Porquerolles sea-hunting trip + My husband's creative (and quirky) side
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Boire la Tasse: Short story by the sea including funny French sayings

Swimming with Smokey
If you have to swallow a mouthful, better to do it in the sea, than in the pool. Photo taken this morning, while swimming with our golden.

"boire la tasse"

1. to swallow a mouthful, to swallow a lot of water (while swimming)
2. to lose a lot of money, to go under

Listen to Jean-Marc read the French translation to the sentence above

Si on doit boire la tasse, il vaut mieux que ça soit en mer, qu'en piscine.

    by Kristi Espinasse

This morning, while swimming with Smokey, j'ai bu la tasse! After accidentally swallowing so much salty water (and getting any magnesium requirements in one big gulp) it occurred to me to share a phrase I've heard over the years when swimming with my family: boire la tasse.

I wonder if dogs accidentally swallow a mouthful, too? Watching Smokey out there in the Mediterranean, fetching a piece of driftwood, he is an agile swimmer. No coughing when he comes out of the sea, just a good, whole-body secouement--enough to shower all the beachgoers...were they around this time of day.

Early morning is when to bring a dog to the beach, and I'm armed with a trusty paper bag and a small râteau to pick up any you-know-whats. I just didn't count on having to use the cleaning supplies so soon--when Smokey picked the most bourgeois house at the beach to faire son truc.

Under the circumstances it was a lucky chance. (Il n'y avait pas un chat.) The coast was clear and with all the fallen needles from the glorious parasol pines, the task was simple comme bonjour.

I didn't mean to drag you into the subject of crottes but, just like the vocabulary epiphany that came en buvant la tasse, when inspiration comes you've got to share it. All in the name of education.

 *    *    *

Regarding crottes, don't miss the dirty prank my neighbor played on me.
And you might enjoy reading about Smokey's parents unexpected honeymoon in Marseilles.


boire la tasse = to swallow a lot of water (unexpectedly)
le secouement = shaking off
le râteau = rake
faire son truc = to do his thing
pas un chat = nobody in sight
simple comme bonjour = a piece of cake
la crotte = droppings, dog mess

Creatures de provence

My sister-in-law, Cecile, is now sharing a boutique with other artisans. It's called La Boutique Des Créators Provençeaux. Please stop in, at 7/9 Rue Fermée. Double check the location and hours by friending them on Facebook, at "Aix Potentiels" You will do that won't you? (I'm going to check!) Many thanks for your support of these artists.

Winetasting july 2017

Last night's wine tasting and, from left to right, Jean-Marc, Kristi, Tom, Linda, Vanita, Jens, Rohan, Susan and Jay.


EMBRYOLISSE - the face cream my daughter, Jackie, and I both use.  It gets its name from its many uses, "it is a moisturizing cream, a cleansing cream that gently removes make-up, an after-shave cream and a cleansing lotion for babies and children" ORDER HERE

Good-looking sun hat with string -- essential for windy southern France

CARON PARIS Fleur de Rocaille - a classic French scent

Fleur-de-Lys pendant necklace in white gold

La Roche-Posay sunscreen - rated top by Consumer Reports 

 Dorothy and Steve and our Max

Dorothy and Steve returned to see us--and were happy to see our son, Max.

Kristi and Smokey july 2017
Thanks, Jens, for the photo of the two swimmers all cleaned up.

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


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Kristin Epinasse

My dearest Kristi,
You look wonderful and I am so happy to see Smokey. Haven't seen him in a while.
Still adoring your posts and to know that life goes on in France as it does here in
Ocala, Florida.
No trips planned to visit France as my children and grand children live in Northern
California, and any traveling I do, it out their way. I am heading the in mid August,
as my baby Andrew, will turn 50 (my oldest is 51). I'm hating it!!!!
Stay and as beautiful as always and thank you mille foes for all of the
heart warming stories of Provence.
Much love,


Love the photo of you and Smoky in the water. I will keep that expression in mind next time at piscine Pontoise and save my gulps for la mer de Nice...

Joanne Ablan

Bonjour, Kristin,
How fortunate you are to be able to swim in the oceanic the morning. The sea here in central California is
much too cold and too treacherous though many still scuba dive and surf in it regardless of the riptides and
rogue waves. We lose people all the time even though there are warning signs on the beach. As a member
of the local emergency response organization, I occasionally speak to residents and visitors about beach safety.
For children, I always counsel, "Don't turn your back on the ocean!" I must say, the sea in southern France is
very, very different and very, very inviting. You are so lucky!


Merci pour les ans de "French Word-A-Day." J'habite Gainesville, Fl, une ville pas loin de Sally (ci-dessous). Personne ne parle français en Floride, sauf à Miami, où il y a les Canadiens et les Haitiens. Donc, je suis très heureuse de lire votre "blog" en français. Bonne chance à vous et Jean-Marc dans votre nouveau domicile.
Gail en Gaineville

Ally Davis

Great photo of your early morning swim with your buddy, Smokey! Looks so peaceful. I loved the story today -to flowed seamlessly, Merci!

Suzanne Codi

Nothing better than a morning swim with a canine son!!! Lucky you!! And Lucky Smokey to have such a fun family!

Barbara Friedman

Just ordered embrolisse. Wish my skin could look as beautiful as yours does.

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Barbara!

Linda Higgins

Thank you, Kristi, and Jean Marc for hosting the lovely wine tasting last evening. It was such a pleasure to meet you after so many years of reading your posts! Earlier this evening Tom opened the 2008 Rouge-Bleu Mistral as a way to further extend our visit.
We wish you both well in your future endeavors as whatever you do will meet with success!

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Linda! It was great to meet you in person. Say hello to Tom, and many thanks for the wine report. :-) 

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks, Ally! 

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Gail! 


Our dear Kristi,
What gorgeous pictures!(how did Max get so grown up?) and!Especially of you and sweet Smokey!
Even after a day in the water(completed with boire la tasse!) you look elegant and so Summer-y!
And happy!
Your words always transport us away to wonderful activities and fun days together,
in any season!
Thank you!
Natalia XO

Felicia Malissen

I loved this story and the expression too! I forgot it! I'm forgetting a lot lately!
That Smokey sure is adorable!!
Thank you very much for your work - it is a pleasure to read your stories.



Looks enchanting. Could you tell me where to swim when I come from Canada with my sister in September.. We are staying in La Ciotat for 5 days and will be jet lagged and loving some great swims in the Med. Any advice for swimming or eating would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Kristi
We are very excited about this trip to Provence !!!

Stacy - Sweet Life Farm

Summer is not complete without a few dips in the cold water of the lake or sea. It is so good for us - body, mind and soul. I think Smokey would agree! Delighted to see you and Mr. Smokey were out enjoying a morning swim! You are aglow with happiness my dear Kristi, so beautiful to see. xoxo

Chris Allin

Dear Kristi,

Am loving all your recent posts. Your energy is inspiring!

Judi Dunn

Kristin... Love being educated by you! I think you sook so beautful in the photo and Smokey surely looks so very handsome!... Ejnoy you wonderful morning swims! Bon weekend and Bonne Fete de la National! Judi Dunn, Tallahassee, Fl.


Mais, Gail, beaucoup de personnes parlent français où j'habite - en Sarasota. On a l'Alliance Française et aussi un école pour les adultes (community college) où français est appris.

Joanne Johnson


Love the beautiful photo of you and Smokey - and both of you!


Timothy G Cunniff

Although I always laugh at Crotte d'nez My French is really fractured

Kristin Espinasse

There is a wonderful beach in La Ciotat, beside Parc du Mugel! It is where my father swam, after we had lunch in the restaurant just above the beach. 

And when in town, in La Ciotat, try Kitch and Cook, at Place Esquiros,  for a delicious 3 course meal at under 20 euros ! We also like the restaurant, Béné, on the port. Enjoy your trip, Patricia. 

Kristin Espinasse

Merci, mon amie ☀️

Kristin Espinasse

That is so good to hear. Thank you, Chris! 💛


Dear Kristi, it is so good to see you & Jean-Marc (not forgetting Smokey) looking so much more relaxed and happy. Really enjoying your posts & wishing you all the best for your move. xx

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