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Ramasser and Oursin + vocabulary section

oursin sea urchin rocks rose wine mediterranean
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TODAY'S WORD: ramasser

        : to gather up, to collect, to pick something up


ECOUTEZ - Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce today's French word: Download ramasser

En fin de matinée, je vais aller ramasser des oursins dans la calanque du Port d'Alon. Later this morning, I'm going to gather sea urchins in the inlet at Port d'Alon.


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    "Gone Fishing"

    by Kristi Espinasse

This morning, after he finishes pruning one more section of his vineyard, Jean-Marc is going fishing for oursins--and Smokey and I are going to tag along!

"Will you wear your combinaison de plongée?" I ask my husband, wondering just how cold the water is this time of year.

"Oui.

(It's that cold!)

Weeks before Christmas,  it isn't unusual to see people swimming in the sea. My friend Judith, who is 70, swims daily. I don't think she wears a wet-suit. Maybe the water is warmer up the coast, in La Seyne-sur-Mer? Mais bien sûr que non!

"These people have built up a good resistance," says our friend Henri (I think his real name is Gilbert...). Henri (Gilbert?) owns the neighborhood restaurant, Pizzaria Chez Henri, where we ate le cabillaud and les calamars frits last Sunday, with our kids.  "If you want to swim in this winter, you need to begin training after summer. Here's how...

Il faut nager tous les jours... à la même heure!" You've got to swim every day...at the same hour!

It's too late for Jean-Marc and me to follow this winter swimming regime. We quit swimming in September or October. But it is something to keep in mind for my dreamed up future.... Off now, to watch Jean-Marc ramasser quelques oursins--and to eat them sur place, with some good bread and a dollop of beurre salé.

use scissors to prepare sea urchins oursin
Jean-Marc and his best friend, Fred, preparing sea urchins for lunch. Photo taken years ago, down the coast in La Ciotat.

FRENCH VOCABULARY
un oursin = sea urchin
une combinaison = suit
combinaison de plongée = for diving
mais bien sûr que non! = of course not!
le cabillaud = cod
le calamar = calamari
frit = fried
ramasser = to gather
sur place = on site, on the spot
le beurre = butter

gathering sea urchins oursin south of france rocks beach
Gathering sea urchins from the Mediterranean is a tradition Jean-Marc has handed down to our kids (pictured here, in Les Issambres, in 2004)
Sea urchins oursins purple brown rocks south of france beach
Colorful "oursins".

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

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