Finally, Some News: We are now squatters...
Bonjour de La Ciotat + La Remoulade

Adieu Mas des Brun: Last dispatch from the vineyard & Ratatouille recipe!

Mas des brun hat cabanon sea view
Goodbye Mas des Brun. Thank you for 5 wonderful years!

FARNIENTE--from the Italian fare (to do) and niente (nothing). Farniente is a new word for me, and an old one when it comes to naming a home (Jean-Marc tells me many French people name their homes farniente). Help us find a name for our new place, submit your suggestion in the comments at the end of this post


Click here to listen to Jean-Marc read the following French words
Nous cherchons un nom pour notre future maison...nous pensons à "Farniente."
We are looking for a name for our future house...we're thinking about "Farniente."



Goodbye Mas des Brun

by Kristi Espinasse

I've just cleared off my desk to type this last dispatch from our former home sweet home. It is quiet here now, only a very dusty house and a few towers of boxes after Jean-Marc's family left, last night.

What a help they were! Jean-Marc's brother, Jacques, arrived, along with Mariem, his "coeur" (as he's called her for years) and her 11-year-old son Farès, who is a smiling participant in anything--even moving! My belle-soeur Cécile joined us, too, for phase one of our déménagement.

Forming a human chain, our family transferred the wood pile to the rented camion and emptied the entire contents of Jean-Marc's wine cellar bottle by bottle, case by case! As an array of dusty bouteilles traveled out of the cave
UP the path in front of our porch, our golden retriever was reminded to sors de là--or move it! 

Demenagement moving rental truck
Our former home. Read about that window above Smokey....

If Smokey is a little displaced so is his unbeknownst-to-him adversaire, Lili--the 12-year-old long-haired chat we've inherited along with our new (1960-built) house in La Ciotat. Though Lili has been entrusted to the neighbors, we all hope she'll just stay put. The question is, after 10 moves, will we stay put too?

Talk to you again soon--from La Ciotat. Meantime, help me answer Cécile's, question: "What will you name your new house?" Submit a name in the comments box below (link at the end of this post).

Mon Coeur = sweetheart
la belle-soeur = sister-in-law, step-sister
le déménagement = move, moving
le camion = truck
une bouteille = bottle
la cave = cellar, wine cellar
sors de là! = move out of the way!

Oven-roasted ratatouille
Batch after batch of oven-roasted ratatouille has sustained us during this move! My favorite way to make it is to chop up all the vegetables listed below and toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper (we ran out of herbs de Provence and won't buy more until we move!). Put the coated veggies on a tray or two and into the oven they go (at 180c or 350F, for one hour). Delicious with a roast chicken, all that leftover sanglier, or tossed in pasta, to name a few incarnations of this wonderful dish.

The veggies you'll need. Let me know if I've left something out...
2 eggplants
2 peppers
2 zucchini
lots of cherry tomatoes, whole or halved
2 carrots will add a wonderful roasted sweetness!
1 onion
1 potato
3 or 4 cloves of garlic

Tip: The more colorful the better. When our curb-side veggie stand had yellow tomatoes, I grabbed them. Ditto for the white eggplant and also the bright purple eggplant. Carrots are not part of the traditional ratatouille, but the color and taste sweetens everything! Do yourself a favor and make this easy dish whenever the ingredients are in season. It is so handy to have on hand, just like its Sicilian counterpart.

Previous recipe: the scrumptious La Tarte Tomate

Up the coast in la ciotat
On Monday we will complete phase 2 of our move, just up the coast to La Ciotat. A bientôt!

Santa maria restaurant-beach in la ciotat
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Suzan Backer

It's a Gaelic word and it means "shelter from the storm".

Jens from Copenhagen

How about Sans Soucis? 90-100 years ago many houses were called that in Denmark.

Cois na farraige (irish) beside the sea or coir tra (seaside)

John H Abeles MD


Audrey Wilson

A good old English one “ Dun ‘roaming” I hope it applies to you Kristin !
BON COURAGE !! May you be happy in your new home.


A lovely post and thank you. Through the sadness I saw the rays of light. I think you will receive many excellent suggestions for a house name so I will be lazy and not offer any. But I have sent a donation because that's the only practical way I can think to help you. I'm also thinking of your beloved Smokey and the vet's fees. As well, I send you big hugs and very best wishes for now and the future. Well done to have "picked up sticks" and moved. You are both of you young and talented and hard-working. You will flourish. It will take time but you have help at hand from family and friends, and in the ether from all of us.


We like Beaulieu, as we live in Beaulieu sur mer.

Catherine Berry (But you are in France, Madame)

it is a hard thing to do, to name a house. Does it already have a name or an interesting piece of history? Talking to the former owners might just present a possibility. Our French house is named Le Cormoran. We were at a vide-grenier and fell for an old wooden, fishing boat - not a real one, one for putting on a shelf and standing back to admire. It's name, that of the migratory bird, le cormoran, touched a chord with us. We felt that we, too, were happy to settle until the call of something, or somewhere, became too strong... and so the decision was made. Whatever you decide, may the journey continue sweetly.


I wish for you all the best in your new place, and that you have many new wonderful adventures.


How about Retrouvailles (reunion)?


Pendant un temps


We have a house in our neighborhood called Thistle Dew and it took me about 40 years to get what it was really saying 😂😂😂


Not French exactly but since you have a Mexican connection, how about Casa Milagro --House of Miracles. Blessings on your next great adventure. Kathleen

Sandy Maberly

If you can have an Italian word, you may as well have a Welsh word, which is very close in origin to the Breton language. Here are my suggestions:
Anwylfa = (an WIL va) = dear place
Bodlondeb [bod LON deb] = contentment, satisfaction
Arosfa [a-ROSS-va]) (from "aros" = to stay, to remain, to stop)
Sŵn-y-môr / Sŵn y Môr [soon uh MOOR] (the) sound (of) the sea
Tŷ Carreg - (tee Ka reg) stone house
Noddfa - NATH ( "th" pronounced like "th" in the) va - a Welsh word meaning refuge, a place of welcome and peace

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristi,

Good luck with the move and best wishes in your new home. Can't wait to see photos and stories from La Ciotat! Once you are in your new home and get a feel for it, a perfect name will come to you and Jean Marc.

Andrew Kleeger

I'm not certain how to translate into French, but I sort of like "Stumble Inn"

Jean Briggs

A pretty name is La Farandole...a traditional dance of

Suzanne in Monroe, NJ

I treasure the afternoon I spent at Mas de Brun and am grateful to Max for taking photos of all of us. I think you need to live in the house a bit before you name it.


Dolce Far Niente: "It is well to do nothing" or "It is nice/pleasant to do nothing."

Brenda Prowse

I will be thinking about a home name while I prepare oven roasted veggies per your recipe! Thank you, Kristi. Sending love and bisous to you and Jean Marc in your new home. Meantime a donation will be your house warming gift.

Lynda House

I was just thinking of that!! Can't imagine Kristi and Jean Marc have done roaming ...... neither can I imagine they will have nothing to do as the name Kristi mentioned.

I live in Toft Cottage. It had that name when I moved in ....... my interpretation of it, as I am now 70, is 'Too Old for Toyboys!!'

Before that I lived in Cherry Tree Cottage where two cherry trees stood either son the front gates.

Diane Heinecke

So many good suggestions! You will have to decide what fits. My wish is that it is your "abri" or shelter from the storms of life. I like Sans soucis as well. God bless all of you at this point in your journey. I feel closer to you than to some friends and family near me. That's thanks to writing from the heart, Kristi! Keep up the good work. God's blessings on all!

Susan B

Jardin de Foi

Lee and Maureen

Cher Kristi and Jean Marc, we will always remember the wonderful day we spent with you at Mas des Brun. as well as our many visits to Domain Rouge Bleu😊😀
Wishing you the best of luck on you move. We will keep you both in our hearts and prayers that your lives make a turn for an even brighter future. You are kept in a select group of our "SPECIAL FRIENDS", 😇😇people who were put on this earth to spread love and joy to everyone you meet.
All our love,❤️❤️❤️❤️
Lee and Maureen
PS: our best to Jules also.
PPS: Jean Marc never give up your dreams, you will find them😍


I think a fitting name will come to you after you have settled into your new house. It will just feel right.


I agree with Suzanne. You need to live in your house for awhile and then the name will come to you. I do like Dolce farniente and Sans Souci. Best of luck to you all.


"Maison des baliseurs" or House of the Wanderers or Chez Baliseurs..... Wishing you all a smooth transition as you settle into your new home after such a long wait.


Casa Espoir


I was thinking that you're starting a new life in Ciotat, so maybe "Nouvelle Vie", or words to that effect? Wishing you many happy years in your new home! <3


Denise Schoen

My Pepere called his beach house "Mon Plaisir". He didn't like the beach, but he knew the rest of the family did!



Suits the marvelous, laid-back location.

Dave Kapsiak

Ho about la Destination Finale,, although in your case, it may not be. Best of luck in your new home.w

Gail L from AZ

Maison's what we can our home "Happy House" because we love laughter and joy 😃

ron trollfjarden

You guys seem to have such a difficult time to settle down.

Stephen Battalia

Bon Courage and Sante---

Iwacu - pronounced eye-wah-chew...means "our place" ...comme "chez nous" Kinyarwanda.


Les Oursins


So interesting that you're thinking of far niente. That is the name of a lovely winery here in the Napa Valley. Founded in 1885, and renovated in 1979, Far Niente produces wonderful Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
My husband and I spent a wonderful afternoon/evening with you and JM at Mas des Brun a couple of years ago, sampling your scrumptious rosé. We had hoped to return. Maybe we'll see you on the streets of La Ciotat! Bonne chance and happy new home. Hugs for Smokey-- hope he finds new dog friends bientôt.

Margy Lim

How about "Casa Contenta?"


How about La Maison de Nouveaux Débuts (House of new dreams) since it will be a home of new dreams, new beginnings, the next phase in this wondrous journey of life. I am wishing you love, patience & calm (for all the stress of packing, unpacking and moving) happiness and joy in your new abode. You will make wonderful memories in your new home that will fill your soul and tickle your heart. Sending good wishes and hugs from afar, xo me
PS The winery that Mary mentions, Far Niente in Napa, is a gorgeous property and their chardonnay is exceptional and my all time favorite. Mary - you and I should connect seeing that we are both Francophiles, we both live/lived in Napa (I was born and raised in Napa and married in St. Helena although I live in San Francisco now) and we both love Far Niente. Kristi- maybe you can connect us some time down the road when all calms down?

Lynne Weinberger

The Italian 'attraversiamo' - let's cross over - seems fitting: an active new beginning, embracing your next chapter in life.

Kim Arnold

Maison Joyeuse?

Maison de Grâce?

Maison de l'Espérance?

We once owned a lake house named "The Laughing Place." (From a story by Joel Chandler Harris.) It made us happy just to think of it.

Farniente is the name of a well known and fabulous winery in the Napa valley, California. Their wine is exquisite! Maybe this would be an appropriate name for your new place. Corrine

Sue LAthrop

Sans soucis. Or is that too cliché?? I have always loved the sound of the words, and hope the meanings hold true for you and Jean-Marc in your new nest!


Live there for a bit. The house will present its name to you when it and you are ready.


L'abri---the shelter, as it should always be !

joie in Carmel

Far Niente is a winery here in California that produces very nice wine. My house is named La Porte Rouge, for obvious reasons. I would wait until you are in it for a week or so to name it....and maybe send out some photos so others can get a feel for the proper name. I will have to give this one a bit of thought.

Trina from St. Petersburg, FL USA

I agree with the sentiment here that a name will come from the heart, yours or JMs or together. Many blessings to you in your new home.

Trina from St. Petersburg, FL USA

That's lovely!

Roseann Milano

Dolce farniente.

The sweetness of doing nothing....


Hi Kristi, I there for a bit.

Congratulations and try to remember you are five years older than the last time you moved, so do not hurt your body!

It sounds like such a beautiful spot, your new home.

You have inspired me: in cleaning out things that should not live with me, even if I am not moving. You are have an amazing attitude. I hope you will feel relieved when it is all completed. Moving is taxing!


Sometimes our best ideas come to us in our dreams or in the middle of the night. Just let the idea of naming your place go and the perfect name will come when you are sleeping in your new abode. You'll settle in and feel the name . Does everyone in France name their homes? I like the idea....
Patricia in Vancouver.... I will be flying to La Ciotat in less than 2 weeks!! I can't wait to see that gorgeous sea again. Maybe I will see you in the village and wave!! Good luck and all the best to you and your family in your new home.

Eleonore Miller

So it looks like you already know about the winery..I vote for" l'abri far niente"

Alice Farley

Le nid enchanté. Or l'aire
First, because I think you might like to feel protected for a spell...
The second because you both are unafraid to flap rose wing and take flight...

Your writing is charming, open, honest and this makes reading it a much enjoyed occasion.

Thanks! Alice

Frances Ryan

Maison Mon Couer...seems fitting.Wishing you and yours a very uneventful move.

Carolyn R Chase

I suggest Domaine d'Amour

Frances Ryan

Maison Mon Couer...seems fitting.Wishing you and yours a very uneventful move.

Linda Roll

How about hygge which sums up what makes life beautiful and wonderful?

Maryellen S. Wales

I submit "La Douceur". May your new life and home be filled with sweet blessings.

Maryellen Wales
Arlington, Texas


Oh, zut! That sounds a little like heaven or hell, at least to me, as I'm not young!!!


Our dear Kristi and Jean Marc,
A million congratulations (and blessings!)at this exciting time!
Though I felt a lump in my throat and tightening of my heart strings at your adieu to Mas des Brun,God has opened the door for this next happy step in your life's journey,and we know you will embrace it with joy and faith(and joie dear vivre!)as you have with every sunrise and sunset this far.
Your new home's name will come to you when you are still and listen to your inner self!
Natalia Xo

Kathleen from Connecticut

I agree with the readers who say "wait", the house will provide it's name for you. We named our attached apartment "Songbird" because when mom was living there, she loved to listen to the birds sing. The name should reflect the house and the people who live in it. A name will come when you least expect it.
Good luck with the rest of the moving. I hope that you love your new house as much as you did the past several houses.


We named our hilltop retirement home The Nest -- (Le Nid in French)
It connoted the snug coziness we hoped to achieve.


I agree - great name!


I have loved the word 'farniente' since finishing the book Eat, Pray, Love years ago. I remind myself to savour those quiet moments of doing nothing. These days, they are far and few, which is also a good reminder to make more room for 'farniente.' As for a name for your new home, I agree with the others who have advised you to not rush into naming it just yet. It will whisper its name to you soon enough, at the most unexpected moment. In the meantime, enjoy every minute you spend building your new nest, and take your time savouring this new adventure! Bon courage!

Luiz Novaes

Meilleurs voeux pour la nouvelle demeure !

Je suggère en Italien: "Ce la faremo !" (nous y arriverons!)

Luiz Novaes


Pamela Harnois

Wishing you the best of wishes on your life journey and new adventures!

Destia Hermes

Good luck and happiness in you new home. To me, France is the gentle songs of doves. Love The name "les colombes".


Best wishes as you leave your beloved Mas des Brun. I am still enjoying the wonderful rosé that I bought this year through a local wine store in DelRay (Alexandria), Virginia. You and Jean-Marc are resilient, hopeful, and always looking toward the future. I have no doubt that you will be very happy in your new home in La Ciotât. I would vote to name it "Mas de Joie." I look forward to hearing about your new adventures there. Never says "Good-bye" to places and people you love, just "Au revoir."


"Ratatouille" seems like a good name, since your lives are such a melange, both of nationalities, metiers, hobbies, pets, and locations. Not to mention emotions...

Angela Sargent

I agree to wait until the house speaks to you.



« Domaine de la mer et du vent » (pourrait se prononcer « de la mère et du vin »)!

Ronald Holden

To follow up on Cyndy's notion of "Ratatouille, consider:

Cap au Nata (assuming La Ciotat house overlooks water). French pun, right?

PS: No zooks in a caponata. Just egglplant, onions, garlic, olives, capers, and tomato sauce. Grated chocolate on top.

Coming back to Seattle for a visit anytime soon?

Faye laFleur

J'aime "Nouvelle Commoncements".......New Beginnings!

Lovely photos! Wish you'll all the best!!!


Have one more for you:

Le Vigneron social (A social vigneron is a passionate wine person, who understands how to grow grapes, make wine, but also and more importantly, who understands that his story and his knowledge is valuable to the end consumer)…

OR a social vigneron could just be a person who used to make wine, but now only drinks it!

Kristin Espinasse

Very clever, Ronald, considering our recent crush on Sicilian caponata! Love your chocolate addition! 

Hélas, no more sea view!

So enjoying everyones suggestions. Thank you all very much! 

P. S. Ronald, We very well may visit Seattle next year. We hope to see you. 

Jean-Marc Espinasse

Dolce Vita


Flourish Manor


Maison Lili

Jean-Marc Espinasse

That you 💕💕💕

Robert Hyman

I am new to your is brilliant! Thank you for sharing.
As for a name of your new home ...considering the life journey....

La Paix Sur Mer

Rachel LeBlanc

Rue Facile - Easy Street
Moment au Soleil - Moment in the Sun
Pas de regle - No rules

Wishing you and your family the best your new home.

Bevan Newton

Ma Maison.
Grateful thanks for your entertaining letters.
Adieu fro New Zealand

Ellen A.

This is a bittersweet time, as most moves are. Here's wishing you both more of the sweetness for your second act. I agree with Jean-Marc for the name: Dolce Vita!


So many things I would have suggested -- Sans Souci, Bon Espoir, Revons, Enfin -- but agree that it will come to you when you settle in.

Stacy - Sweet Life Farm

Congratulations dear Kristi & Jean-Marc!

Best wishes for your move-in and may Smokey transition well too. Wishing you much joy, laughter and love in your new home. A new chapter, new dreams...excited to see what adventures this move brings. Love, Stacy

Psst: I may be moving soon too.

Jan in Colorado

Thanks for the laugh!

Barb Michels

In honor of two dear friends that have passed away, they had homes,one in Tourette sur Loup near Vence called "Mas de Oiseaux and another in Colorado called "Twains Meet" perfect for a couple joined from 2 different worlds.

Leslie in Oregon

Congratulations on completing Phase 1, Kristi and Jean-Marc. Big moves have been a theme in my life recently, as many friends have moved to a new life from a long-time and/or much-loved home. Someday soon it will be our family's turn, as we must downsize. I look forward to reading about your thoughts and emotions, and how Smokey is doing, as you complete this move and settle into a new place and a new life. As for your new home's name: while the suggestions in the above comments are fascinating, I agree with the idea of spending some time in your new abode, and letting it speak to you, before you finalize your decision as to its name. With every best wish, Leslie


For your new home, I love the name, Heart's Rest,
or Le Repos du Coeur.

joie in Carmel

I really think you need to live there for awhile and a name then will come to fit the place and your life. but in any case here are a few that might work in the end.
Monte Bello
sur Mer
Petit coin
Novelle Vie
Jardin D'amour
Pieds Sur Terre
and Maison d'Epinasse

Herm in Phoenix, AZ

Bonne chance Kristi and Jean-Marc,

My suggestion for the new home is Le Sans Souci



Belly Acres

Chris Allin

With all the beautiful and creative suggestions, I like this one the best. Dolce vita implies an appreciation for life, through good and bad. And I truly believe that good can come from unfortunate circumstances. You and Kristi embrace life to the extent that it cannot ultimately be other than sweet!

GwenEllyn Anderson

I'm sure it is bittersweet. Breathe deeply and enjoy your newest adventure!


Jan  Hersh

I got it right away and it cracked me up!

Jan  Hersh

Mas de Joie!

Jan  Hersh

How about "Mas de Joie"

Patricia Sands

Dear Kristi and Jean-Marc ~ I'm with the voices that suggest a bit of time will reveal the perfect name for your new home. Keeping you in our hearts and thoughts ... Restez calme et bon courage!


You stole my idea! :) I just signed on to input that one!

Maybe "Cherchez Les Oursins" or "Recherche d'oursins" or "Maison Par Les Calanques" or simplement "Un Autre Beau Chemin"!

Kristi & Jean-Marc
Enjoy your new wonderful move, such opportunity!
Bisous, Judi

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