A few recent photos, "the best days of our lives", and a strange French word for hoarding
A Beautiful Escape via the French word échapper belle

The Members of our Family + recipe reminder: "La Tarte Tomate"

Street in la ciotat France climbing vine morning glory blossoms
"Take a new road each day," Mom says. Like that, I discovered this quaint, unfamiliar rue on my way to our little Baptist church here in La Ciotat. The vine-flanked ruelle was as peaceful as the photo, with neighbors chatting at a window sill and laundry fluttering in the breeze. 

TODAY'S WORD: un défaut (day-fo)

    : fault, flaw, shortcoming, vice

la curiosité est un vilain défaut = curiosity killed the cat

AUDIO FILE: Listen to Jean-Marc read the French vocabulary in today's post:

Vocabulary List, click here to listen to the French

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

Coucou! I love this two-syllable, cozy French greeting for "hello, hiya, hey there, salut"--all very warm ways to reconnect after a brief absence. How did your summer go? Did you thrive or just survive? (Or a combination of the two?)

Ah, c'est la vie! 

That is life indeed and, if you are new here, life or la vie quotidienne is the subject of these posts. Life and all of its joys and absurdities. Because family life is the heart of this journal, now is a good time to reintroduce you to our lovable (mostly--on a tous nos défauts!) cast of characters:

JULES: the matriarch of the family and my mom. Jules came to live with us here in La Ciotat 3 years ago. Time flies and so do her trusty friends: all the neighborhood birds who she feeds. 

JEAN-MARC: a.k.a. "Chief Grape", my French husband, who began two vineyards in Provence. He currently runs a wine shop ("Le Vin Sobre") when he is not plotting his next sport adventure, like a triathlon in Spain

MAX: our 26-year-old son, who had the nerve to choose a career in wine after we made the difficult decision to sell our vineyard! (Now he dreams of having vines of his own!) Meantime, he works near Aix-en-Provence and loves the wine business.

JACKIE: our 23-year-old daughter, born and raised in France and who felt the need to discover her American roots. She currently lives in Miami where she is trying to decide whether to return to Fashion design school, learn finance, move to a new state or return to France....

SMOKEY: our 12-year-old golden retriever who survived a two-dog attack as a puppy. Scars and all, he keeps on trucking--and caring for my Mom (a job he assumed 3 years ago) keeps him going.

MR. SACKS: Jean-Marc's loveable 22-year-old sidekick (see a bunch of pictures of him here)

KRISTI: founder of French Word-A-Day.com, I grew up in Arizona, moved to France in 1992, and began this French word journal ten years later, as a way to carve out a place in my dream profession: writing. Thank you for reading and for keeping me employed!

YOU. Saperlipopette! I nearly left out a most important member of our French Word-a-Day family. YOU. It would mean a lot to all of us here if you would introduce yourself in the comments section below. What city do you call home? What's your favorite past-time? Are you old enough to remember WWII? Thank you. I look forward to reading your words and I thank you for reading mine as I gear up for a new year of postings. Bonne rentrée!



la rue = street, road
la ruelle = lane, narrow street, back alley
la curiosité est un vilain défaut = curiosity killed the cat
coucou = hey, hi there
salut = hi
c'est la vie = that's life
la vie quotidienne = daily life
on a tous nos défauts! = we all have our faults!
saperlipopette = goodness me! good heavens!
bonne rentrée = have a good fall (happy back-to-school, return from summer)
= yours (way to sign off a French email or letter)

Tomato pie tarte tomate petunias

Visit the tasty recipe archives and discover this most delicious way to use some still-in-season tomatoes. Click here.

Tomato pie tarte tomate yellow and red  tomatoes
Click the recipe link above this photo for easy instructions on how to make a tomato tart.
Window in la ciotat
I leave you with a homey scene from La Ciotat, France. Prenez soin de vous et à bientôt!

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.

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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.


Salut, so happy to get your post in my email this morning; I have missed them! I am Leslie from Columbia, South Carolina, a former French teacher. We are currently building a home on 22 acres that has two barns. Looking forward to learn how to farm!

Elaine Mercier

Welcome back! So nice to see your note today in my email, a nice surprise and great way to start the day. Elaine

Sarah LaBelle

Bonne rentrée !
I have missed your views, in photos and in words this summer.
I am Sarah from Chicago, who once long ago spent a month’s vacation in France, riding the trains before TGV, from Paris to Bretagne to Avignon, ending with a weekend in Monte Carlo with the parents of a friend.


Bonjour Kristi! It was such a pleasant treat to have your email in my my inbox this morning. I live just outside Richmond VA (I work in downtown Richmond, but have been teleworking for 18 months now). My family is my husband of many decades and my Sheltie named Toby. Glad to hear the update on your family and it sounds like all is well!


Nice to have you back in our lives, Kristi. I am David. Born in the UK just after WW II, raised in Canada, living in the US near Austin, TX. Love languages (although cannot speak any of them well) and love to travel. We have spent many vacations in Paris and Chamonix.


Been reading this for a few years, sent originally by friend, Annette, since 5th grade. I am 83, retired physical therapist, after 55 years. Live now in Boerne, Texas. Am a Christian. I send your post to my granddaughter in Austin. I have 3 children, Sara, John, Rachel, 11 grandchildren.. I a bookclub here at the library - Mary’s Potpourri, an eclectic bookclub.
You are very dear in your presentations, upbeat, aesthetically well done. I, too have decreased the wine intake, one glass now and then, miss it.
I pray the Lord’s blessing on you and your family. We “can do all things in Christ who strengthens us.
I can’t contribute money wise but will pray for you, love, in Christ, Mary

Catherine Bown Signorello

Bonjour Kristi!
It was lovely to read your post this morning while I ate a quiet breakfast at home in Philadelphia (our two children left for the first day of 7th and 11th grade, respectively, just minutes ago:) I’m imagining myself on the ruelle in your pretty picture - such a nice way to start the day! Merci! You are appreciated.



I’m Janie and I live in New Hampshire, but I’m about to move to Aix-en-Provence with my husband for a year. I’m looking forward to walking the St Jacques de Compostelle next week, then getting settled into Aix and exploring towns in your neck of the woods, Kristi. It’s so nice to see your post this morning. Bonne journée à tous.


I am from Cleveland, Ohio. I remember John Glenn orbiting the Earth, but was not alive during WWII. I have been to Paris 7 times and plan on going back in May. Je parle français un peu.

Geraldine Ventura

Hi Kristi, So glad to have you back in my email! I am Geraldine from Valparaiso, IN. My husband Lawrence and I are now 88 years young and miss our trips to Provence. We took our first trip in 1999, and every other year after until Covid. This time Covid regulations permitting, we are planning a month in Portugal, but I know I will miss being in Provence..Looking forward to reading your new book.

Amy Jo

Salut Kristi!
I’m a French major from just outside Kansas City, Missouri. There’s not much call for French here, but I have tutored a bit. I love writing too! I’m so happy to receive your blog. Thank you for sharing your life in France!


Bonjour, Kristi!

What a welcome surprise to see a post from you this morning! I am a huge Francohpile and your blog was the first one that I found many years ago (I can't even remember how many), and I've loved it ever since. My husband and I were lucky enough to meet you and Jean-Marc at your home when you were doing a book signing. It was a lovely day and a wonderful memory I adore. Of course Smokey was a highlight of our visit as well. We are HUGE golden retriever fans as they are my favorite. We lost our last golden last year. I've always wanted a Bernese Mountain Dog, so we thought we'd give them a try. Bellamie is almost 6 months old and boy is she wonderful!!! We love her so much! I do see a Golden in our future though. I just can't go too long without one. <3

My husband and I live in the small mid-western town of Pendleton, Indiana. We have 20 acres that we share with a German Shepherd, a Bernese Mountain Dog, 2 Maine Coon cats (named Merlot and Bordeaux), 2 outside cats, 7 ducks, 9 hens and roosters and 2 miniature Highland cows! :) We adore all of our babies and it sure makes life fun (and exhausting at the same time)!

An Scott

I'm An. Born and raised in a suburb of Philadelphia, PA, I've been living in SW Florida since 2004 and here in Naples, since 2015, when I met & married my husband Jeff.Next move will be to the south of France, fulfilling my lifelong dream to grow old in the south of France. We're heading to France this Friday night, starting our trip in Paris for a few days,then renting andn car and on to Saint-Emilion for some wine & a stay at a big chateau nearby.We'll be driving along the south of France, starting west of Marseille, with some days in Provence, Saint Tropez and finally Nice. We've got a list of little towns and villages, we've heard are ideal for "future expat wannabes", like ourselves, to check out and see if they will fill the bill for our future move to France, when my husband finally retires in just 2 1/2 years. If time allows, we even hope to drop in at that lovely wine shop in La Ciotat to say hello to your "Chief Grape", Jean-Marc!Looking forward to our adventure. Perhaps we'll even run into you. Hope you enjoyed your summer! Glad to see your email this morning!

Mark Anderson

Hi Kristi
Bonjour !
I first went to France in 1972 as a 20 year old Hippie backpacker hitch hiking, sleeping in fields and trying to live on $5 a day. Since then I have returned countless times and now earn my living as a European Travel Specialist who has sent thousands of Travellers to France and getting ready to go back myself September 16. I'd love to see you. Does Jean-Marc have his store in Ciotat ?

Mark Anderson

Kristin Espinasse

Hello Mark, Yes, Jean-Marcos store is located in La Ciotat. Here is a link to the Facebook page, or Google le vin sobre la Ciotat and it should pop up on the map. See you soon:


Jennifer Bowlin Mengis

Coucou! Je suis Jennifer. Moitié française, moitié Américaine. Je suis née au Mans, mais nous avons déménagé aux Etats-Unis quand j'avais 3 ans! Je suis ravi que votre blog est retourné. A francophile friend introduced me to your blog years ago and I have enjoyed it for the glimpses of French everyday life and vocabulary building. It is a journey and we are constantly learning and growing! I was the tutrice for my aunt who lived in La Flèche for several years, hence many trips back and forth to take care of her medical, banking, home maintenance, etc. Unfortunately, most of those trips were super short and filled with meetings with bankers, social workers, care givers, etc. I am longing for a trip where I can enjoy the beauty of my native land!


Good to hear from you again! I am Marcia, from Battle Ground, Indiana, near the home of Purdue University. I live in a historical town in what was once the blacksmith's home. I have an elderly Papillon dog named Jasper and a new kitten named Sophie. I also have an expat daughter who is living her dream in Munich, Germany near the Alps and am soon going to fly over to see her. And I have a son who is an Army vet. Welcome back!


Ça fait plaisir de vous voir Kristi (dans mes e-mails biensûr).
Moi, j’ai vécue two ans en France il y a 15 ans (déjà!). Maintenant j’ai trois enfants avec les quelles je parle français (même avec les fautes).
J’aime de lire (et rêver) de la vie en France. J’ai hâte de retourner là-bas, mais il faut attendre (après Covid).
Melynie (à New Hampshire)


Bonjour! I've missed my French family. I can't remember how many years I've been "related" to y'all (yes, I'm from Texas😊), but the kids were very small. I'm retired and spend each morning trying to learn French...all I can say is "A" for effort. I was so glad to see your post and to catch up with the family. Bonne journée!

Karin Haney

Today I woke up to your email—always a treat. One year ago today—it snowed! Crazy Denver weather! Take care and stay well.


Missed you.


I was just thinking about you two days ago and hoping you hadn't closed the laptop. I have been to France 3 times, mostly in the Provence area. Am around you mother's age, and want to go back one more time. And hope to spend 4 months between France, Italy and Switzerland . Turns out I have family in the Basque region of France, Sare. They look forward to meeting any American relative, so here is hoping next spring. Bienvenue retour. Joie from Carmel


Hi Kristi,

I am so happy you are back because I so enjoy your posts. I live in Frisco Texas and I am a retired ESL teacher. I have followed your blog since the beginning and it’s so wonderful to see how your family has grown and I especially love when you write about your mom. She is such a delight!

Tom Berry

Hi, Kristi.

I have been following you probably for as long as you’ve written this blog. If you recall, I brought a group of physicians to visit your vineyard in 2013. And I saw Jean-Marc in New York City when he exhibited there at a wine show.

I was born in Detroit and have been a Francophile for most of my life having a French-Canadian mother. Three years ago I finally bought my own house in France and moved to the village of Montréal, just west of Carcassonne in the Languedoc. The roots of the house go back to the 14th century though it has had a couple of renovations over the years. I’m putting my own touch on it and have lovely views of the Pyrenees to which I wake up every morning. I am very happy to be here.

In the meantime, while taking French classes in Carcassonne to improve my fluency, I saw a need amongst my classmates for grammar lessons. So I created a class I called Practical French and actually have three different groups at this point through the auspices of Acceuil Ville France, all voluntary work. During the pandemic we have met via videoconference so Covid is not stopping us.

If you ever get this way, I would love to see you and Jean-Marc. I will even make you dinner! All the best to you both.

Carmen Dominguez de Vallois

Coucou! I am Carmen de Vallois. I live in Miami with my French husband and we spend 4-5 months of the year in France. In Ardentes - close to Chateauroux. There is a very large French community in Miami. We are very involved with the Consulate and French expat life. I love your posts! If you need anything re: your daughter in Miami, please do not hesitate to reach out. Carmen



You have been missed! So happy to see you here again. I’m Gail from Arizona. Started following you ten or eleven years ago. Hiked with you and Heidi here in AZ when a small group of followers met up with you. Hope Heidi is doing well! I enjoyed visiting France 🇫🇷 in 2012 and hope to visit again one day. In the meantime I soak up photos and stories. Welcome back! 💕

Sue Lennox

I am Sue from Scottsdale, Az where Kristi and Jules spent some time in the past. I am a retired nurse. During my second marriage, we spent some years in Malaysia and Toulouse as expats. We traveled to as many spots on the globe as we could until my husband passed. I have four grown children with families of their own and yes, I remember the celebration at the end of WWII!

Del Lancaster

Good morning - such a treat to open my emails and discover you have returned! My name is Del Lancaster, and I was born and raised in New Orleans. We have a French loving community here and certainly a wine loving one as well. Visiting Paris is always a dream come true but I love Montpellier and Avignon also. Thanks for posting your stories. Une bonne journée.

Leslie NYC

Welcome back!
What a pleasure this post and the photos are. I love the man standing at the window chatting.
I am Leslie in NYC. I am an unemployed chef who worked for caterers and an appliance showroom before covid.
I have been rediscovering the joy of cooking at home again. Recently was given several chicken carcasses, made stock, then took the very bland meat off the bones and added enough stuff to give it some oomph and turn it into chicken tarragon salad. I had a good pint. I come from a line of people and restaurant chefs who take pride in not wasting anything. The herb stems and peels go into stock. The tops of the celery root can sub for parsley in my broth. Other scraps go into compost as do flower stems, egg shells, coffee grounds.
I garden here, at a community garden on the Lower East Side. I grow old rose varieties, many kinds of narcissus, phlox, hydrangea, asters.
I also spend time in Virginia, where my mother had a house near D.C. and a farm in the Shenandoah Valley. I am trying to clear out both since she died four years ago. Not sure where I will end up, but hope to limit it to at most two places.
I may move from cooking to writing now that the world has shifted and I am in my sixties.
For ten years I cooked during the harvest at my friends’ vineyard in Burgundy. That was a delight. After the harvest I spent time in Bandol or Saint Raphaël with other friends, then Paris.
I have been reading this blog for close to 15 years or more! It is always transporting.
Un grand merci.

K.J. Laramie

Life is beautiful here in Windermere, Florida, but even more so today opening your mail. I am an artist/poet/writer about to be featured on the cover of Butler Chain Living magazine in November… and an incurable Francophile, having been all over France many times, swooning my way through all the gorgeousness offered, from the mountains, to the beaches, and the picturesque towns inbetween. ❤️

Karen O'Connor

Hi Kristi!

Hello from Columbus, Ohio. So happy to see you in my inbox this morning!

Norma Plowman

Bon jour and glad to see you back! I am a native Californian who retired to Taos, New Mexico 5 years ago with my French husband, whom I met in San Francisco. France has been my love since 1973, my 1st trip, and more than 40 trips since. In 3 weeks we head to France for Paris and Provence. My franglais gets me through France, but in Paris everyone wants to speak back in English!. Then my husband wants to speak English there!!
It has been too long since I have been back to Provence, so I look forward to our car rental & taking back roads to end up in Antibes. Covid precautions will not stop us, and hopefully we can get our 3rd Covid shot before departing.
Now, I will try the tomato tart, since our plants are full of ripe tomatoes!

Joanne Gazarek

Bonjour Kristi,
Welcome back. We are still living in the Virgin Islands but will be in France in October and November. We bought an apartment in L'Isle sur la Sorgue and will be staying there for the first two weeks. Frank and I are also going to see a friend with a vineyard in Bordeaux, and you are next on our list to come to visit again during this time in France. We loved La Ciotat and our visits with you.

Diane Heinecke

Welcome back, Kristi! I have been following French Word-a-Day for a long time and love it. You have a gift of humility and transparency that touches my heart. I'm a former teacher of French, now 75 and living in Brunswick, Georgia with my husband of 53 years. I love languages, crossword puzzles, reading, volunteering--and someday traveling again. Wishing you continued success and a COVID-free life.


Encore une fois, bienvenu de L'Afrique Du Sud

Susan Boehnstedt

Hello my name is Rouge Bleu...and you know the rest of the story! Miss you! XOXOXXO Love to all of your family members.........near and far.

Shirley Babineaux

SO glad you’re back! My name is Shirley Babineaux and I visited France in 2007 and I’ve never been the same! Been reading your journal since ‘07 also. I’ve been a Dental Hygienist for 50 years, and decided to retire when COVID showed up. Really enjoy my grandchildren and travel!💋


Bonjour Kristi!
I missed your posts! Nice to have you back!
I am a retired hairdresser from Los Angeles and I now live in sunny San Diego!
I studied French in high school and I always try to speak a bit when I go to France. I just started private tutoring lessons in French with my neighbor, who is a retired French teacher. My husband and I have traveled all through France and we plan to go back and spend more time after he retires.

Claudine MGV

Yay! So happy to get your new post in my inbox! I missed you and your family! I am Claudine. I am from New Orleans but a Californian now for 30 years. I have a son who is 6 in a French DLIP program, and I am learning French alongside, for the day we get to move there too! I have a husband too who agrees, mostly!

Happy Autumn!

Mark Snyder

Hi Kristi Mark here from high school in Scottsdale. I have lived in Atlanta for 28 years and have missed your posts this summer. Hope you are well, and I am looking forward to another trip to South of France next spring.May your September be a safe and healthy one


Chère Kristi! C’est merveilleux
to see your post on this dreary
morning in south Louisiana,
post Ida. Je suis Cindy, a widow
of a certain age who lived in France
for a brief time 20 years ago…
proficient in ‘franglais’… instructed
many times to please speak English
not French! lol Bisous for your delightful
Jules xoxo

Linda Frank

Salut! I have enjoyed your posts for years and am so happy to have them to read again. My name is Linda and I am from Knoxville, TN. My favorite past-time is traveling and learning french. Always the student!

Alanna Strong

Bonjour and welcome back to my inbox! You have been missed!❤️ I’m Alanna who lives in far Northwest Montana. American by birth but my childhood was all mixed up with French (North Africa) Spanish (Argentina) and English (California). Like you, I love to experiment in the garden and am particularly thankful for the reminder of your tarte tomate recipe. In retirement I ski, hike, read and weave. Before COVID, La Croix Valmer was the site of many family vacations with my French MIL and family. I’m counting on 2022 being the year of the return to my happy place. I hope you’ve had a healthy, restful and peaceful summer break.

Stacy Lund

Hello, dear Kristi! I have missed you greatly! Happy late summertime! Fall is in the air here. Hugs to you and Jules.


Welcome back, Kristi! I hope you enjoyed vos vacances.

I am Cyndy, with my hustand Ron, American in Florida with a little house (Le Shackteau) in Monpazier, SW France. We go back and forth, although we haven't been back in 1.5 years due to the covid lockdown and our own golden retriever, Crosby, being too old to fly anymore. He's 14. So we will hang out here in FL with this sweet boy and try to return all the love and devotion he has given us down through the years.

Beth Fiacco


Suzanne Dunaway

Lordy, you'll probably get hundreds of these. I live in France, I'm from Texas but have nothing to do with that dispicable place, for women especially, but had a great childhood there. Before Republicans screwed up the whole system. I drew spot art for The New Yorker, illustrated Gourmet's restaurant reviews for 10 years, started a bakery in LA, all breads made by hand, wrote No Need To Knead, then Rome, At Home about Italian cooking, taught cooking for 11 years in LA, love to garden, love to paint, LOVE to cook, love to write prose and poetry, love to sing, love to play the piano, love your writing, Kristi, and we have the tomato tarte often with my yellow tomatos from seeds from Burpee in the US. I've used Dijon mustard, egg white to seal the pastry, various kinds of cheese, including goat, and I slice the tomatoes very thin, salt them, and then drain them and the tarte is not soggy. The drained juice is great for sauces or gazpacho and more...
Still in Collioure but about to go to Rome. Carefully.
I desperately need a website person who is GOOD and not too expensive to rework my site. Any suggestions?

Jan Johnson

Hi. Jan from downtown Chicago. Great to see your post today. I am a francophile and visited France many times. I started studying French in 6th grade. I got a French penpal in 8th grade and I am still writing to Monique today after 60 years! So I had to keep up with French or risk losing a long-time friend. 💕

Anne Bagley

Good morning Kristi! My husband Bruce and I spent the afternoon with you, Jean Marc and Jules when Tom Berry arranged a trip for us in 2013. Your picture this morning made us miss France and we hope to be able to safely travel again soon. We live in the Kansas City area and have been to France 4 times with Tom. Thank you for your conversations and beautiful pictures. Anne

Joanne Fischer

Coucou Kristi, this is Joanne from Santa Fe, NM. I have been following your wonderful stories since the beginning. And I still have a bottle of Jean-Marc’s Lunatique in the wine chiller. Have been hoping that he would come drink it with us someday! You are an inspiration!

Valerie Porter

Bonjour Kristi et tous and toutes!

I am so glad to hear about toute votre famille! I hope that you had a good summer and have a bonne rentree, aussi. Nous habitons au Pittsburgh, PA, et avons un chien, un chat, huit poulets, six enfants, trois petits enfants, et pas du temps! Mais, j'aime beaucoup votre journal. Merci beaucoup!!!


Coucou Jennifer, I learned two new French words from your post so, merci!!
Good luck on your move to France and I hope you get to explore beaucoup de ruelles pittoresques !!


Coucou! J'étais si contente de voir ton blog dans mon mail ce matin!
Et quelle coincidence que je t'envoyee la recette hier!

Bonjour a tous! My name is Audrey and my grandmother was born and raised in Alsace and have become lovingly obsessed with travels back and forth from Oregon to France. I happily found Kristi after I had traveled to Provence, spending a lot of time in La Ciotat. I will be back there sometime soon!

Kristi, that photo of the ruelle reminds me of a little street I found coming back from the Tuesday Marche in town. I happened to look up and see a plaque which posted of Napoleon Bonaparte's brief stay in La C! You never know what you'll find in those back alleys!

Ca me fait plaisir de savoir comment ca va ta famille!

gros bisous,


What a lovely surprise - you are back. Hope your break was rejuvenating, refreshing, and reinvigorating. You and your family were missed. My name is Nancy, a native California but have lived in Texas for decades. Leon springs, Texas, between Boerne and San Antonio. I am retired and have decided to reinvent myself as a painter. Always thought I would live in France for a year or so but . . . Love your blog and learn something every time you post.


Hi Joanne,
How lucky you are to live in the Virgin Islands and France!
I'm wondering if you rent out your L'Isle sur la Sorgue apartment when you're not staying there? It's such a lovely town and it would be fun to spend some time there!
[email protected]

Beth Fiacco

Coucou Kristi, a tous et a toutes! (is this the right way to say "hello everyone" here in a blog?)
What a joy to see your blog today. I had to fight from commenting on everyone's posts. How fun to see everyone's story and locations. I live in Mesa, Arizona, with my husband of 30 years (in October). We are empty nesters most recently, and are building our next home in the mountains at the edge of town. My husband and I love to paddle board in the Salt River, which is just a few minutes from our future home. We paddle by the wild horses who stand in the river to keep cool and to eat the grass that grows up from the bottom or along the banks. They are beautiful! My husband and I went to Paris in 2016, and I dream of returning to France again, but this time to a new destination, maybe in the south! I am majoring in French at ASU (the 20-year plan). I took a few years off, but I'm debating whether or not to return to my studies. My great-grandparents were French Canadians, but my family settled in New York. I do not remember WWII - wasn't born until the 60s. I have enjoyed this blog for almost 10 years now! It keeps me close to the French language and dreaming of France! Blessings to all !

Beth Fiacco

Sorry- I guess I left my comment in reply to Tom Berry! ugh..


Maureen from outside Boston. Been following and enjoying your blog for years. My husband and I are enjoying retirement. We lived outside Paris for seven years in the 70’s (our twin boys were born at the American Hospital). My husband went to the language school in Villefranche-sur-mer and I visited while he was there. Thus our love affair with the Cote d’Azur. We usually visit Paris and take the train down once a year.

Patricia Ramos

I do so enjoy your posts. I am Patricia, and I have lived in Virginia, USA since 1972. I was born in England in 1942 and have a few little memories of growing up during the last part of WW2. We lived in Plymouth which was badly bombed. I met my husband in Santiago, Chile, an American working there at the time, and I was an "Air Hostess" (Flight Attendant) passing through!! We married in 1972, having been pen pals for two years prior. we married in Panama (on one of his assignments.!!) The ceremony was in Spanish and I did not understand a word of it. He assures me that I agreed to polish his shoes for life.!! And the rest is history.!!


I am another Leslie from South Carolina who calls home Morris Plains, NJ—where I grew up following the brook beside our home. My favorite activity is to travel to France and I even worked outside of Paris one year—a totally unexpected blessing! My dad was a POW in WW II, captured during the siege of Bastogne. Thankfully, he came home, but WW II has been an integral part of my life. I loved going back with him to Utah beach and the cemeteries and museums in Normandy. I was amazed at the gratitude still so prevalent in the French for the Allied liberation.

Susan V Rak

I so enjoy reading your posts, Kristi - I live vicariously through them and would move to France in a heartbeat if I could. As it is, my dream since childhood was to visit Paris but it took more than 30 years for that dream to be realized. I've been back a few times since (once for a month) and look forward to returning when I'm brave enough to venture forth in this continuing pandemic.
I'm a retired clergy-person living in Asbury Park NJ, enjoying my garden (vegetables and flowers), cooking and baking - plus being close to the ocean where I can stand in the sand and look out over the expanse of the Atlantic and dream of France!


Bonjour Kristie. My name is Catherine, I live in Seattle with my French husband Thierry. We have been married for 8 years now. Thierry moved here from Paris on a Fiancé Visa and we were married in 2013. We really enjoy traveling and can't wait to travel again, hopefully soon. I have followed you and your family for about 13 years now. I enjoy it very much and look forward to many more years to come with you and your gorgeous family.

Barbara Barrett

Hi Kristi,

I've been enjoying your blog and the beautiful photos for years now. I've been to France three times and
would love to be able to explore the countryside, but now I'm grounded with peripheral neuropathy. However, my three nieces are kind and caring and take my sister and me on day trips in Connecticut and long weekends in Kennebunk, Maine, so I'm not complaining. We love New England.

My sister and I certainly remember WWII; we were growing up in Bradford, Yorkshire during the war years and were fortunate in that Bradford saw very little enemy action, our dad was exempt from the war because he was sighted in only one eye, and our mum kept us well fed even on limited rations. We were little kids and our lives centered round school and playmates, but I remember my Uncle Tommy's return from Dunkirk and how his hands shook so much he couldn't draw a picture for me.

Christine Moore

Welcome back, Kristi!
I have been following you for years and always look forward to hearing about your daily French life and learning a bit of everyday French. Your efforts are very much appreciated!
I live in the neighborhood of Los Feliz in Los Angeles, and have quite a few French neighbors due to the nearby Lycée International, which is pre-school through high school. (It's where Jody Foster learned her beautiful French)
Unfortunately, I've had to cancel two planned trips to France since Covid... I keep waiting and hoping to visit again soon.
Again, thank you for sharing your life with us!!
Christine Moore

Heidi Watson

Bnjour Kristi! I’m a writer living lon an island near Seattle with my 2 teens and husband and border collie. I have been a loyal follower of yours since my 18-year-old son was a baby. I’ve watched your kids grow up and followed your huge life transitions (can’t believe Max is 26!) I even spoke to your husband on the phone once while visiting France to try to get a tasting and bought a bottle of wine via his aunt. (I should send you the picture!) maybe should have saved that bottle of wine. ;)
I love France, the food and the language- je le parle assez bien…(I gave up drinking 2 years ago but do remember loving French wines)
So great to see your email this morning and “catching up.” Keep them coming!!

Janet M.

So happy you're back in my in-box. I've thought about you often over the past months. I'm Janet, newly relocated to Novato, CA, after 32 years in Berkeley. Are there any other Novatans out there? I love to garden, read, hike, play pickleball, and travel. Welcome back!


Bonjour, Kristi,
It’s good to hear from you again. Like all your devoted readers, I’ve missed your stories of family life in France. I
Was born in San Francisco in 1950, but was raised by parents and grandparents who knew the challenges of two World Wars, the Great Depression, and a host of other social ills, but kept their wits and their joie de vivre in tact.
I studied French in high school and college mainly because my grandfather adored his French mother and In my youth I absorbed his passion for the beauty of French culture. I’ve been a member of Les Amis de la Culture Française, an East Bay French Club since its origins, though in retirement I now live in Carmel-by-the Sea, California. I last traveled to France in 2018 and hope to return when trans Atlantic travel is a little less onerous.
Your talent for storytelling and my love of reading makes your blog a great fit for me.


Oh you are back!! So lovely.

I am Kristina, home town Hamilton, New Zealand. I left 20 years ago for a 1 year „overseas experience“ in England… ended up staying ten years, married and divorced my first (Dutch) husband within just a year, then later went to India (of all places) and met my now Swiss husband there. Now I am applying for my third passport (Swiss) having made this my home for the last 10 years.

I sooooo long to return France. My father travelled a lot through Europe and has a love for France and I think I got this gene from him. I dream of Provence, and Living an artistic life close to nature. :-) drinking fine wine, cooking fine food and swimming in the sea every day.
Oh and a dog would be wonderful to go with our two gorgeous cats but I haven’t convinced my husband yet…

In the meantime I enjoy the nature where I am and pray for freedom for us all in this currently, absurd situation in which we live in.

Carolyn R Chase

Salt Lake City UT USA with husband Jack, Briard dog Griffin, and ginger tiger cat Tucker. Gardening and photography as pastimes (or reading). Born during WW II. Jack & I returned from living in Dijon, France in fall 1992, so just missed you, Kristi. Ever since I discovered your letters, I have reveled in your charming pictures and descriptions of your life in France, getting to "be" there through your imagery. I very much appreciate your efforts. Glad you're back.

Lauren Golden

We were just in La Ciotat for lunch yesterday (at Les Copains d'abord) and I was hoping to bump into you! It was just a short jaunt from Aix where we were visiting a friend. I didn't realize what a lovely town you are in. And the coast is wonderful.
I am Lauren Golden from Encinitas, California and have been following your writings since the beginning I think. We missed last year but we spend 4 or 5 weeks in Paris every year where I know other musicians.

Eileen deCamp

Coucou Kristi!
So happy you are back! I was happy to see you in my inbox!


Bonjour Kristi,
I miss Provence! I hope that we are allowed to travel to France in the near future. I am happy you have begun your blog again. I have lived the expatriate life, so I share your experience.

Anne Umphrey

Oh Kristi, so good to see your name here again. I've missed your blog very much. I trust your summer was relaxing and invigorating. I live in Concord, Massachusetts home of the beginning of the American Revolution, Henry David Thoreau and Walden Pond, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and of course, Louisa May Alcott author of Little Women. There is a host of other authors who make Concord their home. My heart lies in Vermont where I am from. I was born a year and a week before the United States entered the WWII. I grew up there. I don't remember much about the war. I remember walking with my mother to the shoe store for new shoes. It seems that I outgrew shoes faster than the rations allowed. I remember that my father walked home from work very late at night from his important defense job. He would wake me up and we would play for a while. I do remember the end of the war when all the bells in town rang and everyone went out into the streets cheering.


Coucou, Kristi: I wasn't sure if I have been missing your e-mails or you have just been busy; nonetheless, it's good to read you once again. I am now 77 years old; this Covid situation reminds me that time just keeps moving on! My husband, Fred, was in WWII & has some amazing stories. We are still living in North Carolina & haven't seen our family (except on Zoom) for far more than a year! However, we do what we can to enjoy life in whatever form it is! For now, a biento! Fondly, Ann Sorocki PS Thank you for re-introducing your grand family!

Devra Long

Coucou Kristi!
So happy to see you today, made my day!
I have been with you since the beginning, before I knew what a blog was!!!!
Bisous to all!!!
Dev from Madison, Alabama

Dana Ivey

Welcome back, Kristi. I've missed you. I'm Dana, in New York City. Took some French here and there in grade school, high school, and college, and still can't have a real conversation-- hard for me to Hear it and understand. But I love French history and would love to travel back to France at some point. Am a Marie Antoinette fan with many books read about her and the regimes both before and after her. Retired from years of being in the theatre, and some film, now 80 and living more quietly. My father was stationed at an Air Station outside Atlanta, GA where I grew up, during WWII. Glad you are all well.

Dawn Johnson

Coucou Kristi, Its funny I was just thinking this morning about you and wondering how your summer has been, and when you might return to your blog and Voila! There was your post in my inbox and a lovely post it was. Ive enjoyed all the comments from your readers as well. I hope you’re feelin the love. I met you and Jean Marc at your mas du Brun in 2015 for a wine tasting. I returned to France in 2018 to celebrate my 60 birthday with my childhood best friend who also turned 60. We had a fabulous two weeks exploring lots of villages in Provence and then up to Paris for a few days. I am so longing to go back especially lately. I do hope travel to there from the US gets a little easier soon. I live in Northern CA on 40 acres with my cowboy husband three horses two dogs and two cats. Its been a rough summer with wildfires all around us nonstop so summer has been robbed from us somewhat but we try to do the best we can. Its always been a dream of mine to live in a tiny village in Provence but I don’t know if that will ever happen. In the meantime I try and create as much French in my life as I possibly can by growing lavender, sunflowers and some grapes along with our potager, and hay of course. It brings me joy this time of year when my sunflowers are smiling big every morning. I ride my bile through the countryside in the mornings and sometimes I can almost imagine I am on the quiet roads in the luberon. My family and friends think I’m a little obsessed with all my nuances from my fountain outside and blue shutters to cooking and baking bread in my french style kitchen. Its good to be with my Francophile community.. Thank you for continuing to bring a bit of France to us each week.

Madeleine de la Fontaine

Hello Kristi,

I am Madeleine, former French and Spanish teacher and school administrator. I've missed your posts this summer and am so happy that you are back. It's been a long, very hot summer here in Brentwood, California. Looking forward to future French Word a Day posts!
Madeleine de la Fontaine

Sharon Marchisello

Bonne rentrée! I'm Sharon, an author living in Peachtree City, Georgia. I have fond memories of the year I spent in Tours, France, on a Rotary scholarship when I was in my twenties. I'm not old enough to remember World War II, but my dad fought in it.


Bonjour Kristi,

Matt here from the lovely Wash Park neighborhood in Denver. I've been looking forward to and enjoying your posts for a few years now. I studied in Paris for a time many years ago and still speak French quite well but nevertheless learn so much from your blog! Cheers!!

Laura Simeone

Salut Kristi,
Your email made my day; welcome back! I'm Laura and I live in Maine with my husband. A follower of your work for over a decade, I'm also, like so many others who've commented, a confirmed Francophile. My great interest has been exploring the hundreds of examples of French Romanesque architecture that exist throughout your wonderful country, though last year and this year I've missed my annual adventures, so I can't wait to return. Very happy you and your family are all doing well!


Hi, I'm Phil in Honolulu. Glad to get your missive, been missing you!
Back in les années quatre-vingt I spent three formative years in Paris (6ème) playing the bassoon professionally in many different orchestras. Happy to read your posts and keep the rust off!

Janine Cortell

Chère Kristi:
Welcome back. I have been reading your posts for years and have enjoyed them so much. I am also the lady who sent you a dream catcher a few years ago. I was born in Neuilly s/Seine, a suburb outside of Paris.
When the Nazis took power we had to leave since we were Jewish. My parents had to leave everything behind but they never complained. They were always grateful to this country for giving us a new and safe home.
I grew up in New York City. Went to Hunter College where I received an M.A. and B.A. in French literature. I taught French for over 30 years in different schools, mostly in Minneapolis at the Blake School. I took my students to france every other year. It was so much fun to see them appreciate France and its culture. After I retired I still gave French lessons around my dining room table for many years.
I am now a very very senior citizen living in Port Townsend, Washington...heaven on earth.
My husband passed away two years ago but I have the most beautiful Maine Coon/Norwegian Forest cat named Colette(after one of my favorite writers.) I also have two beautiful daughters, wonderful sons-in-law and a 16 year old grandson. The world is not perfect but I am grateful for all that I have. Wishing you and your family good health and wonderful adventures in the year ahead. Amitiés, Janine


A Francophile at heart. Have been reading your blog for a long time...Merci. it's so funny as I read through and saw Tom Berry's note as I just watched an old episode of House hunters...I think it's him. Originally from Montreal Canada and have lived a long time in Vancouver. I dream about living in France one day (soon I hope). We love La Ciotat and begin our journeys there. We end in Paris. Can't wait to return once things have settled. Love everything and anything French ! First time in France 1976, last time 2019!

Jerry Wood

First I must confess I have missed you post this summer. I was born in Vancouver Canada in 1934, so I’m older than most of you.
I served an apprenticeship as as a tool and die maker and after I wanted to travel before settling into the work-a-day world. In 1956 I went to Belgium and bought a beater of car and went to 11countries in 7 months. As I was low in money I sold the car and washed dishes in a café in Paris for a few week before returning home.
My loves are family, good friends, biking, mountain climbing and very long walks.
I miss my wife sooo much, who died in 2016. She was the love of my life and, without a doubt, my best friend. She gave me a boy and a girl who, in turn, have given me four wonderful, loving, caring grandchildren. I’m truely a blessed man.

Brenda Dabelstein

Chere Kristi,
Bonjour et bon retour! I have missed your presence these past few months. My name is Brenda, a former French teacher, who was born in England but came to Australia over 55 years ago. As a student in Paris back in 1958 I would have referred to one of my ilk as “une croulante”. I spoke my first words of French as a four year old during WW2 as we had a delightful French lady and her English husband billeted with us in Liverpool. I met my future husband (German) on the ship while migrating to the ‘wide, brown land”, and my time since has been spent in the harbour city of Sydney.
Your blog, with its colourful glimpses of life in Ciotat and beyond, delivered with both wisdom and warmth, is always a delight to read. You personify ‘sympa” and long may you transport us to “la Belle France”. Amities.

Tricia Dean

Tricia from somewhere south of Chicago. J'ai passée une année scolaire à Besançon ... il y a plusiers années!
I love hearing what's new and learning new words.

Susan Souza

I am so happy you are back !
My name is Susan I live in Chesapeake,Va
We have been here for a year after living in Northern Ca for 25 years. We have 2 children 4 Grand children and 3 great grandchildren a Yorkshire “Paris” and a Cat Stormy .
I am missing travel but hope next year will be better.

Kathleene Eubanks

So glad you are back, Kristi. A well deserved rest, but speaking for myself I truly missed your posts. Missing travel and hope 2022 will bring me, you and everyone lots of adventures. I can't believe your kids are 26 and 23! I've been a fan of your blog since they were so much younger. I live in Northern CA. The wildfires we've had since 2018 have affected my health, pushing to pursue my dream to live in France or the UK (moves I have considered for more than 15 years). Blessings to you & your family, and of course Smokey. I have an elderly dog and it's difficult. Glad Jules and he are such good friends.

Karla Ober

Welcome back to my computer and regular routine, Kristi! I've been following your posts since about 2004 when I was in Orange County, California. Now in San Diego for 8 years. I've kept myself content this Sumer by rereading your books!
So glad to have you back!

David Cooper

Bonjour, Kristi. My wife and I live in Scottsdale, AZ, but we travel extensively. We just spent a month in the Luberon and Corsica, followed by another month in Greece. I have enjoyed reading your posts for many years and thank you for sharing a slice of your French life with all of us.

Sue J.

Welcome back, Kristi! The world has missed you and your posts very much.
Sue in Chicago


Chère Kristin -- I too had been thinking about you this week and was wondering if you had decided to prendre une retraite. So glad to see your post yesterday. I spent a year in Aix-en-Provence when I was 20-21 and the experience enriched my life in a multitude of ways. I'll never forget it. And your charming descriptions and musings on life in Provence, replete with a little vocabulaire and lovely photos, provide an ongoing connection to the beauty and spirit of a place I love. You are a gifted writer and I am grateful to have discovered your blog, perhaps 20 years ago??? Un très grand merci.


Bonjour Kristi,
Content de te revoir. Kathleen from Madsion CT. We are hoping to get back to France next fall. I miss my yearly visits and I want to go the Brittany because husband has not been there before, although I will miss visiting Provence. Maybe we can squeeze it in with our stop in Paris to visit dear friends.
I am glad to have your blog back and to know that the family is doing well. I hope that Jackie is being careful in Florida - it is a hot spot for Covid.
Can’t wait to visit again. Say hi to JM.
A bientôt, Kathleen

Laura S

Hi Kristi and everyone from Southern California!

Such a wonderful and familiar feeling of warmth and gratitude reading your letter this morning! Such fun catching up with your family 💞, especially in these unpredictable times we live in now.

I got curious and searched my emails and found your very first email I received from you many years ago! I saved them when one of my daughters was immersed in all things French. Here is is:
“A Day in a French Life...

In the car on the way home from Décathalon (France's popular sports
supply store), I shouted over my shoulder to Max:

"No more pieds nus* in your tennis shoes, okay? You've got to take
care of those feet! Remember, only clean feet into clean socks into
clean shoes, 'kay?"

"She said 'nul,' Max!" Jackie shouted, hoping to irritate her brother.
"No, I didn't. I said 'nu'!" I replied, in my defense.
"She said nul," Jackie continued, ignoring me and baiting her brother.
For once, Max was not irritated by his six-year-old sister:

"Just because she's not French," he said, pointing his nose toward the
driver, "doesn't mean she doesn't understand stuff, Jackie."

...Mon héros.”
Thank you for everything 💞

Sheryl P

Salut, Kristi. Nice to see your blog today! I am a twice retired French teacher, still teaching online at an accredited international school with students around the world. Your blogs over the years have given me little snippets to share with my students. I'm hoping for one more trip to Paris next summer.



Deborah Frost

Deborah in Manhattan here- It's as lovely to hear from you again as it is to meet so many of the burgeoning international community your blogs have created!


Salut Kristi !
I'm Irene from Girona (Catalonia, Spain).
Reading your posts since 2010. They have helped me to improve my French (English, too...), while learning about French life and sharing thougths and emotions with a wonderful family.
Un grand merci !


Greetings, Kristi, from North Carolina and I was delighted to see your email. I've been reading your posts for many years and feel I know your family quite well. I was in elementary school in the Midwest here in the US during WWII and remember well the shortages and especially the celebrations at the end of the fighting.

I'm very happy to realize you'll be inviting us into your lives once again. Welcome back!


So glad you are back. Happy to hear all the family is doing well. I am a newly retired airline employee - moved back to Minnesota to be with my extended family. I am looking forward to a trip to southern France, maybe next spring. I took French college and have always been intrigued with France. Your blog is wonderful. So many of your readers have interesting lives as well. If you run out of ideas maybe you could have some guest columnists tell about their experiences. I love reading, walking, sewing, photography, travel and nature. And endless curiosity! Blessings to all of you.

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