents - all their beauty in one striking face. All the best for his future....

Trina from St. Petersburg, FL USA

Congratulations, Max!
Bon chance, Jackie!


Félicitations to Max! I'm very impressed with his work schedule for the summer, and I'm sure it will pay off. And bon chance to Jackie!

Enjoy the summer with your beautiful family, Kristi! :)


So nice.

Karen Lucas

Congratulations to Max and such a wonderful family picture. My first thought at seeing the picture of Max was how much he resembles his father. How could the children be so frown up Kristi?

Karen Lucas

So grown up is what the comment should have said - typing much too fast - so sorry.


Congratulations Max, K and JM. A beautiful family. Bonne chance J. Sure you will do well.

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristi,

What a great family photo and congrats to Max!

Happy Summer!

edie schmidt


Love the family photos, before and after.
Bon Chance and congratulations to your son Max. He really looks like his dad!

Edie from Savannah

Cynthia Gillespie-Smith

BRAVO MAX!!! So happy for you! Beautiful upbeat post and splendid photos, Kristi! Can't decide which group picture I prefer...


Congratulations!! Mais non!! I knew I hadn't been keeping up but your son should be 14-15 and!!! How time flies... With deux ans high school French, I am going to a French speaking get together tonight and terribly nervous! Thank you for your writing and encouragement through your sharing!!!
All my best,

La Contessa

STUNNING SON and CONGRATS TO HIM!YOU have a beautiful family!


Congratulations to Max! Yayyy! :) Et bonne chance pour Jackie! But, I'm sure she'll pass with flying colors!

Cynthia Lewis

Please give my congratulations to Max and to Jackie, also! They are two wonderful young adults, each having a clear vision for their futures. The family photo is perfect ... one to be treasured through the years (loved the first one with Jackie getting ready to gather up baby Christian and everyone talking with one another). I enjoyed your description of l'été chez vous as you were looking out of your kitchen window. Thanks so much and best wishes for all. Cynthia

Bill in St. Paul

Congratulations to Max and Bon Chance to Jackie! Great family picture!

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you for such warm and encouraging comments. So cheered to see messages from new, regular, and longtime-no-see readers (waving frantically to Bill in St Paul!). I am so grateful and motivated to continue updating. Thank you for reading.


Congrats on Max passing. Bravo.
On the other hand, only 7 out of 13 passed? That's kind of pathetic.
Something seems almost rotten in Denmark; either People aren't studying enough or taking it seriously OR it's extremely difficult and 50% of them signed up for something that was way over their head OR somehow the crazy French bureaucracy is causing this OR the French socialist system doesn't breed a lot of incentive to be successful.
I know that sounds harsh; I'm sure I have no idea what I'm talking about but it sure doesn't seem right.


So many changes and so much growth - physical and otherwise - in 14 years. I still remember the joy of findng your blog, leanng a few French words, and then follwing your family all these years. What a treat. Congrats to Max. Stay well. Keep writing.


Our dear Kristi,
Today's post has absoltely wrapped us in hugs!
Such a beautiful picture,and oh!Your descriptions are magic!
We share your joy and pride for Max and (all positive thoughts!)Jackie!Congratulations to all of you,ESPECIALLY for being the close and loving family you are!Truly a gift from God!
Blessings always!
Natalia. xo

Stephen M Jaeger

Two priceless photographs for the ages. You must keep them together as a pair always.

Joan L.

Bravo, Max! et Meilleurs Voeux a tous! (and I like the sandals: no separation thong between the toes, yes strap in back)

Diane Young

bon chance, Max. And what a worker you are during the summer! You will never regret putting in this effort. Glad to see the Espinasse family believes in paying their own way when possible. Great family photo, Wonderful that you could have them with you this summer.

Marti Hinman

As we say in Spanish, Que guapo Max!!!! All the very best best in the next chapter of your young life. You have a fabulous family.

Karen Cafarella

Congrats to Max. And what a wonderful and special picture you have. How fun to have family come visit.


Blooming in Bordeaux

Congratulations to Max! That is such exciting news and I wish him all the best as he continues on to business school this fall. I will keep my fingers crossed that all goes well for Jackie and that she passes her Bac with flying colors! :)

Leslie in Oregon

Congratulations, Max, and best wishes in business school. What kind of business activity do you want to be involved in after graduation?

Best wishes to Jackie.

Greetings to the rest of the family (including Smokey) also, Leslie

Fred A Caswell

Felicitations, Max! What requirements, if any, did you have to meet to work as a life guard? I worked 5 summers as a life guard and Water Safety Instructor while attending post high school studies; passing a short training was a prerequisite. Teaching kids to swim and to become Junior and Senior life guards life guards was so rewarding it led to 23 years as a public elementary school educator, all but 3 in a classroom. Bonne chance a toi et a Jackie.

Kathleen from Connecticut

Congrats Max. The system is so different than in the US.
Max andJackie are so grown up. Soon you will be empty nesters. I wonder what they will do with their education when they get their degrees and where they will end up working. With the U.K. Leaving the EU that would not make an easy chance of a job. Well good luck Max, the best to you.


Was he planning on getting a job in the U.K.?
There is the whole rest of the world after all.
Sheila in Port Townsend

Sandy Maberly

What an accomplishment! Well done, Max! Wishing you the best on your next endeavor at business school!


Oh, my!! You and Jean-Marc must be so proud of your handsome baby boy!! Only, no longer a baby boy to the outside world, but an accomplished young man, and a handsome one, at that (good genes!!). Please give him my congratulations and wishes for every success in the Fall. And, my best to Jackie in her exams! I wish I could have met her when we got together in Paris, and she was doing her atelier internship. She will find her niche, too. Great family photo! I just arrived at Nicoles after she, baby Christopher and I spent four days driving from CA to MS. Now that was an experience - your photo summed it up - a baby has all the power, always running after those sweet things - what they 'say', goes!! :)

Marianne Rankin

Congratulations, Max - Bravo! From everything I have heard, French schools are tougher than American ones, so you have truly done well. I will look forward to hearing more about your business-school studies, including what areas of business (wine?) are of particular interest to you.

Bonne Chance a Jackie avec ses examens!

Best wishes to all!

Luiz Novaes

My best compliments to the Family and in special to Max !!

Cheers !!

Luiz Novaes, from Mexico

Patty Cargill

Congratulations, Max and best to you as you continue your education. Jackie, good luck on your exams...soon another milestone accomplished. Kristi & Jean-Marc, we celebrate with you and your family and love seeing the beautiful photos of your home, gardens and belle France. You are lovely creators, making the world a more beautiful, interesting, And let's not forget those marvelous wines! Books! Recipes! Smokey R. Dokey! Braise! Following you has been such a pleasure. Thank you for your efforts: all appreciated. Toujours, Patty in sunny, hot SW Va.

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