A Hidden Beach in Cassis, Freedom & Laughter = Eclats de rire!

Beach in Cassis
Following Jean-Marc's wine tour... lunch with Elizabeth’s family and friends at a hidden beach in Cassis. Left to right: Katie, Olivia, Victor, Kristi, Lily, Elizabeth, and Jean-Marc. 

For today's story, I asked Chatgpt to summarize the English text in one French word. Here's the response I got: "A word in French that summarizes your story could be "Éclat" which means "Radiance" or "Sparkle." It represents the vibrant and joyful atmosphere depicted in the narrative." Thanks, Chatgpt! And for anyone reading, find out where the joy and sparkle come from when you read the rest of this post.

TODAY'S WORD: un éclat

    : radiance, sparkle

un éclat de rire = a burst of laughter

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

Sometime in the last week, les cigales woke up from their 5-year siesta and now they are screeching their lungs out. While that is a funny image, I guess it isn't entirely correct. That ear-piercing trille may be produced in some other energetic way, leaving me wondering where cicadas get all their peps in summer's heatwave.

I, too, am feeling unusually peppy this sweltering afternoon as I skip over to Mom's to share a recent adventure. As I reach the side of our villa and approach the sliding glass door to Chez Jules, a few black and white birds fly off. The royal blue patch on their backs is now a blur as the magpies disappear into the giant parasol pines above. I shake my head in appreciation. Mom is getting very close to taming those pies now that she's won over les tourterelles, les pigeons, les hérissons and a few stray cats. The trail of crumbled croquettes (appealing to birds, cats, and hedgehogs alike) leads right up to her baie vitrée. Sliding open the door, I enter the studio. Bookshelves flank the entry with each and every treasure Jules has rescued from the neighborhood “street library” in the 5 years since moving here from Mexico.

My mom is finishing her dinner. A copy of Battlefield of the Mind is propped open on the kitchen island (more books line the shelves below) and I see Mom's been busy with her green marker, underlining important passages. It seems Joyce Meyer is off Mom's liste noire for the moment. (Pastors walk a fine line with Mama Jules.)

"Whatcha got in there?" I say, smiling towards the frying pan. Looks like it's saumon et patates today, and it always hits the spot. Comfort food, Mom might say. Jules's fan is whirring from the kitchen counter. To think just last week the little space heater was propped up on that same comptoir. And now, le ventilateur. It's broken (and only goes up to the second speed) but it's fine, Mom assures me. Not one year ago that same fan was carefully placed on the floor, all for dear old Smokey's comfort. I can still see his golden locks fluttering in the "breeze," and my throat gets a lump as I recall the memory. 

"So what's new?" Mom asks and I tell her all about our lively lunch in Cassis with Elizabeth, Victor, and the girls. It all happened after Elizabeth responded to an announcement in my newsletter for one of Jean-Marc's wine tours...et voilà after several hours together in Cassis, I was feeling that kind of refreshment that comes from being in soulful company. Elizabeth's daughter, Olivia, and her friends, Lily and Katie just graduated from Georgetown. What a feeling that must be to have secured jobs after earning their degrees. And now to be toasting above the Mediterranean Sea. Tchin-tchin!

In a paillote above a hidden beach in Cassis, we shared deep-fried fleurs de courgettes, les accras, and crevettes and chatted about France, Charlotte N.C. and everything in between. That's when I realized I was the last person on earth to learn about Lorde--the girls' favorite singer.

I had been telling the girls about my job as a blogger--sharing about my readership (including Elizabeth, whose been a faithful lectrice since 2006) as well as a disheartening trend: this past 5 years, with the expanse of social media, blog subscribership has plunged. "These days people enjoy short snippets from Instagram or Facebook, and "reels" or videos that are no longer than 10 seconds," I explained.

That's when Lily told me about Lorde, the famous young singer who went off social media and began a weekly newsletter. All the girls agreed they enjoyed reading the longer format. It gave me such hope to know young people are signing on to newsletters and taking the time to read them. Algorithms be gone!

I returned home from that meetup feeling refreshed. "It's good to see you this happy," Mom said, as Lili the cat curled up between us." It was the second or third time Mom said it and, for a moment I felt a little defensive, as in, what do you usually see me as? Grumpy? 

This was no time to take things personally. "We all like to see each other happy," I replied. And with that, Mom and I began counting our blessings. Our conversation ended in les éclats de rire as I repeated a positive affirmation Mom first shared back when I was a teenager. Now, at 55 (and a little touchy from hormonal changes...) it still resonates: 

I'm on top, in touch, and in tune with myself
I like who I am and I'm glad to be me!

I may have made up that last line. But I like it and it's the message I'm leaving you with today, dear reader. Be free... on top, in touch, and in tune. I realize, now, that this is what I had experienced at lunch: a thoughtful group of people who were in tune with themselves and the world around them. And this was a blessing!

I leave you with another blessing, below, my wise Mom, and wish you all a happy weekend. 



Jules and Smokey
A photo of my Mom, Jules, and Smokey from last summer.

Thank you for your comments and corrections, which are much appreciated. Click here to comment.



Click here to listen to Jean-Marc and Kristi pronounce the French and English terms

un éclat
= radiance, sparkle, glow
la cigale
= cicada (funny, « cigale » can also mean « spendthrift »)
le trille = trill
le peps = pep
la villa
= house
la pie = magpie
la tourterelle = dove
le hérisson = hedgehog
la croquette = dry food, kibble
la baie vitrée = arcadia window, sliding glass door
le saumon = salmon
la patate = potato (in informal French)
le comptoir = counter
et voilà = and just like that
tchin-tchin! = cheers!
la paillote = wooden structure, hut (usually near a beach)
la fleur de courgette = zucchini flower
les accras
= Caribbean fish fritters
la crevette = shrimp
un lecteur, une lectrice = reader
les éclats de rire = laughter
la bénédiction = blessing

Wine tour at Domaine du Paternel
Visiting Domaine du Paternel in Cassis

Sincere thanks to the following readers who recently sent in a blog donation or purchased our online memoir. This truly is a reader-supported journal and I appreciate your help in publishing it week after week. Merci beaucoup! --Kristi

Al K.
Bob O.
Debra L.
Elaine M.

Cleeve C.
Marcia L
Jenean L.
Jeanne G.
C-Marie P.

And special thanks to Elizabeth and Victor for reserving a wine tour with Jean-Marc, and for your thoughtful note:
"All of us found both you and Jean-Marc to be just such a joy to be with... You are such a warm couple and both so good at your work and we love how you support each other. I love that both your jobs involve sharing your joie de vie and love for France and connecting with others."

Chateau de Pibarnon
Enjoying a wine-tasting at Chateau de Pibarnon in Bandol with Eric de St. Victor.

If anyone reading would like to reserve a wine tour with Jean-Marc, click here for more information


Plage du Corton in Cassis France
This hidden beach nestled beneath the cliff in Cassis is Plage du Corton. On the right, you can just glimpse la paillote where we ate lunch.

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.

Ways to contribute:
1.Zelle®, The best way to donate and there are no transaction fees. Zelle to [email protected]

2.Paypal or credit card
Or purchase my book for a friend and so help them discover this free weekly journal.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety

A Fun Word for Wine + Jean-Marc's Epic Farewell at Chateau Beaupin

Dinner at chateau beaupin with jean-marc and kristi
Jean-Marc and Kristi, center, surrounded by longtime friends.

Tuesday Night was my husband's big night and this was no time to stress. So I took a deep breath, asked readers for ideas about how to chill before a social event when you are an introvert and you don’t drink, and received some excellent tips in return. Next, I dressed to the nines and headed to Marseilles with mon cheri for his epic farewell dinner. With the help of his friends and investors, Jean-Marc was saying goodbye to his wine shop, Le Vin Sobre (the commercial name of his wine company "Glou-Glou").  Read all about it in his own words (in French and in English) below.


- An onomatopoeic noun-turned-adjective imitative of both the sound of liquid leaving a bottleneck and of the rapid gulping of said liquid, glou-glou leads a small pack of recent French lexicographical imports driven by the surging global interest in French natural wine... A glou is what Anglophones call a “glug”; a wine that is glou-glou is one that invites glugging. -Spruge.com

You'll run across the term glou-glou just about everywhere in France (and now elsewhere) if you are into wine, as my husband is. But just what exactly is glou-glou and how do you use it? I liked this simple explanation from Mashed.com:

"It's the kind of wine you can sit back and relax with friends and just enjoy — it's glou-glou."

image from french-word-a-day.typepad.com
Autumn Excursion in France: "Women in Burgundy" - An adventure designed especially for "Wander-ful Women!" September 20 to 30, 2023 - Includes seven nights in Burgundy and three nights in Paris. Click HERE for details.

by Jean-Marc Espinasse

After selling my wine shop in January, I managed to gather the friends who accompanied me on my adventure at Vin Sobre La Ciotat for a farewell dinner.

I chose to have this dinner in Marseilles at Château Beaupin, a magnificent 19th-century mansion located close to where most of us grew up. In fact, almost everyone present has been friends for over 40 years, and everyone was delighted to discover this place, which is both mysterious and well-known.

It has recently been restored, and last year, Chef Sidi, whom I know through our son Maxime, cooked outdoors on braziers. The season wasn't yet warm enough to consider an outdoor dinner, but I had hoped to have the aperitif outside. Unfortunately, it was raining, and as the 24 guests arrived, our dining room became quite cramped.

By magic, the mistral returned in the early evening, giving us a wonderful red sky for the sunset and allowing us to extend the champagne aperitif.

For the occasion, I brought bottles that had a strong connection to me. Domaine Rouge Bleu (our first vineyard), the Ephemera cuvées that I now vinify with friends, as well as Château Ferry Lacombe, where I had my first job, Domaine du Banneret of my cousin Audrey, Château de Pibarnon in Bandol... and I enjoyed explaining the history of each wine to the guests.

The meal was convivial and delicious. And since everyone knew each other, there were changes in seating from the table plan I had established, which I found delightful.

Before I knew it, it was already midnight, and the first guests were already leaving. I would have liked to prolong this, but I was really happy to have been able to make it happen, to bring together my friends associated with Vin Sobre.

This morning, when I woke up, I was still happy thinking about this evening and I said to myself that we should continue to organize this event with my friends, even though the adventure of Vin Sobre La Ciotat is well and truly over. So, I will look for another equally symbolic place and hope to organize a new event to continue to keep Glou Glou alive, despite everything.

par Jean-Marc Espinasse

Après avoir vendu ma boutique de vins en Janvier, j'ai réussi à réunir les amis qui m'ont accompagnés dans mon aventure au Vin Sobre La Ciotat pour un dîner d'adieu.

J'ai choisi de faire ce dîner à Marseilles, au Château Beaupin, une magnifique maison de maître du 19 ième siècle située à toute proximité de là où la plupart d'entre nous a grandi. En effet, la quasi unanimité des personnes présentes sont des amis depuis plus de 40 ans et tout le monde a eu grand plaisir à découvrir ce lieu à la fois mystérieux et connu.

Il a récemment été restauré et, l'année dernière, le Chef Sidi que je connais grâce à notre fils Maxime, y a cuisiné en extérieur sur des braseros.
La saison n'était pas encore assez chaude pour envisager un dîner en extérieur mais j'avais espéré faire l'apéritif dehors. Malheureusement, il pleuvait et au fur et à mesure que les 24 invités arrivaient, notre salle à manger devenait bien étroite.

Par enchantement, le mistral a repris ses droits en début de soirée, ce qui nous a valu un merveilleux ciel rouge pour le coucher de soleil et permis de prolonger l'apéritif au Champagne.

Pour l'occasion, j'avais amené des bouteilles pour lesquelles j'avais une forte connexion. Domaine Rouge Bleu (notre premier vignoble), les cuvées Ephemera que je vinifie à présent chez des amis mais aussi Château Ferry Lacombe où j'ai exercé mon premier job, Domaine du Banneret de ma cousine Audrey, Château de Pibarnon à Bandol... et je me suis fait plaisir à expliquer l'histoire de chaque vin aux invités.

Le repas était convivial et délicieux. Et comme tout le monde se connaissait, il y a eu des changements de place par rapport au plan de table que j'avais établi et j'ai trouvé cela extra.

Avant que je réalise, il était déjà minuit et les premiers invités partaient déjà. J'aurais voulu prolonger cela mais j'étais vraiment heureux d'avoir pu faire cette soirée pour, à l'origine, réunir une dernière fois mes amis associés au Vin Sobre.

Ce matin, en me levant, j'étais encore heureux en pensant à cette soirée et je me suis dit qu'il fallait continuer à organiser cet évènement avec mes amis, même si l'aventure du Vin Sobre La Ciotat est belle et bien finie. Du coup, je vais me mettre en quête d'un autre lieu tout aussi symbolique et espère organiser un nouvel évènement pour continuer à faire vivre Glou Glou, malgré tout.
Sidi at Chateau beaupin marseille
Sidi Chateau Beaupin
Chef Sidi Salhi, who went to school with our son Max, talked about the food and preparation. We had fresh, seasonal asparagus, a délicious purée de céleri rave, fish (I believe it was turbot), spring strawberries, and a rich chocolate cake for dessert. Miam!
Sidi, about to grill some local dorades on the brasero. 

Chateau Beaupin = 37 Avenue Beau Pin, 13008 Marseille
Phone: +33 695 380 173 Instagram: chateaubeaupin_marseille
Hédoné - Sidi Salhoné's new restaurant in the colorful and historic Panier district of Marseilles.
14 rue du Refuge, 13002 Marseilles
Phone: +33 637 952 397 Instagram: hedone.marseille
Le Vin Sobre - Before opening his own Vin Sobre in La Ciotat, Jean-Marc worked for a time at Le Vin Sobre in Marseilles. 
There are several wine boutiques throughout Marseilles, find the nearest here.

Jean-Marc and Kristi at Chateau Beaupin in Marseilles France
Everything went beautifully. I'm already dreaming of another dinner get-together at this historic batisse in Marseilles. How about you? Would you like to join us? Maybe we can arrange it for this blog's 25th anniversary? It's good to dream!

To leave a comment or to read the comments, click here. If you like, include the city where you live (it's always interesting, especially for my Dad who is reading from Palm Springs!)


Click here to listen to all these terms in French and in English

Glou-glou = gulp, glu​g​
Réunir = to gather
Aventure = adventure
La maison de maître = master's house
Restauré = restored
Les braseros = fire pits
En extérieur = outdoors
Le mistral = a strong, cold wind in southern France
La connexion = connection
Le vignoble = vineyard
Vinifie = vinify
La cousine = female cousin
Convivial = friendly, convivial
Le plaisir = pleasure
Le plan de table = seating plan
L'évènement = event
Le dîner d'adieu = farewell dinner
Magnifique = magnificent
Tout le monde = everyone
Mystérieux = mysterious
Les droits = rights
Le coucher de soleil = sunset
Les cuves = vats
Le bon vivant = person who enjoys good food and drink
Étroite = narrow
Merveilleux = marvelous
Lili the cat and old wine bottles
As Lili the Cat looked on, Jean-Marc brought out some of his most meaningful bottles to share with friends at the dinner.

Jean-marc speaking kristi photographing
Jean-Marc toasting to his friends and family. Thanks, Isabelle J., for this photo.

Following the "Dogs on Board" edition, Ahoy! and special thanks to these readers for their helpful donations:

Betty D.
Pat C.
William C.
Michael P.
Nancy A.
Cathy S.
Joan S.

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.

Ways to contribute:
1.Zelle®, The best way to donate and there are no transaction fees. Zelle to [email protected]

2.Paypal or credit card
Or purchase my book for a friend and so help them discover this free weekly journal.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety

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

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.


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...

JPEG image
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

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

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

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 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.

Ways to contribute:
1.Zelle®, The best way to donate and there are no transaction fees. Zelle to [email protected]

2.Paypal or credit card
Or purchase my book for a friend and so help them discover this free weekly journal.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety

Aubade: a beautiful French word with a beautiful meaning

 Remparts (c) Kristin Espinasse
New to French Word-A-Day? Bienvenue!  Sign up for free updates of the latest posts.

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. 


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!

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?!"


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.

                                              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.

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
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!


Best-sellers on the French Language:

Exercises in French Phonics Exercises in French Phonics is...
" a great book for learning French pronunciation"
"useful and practical"
"high quality material, good value for your money" --from Amazon customer reviews. Order your copy here.

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.

Ways to contribute:
1.Zelle®, The best way to donate and there are no transaction fees. Zelle to [email protected]

2.Paypal or credit card
Or purchase my book for a friend and so help them discover this free weekly journal.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety

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 ::

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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


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

But the dear artist brought her tulips...

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

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