Un Matou + A Most Unusual and Creative Concept for Cat Adoption in Marseilles: Café "Le Coin des Chat'Mis"
Meaningless small talk leads to a meaningful connection! + parler de pluie et du beau temps

Au milieu + horses in the sea of La Ciotat!

Horse and cart in mediterranean sea kaki polizzi la ciotat france
A sight to behold in our seaside town of La Ciotat. The man riding the cart is Kaki Polizzi, an entraîneur de cheval, or award-winning horse-trainer.

"au milieu de" 

    : in the middle of

Click here to listen to the following sentence

Ne changez pas de cheval au milieu de la rivière. --Abraham Lincoln
Don't change horses in midstream.


    by Kristi Espinasse

My Mom once told me to take a new path each day. I never forgot her suggestion, although I took it littéralement the first time around (taking an alternate route to work the next day, enjoying the change of scenery there in the beautiful Arizona desert).

My wise Mamacita is also a horsewoman, and though she doesn't jump thoroughbreds any longer, she did get on a horse a few weeks ago, after it trotted right past her tin-roofed casa in the foothills of Puerto Vallarta. As nervous as I was seeing Mom on that horse (via the photo she sent with WhatsApp), it was yet another reminder to changer mon chemin chaque jour: change my path, change my schedule, change my habits--autrement dit--to shake things up in an otherwise predictable daily existence.

Mom jules horse puerta vallarta foothills

There is a reward in changing our habitudes, but I can't take credit for a recent gift that came of this. It was thanks to my daughter that I ventured out before daybreak on a Sunday morning. You see, dear Reader, I was on a "guilt errand" (the pastries I was after were my way of saying sorry for flaking out on our dinner date. Jackie, her boyfriend, Jérémie, and I were set to go to the brand new Casino (and its restaurant) here in La Ciotat, but by the end of the day I was worn out. So I gave the young couple my credit card (for a meal, not for gambling) and bid them bon appétit! 

The next morning I felt terrible for not joining them (in the end they went to MacDo, followed by a game of Monopoly here at home). To ease the guilt I hatched the "Pâtisserie Plan": surprise the young couple with fresh pâtisseries--a delicious selection of pain au chocolat, croissants, pains au raisins (and whatever else the bakery tosses into its mix of mini-size brioches (did you know croissants come in mini sizes? They do! 12 for 4 euros 50....)

And this is how I happened upon the most amazing scene! The boulangerie-pâtisserie in question is located en face de la mer--right across from the sea....where, for the first time, I saw horses in training! I leave you with a few images of these magnificent chevaux and a few reminders: when a young couple of the smartphone generation wants to play Monopoly with little OLD you, don't miss out, as I did. And, finally, each day, changer de chemin.

Post note: please forgive any errors today. I lost my entire story and had to rewrite it. Grrrh! To cool down from this aggravation, I went for a walk and, while walking along the sandy beach, snowflakes fell from the sky! Il neige ici à La Ciotat! 

entraîneur = trainer, coach, instructor
le cheval = horse
autrement dit = said another way
une habitude = habit, custom
bon appétit = enjoy your meal
MacDo = what the French call McDonalds
la boulangerie-pâtisserie = bakery (serving both bread and pastries)

Horse of Pride - One of my favorite books!
Le Cheval d'Orgeuil - (the same book, in French)
Embryolisse--the moisturizing cream I use (and so does my daughter), try it!
Saddles and horse supplies available on Amazon.  


Horses cart yellow wall

Horseman cavalier horse mediterranean sea training

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Roseann Milano

I haven't heard that sound of the ocean in a really long time. It felt so good.
Thank you-


Horses and Snow on the Sea ......
Within two days
South of France?
So unusual, completely unexpected
therefore ; magical.

Thank you for sharing and continuing to inspire.
Stay warm!


You live a charmed life even with heater etc issues of late. I miss the sea. Thanks.

Barb Friedman

So glad to hear about Jules and Jackie! One of the best things about your blog is us readers feeling like we know your family! How does Max like Mexico? How is Jackie doing? Will Jules stay in Mexico? Maybe those questions are too personal but we love hearing about your family.


J'adore la vidéo de la cheval...et la mer ♥

Diane Heinecke

How special! Horses and trainer on the beach. Thank you for sharing that sometimes you have to renege on invitations because you're "too pooped to party." Welcome to my world. As for your mom, she's always been a free spirit. Bravo!

Chris Allin

Good advice from Jules. A new day, a new way, a new discovery! I have an insatiable curiosity to follow a road I have never been down before. While living in Europe I found many charming little villages that way! I grew up with horses and haven't been one one since having my second child. Bravo to Jules for seizing a moment! She is such an inspiration!


Our dear Kristi,
What beautiful pictures and videos!
Especially,how wonderful to see dear Jules!(Kristi,what inspiration you get from her!)You both give me motivation to continue changing my habitudes,even now in my 70'S! Thank you!
I grew up on horseback,with my two older brothers, in the lovely Scottsdale(suburb of Phoenix)area in the 50's and 60's.What a special memory,and what a gift to have been able to have this as part of my life.
You have given us another happy and uplifting post today!(with NO errors!)
Natalia XO


Bonjour, Kristin,
As many of your other readers have observed, you are blessed with a very wise Maman. Our book club is reading. The Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. Coincidentally, they have your mother's same wisdom. Stress, these wise men say, often comes from frustration which in turn sometimes comes from having unrealistic expectations and from not being realistic about our own abilities and about objective reality. They say one way to relieve some stress is to re-frame it from threat to challenge. In other words, like your mother, they say don't go down the road that leads to threat; train your mind to take a different path; the one that leads to challenge and spiritual growth. Best regards to you and your family.


What a lovely sight of both horses in the sea and snow falling on the sea!


La Ciotat gets more attractive every day!

In the meantime, I'm looking forward to seeing more of La Ciotat in Brisbane soon:
https://www.affrenchfilmfestival.org/film/the-workshop - L'Atelier

"It is summer in La Ciotat in the South of France. Antoine (played by newcomer Matthieu Lucci) is taking part in a creative writing workshop run by novelist Olivia..."

Marianne Rankin

Was there a reason why the horses were being trained to walk in water?


I'm glad you asked Barb! I was wondering the same things!

Catherine Berry (But you are in France, Madame)

"Re-frame from threat to challenge". Thank-you. Put so well, as you have, I can see many situations in my day-to-day where these words are applicable.

Janet Neckyfarow

I had to smile when I read about snow in southern France. I can still recall snow in Nice in 1971 and the other students who lived in la Residence St. Antoine running around shouting "Il neige, il neige!!!"


Thank you so much for the lovely pictures and words of advice!


How utterly charming and uplifting to see the Horse Whisperer training his lovely animals!! You see, pastry-hunting has all kinds of good side effects, which is why one should do more of it, haha.

Kristin Espinasse

Haha!  Thanks, Suzanne. Your note is a lovely follow up to these comments. 

While Im here, thanks to all who have taken the time to write in. Reading these comments is a big treat, just like those pâtisseries 😍

Jan Hersh

Yay! More videos! How I would love to ride a horse on the beach!

Martine Muraccioli

It’s funny to receive your pictures from a friend living in Mount Vernon (NY State) who is found of French culture and language and who is following your website. The funny part is : I’m French, I live in Allauch and I work at La Ciotat 😄/Martine

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