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Entries from March 2017

Cinquante: Jean-Marc's birthday and special guests

Jean-marc in marseille notre dame de la garde sormiou 50-year-old
Jean-Marc turned the big five-oh! Here he is in his childhood stomping grounds: the calanque of Sormiou. You are seeing a nice view into Marseilles, from this angle. In the very background you can almost make out Notre-Dame de la Guard.


TODAY'S WORD: Cinquante

        : Fifty

Il a cinquante ans = He's 50


EXAMPLE SENTENCE & Sound File

Click here and listen to our son, Max, read the following French

L'âge atteint par un quinquagénaire.
The age reached by a 50-year-old

 Jean-marc and charles

Jean-Marc turned 50 this week, but the surprises began on Monday, when two dear friends popped in from Florida. You may remember Charles from a post written in 2008--when he came to help us pick grapes -- after he had a quadruple bypass heart surgery! It was a good thing Charles showed up at the beginning of our vineyard experience because he taught us there was no wimping out or complaining of a bad back when picking grapes!

Jean-marc and charles

Charles brought his wife, Martha, who might have wimped out at our first harvest. Charles says that's because "She's a princess." But he also says she's a bulldog (able to get French government employees to give the straight story. A feat, if you ask me!). Princess? Bulldog? Martha is one cool nana .

Funny door in les goudes marseilles
The wonderful fishing cottages at Les Goudes, at the end of Marseilles.

Jean-Marc surprised us by a sentimental tour of Marseilles, including a stop at the Vallon des Auffes, a drive past his neighborhood Le Roy d'Espagne, and a stop at Le Vin Sobre where he works every other weekend. 

Lunch with jean-marc charles martha

Yesterday it was Jean-Marc's turn to be surprised when Charles and Martha crashed our birthday lunch at Les Oliviers restaurant at L'Hôtel Ile Rousse in Bandol.  We forgive them. And thank them for treating us! 

Chambolle Musigny 1967

The restaurant allowed Jean-Marc to share a very special bottle of wine from his cave: a Chambolle Musigny 1967. Charles, Martha, and The Birthday Boy were sipping in extasy as the other clients looked on like mendiants!

I downed my water and imagined the taste of that 50-year-old bottle of heaven (Martha, Charles, and The Birthday Boy were now speaking in tongues--or some such holy language.) 

Charles and jean-marc rene cros beach bandol
After, we had massages californiens at the spa steps up from the beach, and then said goodbye to Charles and La Nana at the Bandol train station.

There were a few more surprises in store for Jean-Marc. Maybe one day I'll tell you about those. This Birthday Wife is now hors de la vapeur (out of steam?). It's time to refuel avec le déjeuner (leftover pizza and le gâteau d'anniversaire from last night).

Calanque-at-sormiou
The sentimental tour of Marseilles included a visit to the Sormiou calanque, where Jean-Marc and I had our wedding dinner with friends in July 1994 (We were married at the church in September. The Town hall wedding was in July.).


FRENCH VOCABULARY
une nana = girl, chick
la cave = cellar, wine cellar
un mendiant = beggar
le massage californien = California massage
avec le déjeuner = with lunch
le gâteau d'anniversaire = birthday cake

Reverse Dictionary
to run out of steam = caler,  être en perte de vitesse

Apartment for sale in Vaison La Romaine
APARTMENT FOR SALE. Now’s the time - escape to your pied-à-terre in classical Vaison la Romaine. Contact lecezanne@sonic.net
For more info click here for PDF file or  here for Word Document

 When you shop at Amazon via the links below, your purchases help support this free word journal. Merci.

GROCERIES & FRENCH DELICACIES - including herbs, mustard, cakes

FRENCH KNIT REUSABLE ECO SHOPPING BAG - made and knit in France!

PARIS METRO CUFF - Unique bracelet and great gift for those who love Paris. Click here.


KITCHEN TOWELS by Garnier-Thiebaut.

Jean-marc swimming bandol France renecros sandy beach

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and publishing these educational missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
♥ Send $10    
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"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."
--Jacqueline

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More smoke--and sizzle! Calanque, Sugiton, sentier, plage naturiste, and les culs nus--scenic French vocabulary :-)

Calanque sugiton culs nus
Sugiton calanque--a.k.a. "Les culs nus". I asked friends if the term was okay to share. "Ça depende..." they answered, giving an acceptable, harmless alternative ("Cul-cul" pronounced "kew-kew"). Read on, in today's story, and thanks for sharing this post with a friend.



TODAY'S WORD: la calanque

        : rocky inlet
        : cove
        : creek

Try Mastering French Vocabulary with Audio MP3

Hear Jean-Marc read the following French sentence. Click here.

Dimanche on est parti se balader dans les calanques de Marseille où il y a plusieurs plages... Les “culs nus” de Sugiton sont officiellement reconnus dans la carte postale du plus beau site du golfe du Lion, menacé de surfréquentation. 

Sunday we went walking along the rocky inlets of Marseilles where there are many beaches.... Sugitons "Les culs nus" are officially recognized on the postcard of the most beautiful site of the gulf of Lion, which is in danger of overcrowding.


Improve your spoken French with Pronounce it Perfectly in French


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    by Kristi Espinasse

On Sunday we stopped into Le Vin Sobre, where Jean-Marc works every other weekend. Today he was not working, but the store, located near the Obélisque round about, not far from Luminy university, was the perfect place to meet up with the others in our small hiking group.

While waiting, Jean-Marc and I chatted with Marie, his co-worker who was manning the store. She is a lively and very warm and friendly person, and she made our one-hour wait (our friends were late!) worth any inconvenience. While we were sipping the spicy cardamom tea that she made us (Le Vin Sobre is a gourmet store with a wonderful selection of thés and specialties to eat!), Marie stopped to sniff the air once again. "Funny," she said, it smells like... "de la fumée"...

Marie approached Jean-Marc and me, still sniffing for the source...when I realized that the accident we had Tuesday night had deeply infused every item in our home--including us!--with smoke!

"It's us, it's us!" I explained, and it wouldn't be the first time that day, for our friends finally arrived, and halfway into our walk, they mentioned the smokey scent they kept getting a whiff of.... And it was not coming from the trees around us!

 

Sugiton

It was doing us a world of good to get out of our smokey house and into all this fresh salty air! The wildflowers had bloomed and it was fun trying to name them all, even if I didn't get pictures of every one (like the wild purple irises!). But this papery ciste was easy to capture...

Ciste flower

An hour into our walk along the sentier, Jean-Marc, Nicolas, and Carol began searching for a way to descend the steep calanque to access the pristine beach below. But when they began to talk about the need for ropes and special climbing equipment, I headed in the other direction and anchored myself to a rock beneath a shady bush. Already shaking from walking along the slippery pebble path (one false step and plunge to your death), I could not push my nerves any farther!

France, Marseilles, calanque de sugiton les culs nus nudist beach

What a relief when the three decided to find another spot to picnic! And what a magnificent place it was, overlooking the white rock beach below. "It's known as Les Culs Nus," Jean-Marc explained.

The naked butts? As my brain searched for a translations, my eyes began to notice clusters of naturistes. This was a nudist beach! And just as all this info was percolating in my head, our friends asked an unexpected question:

Did we mind if they got naked?


hiking the sentier path near Sugiton calanque les culs nus hikersMarseilles

The photo above just about explains the look on my face on hearing the question above. Smiling Carol looks a lot more adventurous, n'est-ce pas?

Having managed to get everyone to avoid rappelling down to the beach, I now needed to figure out how to get everyone to keep their clothes on.


Poutargue mullet eggs

La bouffe! Yes, food is enough to distract any French man or woman. So we all settled down, with every thread of our clothes on, and dug into a delicious picnic!

The best part about a picnic is sharing the food and discovering new things to eat. Nicolas shared a specialty from Martigues, something Jean-Marc called "le caviar des pauvres": its real name is "la poutargue," also known at Bottarga.

Carol warned that the taste is not for everyone. Ha! She could have said that about nude sunbathing. Ah well. I'll loosen up someday. In my own time.

*    *    *

Kristi and Corinne
Our friends Corinne and Eric showed up to join us for the picnic. Thanks for reading today's story. By the way, would you or would you not join the others on la plage naturiste? To leave a comment, click on the link at the end of this post.





FRENCH VOCABULARY
Increase your vocabulary with this list. More tools here.

cul-cul =  butt, also means wishy-washy, ridiculous
le thé = tea
de la fumée = smoke
le ciste = "rockrose" or cistus
le sentier = path, way
la plage naturiste = nudist beach
la calanque = rocky inlet
la bouffe = food, grub, nosh
le caviar des pauvres = caviar of the poor
la poutargue = boutargue, or bottarga

Stories you may have missed:
Can You Drink The Water in France? Click here

 

Easy French Step-by-Step
Recommended. Easy French Step-by-Step. Recently, when visiting my friend Susan the potter, I saw this book on her table. Susan highly recommends it. Order a copy here.


When you shop at Amazon, entering the store via the coded links below, your purchase helps support this free word journal. Thanks for keeping this in mind (and thanks, Dad, for your recent coffee pods purchase!)

AMAZON GIFT CARDS - for that hard-to-buy-for one on your list!

GROCERIES - including French delicacies like herbs, mustard, cakes

FRENCH KNIT REUSABLE ECO SHOPPING BAG - made and knit in France!

PET SUPPLIES - food, shelter, all the supplies you need to ensure your pet’s health and longevity

PARIS METRO CUFF - Unique bracelet and great gift for those who love Paris. Click here.

FOUTAS - perfect gift : quick dry towels for camping, sauna, gym, and massage


TISANES - French herbal teas. My family drinks one every night, to help drift off to sleep.

APRONS, French-themed - keep the tomatoes in the tart and off of your nice shirt.

TABLECLOTH, Provence-themed linens for the house.

WORDS IN A FRENCH LIFE: a collection of early blog stories from 2002-2006

LAGUIOLE STEAK KNIVES are for sale in many of the local French market stands.

KITCHEN TOWELS by Garnier-Thiebaut.

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

 

 

IMG_20170326_122807
Many thanks for reading. Heading back to Marseilles, to meet friends and show off a few special places. I'll try to post a picture on my Instagram. To see every photo hit the follow button, here.

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and publishing these educational missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
♥ Send $10    
♥ Send $25    
♥♥ Send the amount of your choice


"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."
--Jacqueline

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Accident, and the French words drame, fumée, cheminee, feu, buche, poumon, respirer

Boite-a-lettres mailbox Ramatuelle France lace curtains dentelle rideau shutters window France
I searched my photo archives for a picture of "fumée" or "feu", when this popped up. (The lace symbolizes smoke and the little red mailbox, fire?) Ah well, it is much prettier than the scene that took place here last night.... (Photo taken in the town of Ramatuelle, France)



TODAY'S WORD: la fumée

        : smoke

panache de fumée = plume of smoke

Try Mastering French Vocabulary with Audio MP3

EXAMPLE SENTENCE:

Listen to Jean-Marc read this sentence in French. Click here


Le drame s'est produit quand une bûche est tombée à l'intérieur de l'insert de cheminée, faisant soulever la vitre et laissant alors toute la fumée sortir à l'intérieur de la pièce.

The drama happened when a log fell from inside the fireplace insert, causing the glass to lift and letting all the smoke go out into the room.

Improve your French with Pronounce it Perfectly in French


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    by Kristi Espinasse

Last night I drove to the village of Ollioules to visit my friend the potter. How inspiring to learn that 5 years ago, Susan, who worked in film, had not an inkling of what would become her love affair with clay. Looking around her atelier, I was delighted to have ventured out of my own, predictable train-train, to be peering down into an exotic four à céramique, still hot from Susan's latest creation: a Mediterranean blue glaze. How to describe the glorious shade of blue?

Susans studio
The potter's atelier. photo (c) Susan Rogers. Follow Susan on Instagram


Jean-Marc was  away last night too--at a pizzeria in Cassis, with his friend Pierre. I knew he'd make it back much later than I and I did not want to return to a big empty house. So I lingered a little longer chez Susan. Finally driving up the dark, winding driveway I arrived at our old mas and was disappointed to see that Jean-Marc had forgotten to leave the interior lights on.

Then again...on closer look...there was an ethereal dimness beyond the windows.... Was that a light?

I struggled to get my key into the keyhole, dropping my jeu de clés several times. That's when I sensed the smoke! Finally opening the door, a thick white cloud billowed forth--our golden retriever rushing out from beneath it!

Smokey!

As my dog and I made it several meters away from the house, I turned to witness all that fumée--a smoke so thick you could see nothing beyond it.  Checking to make sure our older dog was OK (how he could survive in a room that dense with smoke is a mystery. You could say our Smokey lived up to his namesake last night. And lived he did!).

In the time it took Jean-Marc to hurry back from Cassis, my sister, Heidi, kept me calm on the phone as I rushed into the house, in several short bursts, breath held tight, to open doors and windows. I also moved the lever for the chimney damper to the right.

Jean-Marc pulled into the driveway so fast his car skid several meters over the gravel. He took over right away, opening the rest of the windows in the house, before examining the scene of the drame which almost stole Smokey away from us. The accident happened when a bûche fell against the glass door pushing it open and letting the smoke go out into the room.... It eventually filled the entire house and every cubby hole!

I stayed outside comforting Smokey (or the reverse)  until the house was completely clear. It was unusual to be sitting in that dark gravel driveway - the place I always hurried away from to get into the house (when returning late at night). On this night no big bad méchant loup lurked outside, but a great open sky blanketed us in peace. The rain felt good, too.


Fireplace

Smokey, and his mama, Breizh, who passed away in 2015. This is where Smokey's bed is. How he survived in a room of thick smoke is a miracle. So much to be thankful for.


FRENCH VOCABULARY
Increase your vocabulary with this list. More tools here.

Ollioules = a town in the Var, west of Toulon, east of Sanary-sur-Mer
le train-train = daily routine
l'atelier (m) = workshop, studio
le four à céramique = pottery kiln
Cassis - seaside town east of Marseille, just west of La Ciotat
le mas = farmhouse
la fumée = smoke
le jeu de clés = set of keys
la bûche = log
le méchant loup = big bad wolf

Posts you may have missed: Most Difficult to Pronounce French Words

 

Susans hat and studio
"Susan's hat and potter's shop" If you enjoy this French word journal and find it helpful in any way, please consider leaving a small donation to keep things running. Merci beaucoup!

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and publishing these educational missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
♥ Send $10    
♥ Send $25    
♥♥ Send the amount of your choice


"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."
--Jacqueline

NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP: Has a friend forwarded you this post? Sign-up to receive your own free subscription to French Word-A-Day. Click here


Bilingual Post: Feuille & "third leaf" meaning in French?

stone cabanon, provence, cypress, French, winemaker, father and son farming
From planting the vines to pressing the grapes.... It is a great pleasure today for Jean-Marc to present to you his first Provence rosé. (photo of Jean-Marc and our son Max)

TODAY'S WORD: LA FEUILLE

    : leaf; sheet


EXAMPLE SENTENCE

La vigne commence à donner un peu de fruit dès la troisième feuille (Ampelographie Française)
The vine begins to produce a bit of fruit around the third leaf (cycle).

Click here for the 3 Common Mistakes That Explain Why Some People Quickly Speak and Understand French While Others Never Go Beyond "Bonjour"


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    by Jean-Marc Espinasse

Listen to Jean-Marc read his story in French, click here


J'ai le plaisir de vous parler aujourd'hui de la façon dont j'ai élaboré Mas des Brun Rosé 2016. Ce vin est issu des vignes de Mourvèdre et Cinsault que nous avons plantées en 2014.

I am pleased to speak to you today about how I elaborated Mas des Brun Rosé 2016. This wine comes from the vines of Mourvèdre and Cinsault that we planted in 2014.


planting vines in vineyard France Bandol

Deux ans et demi après la plantation de ces vignes, soit ce qu'on appelle "la troisième feuille," il est possible de vendanger et déclarer une production. Comme les vignes sont encore très jeunes, j'ai décidé de ne faire que du rosé.

Two and a half years after the planting of these vines, or the so-called "third leaf", it is possible to harvest and declare a production. As the vines are still very young, I decided to make only rosé.

grape vines south of France Provence Bandol

Le 03 Septembre 2016, de 6H à 9H30 du matin, une équipe d'amis est venu vendanger les raisins avant qu'il ne fasse trop chaud. C'est très important de pouvoir rentrer en cave des raisins frais afin de pouvoir travailler le plus naturellement possible en cave. Puis, pendant la journée, nous avons pressé ces raisins, et le jus, après avoir été clarifié, est parti naturellement en fermentation alcoolique.

On September 3, 2016, from 6:00 am to 9:30 am, a team of friends came to harvest the grapes before it was too hot. It is very important to be able to get the freshly picked grapes right to the cellar in order to work as naturally as possible in the cellar. Then, during the day, we pressed these grapes, and the juice, after being clarified, started to go naturally into alcoholic fermentation.

IMG_20140315_111202
Après un nouveau soutirage, la fermentation malo-lactique est intervenue naturellement. Il est très rare que l'on fasse faire cette fermentation dans le sud de France car elle diminue le niveau d'acidité mais j'ai décidé de la faire pour deux raisons importantes :
- Parce que pour bloquer cette fermentation, il faut rajouter du souffre, ce que je ne veux pas puisque je veux faire un vin naturel
- Parce que la fermentation malo-lactique donne du gras au vin et lui apporte une dimension gastronomique tout en ayant un faible taux d'alcool (12%)

After a new racking, malo-lactic fermentation occurred naturally.
It is very rare that this fermentation is done in the south of France because it decreases the level of acidity but I decided to do it for two important reasons:
- Because to block this fermentation, it is necessary to add sulfur, which I do not want since I want to make a natural wine
- Because malo-lactic fermentation gives fat to the wine and gives it a gastronomic dimension while having a low alcohol content (12%).


IMG_20140315_111202
Au final, j'ai élaboré un rosé digeste et structuré à la fois. Il se boira plutôt en mangeant du poisson mais aussi des viandes blanches et les desserts. Il me plait aussi parce qu'il est totalement naturel. Si vous avez l'occasion de le déguster, j'espère qu'il vous plaira aussi.

In the end, I elaborated a rosé of high drink-ability and structure at the same time. It is best tasted along with fish but also white meats and desserts. I also like it because it is totally natural. If you have the opportunity to taste it, I hope you will also like it.

IMG_20140315_111202

Mas des Brun Rosé is currently available with :

- French Country Wines, 2433 Bartlett St, Houston, TX 77098. Tel : 713 993 9500
Cork & Fork Logan Circle  1522 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20005. Tel : 202 588 5766
Planet Wine,
​ ​
2004 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22301. Tel : 703 549 3444
- Bouchon, 62 N Lexington Ave, Asheville, NC 28801. Tel : 828 350 1140

Our wines will soon be available around Los Angeles CA, Portland OR and Phoenix AZ. We will keep you posted on where to find them in these locations
For France and Europe deliveries, contact us at jean-marc@mas-des-brun.com. We can ship =)

 

One sip at a time
Jeroen's review, "Great example of how to learn a language and the culture." Order the book.

 

An unlikely vineyard
One of Jean-Marc's favorite reads: An Unlikely Vineyard. Order it here.

 

Paris in Bloom
Paris in Bloom is a book for Paris lovers to savor again and again, one to keep on the nightstand to conjure fond memories of their first visit and inspire dreams of the next. Order here.

 

French Country cooking
A captivating journey to off-the-beaten-path French wine country with 100 simple yet exquisite recipes, 150 sumptuous photographs, and stories inspired by life in a small village. Order the book.

 

Duck Season
A delicious memoir about the eight months food writer David McAninch spent in Gascony—a deeply rural region of France virtually untouched by mass tourism—meeting extraordinary characters and eating the best meals of his life. Order the book.
English Book Centre Valbonne for sale Riviera
Lin writes: My lovely little bookshop is FOR SALE! With my family needing me in another part of the world, I must move closer to them. Is anyone interested in running an English-language bookshop in this most beautiful village? We are still going strong after 30 years with lots of business from our loyal customers, the ever-increasing number of area schools, and the tourist trade. Each day brings someone new to the shop, and confirms this as the best job ever. Contact me for further information.

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and publishing these educational missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
♥ Send $10    
♥ Send $25    
♥♥ Send the amount of your choice


"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."
--Jacqueline

NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP: Has a friend forwarded you this post? Sign-up to receive your own free subscription to French Word-A-Day. Click here


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 story....so am taking the opportunity, today, to feature the word--thanks to our opening photo and the little rainbow shark :-)


EXAMPLE SENTENCE & Sound File:

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)


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    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.

Maraicher-market-produce-seller-la-ciotat
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


FRENCH VOCABULARY

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

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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
 

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and publishing these educational missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
♥ Send $10    
♥ Send $25    
♥♥ Send the amount of your choice


"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."
--Jacqueline

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Rebelote! Argile verte & How to remove a splinter or thorn - Comment enlever une écharde ou une épine

Sea urchins oursins from the mediterranean
Today's folk remedy may also work for sea urchin spines. Ouch! Aïe aïe aïe!


TODAY'S WORD: une écharde

        : splinter

"un petit fragment qui pénètre dans la peau" (wordreference.com)
"a small fragment that penetrates into the skin"

Try Mastering French Vocabulary with Audio MP3


EXAMPLE SENTENCE & Sound File

Listen to Jean-Marc read the following sentence. Click here

Savez-vous les remèdes de grand-mère pour enlever une écharde ou une épine?

Do you know some home remedies for removing a splinter or a thorn?


The French S. Sometimes it sounds like an S and sometimes it sounds like a Z. Click here for a short lesson from David at FluentFrench.com


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

"PAIN AT THE POTAGER"

    by Kristi Espinasse

Yesterday, while collecting de la ciboulette I managed to plunge my thumb into a spiny ronce. When my arm flew back out of the patch I looked down to see what had just stabbed me. A very fine épine was now nestled beneath my skin. Bon, ça va s'arranger, I thought, shaking out my hand as I walked back to the kitchen to make lunch.

But just as a mosquito will not "work itself out" of a room, that hair-thin thorn was going nowhere. Et la douleur! It was worse that the two full days of courbatures I experienced after our dog-supervised Hatha yoga class. (I finally took 1000 milligrams of Doliprane for that. If only paracetamol worked for splinters!)

My thumb grew big, sore and red. So when the laisser faire approach didn't work, I went and got a jar of green clay from our cupboard. Jean-Marc's aunt, practical and wise, had once mentioned the ability of argile verte or medicinal clay to draw out impurities. I should have first used it to draw out my patience, because after quickly mixing up water and clay to make a paste, I had no desire to wait for the cataplasme to dry.

Grrr! Rinsing my thumb beneath the kitchen robinet, I next went to work with tweezers and alcohol but the sliver only retreated! So I started all over again - this time plunging my thumb right into the jar of powdered clay. Voilà!

The day had only just begun and I needed to shower, eat, and begin this blog post--do it all while letting my right thumb dry undisturbed.

I managed to shower, dress, and even put my hair in a ponytail (twisting the elastic with only my fingers!) while keeping ce pouce high and dry. And I managed to write half of this post, at which point I paused, held my thumb up to the light and saw a nub of splinter poking out! I think this remède de grand-mère is working!

Or was working. While hammering out the rest of this story on my keyboard, I managed, with the help of the space bar key hitting back against my thumb, to hammer that splinter right back in!

Rebelotte! Back to the drawing board now (et c'est le cas de le dire!)

***
Share your splinter stories and tips in the comments at the end of this post. Corrections to this edition are welcome and most helpful.

 

Sugar snap beans fava blossoms lemon tree
Our garden in 2014. It is not looking this good anymore! But the fava beans (see the white and black flowers?) are growing again this year.


FRENCH VOCABULARY
Increase your vocabulary with this list. More tools here.

aïe! = ouch!
la ciboulette
= chive
la ronce = bramble
le potager = kitchen garden, vegetable
une épine = thorn
ça va s'arranger = it will be fine, it'll work itself out
la courbature = ache, stiffness
la douleur = pain
laisser faire = leave it alone, let it be
l' argile verte = green clay
le cataplasme = poultice
le robinet = tap, faucet
le pouce = thumb
le remède de grand-mère = home remedy
rebelote! = here we go again!
c'est le cas de le dire = you can say that again

Stories you may have missed...
How to Say Goodbye in French (a list of creative and useful ways to sign off in email)
 

Green for St Patrick's Day
Green for la Saint-Patrick! If you enjoy this French word journal and find it helpful in any way, please consider leaving a small donation to keep things running. Merci beaucoup and have a nice weekend!

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and publishing these educational missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
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"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."
--Jacqueline

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Find out what city we're moving to! La promesse d'achat

Mas de brun rose 2016

Our first bottles of Mas des Brun Rosé just made it to Houston. You can get some at our very good friends French Country Wines. Check with them as they could also ship, depending on where you are, to other cities. Cheers!

TODAY'S WORD: la promesse d'achat

        : promise to buy


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    by Kristi Espinasse

Aujourd'hui c'est une grande journée. On va signer une promesse d'achat après 3 tentatives d'acquérir une maison. On espère bien que cette fois-ci sera la bonne. On vous demande maintenant de croiser les doigts et si tout se passe bien, on sera des Ciotadins cet été. On vous laisse avec des photos de la ville des frères Lumière....

Listen to Jean-Marc read the French text, click here


Today is a big day. We are going to sign a promise to buy after 3 attempts to purchase a house. We hope that this time it'll be the one. We ask you now to cross your fingers and, if all goes well, we will be "Ciotadins" this summer. We leave you with some photos of the Lumière brother's city.... [the city where they invented cinema]

Stories you may have missed...
La Promesse de vente - the day we promised to sell our vineyard to another. Read it here.

Port of la ciotat

.

 
Pizzeria la ciotat
We are moving to La Ciotat and we can walk to the port from our house! I will be posting more pictures at Instagram, but read to the end of the post first!
Salon de the
We can also walk to the Salon de Thé from our place...
Barber shop
We can even walk to the Barber Shop. After 10 years of living on a farm--we'll be cosmopolitans. Make that Les Ciotadens!


Foutas-in-les-lecques

EVERYONE LOVES FOUTAS - Jean-Marc and I use these at the beach, for picnics, and it makes a great tablecloth, too!


TISANES - French herbal teas. My family drinks one every night, to help drift off to sleep.

APRONS, French-themed - keep the tomatoes in the tart and off of your nice shirt.

WORDS IN A FRENCH LIFE: Lessons in Love and Language from the South of France
Kristi at the port of la Ciotat

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and publishing these educational missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
♥ Send $10    
♥ Send $25    
♥♥ Send the amount of your choice


"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."
--Jacqueline

NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP: Has a friend forwarded you this post? Sign-up to receive your own free subscription to French Word-A-Day. Click here


Artisanat, Allez Hop! Come on let's get some beer at a new brasserie in Nice!

Arthur and Dan in the back of their shop, Allez Hops. They are leaning against part of the brasserie equipment where they brew up beer in downtown Nice.

Allez, Hops! is a new "cave à bière" you don't want to miss when in Nice! Located at 15 Rue Défly, it's up the street from the Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain

TODAY'S WORD: Artisanat

        : craft industry, arts and crafts, handicraft


EXAMPLE SENTENCE:

Dans l’artisanat, rien n’est laissé au hasard, et la bière n’y échappe pas ! Avec notre sélection de bières, vous avez accès à un vaste panel de saveurs et de terroirs différents. text from the Allez Hops! website

In the craft industry, nothing is left to chance, and beer is no exception! With our selection of beers, you have access to a wide range of different flavors and terroirs.

Click here to listen to Jean-Marc read aloud the sentence in French

Improve your pronunciation with  Exercises in French Phonetics


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    by Kristi Espinasse

Allez Hops!

Saturday morning Jean-Marc drove us from our vineyard here in St. Cyr-sur-Mer...to an exciting new brasserie in Nice! Two hours later, we took a wrong turn near the airport and ended up on the Promenade des Anglais, where I was surprised by a sudden wave of emotion. As our car advanced slowly in traffic and we passed in front of the Hotel Negresco, I wondered if the locals are ever caught off guard by tears, this many months after the attack?

At last we pulled in front of our friends' cave à bière. Seeing familiar faces and receiving a few big hugs from Dan and Julie helped calm this unexpected surge of emotion. And the sign, or l'ardoise, outside their shop held a bright promise and a reminder that in spite of the darkness that visited Nice and Paris, Le soleil brille encore.

As Julie showed me around the boutique, I dried my eyes once again. To see a couple and their young associate venture out with a new business showed that hope springs as eternally as these larmes! I leave you with a few snapshots of the Allez Hops! shop. I hope you will put it on your list of MUST SEES when next you are in Nice. You are sure to have a warm welcome - and maybe even a câlin!

Le soleil brille

Don't you love the play on words for the name of the shop's name, Allez Hops!? Without the "s" the phrase means anything from Come on, let's get crackin' to off you go!

Jean-marc is going to fill that bag full of artisinal beer
Julie and Dan help Jean-Marc pick out craft beer to put in this handy sack (12 individual slots for beers!)
Biere bleu
Bière blonde or bière brune? As well as selling over 400 kinds of artisanal beers, Dan and Arthur (pictured at the top of this post) sell their own crafted-sur-place Bière Bleue!
Jet lag beer
Dan's wife Julie, who is also a web/log/print designer, says she is forever amused by the fun and whimsical étiquettes on all the beer bottles. Do stop in to Allez Hops! next time you are in Nice. Buy a selection of beers, à déguster entre amis…


Stories you may have missed...
How to say keg or beer barrel in French and what what winemakers really drink during harvest time! Click here


FRENCH VOCABULARY

Allez hop! = Come on, let's go!
l'artisanat = craft industry, handicraft
la cave = cellar
la bière = beer
la brasserie = brewery
l'ardoise (f) = slate, blackboard
le soleil brille = the sun is shining
la bière blonde = lager
la bière brune = dark beer
une étiquette = label
déguster = to taste, sample
le câlin = hug


FRENCH KNIT REUSABLE ECO SHOPPING BAG - made and knit in France!

TABLECLOTH, Provence-themed linens for the house.

WORDS IN A FRENCH LIFE: Lessons in Love & Language

LAGUIOLE STEAK KNIVES are for sale in many of the local French market stands.

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and publishing these educational missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
♥ Send $10    
♥ Send $25    
♥♥ Send the amount of your choice


"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."
--Jacqueline

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Au pif, kale pesto recipe, and Bookshop for sale in France!

Making parsely pesto pistou citrons lemons golden retriever dog
Making parsley pesto. In today's post I make another kind (without parsley): Pesto Manqué (find out what's missing...)


TODAY'S WORD: au pifométre - or simply "au pif"

        : at a guess, by guess work, off the cuff, off the top of your head


EXAMPLE SENTENCE:

Au pif. Les grands chefs cuisinent au pif.
By guesswork. Great cooks cook by guesswork.

The following link does not work within this newsletter. Click the title of this letter to be taken to the blog.

Click here to listen: Au pif . Les grands chefs cuisinent au pif.

Try the book Pronounce it Perfectly in French


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    by Kristi Espinasse


We are heading out to Nice to spend the weekend with American in France and beer-maker Dan, his wife Julie, and our good friends Gilda and Robert. I have a few hours in which to come up with un cadeau pour nos hôtes....

I want to keep things simple and sentimental (I'm thinking of my stash of antique clés... part of which I have given to special friends. But I wonder if I have already given Dan and Julie a key?

What about a vintage book? Julie and Gilda are artists. But how many vintage books on art do I have lying around? Que dalle!

Sheep bells! I also collect sheep bells! But who else treasures les clochettes des moutons?

Well, my husband sure isn't obsessing about what to offer our friends -- Jean-Marc recently bottled his 2016 Mas des Brun rosé and will gift it (along with olive oil from our domaine). This gives me an idea - just add to that gastronomic basket... Currently we have kale in the garden and lemons and olive oil from our trees.... I could make pistou!

But we do not have pignons or Parmesan. Pas de panique. You can do like the venerable French women do - do as any cook worth her salt would -- you can make it up au pif!

I leave you with the result of kale + lemons + oil + a few things in my kitchen drawers....


"PESTO MANQUE"

(manqué...because pine nuts and Parmesan are missing)
(everything after this line is approximate...)

3 cups of kale
1 lemon + grated rind
3 tablespoon raisins (dried grapes for a vineyard theme!)
1-2 cups olive oil 
3 or more cloves of garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything in the blender or food processor. This pesto is delicious with sliced tomatoes, over potatoes, pasta, fish or salad. It makes a nice decorative swirl on top of a bowl of soup.

Stories you may have missed: "PESTO IN BED" 

Mas des brun rose oliv oil and kale pesto manque
What we're bringing our hosts. I hope they don't see this post.


FRENCH VOCABULARY
Increase your vocabulary with this list. More tools here.

manqué = missing
un cadeau = gift, present
une clé = key

l'hôte = host
que dalle! =  zip, nada, none
pas de panique = no worries!
le pistou = pesto
le pignon = pine nut


Wintasting with Warsaw Zurich and local friends
Thursday night Jean-Marc served his 2016 Mas des Brun rosé to visitors from Warsaw, Zurich, and to some locals from Toulon and Bandol. We had some munchies, but the kale pesto would have been good drizzled over slices of bread or some of that fresh goat's cheese we ate!


GROCERIES - including French delicacies like herbs, mustard, cakes

BONJOUR KALE: A Memoir of Paris, Love, and Recipes

TABLECLOTH, Provence-themed linens for the house.

KITCHEN TOWELS by Garnier-Thiebaut.

English Book Centre Valbonne for sale Riviera
Lin writes: My lovely little bookshop is FOR SALE! With my family needing me in another part of the world, I must move closer to them. Is anyone interested in running an English-language bookshop in this most beautiful village? We are still going strong after 30 years with lots of business from our loyal customers, the ever-increasing number of area schools, and the tourist trade. Each day brings someone new to the shop, and confirms this as the best job ever. Contact me for further information.


Kristi and tanja
With my friend Tanja, right. Those were her traffic-stopping legs you saw at the beginning and ooh-là-là end of this post. So don't miss this post.

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and publishing these educational missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
♥ Send $10    
♥ Send $25    
♥♥ Send the amount of your choice


"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."
--Jacqueline

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Orteil + Yoga & Wine? Oh, Those Frenchies!

banks of Seine River in Paris France

I have no yoga pictures to illustrate this post. How about photos of water--something needed during our first yoga class! Here's a thirst-quenching body of water-La Seine, in Paris!

 

TODAY'S WORD: orteil (m)

        : toe

le gros orteil = big toe
le petit orteil = little toe
la bague d'orteil = toe ring


Say arrondissement the French way. Watch the demonstration, here, by David from FluentFrench.com

EXAMPLE SENTENCE:

Il est possible qu'au début vous ne puissiez rester que quelques secondes dans chacune de ces postures, ne renoncez pas, chaque jour le ressenti est différent, chaque jour est un autre jour pour votre corps, ressentez vos limites, respirez dans vos limites, ces postures non seulement étirent vos pieds, orteils, chevilles mais également votre mental!!

It is possible that at first you can only stay a few seconds in each of these postures, do not give up, every day the feeling is different, every day is another day for your body, feel your limits, breathe within your limits, These postures not only stretch your feet, toes, ankles but also your mind !! (Google Translation)

ECOUTEZ - Hear Jean-Marc pronounce the example sentence in French: Download Orteil file

Or click HERE to listen to Jean-Marc read the example sentence

Thank you for your helpful comments about How to Listen to the Sound Files while Reading the Text! Today I am adding a second option (see the inline link, above, and please let me know if this helps!

Improve your spoken French with Exercises in French Phonetics


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    by Kristi Espinasse

Yoga and Wine (and one more lost home...)

If the way in which Jean-Marc and I met our yoga teacher wasn't unusual enough, the way our first cours came to a close was: we sat in a peaceful circle drinking wine!

I do not drink alcohol but was happy to trinquer avec un verre d'eau.  My thirst began sometime during the 2-hour session when I could have kicked myself (but for a sudden leg cramp, a foot cramp and a toe cramp...) for not bringing along something to drink. On a long hike I would not forget water, apparently yoga is as strenuous.

Strenuous may not be the word to describe a newbie yoga experience. Terms like awkward, humbling, painful, and mon Dieu (Mon Dieu I'm out of shape!) come to mind. And there are other terms--orteille, thorax, cheville, talon...-- some of which need more than a dictionary (a Map of Human Anatomy would help, so that next time when I hear "press your orteilles into the ground" I will strain to press my toes (and not my ears) to the floor! Imagine trying to press both ears to the floor at the very same time. You would need some very long oreilles...).

All in all, our first séance de yoga went well. The relaxing music and the pleasing spicy scent in the air (encense?) along with our teacher's raspy, down-to-earth voice put us at ease, despite a Mistral wind that threatened to rip the roof off the studio--located right inside the cozy home of our yoga instructor.

Finally I love our teacher and new friend, Dominique (even if she DID, with much emotion and tears, choose another couple for whom to sell her 1930's vintage French house...). And I adore "Tao"--Dominique's black and white border collie who attended class with us: front and center stage--on a mat beside her Master. We also met some more new friends: Valérie, Aurélien, and Marise -- veritable contortionists after only 6 months with Dominique! While toasting with a glass of Jean-Marc's rosé (a peace gift he offered our seller-come-yoga instructor, who then shared it with her students)  they assured us things will get easier. I like to see the universal meaning behind that promise.

In the space of 10 days we had lost yet another house but gained a new friend and teacher. A wise woman at that, for in refusing to sell us her home, Dominique set us on a path toward what may turn out to be just the right place.... "Et oui," Dominique agreed, "une porte se ferme, une autre s'ouvre." One door closes, another opens up.


....
Stories you may have missed...
1. The first house we tried to buy, after deciding to sell our vineyard
2. Did you know this rule for cheese? French cheese etiquette here


Ricard the bulldog
I did not get a photo of Tao either, so we'll use Ricard as a stand in. And here's more water for my water theme!


FRENCH VOCABULARY

trinquer = to toast
un verre
= a glass
d'eau
= of water
l'orteil
= toe
la cheville = ankle
le talon = heel
une oreille = ear
le cours = class
l'encense = incense
la séance = session
le/la contorsionniste = contortionist

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.


FRENCH KNIT REUSABLE ECO SHOPPING BAG - made and knit in France!

FOUTAS - perfect gift : quick dry towels for camping, sauna, gym, and yoga!


TISANES - French herbal teas. My family drinks one every night, to help drift off to sleep.

WORDS IN A FRENCH LIFE: Lessons in Love and Language from the South of France

Interdit de pecher
Sign says "no fishing", but can you fetch some water? A bottle full? For yoga class? Next time I'm bringing my canteen.

 

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and publishing these educational missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
♥ Send $10    
♥ Send $25    
♥♥ Send the amount of your choice


"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."
--Jacqueline

NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP: Has a friend forwarded you this post? Sign-up to receive your own free subscription to French Word-A-Day. Click here