What are "les patins à roulettes"? + Embarrassment is the Thief of Joy

vintage retro quad roller skates les rollers patin roulettes four wheel
Colorful, vintage "quad" roller skates. Je les adore! How about you? And do you rollerskate? Also, if today's word doesn't interest you, there are a dozen more useful terms to discover in the story below.

FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY: les patins à roulettes

     : roller skates
 
 
FRENCH AUDIO: Click the link below to hear Jean-Marc pronounce the French words in today's post. Then scroll down to the vocabulary section to check your French comprehension.

Click here to open the audio file



A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

"Embarrassment is the Thief of Joy"

Vintage roller skates are back, making me nostalgic for the good ol' days when I'd fly out of bed and lace up my patins à roulettes. Off I'd glide round and round our trailer park, freer and happier than I've ever been.

I've wanted to skate for years now, but there never was a suitable place pour patiner (cobblestone paths when we lived in the village, then gravel driveways at our vineyard). Now that we're in a neighborhood paved with smooth chaussées, I admit something else's been keeping me from donning skates: self-consciousness.  I'm too embarrassed to wobble around on wheels in front of my neighbors.

Jackie and Braise roller skate skating in Frejus South of France
A 9-year-old Jackie rollerblading with Breizh (Smokey's mom) in the seaside town of Fréjus.

All that changed when my daughter drove us to Roller'n Co skate store in Marseilles last week. Chihab, a professional skater with a stylish afro and a cool name (Chihab means étoile filante, or shooting star) assisted us, recommending inline skates with heel brakes for more balance. Turns out those retro quads with toe stops are conducive to backward falls. Houlà! With that, we added protective gear--un casque, wrist, elbow, and knee pads--to our achat

With so much paraphernalia to tack on, it took a while to get ready our first time out. I remembered Chihab's advice to wear jeans for extra protection, and cautiously descended our front stairs, sur mon derrière....

Jackie and I began on the narrow trottoir in front of our house. Just like riding a bike, skating came right back to us as, knees and posture slightly bent, we glided down the wide boulevards of our voisinage, on our way to La Voie Douce. Having good quality gear and a professional bootfitting by a skate tech made all the difference: these Rollerblades fit like paws! (Did you know the French word for skate--"patin"--comes from the word "patte" or paw?). Even with our new paws, we had a few close calls, mostly while navigating multi-level surfaces (sidewalk endings were the worst!).

Finally, we were on the smooth, wide pedestrian strip known here as La Voie Douce ("The Gentle Path"). This ancient railroad track, now a repaved sentier, runs from the town center all the way out to the train station here in La Ciotat. It's an ideal piste on which to practice le patinage. We joined (and sometimes dodged) walkers, runners, bikers, wheelchairs, and mothers with strollers, along the path, flanked by blooming wildflowers and nice grassy patches to land on, si nécessaire. When it came time to turn back we noticed the downward slope. "Attention, Maman!" my 24-year-old coach called out. Pumping the back brakes of our skates, it was smooth sailing most of the way, until we reached the turn-off for our neighborhood and encountered a road full of potholes (the French call these "hens' nests" or nids-de-poule). Cautiously "walking" down the street we eventually lost our balance and had to hold on to a fence the rest of the way.

Ouf! Back safe in our neighborhood, we encountered one last obstacle: another downward slope or pente. For some reason (fatigue?), I wasn't having the same luck with my freins as before, and began to lose control until I "caught" a telephone pole.  "Mom! Take my hands," Jackie said, skating towards me.

"I can't!" 

"Yes, you can."

"We'll both fall down!"

"Mom, let go of that telephone pole and take my hands!"

There was no taking no for an answer. I let go of the pole and grabbed onto Jackie's hands. "Tu vois," my daughter said, smiling as we advanced in an awkward dance, swooping, swerving, laughing, and teetering. As we got closer to home a few of the neighbors looked on and, funnily, it didn't matter anymore. We were too caught up in our joy ride to care.

*    *    *

VIDEOS
Jackie recorded a few short, funny videos of my first time back on rollerskates. Hit the arrow in the center to start the clip. Then hit the arrow on the right to see the other short clips. Can you see the footage, above? If not, visit my Instagram and swipe left to see the 3 videos.

FRENCH VOCABULARY
le patin à roulettes = roller skate
patiner =
to skate, to ice-skate, roller-skate
une chaussée
= road
houlà! = yikes!
un casque = helmet
un achat = purchase
sur mon derrière = on my behind
le trottoir = sidewalk
le voisinage = neighborhood
La Voie Douce = The Gentle Path
la patte = paw
le sentier = path, way
la piste = strip (of land), runway
le patinage = skating
attention, Maman = careful, Mom
le nid-de-poule = pothole 
une pente = slope, incline
le frein
= brake

Improve your French via these vocabulary roundups from Spring 2017. You'll discover colorful words and stories you may have missed.

Roller skating across the French RivieraFrench Roll: Misadventures in Love, Life, and Rollerskating Across the French Riviera. From the icy peaks of Germany to the steamy beaches of France, this coming-of-age story begins when Michael, 19, gets a letter from his girlfriend asking him to meet her in Barcelona. He quits his daredevil job at the top of the German Alps and plots a risky two-month trek across the coast of southern France — alone, on roller skates. He leaves his alpine friends behind to follow his heart with only a backpack, ski poles, and roller skates. Order the book.




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La Voie Douce in La Ciotat. Have time for another story? Learn the French word for "objective", "goal "or "aim"  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


Un Coup de Pouce: a helping hand from our daughter

Jean-Marc in BriançonJean-Marc, in Briançon. The words on the wall read: L'alpiniste est un homme qui conduit son corps là où, un jour, ses yeux ont regardé... " The mountaineer is a man who leads his body to where, one day, his eyes have looked. --Gaston Rébuffat

Today's Expression: Un Coup de Pouce

    : a helping hand, a boost, a leg up

French Audio/Listening: Click the following link to hear Jean-Marc pronounce the French words in today's story. Then scroll down to the vocabulary list to check your French comprehension.

Click here for the sound file



F is For France book"F is For France: A Curious Cabinet of French Wonders". If you are a Francophile and love trivia this book's for you! 

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

When our daughter moved home last week after temporary employment in the Alps, she had a lot on her to-do list: unpack, find a new job, renew her French passport, etc... But when she saw her dad and sensed he was a little down, helping him became her priority.

Un Coup de Pouce (A Boost)
"Mom," Jackie said, wheeling her suitcases into the guestroom. "This afternoon, I'm going to go through Dad's garde-robe and get rid of a lot of old clothes. Then, I'm going to help him shop for some basics. And maybe pick out some skincare essentials."

Skincare essentials? I could not see my husband patting l'eau de rose on his rugged face. Mais que sais-je? As Jackie pointed out, "When you take care of yourself, you feel better." 

It's true, Jean-Marc needed un coup de pouce. Since selling our vineyard and starting his wine shop, Chief Grape has been focused on his business. It was now time to focus on his well-being--via un relooking!


Out with the old...
The very afternoon of her arrival back in La Ciotat, Jackie was knee-high in a pile of her father's fringues as the two stood sorting vêtements in front of an old armoire. Right away, a plan of action was put into place...  Step 1: toss or recycle whatever clothes were abîmés, déchirés, troués, délavés, or moldy (this last problem began with a leak in our roof...long story). Step 2: Give away the clothes that are in good condition.

When Jean-Marc had doubts about parting with certain affaires, he remembered the ongoing exodus out of Ukraine and all those displaced families in need. "I'm going to give these to our town's collect, for la Solidarité Ukraine."  Two one-hundred liter bags now filled quickly and when the dusty armoire was empty, Jackie and I wiped it down from top to bottom, using a lavender-scented spray to finish off the job before welcoming back the rest of JM's clothes.

In with the new...
The next day father and daughter headed to Marseilles, to the shopping mall Les Terrasses du Port... where they found chinos, chemises, shorts, and mocassins. And that evening we were treated to un défilé de mode! 

Our family, including Jules and Smokey (covered with his own new "threads" or stitches), gathered on the two couches in front of the fireplace. Next, Jean-Marc appeared on the "catwalk" and strutted forth, wearing a jade green dress shirt, cream-colored slacks, and black loafers. Qu'est-ce qu'il est beau! Canon! we whistled. Reaching the center of our living room our mannequin swung around, shook his hips, and slapped his own behind, before strutting off with a big smile on his face.

I rolled my eyes back and shook my head, sacré Jean-Marc! When they made him they broke the mold!

"You two did a great job!" I said to my daughter, while our menswear model made his way back to the changing room.
"Thanks, but we didn't have time to get the skincare," Jackie regretted.

A moment later my husband returned, strut, strut, strut--SLAP!, wearing another tenue pimpante. From the glow on his rugged face, no l'eau de rose needed. Jackie's mini-makeover was already a helpful boost to her dad's morale.


FRENCH QUOTE & VOCABULARY
L'alpiniste est un homme qui conduit son corps là où, un jour, ses yeux ont regardé. 
The mountaineer is a man who leads his body to where, one day, his eyes have looked.

un coup de pouce
= a little help, a lift, a boost
la garde-robe = wardrobe, clothes, clothing
l'eau de rose = rosewater toner
mais que sais-je? = but what do I know?
le relooking = makeover
les fringues = slang for clothes
les vêtements (m) = clothes, clothing
abîmé = damaged
déchiré = ripped
troué = full of holes
délavé = faded
la chemise = shirt
le mocassin = loafer
un défilé de mode = a fashion show
il était si beau! = He looked so handsome!
canon = gorgeous, hot (read the related post)
la tenue =  outfit
pimpant(e) (fringant(e) = smart, elegant 

Jackie raincoat armoir
Jackie, trying on the trench coat she made in design school. The armoire you see behind her is as old as Mr. Sacks, and has had various lives: as a kitchen pantry, as a duo-closet for JM and me. These days it's his garde-robe.

Jackie and jean-marc donkey
"Father and daughter," Jean-Marc giving Jackie un coup de pouce when she was little. Photo from the "Desiderata" poem post. Corrections to this letter are always welcome and appreciated. Merci d'avance!

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


An exhausting surprise at Jackie’s Alpine “hébergement”

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Serre Chevalier Vallée, with its snow-capped cimes. Photo by Jean-Marc

TODAY’S WORD: se soutenir 

: to help one another, to support one another

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

Listen to Jean-Marc’s recording, click here


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

On Monday, Jules and Smokey opted to stay cozy at home while the remaining members of our household made the three-and-a-half-hour trajet from La Ciotat to Serre Chevalier. Jackie moves there next week, but this week her two-day formation began, and we wanted to be there pour la soutenir

Having dropped Jackie at Jules Melquiond Sports, we took advantage of le déplacement to get some work done. For our son, Max, a wine salesman at Domaine de La Mongestine, that meant visiting a few accounts in nearby Briançon, including a cool wine cellar called 1000 & Cimes, and a favorite restaurant Le White, located high up on the snowy slopes. Meantime, Jean-Marc checked on a few of his clients in Chantemerle village... and my job was to tag along, paying close attention to all the details in order to report back to you, Dear Reader. The pressure is on, now, to type up this report by Friday. Je suis à la bourre! Je suis charrette!

I really love this last term "charrette", learned while watching yet another wine tasting. This time we were chez Hervé et Eliane in their lively chalet in Monetier-les-Bains. The couple heartily welcomed us, smack in the middle of several projects--including a reconversion of their spa/hotel, now called "Alliey & Spa appart-hotel". 

"Je suis charrette!" Hervé admitted, pushing aside the contents of his kitchen table to make room for a tasting of Mongestine wines. Charrette? What an interesting way to use this word! What exactly did the expression mean?

"It comes from journalism and deadlines," Hervé said, swirling some rosé, “you know, ‘to be pressed’." The dégustation continued as I took mental notes for my own rédaction and deadline. Our brief meeting over, we said goodbye to Hervé and Eliane in time to pick up Jackie for lunch at L'Alpin, in Briançon, and enjoy a decadent meal: raclette (a gigantic half-wheel of cheese “au lait cru” heated by a copper bar. Diners scrape (or 'rake') the cheese onto a plate). Miam, miam!

After her first 9-5 day at Melquiond Sports, we met Jackie in time to visit son hébergement: a tiny, 15-square-meter studio located up the hill from the ski shop. Small as it is, this apartment is une vraie trouvaille given accommodations are extremely hard to find (so many seasonal workers needing a place to stay).

The ad mentioned "4th floor" (really “5th,” in American English) and no ascenseur, but we counted two extra flights as we huffed and puffed our way up to the apartment from the lower hill (only 5 flights if you hike up the hill and enter from the front :-).

Seven flights and no elevator? I trusted our girl could do this hike several times a day. But it could prove inconvenient when she's pressed—-when she’s charrette! Speaking of charrette, she's going to need something like that--a cart with wheels--to drag her groceries up all those stairs. Bon courage, ma fille! It will all work out. And it'll be quite a work-out at that!

Voilà for our quick aller-retour to the Alps this week. Jules was happy we made it home safe late last night, in the pouring rain. She and Smokey are the most adorable welcome home committee, one of them wagging a tail the other offering a warm hug. This brings us back to the word soutenir, which is what this trip was all about.


FRENCH VOCABULARY
se soutenir = to support each other
le trajet = journey, trip, drive
soutenir = to support
le déplacement = business trip
la cime = mountain peak, pinnacle, summit 
la formation = training course
être à la bourre = to be running late
être charrette = to be pressed, overwhelmed
la dégustation = wine tasting
la rédaction = writing, essay
la Raclette = a local dish made of cheese, charcuterie, and potatoes
fromage au lait cru = unpasteurized cheese
miam! = yum!
un hébergement = accommodation, lodgings
une trouvaille = a find
un ascenseur = elevator
bon courage = good luck
une charrette = a cart with wheels
un aller-retour = round trip 
soutenir = to support
le chamois = goat antelope 

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Max woke before dawn to hike up and see les chamois—a goat-antelope native to these glorious mountains.

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


Guess Where Jackie is moving?... and the expression “être sur son trente-et-un”

Chantemerle Serre Chevalier Vallée Alps France
The French Alps at Serre Chevalier. Have you heard of this popular ski resort in Southeastern France?

TODAY’S WORD: être sur son trente-et-un 

  : to be all dressed up, all dolled up

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

Click here to begin listening


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE
by Kristi Espinasse
“Être sur son trente-et un”

Behind a curtain at Le Printemps department store, dans une cabine d’essayage, my daughter is trying on an elegant black pantsuit. The gabardine costume is similar to an outfit a friend wore to Saturday’s dressy gala...

“Jackie, that looks great on you! It’s a classic and you will have it for a very long time. Dress it up or down—you could wear it just about anywhere!"

My 24-year-old agreed, adding, “I can wear it to work....”

Her comment was so innocent... Truth be told this was not an appropriate outfit for her new job. Should I gently enlighten her? After all, this would not be the same dress code as Baccarat... shouldn’t she know that by now? 

By now, seven weeks since leaving Miami after une escroquerie, our cadette was doing better. Gone was the numbness, la colère, and the depression. Maybe it was a good sign she suddenly wanted to wear a power suit? I just wouldn’t want her to feel out of place—when even France feels out of place to her right now. And I’m so afraid she’ll get back on that airplane and disappear...yet I’ve got to be honest with her and quit handling my grown girl with kid gloves.

“I don’t think this is something you could wear for your new job at the ski shop...” 

“Pourquoi pas?” Jackie countered and this time Innocence wasn’t talking. This was Boldness. She reminds me of her grandmother when that rebel spark flies out. 

Jackie’s grandmother, Jules, also worked in a ski shop. While we wore jeans (my sister Heidi and I worked there too) Mom wore silk dresses and patent leather pumps at The Alpine Ski Keller, in Phoenix Arizona. But that was the 80s. That was also a time of transition in Jules’ life. There, in “The Valley of the Sun,” Mom went on to become a top producer in real estate before burnout led to her early retirement in Mexico. 

Back in France, in Serre Chevalier Vallée, Jackie will soon be in a similar transition. While she has recovered from a terrible scam, she is still trying to find her footing, après avoir perdu pied. Going back to Miami is tempting, but something tells her ce n’est pas le bon moment. So when a friend put up a Help Wanted sign in their family-owned ski shop, the universe seemed to be nudging.

Bienvenue à Jules Melquiond Sports!
Since getting the job, Jackie’s been busy researching the company, founded by Jules Melquiond. champion de ski et ex-slalomeur de la grande équipe de France des années 60.... Searching the company’s Instagram account and its website, Jackie shared various nuggets with me as I cooked dinner: “Did you know the shop sells luxury ski apparel? And that it boasts one of the best French boot-fitters in the country?”

Skilled boot-fitters? Our girl is sure to find her footing in the mountains! And high-end apparel? She might be able to sport that elegant costume after all. But for now, please join me in wishing Jackie bonne chance at Jules Melquiond Sports. She begins training next week!

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I leave you with a postcard from the collection of love letters Jean-Marc sent me 30 years ago... the message on the back is timeless as our daughter begins a new chapter in the Alps.

Serre Chevalier est un pays magnifique. Tout est sain et je me plais à venir ici...avec toi. Serre Chevalier is a beautiful place. Everything is healthy and I enjoy coming here...with you. —Jean-Marc

FRENCH VOCABULARY 
être sur son trente-et-un = to dress up 
la cabine d’essayage = fitting room, dressing room 
le costume = suit
une éscroquerie = a scam
un(e) cadet(te) = youngest
la colère = anger
pourquoi pas? = why not
Serre Chevalier Vallée = major ski resort in southeastern France
perdre pied = to lose one's footing, to be overwhelmed
ce n’est pas le bon moment = this isn’t the right time
champion de ski = ski champion 
équipe de France = French team
bonne chance! = good luck!

Chantemerle sapin de noel wood heart door star
For more photos and a story about a stolen kiss in the Alps, click 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


A Strange Coincidence, “soul-daughter”, and wonderment in French

Jean-Marc and Jackie making cocktails
Pictured: Jean-Marc, who does the sound files for this journal, and our daughter, Jackie, whom today's story is about ♥ (here, she is making "The Lady B" one of the drinks she mixed for Baccarat).

Today's Word: émerveillement 

  : wonderment, amazement

Audio/Listening: Click the link below to hear all the French words in the following story. Then scroll down to the vocabulary list to check your French comprehension.

Sound file here


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

Soul daughter

Last night I lay in bed wondering where my daughter was. I knew Jackie had a few rendezvous in Marseilles...By now she had surely finished lunch at the Callelongue calanque with cousins Clara and Mahé. She must have gone ahead with plans to meet up with Alice for a drink at l’Escale... Perhaps Jackie had posted an image from the popular seafront café?
 
Opening Instagram, ça y est, there was a video update from my 24-year-old.  I noticed bistro chairs in the foreground and a vibrant orange coucher du soleil on the horizon. My eyes locked on the young woman walking toward the blazing orb. Was it Jackie? I played the clip over and over, to where the girl takes off in a spirited gallop toward the setting sun. There was something about the image that stirred me....

Just then I heard the front door and the sound of steps in the stairwell. A gentle rapping on the bedroom door and Jackie appeared. A soft floral-fresh scent now filled the space between mother and daughter. I noticed her shiny hair, her new blazer, thick gold loops the French call créoles... 

“Come sit down!” I motioned to the edge of the bed. I couldn’t wait to hear all about my daughter's day. Did everything go smoothly? How was the drive all the way out to La Baie des Singes? Was it easy to find a place to park? Did the restaurant ask for un passe sanitaire?

With her fading French accent, Jackie assured me tout s'est bien passé. But how was I? she wanted to know. How was Grandma? What did we do all day? Oh, and did I see her video?

“Yes! I loved it! What a wonderful capture of the girl walking into the sunset...”

"I thought of you when I saw it. I knew I had to film it for you..."

Mon Âme-Fille
How touching that she would stop to think of her mom. Such love stirred me. Suddenly, I recalled being at that same place...and thinking of her—or the her that was to be or should have been. It was uncanny... déjà vu... the sunset, those bistro chairs, the girl running towards the horizon (Jackie or me? The image was superimposing, transporting me back to the summer of ‘93 when my daughter was but a twinkle in my eye)....

Twenty-eight years ago I sat alone at that very café, watching the sun go down on my life in France. I watched as a young mother parked her stroller at a table across from mine. She reached for her baby, hugging and kissing the child before settling into her bistro chair. I remember my heart sinking, tears welling up, and the thought of what might have been.... 

I recounted to Jackie the story of her parents' rupture years before she was born. "Little did I know then that you would be sitting here with me today. Isn’t it amazing?" Reaching for my daughter’s hand, I was replaying in my mind the image of the girl running toward the blazing horizon when Jackie looked at me, somberly.

"It is hard to think that we will only be here together for 50 years..."

"What do you mean? Here at the same time on earth?"

"Yah..."

"Well, that’s true, one day we'll be dust. But you know I believe in...."

"Heaven," my daughter continued.

"Yes! And I know you have your own beliefs. But one thing we both have to believe is that our souls are entwined éternellement." As my daughter listened, I thought I saw a twinkle in her eye. It brought me back to that glittering sea, the girl, the mother-child, the sunset, and Life's mystery.

“Nobody knows what comes next,” I admitted. “Not even the most brilliant scientist. All that is certain is dust and this soulful connection we have.” It is why, in the midst of a crowd, we think of our bien-aimée and sometimes even finish their sentences when we are together. Who can explain it? 



FRENCH VOCABULARY
émerveillement = wonderment, amazement 
la calanque = rocky inlet 
ça y est = there it was
le coucher du soleil = sunset 
les créoles = hoop earrings
La Baie des Singes = Monkey Bay
le passe sanitaire  = health pass, vaccination passport
tout s'est bien passé = everything went well
l’âme-fille = soul daughter
la rupture = break-up
éternellement = eternally, infinitely, without end
le/la bien-aimé(e) = beloved

RELATED STORY
Don’t miss the story “FRISSON” (“Chills”) - about a scary-cozy pastime both Jackie and I enjoyed when she was a teen. Click here.

Sunset coucher du soleil france
Girl running into the sun. A still from Jackie’s video.

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


Une Escroquerie: our daughter got scammed and is returning to France

Un Escroc, Escroquer, Une Escroquerie

: a con (scammer), to cheat, a fraud

L'ECOUTE: Practice your French Listening Skills. To hear the French in today's story, click below. Next, check your comprehension by viewing the vocabulary list (farther down).

Listen to today's vocabulary in the following story. Click here


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE
by Kristi Espinasse

Last Friday the 24th, after a day of celebration, I asked my husband if he'd talked to our daughter lately. "I tried calling earlier, but she didn't answer. Je vais réessayer," he said. Jackie still wasn't answering her mobile phone a moment later when, suddenly, she texted her dad back, and there began a series of cryptic messages....

...something about her being on the phone right now with social security
...something about a drug trafficker who'd gotten hold of her ss number
...something about identity theft
...something about the call being transferred, now, to the police
....something about her being implicated in a scheme if she didn't comply by staying on the phone

SOMETHING was clear amidst all the cryptic messaging: she was being warned not by a government official or the police, she was being manipulated and threatened by un escroc!

"Jackie, hang up. It's a scam! Raccroche! C'est un escroquerie!" Her dad texted back, en vain. The next text message came from me: JACKIE. THIS IS YOUR MOM! PICK UP THE PHONE!!!! When she didn't respond, I began texting Jackie's roommates. I called her boyfriend. Nobody knew a thing, everyone said they had not heard from her in a while.

When Jackie still would not answer the phone a chill ran down my spine. What if someone was with her? What if she'd been kidnapped? Le temps presse!! Jean-Marc get her on that phone!!!!" Lord help us! Lord help us! Lord help us! LORD! LORD! LORD!"

Suddenly, Jean-Marc broke through when our daughter picked up the phone and we learned what had transpired in the last 2 hours:

A LONG-DISTANCE HOLD-UP
Glued to her phone, in a state of panic and under specific directions of a scammer--our daughter left her apartment, took an Uber to the bank, withdrew her savings, got into another Uber, drove to a gas station, riffled through the cash to put part of it, with the help of a QR code the "police" gave her over the phone, in an ATM (it turned out to be a bitcoin ATM and it turns out that scammers use to extort money). Our daughter would have lost all her savings if it weren't for her phone battery running low on the long walk to the second dropoff point. That is when Jackie pleaded with the "police" to let her go and charge her phone. The "police" agreed, even suggesting she grab a snack before they called back... And just like that, the whole nightmare was over when she hung up. 


HOW COULD THIS HAVE HAPPENED?
To understand how our daughter could have fallen for this scam, I should mention that last month, while returning to Miami from France, her social security card went missing. She had packed it in France, in her carry-on, and three days after arriving in Miami she realized the folder was nowhere to be found. For the next 4 weeks, she worried herself sick, and finally, her worst fears seemed to be coming true when the phone rang and a so-called government agent introduced herself. When she received the fateful call, she believed every word--and in under two hours, Jackie's hard-earned money was stolen from her. The rollercoaster ride wasn't over, because we now wanted our daughter home immediately. (To our relief, she arrived safely in Marseilles, yesterday.)

Having left France three years ago in pursuit of The American Dream, Jackie fled The Land of The Free, without her money, or a sense of security. What will she do next? She is not sure about anything at the moment, except that it feels good to be home.


PLEASE SHARE YOUR STORY 
As Jackie recovers from this troubling experience, it would help for her to know she is not alone--and that anyone of any age or intelligence can fall for a scam and be a victim of extortion. Have you or has someone you know fallen for a scam--phone, email or otherwise? Please share related stories in the comments section below. Thank you!

FRENCH VOCABULARY
un escroc = a scammer, a con man, a cheat
escroquer =
to scam, cheat, swindle
une escroquerie
= a scam, a fraud, a rip-off
je vais réessayer = I'm going to try again
raccroche!
= hang up!
en vain = to no avail
le temps presse! = time is of the essence!
blanchiment d'argent = money laundering

Helpful links:
Don't fall for scam calls and Emails impersonating IRS


Figuerolles calanque sea inlet La Ciotat France
Back in La Ciotat

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


Following a hunch from Paris to Miami + know these useful French words?: débrouillard, fonceuse, farfelu, embaucher, boulot, bagnole

Baccarat bar
Today's lesson: Be a smart cookie and follow your dreams! Learn the French, below, and read about a fashion student who "sows" an unusual seed, and is hired to mix designer drinks.

Today's Word: un débrouillard, une débrouillarde 
 
    : resourceful, clever, self-starter
    : a smart cookie, self-reliant, street-smart

Listen to Jean-Marc read the following French
Sois débrouillarde. Suis ton rêve!
Be a smart cookie. Follow your dream!

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

Following a hunch from Paris to Miami

You never know where a hunch will lead unless you follow it! Our daughter surprised me years ago when she mentioned bartender school. At the time we were in Paris, where Jackie was doing a 3-week internship with an haute couture designer. Her bartender remark seemed farfelu given she was studying fashion design, but she ended up following that hunch: she dropped out of design school and started working in la restauration, as a food runner.

At 18, she moved in with her boyfriend, who was sans bagnole so Jackie did the driving. On lonely nights in their shoebox apartment, she cooked, cleaned, and shared her dream of moving to the States. "You can come with me!" she enthused. But the two didn't share the same enthusiasm or motivation. “You’ll never do it,” he said (daring her? Or didn't he think she had it in her? "It" being drive? determination? Guts? The courage to leave the known for the unknown? Or zest? I like this last one, ZEST, and you'll soon find out why :-) Meantime, never underestimate a smart cookie! Il ne faut jamais sous-estimer une débrouillarde!)

Jean-Marc and I were not crazy about the situation but Jackie’s loyalty, both to her petit ami and her job, kept her stuck there...until one day her landlord phoned, saying he heard a commotion and shouting. Jackie denied this, but it was too late, Jean-Marc wasn’t taking any chances. He and Max showed up at the apartment and brought Jackie back home.

Our daughter no longer mentioned her dreams or the USA, but we kept encouraging her. “Aunt Heidi’s friend owns a Mexican restaurant…” Little by little Jackie’s dream revived and she got on the plane, September of 2018, headed to Denver. She lived that first month with Aunt Heidi, who helped with her resume so she could apply for a job at the Ritz in Vail.

Embauchée! Hired!
Jackie loved her job as a cocktail waitress at the elegant Ritz Carlton. She watched the bartenders who showed her how various drinks were made. In turn, she shared a few French apéritifs (two favorites from the south: le Mauresque (pastis with orgeat syrup) and le Monaco (panache beer with grenadine syrup). Around midnight, she walked home in the dark, slipping and sliding along the snowy highway. She often called home (it was 8 am in France) during the midnight trek, reassuring us all was well… even if she lacked cold-weather gear. “I need to get some après ski boots!”

She got those boots and more! Before tourist season in Vail ended, Jackie received an employee award--a 5-star recognition from her manager at the Ritz for outstanding service. 

Back in France for the summer, our Franco-American immediately found un boulot here in La Ciotat. We barely saw our daughter that summer, as she worked overtime or double shifts. When tourist season in France ended, Jackie debated her next move: school in France or go back to the States? After seeing an ad for a bartending school in Miami, she had an epiphany!

A True 'Zest' for Life
At 21 our would-be bartender was on her way to Florida, where she had no family or friends, not even a room to rent! The school placed her in a hostel, where she took a bottom bunk in a roomful of foreigners. Tucking her suitcase under the bed, Jackie organized herself in that little space, while going to bartender school. She celebrated her 22nd with strangers and began looking for permanent lodging. After 6 weeks living out of her suitcase, in two different hostels, she moved in with a French girl, and found work waitressing in a 5-star restaurant, at The W Hotel. 

Another season ended and this time Jackie received a tip from her roommate about a bartender job opening at Baccarat, the historic French crystal company. Did you know they have a boutique bar? This, from their website:

We invite you to live the unique experience of sipping a coffee, tea or cappuccino; enjoy a bubbling coupe of champagne, a glass of wine, or discover our signature cocktails and taste our delicious food.  All served in Baccarat, surrounded by Baccarat’s beautiful and colorful crystal.

The manager liked Jackie’s French look and hired her on the spot. During the challenging months ahead (the beginning of a pandemic!), Jackie continued to work as some employees were let go, including the manager. In addition to tending the bar, she was now in charge of opening and closing the shop, and various managerial tasks. The pressure and stress built up, but Jackie hung in there!

All this to tell you that last week on her one-year anniversary at the Baccarat boutique, Jackie was surprised with a luxurious gift and a letter of recognition from the CEO! We are so proud of our daughter who followed a hunch and landed a job in America for an historic French company—and is working in a beautiful boutique while doing something that combines her love for design and bartending

From Fashion to another Passion
“I have never been happier,'' Jackie recently shared. Her gutsy decision to move to another country and a new city was timely. Had she stayed in France she would have been an out-of-work waitress (restaurants here are still closed) or a student stuck at home, following courses online. 

Speaking of which...Jackie is still unsure about college, though she’d like to take a class in taxes. 

Taxes? Another farfelu idea?

“Well,” Jackie explained. “I’m tired of paying someone else to do mine!”

Who knows where this latest hunch will take our Go-Getter? Meantime she’s bought the current no. 1 book on finance and is saving (most) every penny while looking for a good investment

I hope you enjoyed today's update on my daughter. Now remember, no matter your age: Be a smart cookie and follow your dream! Sois débrouillarde. Suis ton rêve.

 

Jackie behind bar
The crew from channel M6 filming Jackie for a special report. If you are in France look up the M6 schedule for March 28th (not sure of the name of the episode...look for Baccarat or Miami report!) 
Harmony goblets by Baccarat
Baccarat "Harmonie" Tumblers. This gift was serendipitous:"Harmonie" was the name of Jackie's first horse. Ever since, the word "harmonie" has always held a special significance. This was such a meaningful reward from Baccarat!

Jackie baccarat crystal boutique miami florida

If you are in the market for a fabulous French chandelier (or anything crystal! I love their papillons/butterflies...) contact Jackie at the Miami boutique. She will be happy to help you! Or stop by the bar for a refreshment....

21819

FRENCH VOCABULARY
farfelu = crazy, farfetched
la restauration = the restaurant industry
une bagnole = slang for car
un petit ami = boyfriend 
il ne faut jamais sous-estimer une débrouillarde = one must never underestimate a smark cookie!
embaucher = to hire
un apéritif = alcoholic beverage enjoyed before dinner
un boulot = slang for "a job"

REVERSE DICTIONARY 
an internship = un stage
food runner (busgirl) = aide-serveuse
a go-getter = un fonceur, une fonceuse 

A LIRE/TO READ
Jackie at 17, in Paris: "Je suis assez capable de me gérer moi-même."
To Flip Somebody Off in French 

Jackie and coworker
Jackie and a colleague
Rum drink baccarat bar

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


Curfew in French

christmas tree ornaments in Cassis south of france
The spirit of Christmas in the seaside town of Cassis.

TODAY'S WORD: le couvre-feu

        : curfew


ECOUTEZ - Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce today's French word:
Download Couvre-feu

Couvre-feu. Quand vous étiez jeunes, vos parents vous ont-ils imposé un couvre-feu pour rentrer avant minuit? Curfew. When you were young, did your parents impose a curfew for you to return before midnight?


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

After waiting on my daughter hand and foot over the weekend, and enjoying so much closeness since she's been away for school, all such tenderness abruptly ended yesterday and I have been sulking ever since. It began when Jackie informed me she and her friends were going to drive to Aix-en-Provence to pick up her car.

"But that's not possible," I said. "The doctor says you need to rest and stay home. Besides, what you have is contagious!"

"I need my car! Papa already said I could go...."

"Oh, really?..." I said, mentally kicking Jean-Marc in the butt. "We'll see how you feel tomorrow. And if you do go, you need to be back by nightfall."

"So you are imposing a couvre-feu?" Jackie smiled. With that, we both laughed and settled back into our program -- SNL sketches with the amazing Kristen Wiig!! (I have just discovered this multi-talented comedian who has gotten me through a difficult season.) Laughing IS the best medicine! But now that I have watched all YouTube videos with Kristen Wigg, I have run out of laughter when I need it most....

The current war I am in with my daughter began with a phone call from Jean-Marc, who was busy pruning in the vineyard. "I've just spoken with the doctor and there's bad news," my husband informed me.

"What what! It's about Jackie? WHAT! Tell me!"

"Calm down!" Jean-Marc said. "She is OK. But she will need to continue to rest...and will not be going to her friend's birthday party on Friday."

Thank God she was OK, but, oh! I could just see this coming. If Jackie could not go to her friend's party, then surely she could not go to Aix to get her car. All this equaled the end of the world for our 19-year-old -- and WORLD WAR THREE for us! This, by the way, brings us back to the term "curfew" or couvre-feu in French. It literally means "fire cover". The couvre-feu is for villagers to return home -- out of the line of fire when the enemy comes.

Entering my daughter's bedroom it looked like a war zone. The curtains were drawn and the darkened room was carpeted with Kleenex.  Empty glasses and soup bowls littered the floor beside my patient's bed. But she wouldn't be in my care for much longer....

"I am sorry, but you cannot go to Aix today... or to Pauline's birthday party tomorrow night. Doctor's orders!"

As expected, my nineteen-year-old fought the decision: "Mais oui j'y vais!! Oh yes I'm going! I am not tired! I feel fine!  What does the doctor know!"

"You had better call your friends right now and tell them not to come pick you up--or I will call them myself!" I said (having no idea how to contact said friends!).

On and on we sparred, one of us defiant and the other slamming doors in her Mama Bear way. I would return to my daughter's room a few more times, intent on getting the respect I deserved! -- only to be thrown out each time.  "Sors de ma chambre! GET OUT!"

The injustice! After all I've done for her!  And this is the thanks I get for caring!! (Slam! Slam! Slam!) I hated to lose my temper. Anger eventually turns inward, and we are disgusted with ourselves and very sad in the end. All the good we have done is erased--in one fell slam--from the blackboard of life.

"Don't get so down!" Jean-Marc said, after I'd sulked all afternoon. By last night the enormous lump in my throat choked and pulsed, releasing a stream of warm tears that soaked my pillow.

"But she KNOWS I am hurting! Why won't she comfort ME! Why doesn't she care about MY feelings?"

"I didn't think about my parents when I was 19. Did you?" Jean-Marc challenged.

The sweet faces of my parents came to mind. Mom would be all alone in Mexico this Christmas (here the lump in my throat pulsed again!). No, I didn't think about my parents then. But I do--and have for a long time now!

"Why don't you tell Jackie you're sorry?" Jean-Marc suggested.

"Well, not right now!" As sad and angry at myself as I was, I still needed my daughter to apologize first. It was a matter of respect! Besides, I'm the one who is hurting! She is upstairs chatting away with her friends! I can hear her laughing!

"She feels as bad as you do. She just doesn't know how to say she is sorry yet. But she is thinking about it." Jean-Marc explained.

I had not considered that she might feel bad.  She can be such a toughey.... but beneath it there is that tenderness I know so well. It is time, now, to warm some soup--and make a peace offering. Mama Bear is back--along with the spirit of Christmas.

*    *    *

Christmas decorations in France window teddy bear

Baptême_la ciotat 054
Two tougheys (how do you spell tuffy?). Jackie and her brother, Max, in Marseilles, when they were little.

Kristi and jean-marc in cassis south of france christmas tree
Happy holidays from Mama and Papa Bear.

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


What does Journées Portes Ouvertes mean? And How To Succeed in College.

Journées-portes-ouvertes
Just back from Aix-en-Provence, where Jackie and I visited a potential faculté, or college... and it has nothing to do with fashion studies!

Domaine Rouge-Bleu will soon embark on another USA tour. Meet Thomas! Click here for cities and schedules.

TODAY'S WORD: les portes-ouvertes

    : open house (U.S.), open day (U.K.)

Thanks to Nancy, Katia, and Audrey and all who helped with the English translations when I posed the question earlier on Facebook! My mind was drawing a blank. Does this happen to you, too, when you study languages for so long and are multilingual?

Mas-de-perdrix-rental-provence-franceMAS DE LA PERDRIX
The perfect home to rent in France. Celebrate special occasions with family, friends. Click here.


FRENCH PRONUNCIATION

Improve your spoken French with Exercises in French Phonetics
Listen to Jackie pronounce today's word and example sentence: 
Download MP3 or WAV file

Les portes ouvertes. Aujourd'hui, Maman et moi sommes allées aux portes ouvertes en faculté de langues à Aix-en-Provence. Open house (or open doors). Today, Mom and I went to the open house at the language college in Aix-en-Provence.


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    by Kristi Espinasse

Learning How to Learn

If it were up to the Gods of French Academia, they would have my children declaring their future careers by the age of 12.  But how can a kid know whether he wants to be a scientist or baker before the age of adolescence? 

Neither of our children were able to declare their future metier at such a tender age. Max, who now studies international trade in Aix, once chose literature--and lived to regret all those book reports. And his sister, Jackie, eventually found her way into fashion studies. She will take her baccalauréat exam (graduate high school) this June, and is set further her fashion studies this fall. Or was....

"I would like to be a writer like you," Jackie recently announced. Once I picked myself up off the floor, a smile began to form across my face. Wasn't that ironic! I thought. At her age I wanted to be a fashion designer! 

"Don't worry, Mom! I want to somehow combine the two fields...."

Jean-Marc and I had mixed feeling about this recent vocational switch-a-roo. But in the end I realized that what's important is not what we study, it's how we study. What's important is to learn how to learn.

The language arts school that Jackie is interested in cites a 4 percent success rate for students who are coming in from vocational schools. But Jackie is not daunted. "I think of you, Mom," she says, remembering the story of how a D student made it into college on probation and went on to graduate cum laude.

It's funny how Jackie remembers that, and this tells me two things: she really is listening to me, and two, she's got a good memory. With those two tools she is on her way to succeeding in college. Add to that a steady stream of motivation and determination and her success in at la fac is surer and surer. 

What, dear reader, would you add to that? How can a student succeed in college? 


COMMENTS


Jax-n-max
Jackie and her brother, Max, in the college town of Aix-en-Provence

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Sunrise
Sunrise with Almond blossoms. Photo taken here at our vineyard. 

FORWARD THIS
If you enjoyed today's post, thanks for taking the time to share it. 

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


Tarpin! How to say "super duper" in French?

Smokey

2009. With Jackie, when Smokey was tarpin young. Lately everyone's growing up around here! (Picture taken months after Smokey's horrible attack.)

Today's word is listed under "Parler Marseillais," or Marseilles lingo, so it may be a regional expression....

tarpin (tar-pahn)

    : a lot, very 

Would then "super duper" = tarpin tarpin? :-)

Audio File & Example Sentence: listen to Jean-Marc: Click MP3 or Wav

Il fait tarpin chaud. It's very hot!
Il y a tarpin de monde. There's a lot of people here! 

 


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse


Modern English and My Daughter Share the Same Birthdate

If you've followed my Facebook or Instagram page lately, you may have sensed a spell of nostalgie. Since our firstborn flew the coop last week, I've been posting photos of the kids when they were petits bouts de choux. Back when they used to say the cutest things.

"Peur pas!" Max would say to his little sister, giving a whole new meaning to "don't cry!" But when kids hit the teenage years those sweet little phrases turn into gros mots and you wonder, Where did the innocence go?

Nowhere, I'm happy to report. Nulle part!

Driving my daughter home from school, she's in an unusually chatty mood. Perhaps that Huffington Post tip worked ("25 Ways to Ask Your Kids 'So How Was School Today?' Without Asking Them 'So How Was School Today?'" worked!) Currently Jackie's talking about her favorite movie....

"Have you seen Will Hunting?"

It takes a minute to translate my daughter's English--so strong is her French accent. "Yes! I think so. It's with Robin Williams and... whose that other guy?"

"Matt Damon!!!"

"Ah. And you say it's a  good film?"

"C'est tarpin bon!"

"Are you watching it in English I hope?"

"Yes," Jackie says, to my surprise. "Only it's hard to understand."

"Why's that?"

"Because they're speaking in old English. (Here, Jackie's exact words are "l'anglais d'avant.")

"Oh? What year did the film come out?"

"I don't know," my 16-year-old says. "1997?"

 

*    *    *

COMMENTS
To leave a comment, click here. If you like, you might enjoy adding a punchline to today's story. I hesitated over this last line: "That old, huh?" before leaving the end as is. The actual response I gave? A good chuckle!


French Vocabulary

petit bout de chou = little kid
le gros mot = cuss word
nulle part = nowhere
peur pas = fear not
tarpin = very
bon = good 

 

Winetasting at Mas des Brun
Thanks, Meiling Newman, for this snapshot of a previous meetup. Winetastings at our home are informal and unpredictable. If it rains this Saturday we'll end up inside, as cozy as those sardines in Marseilles' vieux port. To reserve your seat for Saturday's 5 o'clock tasting, email jm.espinasse@gmail.com 

First potatoes
Bye for now. Off to make un potage! Planted a potato that had sprouted on the kitchen countertop. Thrilled to find this at the bottom of the bucket! Enough to make one serving of Soupe à l'oseille et aux pommes de terre, using the sorrel from the garden.

My belle-soeur, Cécile's recipe: Stir fry the following. Add water. Simmer one hour.

  • A few finely sliced potatoes
  • handfulls of sorrel
  • some onion
  • a bouillon cube if you have one
  • s & p
  • bay leaf if you have one handy
  • sour cream (optional), to stir in after

Blend, right there in the pan, with a handy-dandy mixer like this one. 

Sack of potatoes
Took this photo near Valréas. Can you explain this set up? Is it a warding off? Or an IOU to the postman? Fodder for a roving photographer? Comments welcome.

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