Burlesque in Burgundy... (A Cheeky Cabaret to Celebrate a friend's 50th birthday)

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If you are here for the photo of the semi-clad dancers, you’ll need to click over to the blog for the full version of this steamy letter! 

Today's French Word: le déguisement

    : costume, disguise; dressing up clothes, wearing fancy dress

Audio/Listening: Click the link below to hear the French words in today's séduisante story. Then scroll down to the vocabulary list to check your French comprehension.

Audio file, click here


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse
"Tarzan is Happy"

En route to Burgundy to celebrate a friend's cinquantenaire, Jean-Marc was having difficulty shifting gears in our jeep. His right hand was swelling up from une crise de goutte ! I was feeling so sorry for him until our conversation switched from his gouty arthritis to details about our weekend rendezvous with twenty friends. Ever trying to fit in with the French, I had asked my husband multiple times about the dress code. Each time his response was the same: he didn't have any information in particular.

Getting information out of my man is like pulling teeth! Une vraie galère!

Considering how cold it might be en Bourgogne, I decided on black jeans and a black col roulé for Saturday night. But now, an hour away from Gevrey-Chambertin, busy helping my husband shift gears, I saw an update on his phone from the group we were meeting up with. Scrolling through his messages, a few words jumped right off the screen.

SOIRÉE DE GALA???

Suddenly Jean-Marc yelped in agony as he returned his swollen hand to the steering wheel, but this time I didn't respond "Pauvre-toi!" I was too busy feeling sorry for myself, picturing all the wives in exquisite evening attire. When the torturous thought had run its course, Reason had its say: Oh, laisse tomber tout ça! What would it matter in 100 years? Besides, this would be a good exercise in l'humilité

But humility is also knowing when to ask for help. Our 6-hour drive over, we joined our friends for lunch at La Part des Anges to savor specialties including Boeuf bourguignon, les escargots, and la volaille de Bresse. During a lag in the conversation, I fessed up about my clothing predicament and, illico, one of the women offered to lend me an elegant chemise. Parfait! Merci! 

(Speaking of “fessing up”... Did you know fesses in French means "butt"? If that seems off-topic read on...)

That night at the beautiful Castel de Très Girard hotel the women were dressed to the nines, but after the festive evening began they ditched their gowns and slipped into itsy-bitsy costumes for a spicey mise-en-scène.... 

There was a hush as the guest of honor sat in the middle of the party room, his back to the door. Soon we heard a rumble from the “jungle" when Serge Lama's song, Et Tarzan est Heureux, came on. The door opened and a delicate Geisha took tiny tiny steps towards our newbie Cinquantenaire, fussing over him before shuffling off stage. Next, a saucy cowgirl galloped in... after a few whips of her lasso she exited stage left in time for La Policière to saunter forth and issue him a ticket (which she tucked beneath his belt). As each dancer sashayed her way off stage, the audience belted out the song's joyous refrain....

“...et Tarzan est heureux!”
“...et Tarzan est heureux!”

Tarzan did indeed look happy! The burlesque continued with a voluptuous visit from “L'infirmière” (the Nurse), the sensual “Pilote d'avion,” the steamy “Soubrette” (that's a cheeky way to say Maid) and finally, The Birthday Boy’s own wife, and you have never seen a more ravishing (and provocative) Pirate! 

With forward and backward flips of their skirts à la Folies Bergères, all wives (or most all wives...) returned center stage. By now my husband had completely forgotten about his excruciatingly painful gout

Quant à moi, I wasn't sure whether to feel left out or enormously relieved not to be shaking my booty beside the other femmes-séductricesOh, laisse tomber! All that mattered was whether our beloved guest of honor was having a good time on his half-century mark. Just then, the song’s refrain seemed to confirm it:

Et Tarzan est heureux!
Et Tarzan et heureux!


I leave you with a photo (many thanks to our friends for permission to post it!) and a sound file of the catchy Tarzan song. The lyrics are un peu osé! Here are the first lines in English...

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Et Tarzan est Heureux

When you sleep near your husband
For the three hundred thousandth time
Doesn't it happen to you sometimes
Dream that he's someone else?
And when you roll in his bed
Meowing like a young cat
Don't you sometimes hope
That Tarzan is behind the door?...

(For all lyrics in French and in English, click here)


Listen to "Tarzan est heureux", click here


FRENCH VOCABULARY
le déguisement = costume, dress up clothes 
séduisant(e) = seductive
en route = on the way
le cinquantenaire
= 50th birthday
une vraie galère = a real pain, a real chore
la crise de goutte = an attack of gout
La Bourgogne = Burgundy 
le col roulé = turtleneck
la soirée gala
= gala reception
pauvre-toi = poor you
laisse tomber tout ça
= forget about all that
la part des anges
= "the angel's share" refers to the wine that evaporates during fermentation
le boeuf = beef
la volaille = poultry
illico = right away, presto
la chemise = blouse
la fesse = cheek (bottom)
les fesses = butt
la mise-en-scène = setting up the scene
l’infirmière = nurse
la soubrette = maid
quant à moi = as for me
les femmes séductrices = seductive wives
un peu osé = a little daring

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Wearing my dear friend’s chemise. Thank you, Isild 💕
Crise de goutte
Photo from several years ago. A clay poultice (covered with a Harry's Bread sack) to help alleviate Jean-Marc's gout. For more about his painful gouty arthritis, click here

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That's all for this playful edition! If you enjoyed it please share it with a friend. Take care and "see you" next week.

A Message from Kristi
Thank you for reading my language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on the creative process of writing. My wish is to continue offering posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation of any amount.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check
2. Paypal or credit card
3. A bank transfer, a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase our online memoir, The Lost Gardens


Aubade: a beautiful French word with a beautiful meaning

 Remparts (c) Kristin Espinasse
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une aubade (oh-bad)

    : dawn serenade

donner une aubade à quelqu'un = to serenade someone

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

On ne sait jamais ce que demain sera... One never knows what tomorrow will bring and for Tessa and me that meant that someone would sing!

After finishing our writer's room chore, we got into my car and set out to explore... driving past bare vine fields, lone cabanons, and the almond blossoms of promise. 

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Speeding past the flowering forsythia and irises in the brook beside the road, we felt Hope's hallelujah as we shook off Winter's sock it to ya! Beaten in our hibernal caves, we were venturing out with an emphatic olé oollée!

Sauntering into the town of Tulette, un village avoisinant, we parked in front of an ancient moulin and took out our cameras for a photographic spin. Tess is an aquarelliste who takes photos with an artist's objective in mind: her "captures" will become colorful canvases. I thought about what attracts me to a certain scene: character, quirkiness, and charm to name a few. And people, I love people too!

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With that Tess and I headed like bees over to the town fountain, where we met Lolo and Driss! Strangers no more, Lolo and Driss "le Marocain" graciously posed for pictures before the former offered an impromptu tour of les environs.

In front of the town Mairie, Lolo pointed out the Provençal words that amounted to "liberty". He talked about the moulin (beside which we had parked) and told of the fresh water that his town once enjoyed... until a new mayor came along and upset the source—joining the town to an industrial water line.

Lolo marched into town hall one day and "exchanged words" with the mayor.
"Why don't you just take this pic," he said angrily, and go outside and chisel off the word liberté from the sign above the door?!"

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Lolo, when he is not fighting for his fellow Frenchmen's rights, enjoys pointing out the Renaissance architecture. Before we said goodbye, just outside the town renovated ramparts, Lolo shared a little about himself.

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                                              Lolo has charming fossettes (dimples)

"Je chante dans le chœur...
"

Tess could not help herself, "Will you please sing for us?!" And that is how we found ourselves serenaded by the man who almost chiseled liberty. It would have been a sacrifice, defacing the sweet sign above the town hall's entry, but l'eau, just like the air we breathe, is a human right that should not rhyme with industry.

Tess held back her tears until Lolo got into his car and put it in gear.  The serenade, which the French call "aubade", was a gift from above... as is freedom, as is love.

:: Le Coin Commentaire ::


Thank you for leaving comments, which helps to foster this French community. Click here to leave a message and to tell us which part of the world you are writing from.

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Visit Tessa's blog: click here

French Vocabulary and Sound File listen Download Wav or  MP3

une aubade
donner une aubade à quelqu'unon ne sait jamais ce que demain sera = one never knows what tomorrow will hold
le cabanon = little stone hut (check out our Facebook page)
avoisinant, avoisinante = neighboring
un village avoisinant = a neighboring village
le moulin = mill
le moulin à eau = water mill
aquarelliste = watercolorist
le Marocain (la Marocaine) = Moroccan
les environs = the surroundings
la Mairie = town hall
la source = spring (water)
je chante dans le choeur = I sing in the choir
le pic = pick(axe)
la liberté = freedom
l'eau (f) = water
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A Day in a Dog's Life... by Smokey "R" Dokey

Smokey says: that's my mom. Isn't she bee-yoo-tee-full! And those are my sisters who harvested her milk last September, when everyone else was harvesting grapes!

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Best-sellers on the French Language:


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"high quality material, good value for your money" --from Amazon customer reviews. Order your copy here.

A Message from Kristi
Thank you for reading my language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on the creative process of writing. My wish is to continue offering posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation of any amount.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check
2. Paypal or credit card
3. A bank transfer, a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase our online memoir, The Lost Gardens


la question mille francs + French words "le délire", "le plumeau", "la poubelle" and cleaning out my writing den

antique French urn garden vase Photo taken in Tulette, Vaucluse (c) Kristin Espinasse
Balance, order, and sunshine -- essentials for a thriving mind.


la question à mille francs (lah-kest-yon-ah-meel-frahn)

    : the sixty-four thousand dollar question (something that is not known, the answer for which wins top prize!)
.

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

It is WONDERFUL to be back in my writing room! So how did I find myself typing in a corner of my bedroom on top of a felt-bare card table? Ça—c'est la question à mille francs!

My dear friend Tessa has her theories. Tess is the one who pried me out of my corner cave, where I fancied myself Writer In Residence for the past twelve months.

"Really, I like it here," I swore to my friend, who pulled me out of my délire, by the ear!

Soon we were knee-deep in the not-so-distant past as I watched the woman with the crate delegate. 

"We'll need garbage bags, a broom, a dust-pan, and a plumeau," Tess said, handing me dozens of dusty old books that had been pulled out of a poubelle and given to me by a neighbor.

"Well, they should have STAYED in the bin!" Tess declared, pointing out the bug-infested pages. They will contaminate all of your favorite books!" There was no arguing with the bossy one. And so I followed orders, feather dusted, and filed.

"Why don't we stop for tea?" wondered little ol' me.
"Because we've only just begun!" Tess hummed, naturally. When she wasn't humming she spoke in "theatrical tongue" using many made-up words as we laughed and we purged.

"Is that a real word?" I asked when a favorite came up.
"Oh, I hope not!" Tess replied as we giggled and chucked stuff.

"How did you ever end up in that corner?" Tess wanted to know.
Qui sait? Though I suspect it has something to do... with how fast my office grew!

That is when I wandered off... to the quiet line of a corner and a clutter-free card desk... paring things down to where my mind could finally rest).

:: Le Coin Commentaires ::

This forum is now open for fun and sharing. Talk about today's word or story -- or ask questions about France or the French language. Let's help one another learn or, at the very least, laugh. Click here to leave a comment.



French Vocabulary
(sound file will return on Wednesday...)

la question à mille francs = the 64 thousand dollar question
le délire = delirium
le plumeau = feather duster
la poubelle = garbage can, bin

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Smokey says: Psst: she forget to tell you that not only did Tess clean and organize her office....

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But the dear artist brought her tulips...

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...and even painted her a watercolor tableau for her renewed writing room! Thanks, Tessa!

A Message from Kristi
Thank you for reading my language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on the creative process of writing. My wish is to continue offering posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation of any amount.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check
2. Paypal or credit card
3. A bank transfer, a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase our online memoir, The Lost Gardens