Que nenni! A fun, useful new expression + a must-see beach along the French mediterranean!
A slang way to say "water" and when the French can't get good wine they make it in the hallway!

It began with tattoos... (our mother-daughter escapade to Cap Ferrat) + un attrape-rêve

Attrape-reve capteur de reve dreamcatcher in french
Do you own a dreamcatcher? We kept seeing these attrape-rêves last week--in the most unexpected places: La Ciotat, near Cannes, and again in Villefranche-sur-Mer. Coincidence? (photo of our daughter)

un attrape-rêve (also un capteur de rêves)

    : dreamcatcher

Selon la croyance populaire, le capteur de rêve empêche les mauvais rêves d'envahir le sommeil de son détenteur. Agissant comme un filtre, il capte les songes envoyés par les esprits, conserve les belles images de la nuit et brûle les mauvaises visions aux premières lueurs du jour. a dream catcher or dreamcatcher. According to popular belief, the dream catcher prevents bad dreams from invading the sleeper's sleep. Acting as a filter, it captures the dreams sent by the spirits, preserves the beautiful images of the night and burns the bad visions at the first light of day. (Wikipedia)


by Kristi Espinasse

Our 20-year-old returned for a second season waitressing at the port in Bandol. She will work "sept sur sept" or 7 nights a week (including 2 or 3 lunch services, double shift) until mid-September. But before Jackie begins the demanding workload, we spirited away for 3 nights to Cap Ferrat--a breathtaking peninsula next to Beaulieu-sur-Mer. This mother-daughter escapade would be a summer vacation with an underlying goal...

Because our daughter is floundering (continue her design studies or take a year off and work fulltime? Or move to the States!), I thought this drive up the coast could be the chance to practice positive thinking, to try some assertiveness exercises...and why not chat about le fric while we are at it (how will she make a living? Meantime, better save those waitressing wages!). As my goals for our trip unfolded, a lighter theme began to announce itself...

It began with tattoos (Jackie wants one...). We saw a young woman on the beach sporting a tatouage of an attrape-rêve....

A day later, on the road to Cap Ferrat, we passed a pick-up truck with a sticker of an attrape-rêve. "I'll bet we'll see another of those dreamcatchers on this trip," I said to my girl, grasping for some sort of meaning to our journey. Though a dreamcatcher in Amerindian culture is an object that catches bad dreams, the sound of the words "attrape rêve" could remind us to run after our own dreams....


Arriving at Villefranche, my daughter held on to the wheel with one hand, surreptitiously glancing at her GPS phone-map, which she held in the other hand. Her Citroen, newly mine 15 years before, jerked its way up the hill in a series of nerve-racking hairpin turns. "Give me that phone! Keep both hands on the wheel!" I begged.

Handing over her mobile phone, Jackie instructed me to "Hit recenter. Hit recenter!" Tapping my daughter's iPhone screen, I noticed how the map honed in to our location, making our exact whereabouts crystal clear. Génial! I suggested to Jackie we might, from here-on-out, hit our own "recenter buttons" when feeling stressed--whether during a series of hairpin turns up the hill or whether on a Sunday afternoon when, instead of enjoying an hour at the beach, we're rumination about a bunch of deadlines coming up this week....a week in which we also have guests to host, appointments, and a tax extension to deal with). Remember to hit recenter. Hit recenter and be in The Now Whereabouts (instead of The Future Whereabouts. We'll cross that road when we get there!)

Beaulieu sur Mer jumelee Tempe Arizona
Beaulieu-sur-Mer. What a coincidence this town is a twin city with my college town, of Tempe, Arizona, where I majored in French at ASU (alumni article here, click then scroll down the page)


Jackie in between beaulieu-sur-mer and cap ferrat
My driver, my daughter, my dreamcatcher

I'd do well to hit the recenter button now, instead of panicking over how to tie-up the rest of this story within one hundred words (if you prefer shorter posts, rather than long ones, let me know). So let's all take a moment to breathe and remember we have the rest of the week to get everything done. Whatever your workload, whatever your commitments--break it down. I hope this message was helpful to you (I know I needed it too!)

I'll be back at the next chance to tell you about our third sighting in three days of the mysterious attrape-rêves (aka capteur de rêves) not far from Beaulieu-sur-Mer, where for three full days I hit the recenter button while trying, all along, to help my daughter figure out her own next steps.

On the beach in Beaulieu-sur-mer

A Message from Kristi on this blog's 19th anniversary
Thank you for reading this language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on writing. My wish is to continue creating posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation.

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