Rebelote! Argile verte & How to remove a splinter or thorn - Comment enlever une écharde ou une épine
Bilingual Post: Feuille & "third leaf" meaning in French?

Why visit La Ciotat? Let these photos endear you to this lively Mediterranean seaport

La Ciotat, hanging laundry, rainbow flag, fish, cat, window shutter
I just discovered a stash of photos taken in La Ciotat, the town in which we hope to move on July 29th. Let's use the photos to go on a stroll and discover this lively seaside town--while learning several more vocabulary words along the way. We begin with a sleepy minou and a rainbow truite (poisson? requin?), both enjoying the salty breeze as a few sweaters dry nearby and pedestrians walk along les rues pavées below.

TODAY'S WORD: le requin

        : shark

I hope never to have the occasion to write a shark am taking the opportunity, today, to feature the word--thanks to our opening photo and the little rainbow shark :-)


Click here to listen to Jean-Marc read the following sentence

Si tu gouvernes le requin en toi, tu seras un ange ; car tous les anges, c'est rien de plus que des requins bien gouvernés.
--Herman Melville, author

"If you gobern de shark in you, why den you be angel; for all angel is not’ing more dan de shark well goberned" (original text from the classic Moby Dick)


    by Kristi Espinasse

Before we begin today's photo périple through La Ciotat, I would like to encourage you now, more than ever, to increase your knowledge of the French language! You will then enjoy chance encounters with the local characters. There is nothing more rewarding, nothing more memorable, than these soulful cultural exchanges.

Having a slight doubt about whether to call this fruit and veggie seller "un maraîcher." What would you call such a shop in French? Comment via the link at the end of this post.
Charlie Vivra
The famous shipyard grues of La Ciotat. After the Paris attack in 2015, the Ciotadens (citizens of La Ciotat) sent a loud and clear message to terrorists: Charlie Lives on! This, from the same citizens that shook their fists at the PESTE when it came through in 1720 (in the end, the women climbed up onto the murailles, or bulwarks, and formed a barrier--pushing out the soldiers! Therefore no terrorists and no peste is allowed in La Ciotat!
Boat show
Every year La Ciotat has a salon nautique à flot (March 25th-April 2nd). If you love boats, sailing, and the rest, do not miss this!
Cinema Lumiere
 "La Ciotat was the setting of one of the very first projected motion pictures, L'Arrivée d'un train en gare de La Ciotat filmed by the Lumière brothers." (Wikipedia) After the historic cinema was recently renovated, Jean-Marc and I went to see the film Lincoln.
Parc du Mugel Tete Aigle
I leave you with one of our favorite places, one my Dad still dreams of returning to (and I can't wait to take him back there!). "The municipal park of La Ciotat, the Parc du Mugel, located on the Anse deu Petit Mugel, is classified as one of the Notable Gardens of France by the the French Ministry of Culture. Sheltered by the massive rock called "Le Bec D'Aigle" (the eagle's beak), 155 meters high, it contains both a botanical garden of tropical plants and a nature preserve of native Provençal plants, covering the hillside below the rock." Wikipedia


le périple = journey
la truite
= trout
le minou = cat
le poisson = fish
le requin = shark
les rue pavées
= cobbled streets
la grue = crane
le salon nautique =
boat show
à flot
= afloat
la gare
= train station
Le Bec D'Aigle
= the eagle's beak

Stories you may have missed...
Is it safe to drink the water in France? Local readers respond.

THE BONJOUR EFFECT: The Secret Codes of French Conversation Revealed Paperback

FRENCH GROCERIES - including local delicacies like herbs, mustard, cakes

PROVENCE TABLECLOTH, French-themed linens for the house

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal week after week. If you find value in this website and would like to keep it going strong, I kindly ask for your support by making a donation today. Thank you very much for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

Ways to contribute:
1. Paypal or credit card
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Or purchase my book for a friend, and so help spread the French word.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


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Lovely. One day I hope to stroll through La Ciotat and the botanical gardens. How to pronounce ciotat?

Kristin Espinasse

Lah see oh tah


I would say "primeur" or "alimintation"

Kris en Bretagne

I would say Marchand de legumes, Fruitier


It looks beautiful. New discoveries with old and new friends. While visiting Houston this weekend I purchased a bottle of your wine. Chilled it and voilà. Delicious! And the color is amazing pinkish peach depending on the light. So beautiful.

rick chinn

it is a green grocery, Épicerie verte

Kristin Espinasse

Ah yes--primeur! Thanks, Sherry

John Hawke

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks, Kris! 


Le Ciotat est le berceau de la pétanque!


All very exciting! So happy for you and can't wait to see pictures of the new house! La Ciotat looks like a very special place!!


Apologies everyone, I'm having trouble posting and this is just me trying.

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Rick! A good list of synonyms is building here! 


Encore, je vous remercie pour les informations sur La Ciotat !! Trying a little of my rusty French. I will stay there in September with my sister who has not visited France yet. We will be just on the other side of that beautiful big rock in the Park area. I now feel assured that I found a little gem for a week. I hope we see you strolling the village so I can say "bonjour". Merci bien pour les photos and bonne chance with you new home in beautiful La Ciotat !! I wonder which beach is the best for swimming, Kristi.


It all looks so wonderful, the sea, the port, the cliffs - I'm sure you will be visiting the gardens often. I am very happy for you and Jean-Marc and your upcoming adventures in your new life! I see many ourchins in your future!

Kristin Espinasse

Hi, Patricia, send me a note a week or so before you arrive and I hope we can meet up!


So Sweet !! How fun !! I will do so. We will be navigating the streets looking for the BEST coffee in our Jet Lag state of mind !!

Audrey Wilson

Merçi pour le periple ! I love the photos especially the typical street one (washing, cat shark(?) Seen so many times in our villages I love the marchand de legumes one and the cinema front . La Ciotat looks a lovely,lively place .You should be very content there .

betsy foree

I have so many fond memories of La Ciotat. My husband and I were always on our bicycles(we cycled from La Cad)...and I hope you and J-M will find it a wonderful way to enjoy your new petit Marseilles.

Kristin Espinasse

Hi, Betsy, Good to read about your fond memories. Love that you mention La Ciotat as a new petit Marseilles. That is exactly how I see and describe it! P.S. I hope you saw my response about what kind of yoga: Hatha yoga.

Kristin Espinasse

Absolutely delighted to think that our recent bottling here ended up in Houston (thanks French Country Wines!) and in your hands and taste buds. Thanks, Nancy! 


Idly surfing the net yesterday, I found this below on Youtube and caught up on some of what I’ve missed by only recently discovering this blog. If you are relatively new too, DO search for the video and then CLICK on the “more stories and photos” link underneath the video. I tried to reproduce both links here but then this wouldn’t post!

The YouTube video was entitled “Renovation project: Clip 1: East Side of House." The description was "Published on 16 Dec 2012. The first in a series of "before" footage of Mas des Brun, where we moved in September 2012. Jean-Marc talks about some of the things on the east side of the house: there is the garage (something to convert?), the pigeonnier (where the water tank used to be), the date plaque reading 1875, the old shutters and their character, the front deck … “ (This is followed by the “stories and photos” link).

On another note, I remember learning the word “grue” when my landlady in Nice, (I was teaching English there aged 21), told me one day that her small grandson was very keen on “les grues” meaning cranes. (It also means crane – the bird). Then she smiled tight-lipped and added “comme son père” (like his father). When I made a naïve response, she explained that it also meant prostitutes. This was 1960 and I was quite shocked. And I felt sad for her grandson and her daughter.

Julie Farrar

Your cat photo is one of the best street scenes you have ever found! When walking the streets in France I'm always looking up because I never know what I'll find. Your picture beats mine of a cat traversing a roof peak.

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Julie! 

Allen Hawthorne

"Minou" was the nickname of a young boy in a family I met in Besançon in 1954 -- 63 years later, I now know what it meant!


Our dear Kristi,
Thank you for this wonderful tour!
Such a beautiful,filled with life place!
So very well worth the wait to find your lovely new home!
Thrilled for you!
Blessings always to you and your dear family as you begin the exciting next step of your journey!
Natalia XO
PS A bit of silly trivia:Julia Child's cat was,in fact, (I believe?) named "Minou"!

D. Morgan

I am so happy for you! La Ciotat is one of my favourite places in the south of France. I love the slightly shabby old town, the calanques, the markets, the nearby Routes des Cretes, Kitch & Cook restaurant. I also feel attracted to the sense of "reality" in this place - it has undergone so much hardship, that the people are warm and real. We nearly moved here ourselves, but decided on Nice 3 years ago instead. All the best to your family!

Kristin Espinasse

D, I so enjoyed your thoughts about La Ciotat! You are saying exactly what I am feeling! I hope to share your comment in a future post (if my thoughts dont scatter too much before my intentions kick in!) Thanks, too, for the restaurant recommendation. I have just now followed them on Facebook and look forward at Kitch Cook!

Chris Allin

Dear Kristi,
Looking back as a reader I remember feeling this same kind of excitement for you when you moved to Mas des Brun. The new and exciting can become the familiar and comfortable and entrenched in the heart forever. And so for your family a new beginning, with all the experiences that enriched your lives at Mas des Brun to help you move forward. The human spirit is strong and, I believe, gains from change.

Your photo of the cat in the window reminds me of my student days in Paris when I walked through an inner courtyard to my apartment, past a kitty cat basking in the sun by the door. I would greet it with "minou, minou" and it always hissed back. I finally decided to stop interrupting its reverie!


Hi Kristin,

Thanks for sharing the photos of your future town with us, it looks lovely! My husband and I have been to different parts of France a couple of times over the years and have enjoyed every minute of this charming and diversified country (including Provence); however, we have never been to La Ciotat but would love to some day!

Good luck with the sale of your current home and the purchase of the new one. I'm actually going through the same thing with the selling and buying of my home as you are and it can be pretty stressful but at the same time, I'm feeling excited at the prospect of a new place, a new lifestyle and a new beginning. Keep up your interesting blog and I look forward to reading your adventures once you move to La Ciotat!

lou bogue

look forward to seeing you guys in Sept and seeing your new home, Congrats, Love to all ,Lou

lou bogue

look forward to seeing you guys in Sept and your new home, Congrats, Love to all Lou

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristi,

La Ciotat looks beautiful! Can't wait to see more photos and read more stories from this lovely town!

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