Piquer une tête: An insider's guide on where to swim in Marseilles
Dégouliner: the rain trickled, dripped, and poured but it didn't keep us from touring La Ciotat

Quel temps de cochon! Beastly weather in La Ciotat, Cassis, and Sanary-sur-Mer!

Hudson and the Puppy lost in Paris
Out now! Jackie Clark Mancuso's latest in her much-beloved Hudson series: "An expatriate dog in Paris meets a young stray and helps him search for home...via a whirwind tour of Paris with stops at Hudson's favorite haunts." Order a copy here.

un temps de cochon

    : lousy weather, beastly weather, 

Thanks to my friend Dominique for sharing today's expression!

Audio File:

Quel temps de cochon: click here to listen to the sound file

Quel temps de cochon!
What lousy weather!

Global culinary tours
BORDEAUX AND THE DORDOGNE small group tour Sept 17-25 - culture, cuisine & wine. Click here for itinerary.


    by Kristi Espinasse

My friends from North Dakota just visited us here in La Ciotat and got soaked! Erin, Brian, and daughter Miranda (joining us from Slovakia, where she's working with Cru (an international campus ministry), are avid hikers, used to the rugged outdoors, so we didn't let the pouring rain and this veritable temps de cochon hold us back from some local sightseeing.

We began our tour at the Parc du Mugel, but no sooner did we drive into the parking lot than the sky opened up and it began to pleut de cordes! That's when Jean-Marc suggested we take the Route des Crêtes and see the countryside via car. As our car lurched up the side of hill toward the famous cliffs overlooking Cassis, some of us kept our eyes off the snaking, two-lane road which did not have a safety wall. It helped to focus, instead, on all the calming wildflowers that carpeted the national park! The rosemary was blooming and its purple-blue tint drew our vision--and our feet--out over the gorgeous landscape. You can see how windy it was by the state of Miranda's blond locks, which took flight!

Mirandas hair
Miranda walking arm and arm with mom, Erin

Cliff near cassis france
Le Cap Canaille--the almost-highest sea cliff in France, above the Mediterranean along the Route des Crêtes--or "Road of the Ridges"--which joins La Ciotat and Cassis.

Bird of paradise in cassis
Erin took this photo after we arrived in the little port of Cassis. She loves bird of Paradise (l'oiseau de paradis), which, we decided, would go well in our garden here in La Ciotat. Qu'en pensez-vous?

Poissonnerie fishmonger in Cassis France blue shutters striped awning charm
Even in off-season it is sometimes tricky to find a parking spot, so Jean-Marc kindly dropped us off near the port and went searching for a place to se garer...
Friends and umbrellas parapluie
My friend Erin and our trusty parapluies. It was so windy that one of the umbrellas broke!

Cats and jasmine in cassis france
We noticed all the potted jasmine dotted throughout town, and lots of "window cats."

Brian and jean-marc at Restaurant la Table in Cassis
After checking out all the menus along the old port, we skipped back to Rue Severin--one of the little streets without a sea view, and found a delicious menu at an affordable price! Only 14 euros for both an entée (we had salade de chèvre chaud) and a delicious filet of fish. One waitress served all the tables and did a great job (even our basket of bread was crispy and hot from the oven!) (The place: Restaurant A Table, 7 Rue Severin Icard, Cassis)

Kristi and erin in Cassis

Jean-Marc introduced Brian, Erin, and Miranda to the world-famous white wines of Cassis, which our friends loved.

Erin jean-marc kristi in cassis
Thank you Miranda and Erin for these pictures. My friends are already headed back to North Dakota. They've escaped the deluge, here, but face a blizzard at home. Wish them luck, and Miranda, too, as she continues her work in Slovakia.

Erin and miranda on the beach in la ciotat
Something else about Erin: she created the interior for my books Blossoming in Provence and First French 'Essais'. She works with my friend Tamara and TLC Book Design

I will be uploading more pictures from our visits to La Ciotat and Sanary-sur-Mer... so check back this weekend for some more colorful scenes. Thank you all very much for reading and enjoy your weekend.

Quel temps de cochon! = what lousy weather!
il pleut des cordes! = it's pouring!
l'oiseau de paradis = bird of paradise
La Route des Crêtes = Route of the Ridges
qu'en pensez-vous? = what do you think?
se garer = to park
salade de chèvre chaud = salad with hot goat cheese
la parapluie = umbrella

Merde!: The Real French You Were Never Taught at School (Sexy Slang Series)

T-Shirt "I Don't Need Therapy I Just Need to Go to France."

Gourmet French Macaroons

Window in cassis france palms
A window with a lot of character, that never seems to change each time we visit.

Port of cassis france colorful buildings waterfront
Lighthouse or phare in Cassis France
Looking in the opposite direction...here is the phare, or lighthouse.

Old wooden fishing boats and le chateau de cassis hotel restaurant
Old wooden fishing boats, or "pointus", and the Château de Cassis (now a hotel-restaurant) high up on a sea cliff. 

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