baratin & baratiner

Prince 2 CV Citroen (c) Kristin EspinasseDoes one need to hit the road to sell books on French life? Not when your MOM is busy pounding the pavement! Read on... (photo taken in Briançon). Note: the next word goes out in the new year. Meilleurs Voeux! Bonne Année!

le baratin (bara-tehn)

    sweet talk, smooth talk

baratiner = to sweet-talk somebody, to chat someone up
baratineur, baratineuse = smooth talker 

Audio File: listen to Jean-Marc pronounce these French words (above and below): Download MP3 or Wav File

Pour vendre des livres il faut avoir l'art de baratiner!
To sell books, one must know the art of sweet talk!


A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

The Pick-Up Artist

You know what they say about a good salesman: He or she could vendre de la glace aux esquimaux! This is especially true of my dear mom, Jules, who is busy selling my book on French life to lovers of Spanish! For the past ten days, Jules has made it her mission to convert the tourists who flock to her little neighborhood along the Bay of Banderos, in Mexico.

Dressed in her trademark linen poncho (her latest one, in white, was a Christmas gift from her husband John), a red turtleneck (to match her red Converse tennis shoes), white pants and her trusty fedora, Mom sets out to beat the previous day's sales record.  

Like any saleswoman worth her salt, Mom knows that one of the best ways to market a product is to get out there and pound the pavement! In Mom's charismatic presence, travelers are forgetting for a moment that they are in Puerto Vallarta... when they begin to perceive the hum of the accordion as Mom dances up and down the boardwalk at the marina, picking up yet another potential bookbuyer with her sweet baratin. "Bonjour, Monsieur!...."

Every salesman has a challenge to overcome. In this case, that would be the absence of a tangible product to peddle! This doesn't discourage Mom one bit and, minus an actual copy of Blossoming in Provence, Jules manages to sell the goods "sight unseen", via verbal promissory notes extracted from the innocent tourists. "You will buy my daughter's book when you get home, won't you?! Merci, Madame!..."

Having worn a trail along the docks, Mom heads to The Coffee Cup, where more unsuspecting travelers are having their first cuppa, unaware of the lively scene about to take place.

This is when Jules fires up the computer (The Coffee Cup has three or four of them, reserved for customers), and logs on to

"Oh, Kristi!" Mom slaps her hands to her heart. "You are at number 31 in Hot New Releases!"

A few of the customers look over, in curiosity. For the sake of drama, Mom grabs onto the sleeve of the customer beside her. "Look! That's my daughter," Mom exclaims, pointing to the screen. "This is the book she published in 21 days--and now it is topping the bestseller charts!" (Like any saleswoman worth her salt, a little bit of exaggeration--or what, in all due respect, we might call "artist's license"--is par for the course!) 

And so it is that my dear mom has spent the past ten days--betting that the Hispanophiles who visit Puerto Vallarta are really Francophiles in waiting. Win or lose, she is certainly selling books in the process!

Thanks, Mom!

Le Coin Commentaires
To respond to this post, please click here

See a photo of Mom, her husband John, and me in Puerto Vallarta. Click here and don't miss the story!

If you haven't yet... please click here to purchase your copy of Blossoming in Provence. Many thanks for your support--and for giving my dear mom a day off work today :-) 

 French Expression:

vendre de la glace aux esquimaux = to sell snow to Eskimos
le baratin = smooth talk
Bonjour, Monsieur! = Hello, sir!
Bonjour, Madame = Hello, Ma'am 


  word sculpture in Jonquieres France (c) Kristin Espinasse

An interesting sculpture in front of the town hall, in Jonquières (Vaucluse)

Dreaming of coming to France in 2012? Check out these posts for some fun ideas on what to do once you get here:

And check out Where to Rent a Car in France?

Exercises in French PhonicsExercises in French Phonics bestseller on French pronunciation and how to pronouce French words correctly! (click here)



Ongoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal. If you find value in this website and would like to keep it going strong, please know your donation towards this effort makes all the difference! A contribution by check or via PayPal (links below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!

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Mr Cat (c) Kristin Espinasse. Photo taken in the town of Villedieu. "City of God" indeed.... The lovely man allowed me to photograph him. I had never seen a cat on a leash and was intrigued with the entire scene!

One thing's sure: there will be colorful characters in my next book (check out our progress on this, Day Three!, of the Publish A Book in 21 Days Challenge... and thank you for forwarding this post to a writer—a writer being anyone whose desire it is to write, and, especially, one who follows that desire. Read on, in the following missive. :-) Tip: put your cursor over the photo for more information on the image.

rédiger (ray dih zhay)

    : to write, to compose

bien rédigé = well-written

Mas la MonaqueMas la Monaque - rent this beautifully restored 17th Century farmhouse! Click here for photos and availability.


A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

An Audience of Editors

In the last 24 hours an orage has swept into our little wine-making village, and the tempête is very much in theme with the writing and the publishing going on inside: here, in a messy office, where I have not changed out of my bathrobe.

Inside the pockets of that robe, there were two pieces of stale bread (I don't even remember eating any bread), just as there were yesterday. Voilà, the glamorous, rock star life of a working writer.

A working writer! I still have to pince myself when I read those words. I am, véritablement, a working writer! I am a writer who works, and I work as a writer, and, as a writer, I have work! (Come to think of it, the previous sentence makes for an excellent self-talk exercise! I should know, as I have used one of more versions of it during this decade of self-imposed writer's boot camp....

You Are A Writer When You Believe You Are
Over the years I have visualized myself, actively or passively (at night, en rêvant), in this "writer's position". It is uncanny the degree to which belief works itself out... and into reality—down to the most minute details (the other day I realized I was wearing the plaid blazer that I had romantically imagined writers wore once upon a time.... missing were the patches at the elbows. Then again, I do not rest my elbows when I write. So, good for you, Subconscious Mind, for omitting that detail, just before materializing my real-life writer's blazer!).

And then, last week, there I was wearing the felt hat that the writer in my earlier imaginings might have worn... while stealing out onto the streets, in search of writing grist. (I would have never built up the gumption to wear such a hat; voilà for the "upside" of facial scars. (See the hat, below.)

Ask and Receive
But what I could not dream up or even imagine—what far surpassed my own hopes and aspirations—was that there would be an audience of editors there to help me, every uncertain step along the way: selfless lecteurs and lectrices willing to assist with another's dream.

I hope that in the midst of helping me, your own goals will begin or continue to crystallize.... until what was once a glimmer in your mind's eye... breaks through your brain-chamber and comes to life!


And now for an editorial update! Thank you so much for the manuscript edits that you are sending in.  The corrections and suggestions are being incorporated as I receive them—in real time—so that when you click on one of the stories to edit, you will be seeing the very latest version. (There might be a several-hour lapse at times during which I am outside screaming at the wind or hugging a tree, slaphappily. More likely, I am engaged in less dramatic stress outlets—such as making a hasty family dinner or catching up on laundry (my eyes lit up this morning, when I realized that the green shirt that I was folding was the same shirt at that in the dédommagement story that you have helped me edit over the past 36 hours! I think I'll frame that shirt and stick it in my office—or simply wear it while I speed publish these next few weeks!)

All this to say Merci bien, merci beaucoup, for the excellent feedback and suggestions and corrections that you have taken the time to send in, via the comments box. And, finally, huge thanks to MOM, aka Jules, who has accepted the position of Book Director. Her energy and enthusiasm, alone, is enough to buoy all of us during the next two weeks and four days.... Yipes, off to work against the clock, now!


Please join me, right away, anyone who is so willing: help me to find any typos or mistakes or formatting errors or stylistic concerns... in the following two three stories:

LE SAPIN: A "complicated" woman longs to become as simple as a French Christmas tree.

SONGE (DREAM!): read about when William Faulkner came to visit me, with advice about how to write with ease... 

MOQUETTE (CARPET): this story was reconsidered... after Mom and her posse showed up in the "moquette" comments box, and insisted this story be a part of the story collection.

Post note: I am beginning to see a new theme to this story collection: more than French life, there will be stories on the writing life. This has the added benefit of appealing to a larger audience (all you writers out there!) I will try to find more writing-themed stories in the archives.

Le Coin Commentaires
To leave a comment on today's post, or to simply cheer me on—me and my editorial team (that'd be you), please click here.

French Vocabulary

un orage = thunderstorm

la tempête = storm

voilà = there you have it

pincer = to pinch

véritablement = truly, genuinely

le lecteur, la lectrice = reader

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Out searching for that "grist" I mentioned, in today's story.


The "writer's hat" looks even more stylish on our son, Max (did you read about him in today's stories to edit?); but writing is the last thing in the world he wants to do. He's content to actually live life, rather than to write about it.

And here is that beautiful husband of mine, with a message for you:

For the coming Holidays, look for our Rouge-Bleu wines here. If you can't find them, email Jean-Marc and he will help you. Thanks for your support !

Ongoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal. If you find value in this website and would like to keep it going strong, please know your donation towards this effort makes all the difference! A contribution by check or via PayPal (links below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!

♥ $10    
♥ $25    
♥ Or click here to send the amount of your choice

To purchase our memoir, THE LOST GARDENS click here.