Cordon-Bleu: From Winemaker to Top Chef
Renverser: Treasure at the bottom of Tante G’s Well

France's Equivalent of Craigslist + Cool expression for negotiating the price

Friperie secondhand store france
There are no cookers for sale in this friperie, but I know where you can find a smokin' deal on a secondhand barbecue. Read on and learn a lot of new French words.

TODAY'S WORD: "marchander"

    : to haggle, bargain, and negotiate the price

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

Remember our cool outdoor cooker--the "brasero"--I told you about in the previous post? My husband just sold it secondhand via Leboncoin (France's version of Craigslist). Both parties--our in-house Cordon-Bleu and les aquéreurs--seem to have gotten a smokin' deal on that barbecue.

Jean-Marc, with the help of my belle-soeur, Cécile, put together the sizzling contraption some 3 years ago. Made up of a giant bowl-shaped container en fer with a wide plancha for cooking fish, vegetables, etc, the brother-sister team added a metal table beneath la cuve (to hold plates and drinks). But the pièce de résistance, and what really gave the cooker its good looks, was the aged barrique holding it up. That authentic wine barrel was sold along with the BBQ (even if I had my eye on it for another project in our garden...).

The day of la vente I heard Jean-Marc's telephone ring. The buyers were here! When my husband went through the gate to meet them on the street, I slunk around the kitchen, where I had a good view of our back patio. Normally I would've gone out to greet the thrifters (as I did the woman who bought our balai vapeur or the guy who bought our cement mixer or le type who bought our climatiseur), but then I'd be tempted to parler de tout et de rien, and this would only prolong the sale (et embêter mon mari). Ah well, fair is fair, les affaires sont les affaires, and this was Jean-Marc’s deal...even if I planned to ask for a wee percentage of the sale ("une taxe" as my husband calls it when he takes a big bite of my dessert at the restaurant). But all I wanted, here, was a small bite--some pocket cash…. de l'argent de poche.

"How much did you sell it for?" I began, as soon as our cordon-bleu returned to the kitchen.

Jean-Marc and Mom at the brasero. Look at all the room for trays and plates. Scroll to see a picture of the wine barrel, below.

"210 euros."


"Yes, they asked for a discount."

"Ah. What exactly did they say?"

"Que c'est de bonne guerre de négocier.” That it’s fair game to negotiate.

C'est de bonne guerre de négocier... I'm filing away that phrase! It will come in handy next time my husband asks to tax my dessert. He can have one small bite instead of the supersized spoonful that empties half the bowl. "C'est de bonne guerre de negocier!" I'll say, handing him a teaspoon. And if he protests, well, all’s fair in love and guerre!

Voilà, fellow French learner, as we’ve just seen, today's phrase is every bit as useful when negotiating a loss. Bye for now and see you next week for another anecdote on this French life. Until then remember: tout se négocie. Everything's negotiable...even ice cream!

Bon appétit,

P.S. My husband did finally hand over my "tax": a 50 euro bill! Can you guess where he put it?

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Click here to listen to Jean-Marc and me pronounce the French and English below

la friperie = secondhand clothes shop
marchander = to haggle, to negotiate, to bargain
Le Boncoin ("le bon coin") = "the good corner" - a classified ads similar to Craigslist
le cordon-bleu = master chef
l'acquéreur, l'acquéreuse = the buyer
la belle-soeur = sister-in-law
en fer = made of metal 
la cuve = the bowl
la barrique = wine barrel
la vente = sale
le balai vapeur = steam mop
le type = guy, dude, bloke
le climatiseur = air conditioning unit
parler de tout et de rien = talk about anything and everything 
embêter mon mari = bug my husband
les affaires sont les affaires = business is business
une taxe = a tax
l'argent de poche = pocket money
C'est de bonne guerre de négocier = it’s fair game to bargain
tout se négocie = everything is negociable 


Smokey and the brasero
Smokey keeping cool beside the brasero. It's been one year since our sweet golden retriever passed away. We are lucky to have had him since birth, for almost 13 years together. Fur-ever in our hearts, Smokey Dokey!

Ice cream glace golden retriever france
Remember, everything is negociable--even ice cream. Smokey, I hope you're getting lots of "frosty paws" in heaven.

To comment on today's post, click here. Thanks in advance for your shares, your feedback, and for any corrections to this edition. 

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Wondering where he put your “tax”
Ps I love to ask for a bite of my husband’s dessert, however it is he who hands it to me on his utensil. And it’s generally very small!


But why? It was beautiful!

Joan Jacobson

Thinking about you and the hole in your heart with the loss of Smokey. Just lost my sweet dog, Alfie, who just departed this life July 7. It does help knowing others who find such joy and love in the company of our furry buddies.
Joan Jacobson

Leslie, Singers Glen

I like to acknowledge that we are often thinking about people and creatures we have lost. I lost my cats, Marcello and Althea, 9 years ago and 5 years ago.
I am sorry about Smokey and Alfie, but so happy they were loved and loving, as my sweeties were. ♥️🐾🐾🐾🐾

Jennifer Taylor

Why did he sell it? That looks awesome!!!

Julie Farrar

Awww, I got teary-eyed at Smokey-Dokey. But how did anyone cart away a fire table so huge without superhuman strength?

Sheryl Wells

Such a fun way to learn more French! Love seeing the photo of Smokey. It is about a year since our golden, Mulligan, left us. So very sad.

Kristi, it is so hot here in Arizona!



Hi Kristi, Fun article!! Loved the pictures of Smokey. I remember him well.
God bless you all, C-Marie


Bonjour, Kristi,
Like Julie, I am curious as to how the buyers hauled away that huge outdoor cooker. Then it occurred to me that the French are renown for their creative and inventive devices and solutions. In fact, I am at present reading, The Piano Shop on the Left Bank, by Thad Carhart. In chapter 3 Carhart describes how a baby grand piano was delivered to his premier étage apartment up a straight staircase. I won't plot spoil, but encourage you to read this delightful little book.
Amitiés, Joanne

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks, Anne. JM sold it to buy a smaller model. He will put it together in the same way (using a wine barrel and a precut metal table).

Kristin Espinasse

Joan, I am so sorry about the loss of sweet Alfie. Thinking of you. Take care.

Kristin Espinasse

Hi Susan. He put it in my shirt! 

Kristin Espinasse

Hi Jennifer, It was a great bbq, but it was getting rusty and also it was very big (more than we need). He found a smaller model and will rebuild it the same way…avec la barrique!


Our dear Kristi,
Thank you for another wonderful post, as always filled with love, humor and inspiration.
Not to even mention the beautiful pictures and ever so useful(and fun!) vocabulary!
It is such a privilege for us to be included in your life, in daily happening with you there in la Belle France.Absolutely a slice of joie de vivre!
And! Needless to say,wrapping you in hugs and love of sympathy and empathy for your darling Smokey.(yesterday was seven years for our beloved --still forever puppy in our minds--Pear.)
The Stoics taught me to not torture myself with grief at them being gone but, instead, on the joy they imparted to our lives in being together.I try my best to do this, but honestly, sometimes sadness is just stronger than I am.
Blessings to you and your beautiful family.
Arms around all of you.
Natalia. Xo( monsoon weather here in Las Vegas!)


Loved learning those new expressions today! When you used that BBQ, what did you cook on it? Would it have worked to do Racelette? Thank you!

Brenda Dabelstein

Comme toujours votre histoire m'a ravie - la meilleure facon d'apprendre le francais familier - mais garde a votre langue maternelle mon amie: the past tense of slink is slunk! Amicalement, Brenda
(anglophile/francophile), Sydney 3/03/23

Kristin Espinasse

Merci, Brenda!

Karen in Northport, NY

That is some impressive bbq. Great to have a "planche" for things that don't need volcanic heat. And built in places to put stuff. Cool. I will revisit my charcoal cuve as soon as I get the generator tuned up, the storm door replaced, the air conditioner repaired, etc, etc.
I'd have guessed the 50 went in your wallet. Hahaha.
For my fellow critter keepers, I'm very happy with a new pet tracker for my in & out cat. I can kind of keep track of him on my phone via satellite. !!!!! One less source of stress.

Richard Patocchi

Jean-Marc, un vrai homme français, il a mis "la taxe" the dans votre chemise. Bien sûr, où encore?

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