La Prise de bec - unexpected run-in with a stranger while walking my dog
Afin de + When, just like that, a cultural curiosity is demystified

Dépaysement - one of Jean-Marc's favorite French words!


After a recent dog-walking clash there was no time to linger in the comfort zone of home, dwelling on a negative experience. Une nouvelle expérience awaited just around the corner of North Africa.... 


    : change of scene

* dépaysement can also have a negative connotation, for it also means "culture shock" or  "disorientation" 

AUDIO FILE - hear Jean-Marc read the following sentence in French

Dépaysement sentence

J'enregistre ce message vocal à l'aéroport de Nador où nous avons passé trois jours de complet dépaysement dans ce pays le Maroc, en visite de differents lieux comme Saidia, Tibouda, et la Lagune de Nador. I am recording this message at the airport in Nador where we have spent three full days of a complete change of scenery in the country of Morocco, visiting different places like Saidia, Tibouda, and the Lagoon of Nador.

High quality vacation rental in the heart of Provence. Recommended by readers. Click here for photos


    by Kristi Espinasse

Like a gourmand who is already devising his next meal while enjoying the present one, those who have been bitten by the travel bug are plotting the next destination even as their return flight is touching down in their hometown.

Our hometown was Marseilles when I moved to the Hexagone in 1992, and it was my future husband who had (still has) the travel bug. I am a true homebody, une casanière, or have become one after reaching my ultimate destination (La France). Even if I am thankful for a husband who regularly tugs me out of my comfort zone, I still cannot shake the resistance I feel when I hear his now familiar words: Et si on va à.... How about if we go to...

It was on the tail end of our September périple to France's Island of Beauty that Jean-Marc suggested we go to Rome "la prochaine fois." When you live near a major airport and have access to low-cost carriers such as EasyJet and Ryan air--you can easily and cheaply voyage to a rainbow of Mediterranean destinations all for around 60 or 80 euros aller-retour. And, if you are my husband, you can find a good bargain hotel sur place!

So it was that on Tuesday we stood in line for our next adventure--et c'est le cas de le dire!  I had left it up to Jean-Marc to surprise me about the destination (this being a good exercise in going with the flow). But on the eve of our departure, I needed my husband to break his silence and let me know which city we were flying to--it would mean the difference between packing boots (for Rome?) or sandals (for Greece?) or a parka (for Russia? No! he was only teasing about ce dernier!). 

But it never occurred to me that I might need to pack a headscarf....

*    *    *
Nador Morocco
Coastline near the border of Algeria....

To be continued (click here for part two). Meantime, I would love it if you would share your own experiences traveling to a culture different than your own. Did you make any faux-pas? What surprised you about the country and its ways? Any negative experiences? Or mostly positive ones? 


une périple = trek, journey
la prochaine fois = the next time
aller-retour = round trip
un casanier, une casanière = homebody, homebird
sur place = on site
c'est la cas de le dire! = you can say that again! 
ce dernier = the latter

Build your vocabulary by reading one more story from the archives. This one, in which my mother-in-law is about to reveal the names of all my husband's ex-girlfriends, is a fun way to boost your French! 

Very good news for readers who would like to support this blog, by purchasing Amazon items via my associates links below. These links will now work for readers in the UK, FRANCE, GERMANY, and SPAIN. Try them out, and here are a few suggested items that I personally like, and thank you for your support!:

Embryolisse French face cream

Illy Coffee - 100 percent arabica

New books on France... this one, by David Downie, is next up in my reading.

And, finally, a good immersion blender (it's soup season!)

Max and jean-marc espinasse

Meet Jean-Marc and our son Max (all grown up now!) in Texas and in Portland. 

Max and Jean-Marc will be pouring the very last US bottles of Mas des Brun and other delicious wines next December in TX and OR. If you live nearby, don't miss 
seeing them.

Houston,  TX : December 13th at 7 PM
- Winemaker Dinner at Bistro Provence13616 Memorial Drive. Tel : 713-827-8008. Reservation needed. 

Portland, OR: December 15th :
- Blackbird Wine Shop ~ Drop in tasting, 6-8 PM. 4323 NE Fremont Street
Portland OR  : December 16th :
- Pastaworks at City Market ~ Drop in Tasting, Noon - 2 PM. 735 NW 21st Avenue
- Providore Fine Foods ~ Drop in tasting, 2 30-4 30 PM. 2340 NE Sandy Blvd
The Harvest Wine Bar ~ Winemaker Dinner, 6 PM. 14559 Westlake Dr, Lake Oswego. Tel : 503-747-7263. Reservations needed
Jean-Marc Espinasse
For any questions, please call  or email Jean-Marc at

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