Hygge in French: Cozy weekend & Magret de Canard: Easy 3-Ingredient Duck recipe
Undressed in Aix: A surprise warning posted in Jackie's apartment building

Bilingual French Story and Book Hotels in France and beyond

La Boite a Fleurs shop in Ramatuelles France

Want to speak French fluently? 30-Day French will teach you everything you need to know to speak French on your next trip to France with 30 lessons based on real-life conversations. Try it out.

TODAY'S WORD: la sève

        : sap, lifeblood

Parlez mieux : Pronounce it Perfectly in French or  Exercises in French Phonetics


Il est temps de tailler la vigne

Download "It is time to prune the vines" - Jean-Marc's bilingual story

Une fois que toutes les feuilles des vignes sont tombées, que la sève est redescendue, il est temps de tailler la vigne.
Cette opération est très importante car elle conditionne la prochaine récolte.

Chaque année, lorsque la Nature revit au Printemps, la vigne va produire un certain nombre de sarments en fonction de la taille qui aura été effectuée et ces futurs sarments produiront les futurs raisins. Plus la taille est courte, moins la végétation sera importante et plus faible sera la récolte mais meilleure sera t-elle, probablement. Il faut donc penser à la fois aux aspects quantitatifs et qualitatifs avant de tailler chaque pied de vigne et chaque vigne est une nouvelle équation à résoudre.

Même si c'est un travail physique (surtout lorsque la vigne est basse) et répétitif, j'aime faire cette opération. Marcher dans l'herbe produit des arômes uniques. On y découvre aussi quelques coccinelles qui seront, je l'espère, porteuses de chance pour la récolte à venir.


It is time to prune the vines.

Once all of the vine leaves have fallen, and the sap has fallen back, it is time to prune the vines.  This mission is very important, as it influences the next harvest.

Each year, when nature comes back to life in springtime, the vine will produce a certain amount of shoots depending on the pruning that will have taken place, and these future shoots will produce future grapes. The more severe the pruning, the less growth there will be and the less of a harvest there will be - but a better one, surely. It is necessary, then, to think of both quantity and quality aspects before pruning each vine and each vine is a new equation to solve.

Even if it is a lot of physical work (especially when the vine is low to the ground), and repetitive, I love this mission. Walking over the wild herbs produces unique aromas. You also discover a few ladybugs that will be, I hope, lucky charms for the harvest to come.

If you enjoyed Jean-Marc's story and would like more bilingual posts by him, let us know in the comments.

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Saving Our Skins Building A Vineyard Dream in France

By a fellow winemaker... Carol Feely's book is "A tale about life, love, and taking risks, while transforming a piece of land into a flourishing vineyard and making a new life in France". Read Saving Our Skins. Order the book.

Kristi and jean-marc using secateurs to tailler or prune the vines in winter
Did you enjoy Jean-Marc's bilingual post? He's added these photos (taken of us, 10 years ago), to illustrate his story. Thanks for sharing it with a French learner.

FRENCH COUNTRY DIARY 2017 - the popular and beloved engagement calendar.

KITCHEN TOWELS by Garnier-Thiebaut.

PARIS PEACE T-SHIRT - "so many people have stopped to ask me where I got it" -Betty.

The charming port in Cassis France

My friend Barbara (remember Barbara and Noelle, her Jack Russell?) asked if I could recommend a hotel in France. I sent her the site we use, called Booking, and she and Noelle easily found a place on the port in Cassis (the hotel welcomes dogs!). Because people are always asking me for hotel recommendations, Barbara encouraged me to sign up for Booking's affiliate program. I'm thrilled to have just been accepted! (Thank you, Barbara!). Jean-Marc used Booking when we went to Santorini, Greece, and recently, to book an apartment in Roses, Spain. My family used Booking last summer to rent a chateau for our family reunion here in St Cyr-sur-Mer (wish I'd been an affiliate then!) If you are looking for a hotel or an apartment or a lovely "bastide" anywhere in the world, thank you for using my affiliate link. Any revenue helps keep me doing what I love most - writing for a living. Please bookmark this Booking link so you will have it next time you need to reserve a hotel--or simply visit my blog, where you will see the Booking banner. Merci beaucoup for  your support!


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.

Ways to contribute:
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Or purchase my book for a friend and so help them discover this free weekly journal.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


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Yes please, would love more bilingual stories from Jean-Marc. I can feel the heart and soul that has gone into the creation of his vineyard through his words. Beautiful.

Caro Feely

Thanks a million for sharing Saving our Skins Kristi! Grape Expectations is on kindle special in North America (.com and .ca) at a very special price of 1.50 and 1.99 only until end January. https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1849532575/mdj-20 Please share if you think it is of interest. Thanks a million.

William Wells

Yes, more bilingual posts would be great!
Thank you.

Sandra H. Thomas

Would like more bilingual stories. Thank you.

Petrina in Brittany

Yes please, definitely more bi-lingual posts would be fun and very useful too - thank-you.


I just love reading about Jean-Marc's winemaking and all of your adventures in your French kitchen and garden. Thank you so much for sharing your adventures with your readers! Please keep them coming


Bien sur, s'il vous plait.

Janet Westphal

Hi Kristi, I'm one of your devoted readers, but rarely comment. So I feel I owe you a thank-you for all your stories these last several years I've been following. As I was reading Jean Marc's post I thought, "I wish they would do more of this." It's great to practice our skills in reading and translating. As an extra bonus, could he add the audio as well for the entire passage? Another great bonus.

Heather - Australia

Yes please Jean-Marc, more bilingual posts would be great. Many thanks.

Kathleen Hill

The both of you are so charming and interact so well together. Yes, please, keep it up! I don't speak French at all but love these blogs about love, live and yes, your French escapades. I'm a fellow Southwesterner (NM) who wishes she could be there!

Liz from South Salem, BUT

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Jean-Marc's post today, both for its interesting content and for the language itself! I would definitely relish more bilingual posts, which would make an already fabulous blog even a little better...if that is possible! Thanks, Kristi.

Liz from South Salem, NY

P.S. I think "BUT" is auto correct for "NY" ..lol


Yes, please...more stories like the vine pruning , from Jean-Marc. The combination of French language and an activity associated with the French, and the Earth, is relaxing and wonderful to read. May we please have a voice file with proper pronunciation ? Merci!

Judith Dunn

Hi Kristin... I have used Booking for several years and never been disappointed! Hotels on our trips to France and trips here in the states were made either with booking or directly. It is so easy to cancal without a fee thru them and that comes in very handy when plans change. I loved JM's bilingual tale of pruning the vines. It is much the same with trees and shrubs , as well. Bon weekend a toys! JudiDunn, Tallahassee, Florida

Morton Cherim

Merci Marc pour l'histoire bilingue.

Kristin Espinasse

Hi Janet, The audio file for the entire passage is available. See the link just above the French version of Jean-Marcs story.


Yes, I love reading about your life in France. Listening to Jean-Marc's stories is another treat. Would love to hear more!

Eileen deCamp

Merci Jean-Marc!


Jean-Marc's story was TRES intéressant. And it's a great learning exercise to have a French text side by side with the English translation. More, s'il vous plaît!


Kristin, I used booking,com since 2010 when I made my first trip to Europe. I have had some great deals, plus you can make a reservation and pay when you stay. They are also very helpful when you have to call customer service.

cynthia Lewis

I always enjoy Jean-Marc's additions to FWAD! Please include as many as he has the time for. I believe that he is a writer himself ... details like the ladybug bringing good luck and the aroma of the crushed wild herbs as you walk between the rows make his story interesting and vivid. Thank very much.


Enjoyed JM post very much. Thanks for Booking tip. When I prune my Shrubs I talk to them about whatever. It is a labor of love even in my small yard. Doing a whole vineyard must be exhausting.


The stories and learning new French words are a highlight of my workday. Thanks and keep them coming!

Patricia Sands

Oui, bien sûr! Merci!


It took me a couple of years to become a more confident gardener. Before that, I was terrified of pruning the bushes outside our home. I was worried I would do something wrong and harm the plant. When the growth got out of control, I had to take the shears and go for it. Our garden thanked me the following spring and summer and remained lush. Pruning can indeed be a relaxing, meditative activity, and these days, I think of it as giving the garden a haircut.

Karen Girondel

Thanks for sharing Jean-Marc's pruning story. Yes, more please. You have awakened his inner blogger! And it gives readers who are ready to learn more French, lots of vocabulary, language structures, knowledge and culture, as well as an appreciation of the effort and love that goes into wine-making.

Stephen Battalia

Yes, more from JM! Also does he need some help? Maybe I will come over ! :)

Stephen Battalia

PS Kristi I bought the Kouros on amazon--I will let you know what my wife and kids think....


Je voudrais plus d'histoires bilingue, s'il vous plaît. J'en profite bein pour pratiquer lire en français et entendrant Jean-Marque lire ses mots est le meilleur👍


Merci, Jean Marc! Very educational for not only French, but also learning about the vineyard. Merci bien!


Thanks, and yes, I should love to have them.

Chris Allin

Dear Kristi and Jean-Marc,

Loved this! Reading French text, confirming it in English and learning new words. Passion for nature, the earth, the vines and the nurturing of the vines. Well done, Jean-Marc! This collaboration between the two of you is a perfect example of 1 +1= 3 = synergy. You are a great team. Bravo!


J K Le Maux

This was great. Today in our French class we read from a French book translated from English and disected very word and phrase, what did the author really mean to say... This article is so fresh and up-to-date, about a subject we are all interested in, and clearly Jean-Marie knows exactly what he is saying, so yes please, keep the bilingual articles coming! Thankyou😊

Julie Farrar

Yes yes, please, more from from JM or your children or friends. Once a month might be about right. But not too many or we'll lose your wonderful perspective on things.


Love the bilingual story! Thank you!

Carolyn Chase

Merci pour ces images de la vie et des pensées d'un vigneron. J'amirerais bien plus de pensées de Jean Marc.


Yes please! What a lot of great vocabulary -- and a heartwarming story.

Carole De Koatz

Yes, please more bilingual posts from Jean-Marc. It's wonderful to hear 'la langue francaise!'


Our dear Kristi,
Jean Marc's post today was not only educational but very enjoyable!
Learning about the hard work that goes into a vineyard fills me with admiration for you both,especially for the way you make such a great team together.
I also remember seeing JM on two episodes of Yabla;he told us about your always wonderful blog(which is how I learned about Yabla and MANY other terrific leads)(THANK YOU!)
Natalia. xo
PS Please tell Barbara that I visited her blog and found her
writing delightful.Particularly about Noelle!

Marcia Garrigan

Oui, en fait c'était très intéressant et j'aime beaucoup lire le français!

Candace Dauphinot

Thoroughly enjoyed Jean-Marcs vignette.


Kristi, I've been using booking.com for over five years and I'm delighted to know that I can support you when I use it from now on.


love the bilingual bit, us readers are also abundantly French speakers in varying stages. there is a lack of resources for the emergent adult speaker, please do more, maybe it's even a niche...maybe I can join up with you hehehehe and we can make a good living together..your new home and my new home in france are already waiting...


Please add me to the chorus of those who love the French posts. Merci!

Kimberly Renner

Loved reading Jean-Marc's bilingual writing on vineyard life. C'etait magnifique! Merci beaucoup!

Lin Powell

Yes I do enjoy reading Jean-Marc's stories of vineyard life. Together you make a diverse and interesting blog.


Yes yes yes, more bilingual posts, merci beaucoup!
D. G.


I agree!


I enjoy the bilingual stories very much. Please keep them coming, Jean-Marc!

Patience in L.A.

Another vote for J-M. Merci pour l'histoire. Continuez d'ecrire!📇✒️✒️✒️✒️


YES, I'd like more bilingual posts by Jean-Marc. I was encouraged that with my
high school French and some refresher courses, I could understand the gist of his story.
Thank you for taking time from his work schedule to do the stories for us.

Leslie in Oregon

I'd love to read more bi-lingual posts by Jean-Marc. They will help me prepare for my son's wedding next month, where I will be using whatever French I can muster to communicate with my new (and French) son-in-law's mother, who speaks no English. And they will help me advance toward my lifelong goal of becoming conversational in French. And, well, I enjoy reading whatever either of you writes! Thank you, Kristi and Jean-Marc!


Yes, I am very interested in JM's bilingual posts. thanks so much!!!


Love both the bilingual post and the insight into the circle of life in a vineyard.


The bilingual posts are terrific, as are the stories of the vineyard - thank you so much. Merci beaucoups, Jean-Marc!

We have been using Booking.com for several years, to book hotels, B&B, apartments in several areas of France and Italy, as well as in the U.S. and have been very pleased, too!


I really enjoyed Jean Marc's bilingual post not only because my French is rusty but also because it displayed his passion for growing grapes. It is obvious he has thrown his heart and soul into it. I hope there are more.

Marianne Rankin

J'ai beaucoup aime l'histoire par Jean-Marc, et je lirai avec plaisir de nouvelles postes quand il les ecrira.


Hi Kristi

I've followed your blog for ages, usually without leaving a comment, and always look forward to the latest instalments. Having struggled with learning for french for so long now I would love more bi-lingual posts.

I'm from Edinburgh in Scotland but love France and so enjoy hearing about your life and family. I hope that we can meet someday.

Cheryl in STL

Merci, Jean-Marc! Quel plaisir de vous lire!

Rachel LeBlanc

I would really like more bilingual stories to help practice my French and help understand French culture. Merci beaucoup!

Kathy Heckathorn

Loved Jean-Marc's story. More, please, to help with practicing reading French.


Kristi and Jean-Marc - what a apt parable of the Christian life! We strive to be leafy tall green vines and take the credit ourselves. God prunes us back in what feels like harsh cuttings and tearings, only to produce fragrant, rich, tasteful fruit in us. Our job is to yield to the Master's hands. Like Jean-Marc, He enjoys His work and is a master gardener.

Ditto everyone who enjoyed the bilingual pieces!


Loved Jean-Marc's story.....more, please! Merci!! God bless, C-Marie

Joanne Polner

Oui! Bien sûr. S'il vous plaît, donnez à nous beaucoup des histories, des nouvelles, et des leçons tout en français!
Merci pour tous les années de vos cadeaux et de l'esprit de la France.


Yes please continue this bilingual format.


Thank you, I always enjoy your site and your photography. Oui, more bilingual posts.

Curtis S.

God moves in mysterious ways! This week our church is studying the passage in John 15: 1-17, Jesus, the true vine. In this passage Jesus illustrates a teaching using the image of a vine and pruning to produce better fruit. I'll be using Jean-Marc's comments when I facillitate our discussion of this passage. Merci mon ami pour votre aide!


Yes! That was great! The voice of a real Frenchman!
Thank you!


Please provide more bilingual stories -- they are a great way for me to practice my French and are entertaining.
Thanks for writing a fabulous blog!

Imogene Cloar

I would love to read more bilingual stories from Jean-Marc. This is a Godsend for teachers. I already love to share your blog with students, and your photo journeys are unequalled.

Jose Ortez

Thank you for sharing these bilingual stories. I love them! And they help me a great deal to sharpen my language skills.
Would you please ask Jean-Marc if it is true that in France it is forbidden to water the vines? In California, with the drought, more and more vineyards are being watered...

Michele McFarland

I really enjoyed Jean-Marc's story. He speaks so clearly and with your vocab lesson, I only needed to look at a little of the translation. Very good for my French! Merci beaucoup à vous deux.

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