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Two Most important French words of the Year from the Champs Elysées

Bon Bout D'An! Something French to wish others this time of year

French town of Auriol
A sunny view from the village of Auriol, where Jean-Marc and I had lunch Wednesday. In these southern French towns you'll hear a traditional Provençal end-of-the-year wish: Bon bout d'an!

TODAY'S WORD: Bon bout d'an!

    : Happy end of the year!

Listen to all the French words in today's story via the sound file below. Then scroll to the vocabulary section and check your comprehension.

Click here for the sound file

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

Our family had a cozy, casual get-together here at noon on December 25th. After delegating all the cooking (l'entrée, le plat principal, et le dessert) I found time to attend church Christmas morning. But on my leisurely way out of l'église I was caught in my sneaky tracks. "Linger a little bit longer..." my friend Enzo said, "and all the work will be done before you arrive home!"

Haha! Enzo was reading my mind!

One thing my mid-fifties are teaching me is the ability to "assumer" or "s'assumer" (to accept and stand by my choices) and to laugh at myself. Having cleaned the house, set the table, and paid for the groceries, I felt no guilt in assigning the holiday cooking to my adult children. And by the time I finally returned from church, warmth and deliciousness filled the air. Our son Max had collected the 3-kilo chapon from the butcher and stuffed it with une farce. He instructed his sister, Jackie, to baste the bird every half hour, which she did in between reheating the tarte tomate she'd made for appetizers (to go along with the foie gras toasts we assembled on my return).

If Max was absent for the bird's basting, that's because he was doing some delegating of his own: he had his aunt Cécile and Uncle Jacques arrive several hours early, to his own apartment, to help put up shelves in his kitchen. Il es malin lui, comme sa maman! He's clever that one, like his mom!

Now the trio was arriving and between the hugs and kisses and oh que ça sent bon!, Cécile noticed Jackie basting the large bird.

"C'est un chaperon," Jackie explained.
"On mange un chaperon?" Cécile questioned.
"Oui," my daughter affirmed. "Un chaperon."
Cécile suddenly smiled in comprehension. "Non, ceci c'est un chapon. Un chaperon, c'est quelqu'un qui surveille un jeune couple amoureux. "No, this is a capon. A chaperon is someone who supervises young lovers."
"Oh!" Jackie laughed.

(Later, while typing this post, I would chuckle at the English definition of chaperon(e): a young woman's moral guardian. Come to think of it, humanity needs a moral guardian--24/24. None of us knows just how far we are from the next moral slip-up. We are, after all, only human.)
As sheepish as I felt sticking my family with the holiday cooking, it was worth it to overhear this funny conversation between aunt and niece. To think if I'd lingered any longer at church, I might've missed it, and so would have you!

Well, bon bout d'an! Happy End of the Year to the loveliest readers anyone could wish for. Thank you for tuning in each week and giving me a reason to show up and write. Merci, merci! 


P.S. I leave you with a letter I received from my daughter last week. 

Bon bout d'an
= Happy end of the year!
l'entrée (f) = first course
le plat pricipal = main course
le dessert = dessert
s'assumer = to take responsibility for yourself
le chapon = capon (bird)
le chaperon = chaperone
la farce = stuffing
Il est malin lui, comme sa maman! = He's clever that one, like his mom!
oh que ça sent bon! = oh that's smells good!

Ceciles entree
My belle-soeur's starter was plate-licking good. Shrimp from Madagascar, sliced avocado, grapefruit, and coeurs de palmiers (hearts of palm). The secret sauce included raw egg and a special citrus fruit (a green combava, or kaffir lime?)
Anna made salty caramel and chocolate macarons
Sweet of the Week, No. 4: "Le Macaron." Max's sweetheart, Ana, made these mouth-watering salted caramel and chocolate macaroons for our collective holiday sweet tooth (do the French still use the term "bec sucré" for sweet tooth?) Having seen this popular cookie displayed in fancily wrapped boxes at high-end bakeries, I am amazed by those who make them at home. Bravo, Ana! 

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SUzanne Dunaway

WOW WOW WOW the sweetheart MADE the macarons? WOW WOW WOW and we love grapefruit and avocado and shrimp. Now be SURE to have those black-eyed peas tomorrow or Monday. They are called doliques in France. And very few French friends know what they are but we have a black-eyed pea fete every year in Jan. Not this year….covid still lurks everywhere and some around here are simply not prudent nor believers that it is still here. And now the Chinese tourists are traveling without protection to many countries. I am sorry for them as their leaders are terrible people and their vaccine did not protect them. Bon bout d’an….


Bon Bout d‘An dear Kristi and family!

Grapefruit, avocado and shrimp … this looks yum!

Have a beautiful end to 2022 and many blessings to you all.

Thanks for your writing and shares this year!

Ellen A

How fortunate you are to have such a close, capable and loving family. Not hard to see - as your daughter put it so beautifully - how you contribute to all by being the light in the room and in their hearts. Wishing you all a safe and fresh new year full of surprises, good deeds and pleasures!


That is the sweetest letter ever from Jackie. Some moms never get that kind of affirmation. I’m happy for your sweet family.


What a lovely, lovely post! Every thought and mot. Merci bien pour ce cadeau et Bon Bout d'An à toutes et tous!

Steve Thompson

Hi Kristi,

Jackie nailed it ! You are the light in everybody's room. Thank you so much for sharing your amazing family with us. You are much-loved. But I guess you know that already ...




Your daughter's letter brought tears to my eyes.

Bon bout d'an, my friend, to you and to everyone you love.


What a beautiful tribute to you that your daughter has written! Her words do her credit while they bless you!
Happy New Year!

Diane Heinecke

Bon bout d'an, Kristi & family. So good to hear you delegated, and did something for yourself! The whole meal sounds amazing, but looking at the macarons makes me drool. Around here they sell for ~$2 each and are not as pretty as Ana's. My husband and I got a surprise for Christmas: COVID! We've had all our vaccines and boosters and lead a quiet lifestyle. Oh, well...😷

Suzanne in NJ

Bon bout d'an, Kristi! Oh those Macarons look delicious. The art of delegating is so important. Jackie's birthday letter to you is so touching and it show what an observant young woman she is. We shared our Christmas fete with two friends and made a lovely pork pie and a fudge chocolate cake with candied orange rind for dessert. Like Suzanne Dunaway, we are having black-eyed peas on New Year's Day for good luck. We include okra and thick slab bacon all served over rice. A Family tradition. I enjoyed learning the legumes French name ... doliques! Merci.


Thank you for a wonderful year of stories every week from one of the most beautiful places on the earth. That meal sounds delicious - grapefruit and avocado is a wonderful combination. Going to the grocery. Happy End of the Year and Happy New Year to you and your family.


Bon bout d’an Kristi! The letter from Jackie brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful post. ❤️ You are, indeed, a gift!
All the best from Arizona! 🌵

Joanne Fischer

Happy new year to you all! Love Jackie’s letter to you! Keep up the good work!

Sarah LaBelle

Bon bout d’an !

K. J. Laramie

At the risk of sounding redundant, I too had tears in my eyes reading Jackie’s letter. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree! She has her mother’s ability to evoke Truth and Beauty in such a precise and touching way.
She’s right. The network of Love you have woven around the world from the mundane to the sublime is such a precious gift! You ARE an Angel and we 🎉thank you!
Bon bout d’an

julie camp

Thank you K J Laramie for expressing my feelings precisely. Jackie has your gift and her mother's.


Our dear Kristi,
Throughout these many years, your words have been( and still are) an inspiration and a delight to look forward to.
Your honesty and compassion gives us hope to be able to do the same ourselves.
Today's post is wonderful!
But Jackie's letter absolutely brought tears to my eyes.
How blessed you are to have each other, and how blessed we are to have you!!
Bien sur, ma chere.Bon bout d'an!!

Cynthia Lewis

Thank you 'mille fois' for sharing your delightful Christmas Day. Jackie's beautiful letter touched the hearts of all of your readers. 'Bon bout d'an' to you and to all of your wonderful family. My very best wishes always.

Geraldine Ventura

Happy New Year to you and your family! What a beautiful letter from your sweet daughter. You must be so proud of both of your children! God bless you!

Geraldine Ventura

Happy New Year to you and your family! What a beautiful letter from your sweet daughter. You must be so proud of both of your children! God bless you!


What a beautiful letter from Jackie! Thank you for sharing. What more could a Mom wish for? How wonderful to feel your love reflected back to you. Your daughter is a treasure. And she is right: you do spread light in this world. Keep being you!

Judy Feldman

Kristi, thank you for sharing that beautiful letter from your daughter. From knowing you through your wonderful blog, and a few personal encounters, I can agree that you bring light to everyone you touch. Jackie is a wonderful poet! Thank you for continuing to write and share you stories, and bon bout d’année!

Sue J.

I’m not crying, you’re crying!

Leslie NYC

I am about to make your yogurt cake with cranberries, walnuts, orange zest, & maybe crystalized ginger. I'll decorate it with holly. It's be for an Irish New Year's party in New York, meaning the countdown will be at 7 p.m. Eastern and I'll be home by 9 p.m.
I loved your story and am so impressed that you allowed others to take over on Christmas Day. Brava!
Bon bout d'an!

Jeanine Woods

Bon Bout d'An Kristi. Et Bon Annee! Thank you for sharing Jackie's letter. What a beautiful and touching message from a daughter to her mom. As other people have said, your posts are full of light and inspiration. Clearly your life at home is the same!

Happy New Year! your weekly posts.........

Marsha D in Tennessee

Bon bout d'an!!! Hahaha! My Frenchie and his mother, both from Auxerre have never used this phrase and thought I said, "Good sausage", as in bon boudin, then asked me, "Blanc ou Noir?" Too funny.
Bonne Annee, Kristi and everyone!

Kathleen Bidney

Bon bout d’an! Love the story and Jackies’s poem. She writes beautifully as she writes about her beautiful mom. What a great relationship you two have. It is to be cherished. The shrimp, avocado appetizer looks scrumptious and those macarons look fantastic. I have not ventured into making them, I just buy them. And capon…I do ‘t know if our stores even carry them.
I look forward to a new year and new stories and wish JM the best with his new adventures. Thank you for a wonderful year of a day in the life of Kristi.
Bonne année to you and the whole family.
Peace, hope, joy and love, Kathleen

Stacy Lund

Delightful post! I'm thrilled with how well you delegated cooking duties and in doing so, found time to fill your own cup! I have found there is much peace and freedom to be found in my late-fifties.

Thank you for sharing Jackie's letter. It brought me to tears - not only is it beautiful and heartfelt - I am fortunate enough to know her words about you are true. Bless you, my friend! Joyous New Year!

Leslie in SC

Happy New Year to you and all of your readers. My wish is that each of us finds some special way to better our world in 2023.
What a unique birthday note and a model for taking time and effort to really express our love.


What a charming and loving letter from your daughter!

Bon bout d'an!

Frances in Napa CA USA

Happy New Year to you and your family! The note from your daughter is beautiful. I keep all of the cards and notes from our daughter and have been known to carry them in my purse. Thank you for sharing with us!

Kitty W-P in Canada

✨ Bon bout d'an à tous! What a delightful and delicious post, Kristi -- thanks for the way you light up our lives with your candour and clarity, joie de vivre et votre sensibilité si tendre. Vos paroles nous enrichissent toujours! 💖


Me too. I’m an average Anglo Australian grumbly grandfather and we have three adult daughters and a daughter in law. Ça lettre m’a fait pleurer .

Susan Essex

I agree, Tammy!


Thank you for sharing your daughter’s lovely letter. You are a light to many of us, and I look forward to reading your weekly post. Your holiday menu sound delicious, I can’t wait to try several of the dishes on my birthday later this month. Happy New Year !

Suzanne Codi

Dear Kristi,I can't add anything more to what all your faithful readers have written, because they said it all!!
Bon bout d'an to you and all the Espinasses! xoxox


So lovely, Jackie! Bob bout d’an a tout la Famille!!!


I am very touched by Jackie’s birthday letter to you ❤️ and by Max preparing the dinner chicken (chaperone;) Great share!
You deserve this outpouring of love. And the joy!
I remember when your children were in elementary school. How did they become adults this quickly? How does this happen? Miraculous.
Happy new year to you all!

Irene Sietmann

I was getting your posts for years in my e-mail and a few months ago they stopped coming. Are you on a leave of absence? I would like to be included again and will send my email below. It's such a pleasure to read your entries, especially when I can't travel to Frane right now. Thank you.

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