Dolphin...and other seaworthy terms in French
S'emballer: Jean-Marc's heart after the 2019 Ironman Barcelona

The French verb "lancer" + A lost phone and a found skill: Max's foray into juggling

Max juggling tassels
Learn and listen to this sentence in French, below: Juggling is an exercise of skill that consists in its strictest sense of throwing, catching and relaunching objects in the air. It can be a game, a sport, an art or a religious rite.

Today's Word: lancer

    : to throw, toss, launch 

Click here to listen to the following sentence in French

La jonglerie est un exercice d'adresse qui consiste dans son sens le plus strict à lancer, rattraper et relancer de manière continue des objets en l’air. Elle peut être un jeu, un sport, un art ou encore un rite religieux.
by Kristi Espinasse

The other night I was treated to an impromptu juggling performance, after our son returned from Montpellier. Max is home for 3 weeks for his internship at Domaine de la Mongestine, and will return to the university every month to complete his final year of business school. Having found a short-term rental to share with his pals, Cameron and Souhail (also completing une année en alternance) the classmates are getting used to homework again after a year away from classes. And in their downtime, they have found a few ways to décompresser, or chill out (besides les boîtes de nuits!)...
Watching Max jongler was impressive. "Bravo! When did you learn to do that?"
"After mon portable went missing. Ten days without a phone...on s'ennuie!  Voilà -- I learned something new!"

Nodding my head in appreciation, I studied the juggler's equipment: All you needed were three small balls and you were in business! You could carry them in your backpack, and always have a form of entertainment handy--or a way to earn some cash for a starving student!


"Hey, by the way, where did you get those pompoms?" 
"They fell off the Souhail's pillow..." (aha! I guess Souhail ended up on the couch). " Cameron collected the pompons and began juggling. That's how I watching Cameron's technique!" 
"That is so cool, Max! But are you sure you all didn't help that pillow to lose a few more tassels?"
"Haha. We came up with a second use, too... Each night after dinner, we each tossed a pompon. Whoever made a basket did not have to do dishes!"

Gosh, now I really wanted my own set of these ever-amusing and useful pompons. I don't think any of our pillows have tassels on them, so the first trick will be to look at all the objects in our house... with fresh eyes!  Maybe some wine corks would work? We've got plenty of those!

     *    *    * 
I'll take this opportunity to remind you that Jean-Marc has opened his wine shop here in La Ciotat. It is so easy to access. Simply exit the freeway in La Ciotat, take the first right and you're there--at Le Vin Sobre wineshop If Max is in, he'll share his pompons with you. There is also a puzzle you can help finish and next time I stop in I am dropping off a guitar. And there are books! This should make the shop even cozier, so stop in and enjoy a glass of wine.

Jean-marc reading words in a french life
Jean-Marc, pretending to read Words in a French Life , in stock now! :-)

Jackie Jean Marc Max Kristi at Vin Sobre Wine shop La Ciotat
Are you on Instagram? More photos from day-to-day life, follow me here

une boîte de nuit = nightclub
en alternance = work/study training program  
décompresser = relax, chill out
une boîte de nuit = nightclub, club
on s'ennuie = one gets bored
jongler = to juggle
un portable = cell phone, mobile phone
un pompon = pompom, tassel
In this contemporary version from Paulist Productions, Barnaby ekes out a bare existence juggling in the street for coins. He is broken-hearted over the death of his wife and best friend. Barnaby drifts aimlessly until he stays in a small community where he is treated kindly. As Christmas approaches, all are making special gifts for the Lord. Click here to view The Juggler of Notre Dame

petanque boules game in France
Another ball game Max (second on left) loves: pétanque. Photo taken at our former vineyard, Mas des Brun. That's Jackie on the right. Wish her luck, she passes her bartending exam in Miami next week!

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal each week. If you find joy or value in these stories and would like to keep this site going, donating today will help so much. Thank you for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

Ways to contribute:
1.Zelle®, The best way to donate and there are no transaction fees. Zelle to [email protected]

2.Paypal or credit card
Or purchase my book for a friend and so help them discover this free weekly journal.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Fay Plauche' Butler

My mother's family is from Carcassonne and my father's from Le Seyne so, I am attracted to anything and everything French. I love the way you share French family life with us all. Thanks.


Bonjour Kristi,
I walked the way of St Jacques last year and met a lovely couple from La Ciotat. I’ll send them the info for the wine shop and I’m sure they’ll stop by. Good luck to Jean-Marc on his venture!


Yes, best of luck to Jackie in Miami! How long will she be there? I'm planning to visit in December and will stop by and check out her new skills if she is still in town...


Hi Kristi,

Fun story about Max today and best of luck to Jackie! The wine shop looks cozy...does the name mean the sober wine shop or the sober wine? Did you have anything to do with the title? :-)

I would love to see a video sometime on IG of a pétanque match! I love to see the videos of French life!


Nothing but beauty and talent in your family!!! Great fun and lots of exciting new beginnings!! The best to all of you!

Roseann Milano

When I tried to learn to juggle I somehow got some good advice. Use some lightweight scarves (small, maybe the size of a handkerchief) to start with. They are so lightweight that they stay aloft a second or two longer which gives you time to think where to put your hands next. It did help me.


Get Max some actual cloth juggling blocks--they're filled with something to make them heavier. The additional heft makes them easier to manaage. They're cheap, and he and his friends will amuse themselves while perfecting their craft.


Bonjour Kristi,
That’s my kind of wine shop! I love to browse in shops while waiting for some inspiration to choose a purchase for a family member, a friend, or myself. I have one question: will you be stocking pétanque sets to sell?

Ellen A.

Oh, your family is just adorable. Best of luck to Max and Jackie. Wish I were closer to be able to patronize Jean-Marc's new shop.


Our dear Kristi,
So many wonderful things going on at the same time!
What an awesome family you all are!!
Nobody deserves happiness and success more!
Natalia. Xo


Oops. Love it! A little linguistic faux pas that betrays your bilingual brain: “That's Jackie on the right. Wish her luck, she passes her bartending exam in Miami next week!” Or maybe it’s just wishful thinking . . . or a foretelling of Jackie’s success? “Passer un examen” se traduit en anglais comme “take an exam/test.” “Pass an exam” se traduit en français comme ”réussir à un examen.” Bonne chance, Jackie, on both fronts.

Alice Dent

Chouette! My husband learned to juggle by using lemons and limes. They work great! He sometimes used oranges too. There’s a trick to it.
Trick or Treat 🎃

Eileen Burns

That book, "Words in a French Life" is a standby that is never far from reach. I read excerpts to my dear father on the night that he died...How delighted he would be to read that your son is juggling! Con mucho amor! (I am trying to learn Spanish, too)Eileen

Marianne Rankin

Max, congratulations on your new skill. Anyone should be able to pick it up. I bought a set of three small balls for my son, with a leather or leather-like covering, that would probably be easier to handle than pompoms.

Bonne Chance, Jackie, avec l'examen.

Reading about juggling reminded me of a short story called "Le Jongleur de Notre Dame,' which I recommend to all of you. Don't want to say much, so as not to give the story away.


When my brother was in high school, he and his friends learned to juggle using fruit from the fruit bowl in our kitchen. My mother said this was ok as long as they ate all the bruised fruit they dropped while practicing. You can imagine how much fruit we went through at my house during those high school years. I think that my mom liked all the juggling teenagers in the kitchen. I still miss my mom, who passed away nine years ago.

Kristin Espinasse


Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)