Bilingual Story: Tondre, Domaine Tempier, and Tant Pis
Vocabulary Roundup + Audio file for all the French terms we learned in January!

Vallon : an update on our move... to Le Beausset?

Today's post is illustrated with valleys, in theme with today's word and story.

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TODAY'S WORD: le vallon

        : valley, little valley

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listen to the word "vallon" in context:

La nature est inimitable
Et quand elle est en liberté
Elle brille d'une clarté
Aussi douce que véritable.
C'est elle qui sur ces vallons,
Ces bois, ces prés et ces sillons
Signale sa puissance ;
C'est elle par qui leurs beautés,
Sans blesser l'innocence,
Rendent nos yeux comme enchantés.

Now listen to Jean-Marc read it in French! Download Vallon

Nature is inimitable;
And when she is at liberty,
She shines with a brightness
As sweet as it is genuine.
It is she who by these valleys,
These woods, these fields and furrows
Shows her power.
It is she who by their beauties,
With no harm to innocence,
Renders our eyes as though enchanted.

Louange de Port-Royal, Jean RACINE


    by Kristi Espinasse

An Update on Our Move

Looking out our kitchen window, past the bright pink bougainvillea dripping down the front of our farmhouse.... I looked down past the vineyard, down, past the neighbor's olive orchard, down past his house and, down, past another's--all the way down to the sea....

When the thought came back to me: This view! This beautiful view! How will anything ever compare to it?

Leaning over the kitchen counter close up to the window, head resting in my hands over bent elbows, I thought about the latest house a realtor had shown us in "Old Beausset" (as opposed to modern Beausset, which is a bit more lively?). The place was somewhat isolé. And neither Jean-Marc nor I felt that telling "coup de coeur", that crush, that this is it! notion (as we did here, 5 years ago). But both of us agreed the "stone chalet" (for it looked very much like a mountain chalet tucked, as it was, into a grassy valley) could very well be a place to call home.

Located at the end of a dirt road, past a few abandoned cars and sheet metal (the realtor promised the neighbors would move them), the little house boasted a stone facade. In fact, there was stone stuck all around the house. It wasn't like the stone on our farmhouse, it was tacked on. I wondered, did it look tacky?

It was funny to suddenly be so picky about how things looked. And where was I looking anyway? What was I focused on? I leaned into our kitchen window, nose to the glass, to that perfect view down--down the hill, down past my neighbors.

And where would I be looking at the new place--tucked deep into a vallon with its towering trees. Well, there would be no place to look, but UP!

This suddenly seemed like a very good vantage point to me. Look up! Look up! to Greatness above, to a sky full of stars, dazzling. How had I missed them before?

Stories you may have missed...

Why we are leaving this special place: Jean-Marc's open letter

Our friend's stone chalet, near Serre Chevalier. In these valley photos, I have not shown you the house I wrote about to day...last time I did that bad luck followed!

Increase your vocabulary with this list. More tools here.

isolé,e = isolated
coup de coeur = a sudden crush for something - an immediate like
le vallon = little valley


PROVENCAL TABLECLOTH, French-themed linens for the house.

KITCHEN TOWELS by Garnier-Thiebaut.

Another valley in Queyras. So many lovely valleys in France. A great place to get perspective on where we are in the grand scheme of things.

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