Demain il fera jour: A reminder not to take work (life, everything) too seriously + Escapade to Porquerolles Island

Bike rental on porquerolles island France
If today's word is too easy for you, détrompez-vous. Think again. This letter has a lot more to offer when you read to the end.

Today's Word: la plage
1. beach
2. track of music
3. time span, range

Listen to Jean-Marc read the following in French and English

Porquerolles, ses plages de sable fin, ses eaux turquoise et transparentes. C’est un véritable paradis à quelques minutes de la presqu’île de Giens en bateau. -Hyères Tourisme Porquerolles, its fine sandy beaches, its turquoise and transparent waters. It is a real paradise, a few minutes away from the Giens peninsula by boat.

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse
Sand, Pétanque, Sea urchins and a "Be Here Now" mindset

Lundi dernier, on my husband’s 54th birthday, we boarded une navette and cruised over to the island of Porquerolles. It was the week before France's 3rd confinement and this 3-day getaway was like a large breath of liberté before lockdown.

The ferry was almost empty. We huddled at the back of the shuttle, enjoying the open-air seating with the other passengers, some dressed in shorts, some in sundresses, all of us wearing masks. Within 15 minutes we arrived in Paradise. Like the other two islands in the Îles d'Hyères, Porquerolles is known for its crystal clear, turquoise waters and fine sandy plages. There are few cars on the island (only those needed by the local businesses), bikes are the way to get around.

"I prefer to walk," I said to Jean-Marc, as we headed past some bike rental shops and made our way to La Plage d'Argent, a 25-minute marche from town. The scent of eucalyptus filled the salty air as we passed fields of wildflowers, a vineyard, and an impressive community garden full of potager beds! "Maybe we should move here?" I challenged Jean-Marc.
"Pourquoi pas!" said he, kiddingly. We would probably get island fever after the first month. Et puis tout se sait sur une petite île! On a little island, there are no secrets!

Donkeys on porquerolles island
The donkeys are slightly camouflaged. Can you see them, left of center?

"Regarde! Il y a des ânes." There were a trio of donkeys in the maquis. A sign posted nearby said that these animals help débroussailler, or clear away of the dry undergrowth which could lead to fires. "We could have used those!" I said to Jean-Marc, remembering the yearly visits by the police to our vineyard, threatening une amende if we didn't get our property cleared before the heat of summertime.

This reminded me: the last chapter of our vineyard memoir was due tomorrow! I also had a blog post to create and send out in 3 days... and a sinking feeling told me today was the deadline for my France Today article on Cairns (or rock stacking in France). I knew when Jean-Marc planned this escapade, that it would fall right in the middle of a week of deadlines--but this trip was his birthday present. I began to sweat over this decision to put everything off until our return, when a little voice within piped up....

Aujourd-hui, c'est aujourd'hui!  Today is today!

Everything in life needs a balance, especially for those who are self-employed and pressuring themselves to stay on top, to not slip or fall behind. If there is one life lesson that I cannot seem to learn it is this: Keep it in the day! A chaque jour suffit sa peine. Be here now! L'instant présent! Or, as Jean-Marc's Mom always said, Demain il fera jour.

Tomorrow is indeed another day! I reached into my bag, grabbed an apple and began eating. I never eat when walking. And I am never late with work. And I never play pétanque (but would, by the end of our périple). 

Ironically "nevers" don't exist on Never Never Island. Et heureusement! I took another bite of my apple and caught up to Jean-Marc, who was heading down to the beach. Aujourd'hui, c'est aujourd'hui! I said. Happy Birthday! Joyeux Anniversaire! Thank you for this getaway, ce dépaysement! With that, we set down our only beach towel (having forgotten to pack another), and kicked off our shoes. Feet in the sand, I unpacked our picnic: last night's omelet tasted delicious on the beach, along with bites of poutargue (a sliceable mound of dried fish eggs--we're addicted!), an avocado, cheese and the main course: les oursins! Jean-Marc put on his wetsuit and headed out to the rocky edge of the beach where he found the urchins among a lot of seaweed (an astuce learned from a friend. Normally they're found clinging to rocks). 

Our stomachs full we shared the beach towel for an afternoon nap. The next two days were rebelote--or much the same: long leisurely walks to the beach, a simple, delicious casse-croute (and more oursins) followed by un roupillon. It was a wonderful birthday celebration, and a good break all around. And when thoughts of work returned throughout our stay, so did my belle-mère's wise words about keeping it in the day:

Demain il fera jour.


More photos on my Instagram

détrompez-vous! = think again
lundi dernier
= last Monday
la navette = shuttle, ferry boat, water bus

le confinement = quarantine
la plage = beach
la liberté
= freedom
la marche = walk
pourquoi pas? = why  not
le potager = vegetable patch, kitchen garden
tout se sait = there are no secrets
regarde! = look
un âne = donkey
le maquis = scrubland, shrubland, brush
débroussailler = to clear (dry grasses)
une amende = ticket, fine
une escapade = getaway, break, trip, escape
A chaque jour suffit sa peine = Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof
demain il fera jour = tomorrow is another day
le périple = journey, trek
et heureusement = and thank God for that!
le dépaysement = change of scenery
un oursin = sea urchin
une astuce = tip, trick, hack
rebelote = same thing again
le casse-croûte = snack
le roupillon = nap, siesta
la belle-mère = mother-in-law


Domaine de l'ile - one of 3 vineyards on this island full of character. See more photos of this paradise:

Jean-Marc and his urchins cutters or coupe-oursins, and on the right urchins on the half shell.

More stories: The last time we went to Porquerolles, our kids had a wild party at the house, click here

Read about the creative "mop spear" Jean-Marc invented while on the island: more here


Kristi and Jean-Marc
Aujourd'hui, c'est aujourd'hui! Bye for now and remember to enjoy the day by living in l'instant présent.

A Message from KristiFor twenty years now, support from readers like you has been an encouragement and a means to carve out a career in writing. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider a donation. Your gift keeps me going! Thank you very much.

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

Or purchase my book for a friend, and so help spread the French word.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety

What to do on Porquerolles Island? Que faire sur l'île de Porquerolles?

Le Port pizzaria on Porquerolles (c) Kristin Espinasse

Jean-Marc and I stole away to Porquerolles island recently. Because it was play and not work, I didn't pay a lot of attention to detail or think about what could be shared in another France city guide.

This is where you come in. If you have been to Porquerolles, or have researched it while planning a future trip on the southern French island, please share with us here some of the activities and tips that come to mind:

  • hotels
  • restaurants
  • ferry info
  • what to pack
  • how to get around on Porquerolles
  • activities for kids
  • favorite beaches
  • what not to miss
  • nearby islands and towns to visit
  • etc... 

Meantime, I'll share a host of photos and add some interesting facts beneath them, in hopes that you'll be inspired to visit this little pedestrian island only a hop, skip, and ferry ride from the coat of Giens. 

Jean-Marc and "Mr Sacks" on the main square in the village of Porquerolles (c) Krisin Espinasse
Jean-Marc and Mr Sacks on the main square in the village of Porquerolles. Eucalyptus trees frame la place which is lined by boutiques and café-restaurants. 

  • The size of the island = 12,54 square kilometers (or 4,84 square miles)
  • It's one of the 3 Hyères islands a.k.a. "the golden islands"

Island dog and laundromat on Porquerolles (c) Kristin Espinasse
 Island dog and laundromat. 

  • Though you'll see plenty of island dogs, the village of Porquerolles gets its name after the wild boar that once roamed the island

Mehari and island vehicles on Porquerolles (c) Kristin Espinasse
You cannot bring your car onto the island, but you can appreciate some of these local classics-on-wheels. The one of the right is a Méhari. You see lots of these off-roaders threading through all the foot traffic.

sandwich hut on the port of Porquerolles (c) Kristin Espinasse
 Save a few euros by ordering a sandwich and eating it on one of the many benches that overlooks the gravel square or the port or, better yet, take a picnic and hike inland a few kilometers for a view of the vineyards and vergers, or orchards or for this view:

Calanque in Porquerolles (c) Kristin Espinasse

  • Not pictured here... but among the many points of interest is the botanical garden or la conservatoire botanique national méditerranéen de Porquerolles

Exotic door in Porquerolles (c) Kristin Espinasse
 Off the main square there is a long alley of what seem to be bungalows. This narrow had one story habitations on either side and one had the urge to jump up and down like a pogo stick... to see what sort of bucolic scene was on the other side of these walls....


  • It is said that in 1912 the island was purchased as a wedding present for a lucky bride-to-be. Buyer François Joseph Fournier then planted 500 acres of vines. (No wonder Jean-Marc loves this island!)
  • In 1971 the state purchased most of the island in an attempt to preserve it from development.

Artisinat on the island of Porquerolles (c) Kristin Espinasse
Out in front of the artist's house... or one of the artist's homes. There must be plenty of them living on this begs-to-be painted island.

Domaine Perzinsky on the island of Porquerolles (c) Kristin Espinasse
Walking towards Domaine Perzinsky, on our way back to the village.

Porquerolles vineyards were among the very first to be classified Côtes de Provence. There are three vineyards on the island:

  • Le Domaine de l’île
  • Le Domaine de la Courtade
  • Le Domaine Perzinsky

Le fort du Grand Langoustier (c) Kristin Espinasse

There are nine forts on the island of Porquerolles, including Le fort du Grand Langoustier (pictured) and Le fort Sainte-Agathe.

From the port of arrival, this is the first beach on the left. Pass in front of all the cafés, go around the corner and you're there! Off season you'll see this peaceful scene. 

  • Porquerolles was the inspiration for Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Teddy Bears on the island of Porquerolles (c) Kristin Espinasse
The laid back islanders on Porquerolles are known as les porquerollais (see exhibit A, above... and if you love teddy bears, see exhibit B here!)

To respond to this post, thanks for leaving a message here in the comments box.

For help creating this edition, I looked up facts in these guide books/sites. Click on the titles to view them:

Has this post tickled your fancy for Porquerolles? Will you be adding  it to your bucket list? I'd love to know, here in the comments box.

Check out some of the excellent reader-submitted tips or What to do in France guides:

Kristi's nap (c) Jean-Marc Espinasse
After lunch I borrowed Mr. Sacks for a pillow and took a nap while Jean-Marc went hiking and photographing.

A Message from KristiFor twenty years now, support from readers like you has been an encouragement and a means to carve out a career in writing. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider a donation. Your gift keeps me going! Thank you very much.

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

Or purchase my book for a friend, and so help spread the French word.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety

tergiverser + pictures of the French island of Porquerolles

pebble beach nearest the port of Porquerolles (c) Kristin Espinasse
The island of Porquerolles is only a 15-minute ferry ride from coast (near Giens and Hyères). More, in today's story column.

tergiverser (tehr-zhee-vehr-say)

    : to hem and haw, to dither

Also: to delay, to procrastinate, to put off, to dally, to shilly-shally or dawdle or linger or tarry...

Audio File: Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce tergiverser and the example sentence, below: Download MP3 or Wav file

Lorsque Jean-Marc m'a invité pour un week-end sur l'île de Porquerolles, j'ai tergiversé. Est-ce qu'on pouvait tout laisser derrière nous? When Jean-Marc invited me for a weekend on the island of Porquerolles, I wavered. Could be leave everything behind us?

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

When Jean-Marc suggested we escape the renovation for a night--and get away to the nearby island of Porquerolles--I hemmed and hawed, unsure about leaving the kids and the dogs behind. 

But when I learned Jackie was invited to stay the weekend at a friend's... and that Max had agreed to look after Braise and Smokey, I began to consider the break Jean-Marc was offering me. In the 7 months since moving houses--and all the decisions and disruptions involved in the process--it could be refreshing to have a change of scene. 

And, after all, I thought, Max would be comfortable in the room where Mom had stayed: it was completely independent of the partly condemned house. He could even invite a friend over for the night (a change from all the party weekends he's been enjoying, away from home).

With our teenagers' encouragements, Jean-Marc and I left just before noon on Saturday. I suggested we visit the village of Bormes les Mimosas, which wasn't too far from the Giens peninsula and La Tour-Fondue, where we would be catching the 15 minute ferry to Porquerolles.

Village of Bormes les Mimosas (c) Kristin Espinasse

In Bormes les Mimosa we had lunch at Lou Portaou, where we had eaten 18 years before, on our honeymoon. Jean-Marc must have told the waiter the story two or three times and, rather than hush my husband, it occurred to me to rejoice knowing he remembered so much about our lune de miel

After lunch, Jean-Marc followed me through the rain as I snapped pictures of one of France's most flowerful villages--only this early in April, many blossoms were still sleeping... if not all of them:

Tickling the nose of Alexandre Vigourel (c) Kristin Espinasse

On our way out of Bormes, and not 3 hours after leaving home, we were surprised by a call from our daughter.... Would it be okay if she and her girlfriends slept at the house tonight? Jackie wanted to know.

Hors de question! I growled into our car's speakerphone. But Jackie eventually sweet-talked her way into an agreement. Besides, she informed us, she and her girlfriends were already back at our house....

Noticing my agitation at the unexpected change of events, Jean-Marc suggested we not let this ruin our weekend. "The girls will be fine," he assured me. They could hang out in the safehaven and we could order pizza to be delivered to them for dinner.

Jean-Marc leaving the docks at Porquerolles, entering the village (c) Kristin Espinasse
Photo: Entering the village along Rue de la Ferme.  Jean-Marc brought his vélo but we realized, later, that it costs more to use your own bike (ferry fees) than to simply rent a bike. (Notice his beloved leather bag... I need to add this one to the sacoche gallery....)

When our boat arrived at the island of Porquerolles we rushed beneath the rain from the little port right to our hotel, less that a 5-minute walk from the dock. Our plan was to relax the first evening, have dinner at the inn, then enjoy a tour of the island on Sunday, when the clear blue skies would return.

It was peaceful to be in an uncluttered room, away from the dust and all the renovation equipment. As it was still cold and rainy out, I slipped off my shoes and got under the bedcovers to rest until dinner. We were unable to get a room facing the sea and the port, but we had a cozy view of the church and the little square.

Taking advantage of the hotel's wifi connection, I logged on to Facebook. I noticed an update from Max posted onto his timeline for his friends to see.

That's strange, I thought, studying the snapshot of Max and his friends, who seemed to be gathered at the house of one of the kids. I shared the information with Jean-Marc, who smiled. "Are you snooping?"

"No! I'm not snooping." I protested.

"You are snooping!" 

Harrumph! My attention returned to the screen, where I studied the picture of Max and his friends, who were gathered on the porch of one of the kids. I began to notice the cigarettes and the alcohol and all the girls....

"They are having a party!" I informed Jean-Marc. That turkey! He was supposed to stay home and take care of the dogs. Instead, he is out somewhere having a party!

I strained my eyes, searching the photo, when a pot of flowers came into view. It seemed the friend's mom had planted the very same trio of purple, white, and yellow primaveras that I had planted...

...and in the same unmistakable cracked pot! 

Post note: Returning from the island I found those purple and yellow and white primaveras at the other end of our garden, root side up.  As for the pot, it had disappeared.

As I inspected the front porch and the house, I complained to my daughter. "Well. If I were your brother and I had had a party when my parents were away, I would have done a much better job cleaning up the evidence!"

"But Mom," Jackie complained. "We scrubbed the floors!"



As for Max's punishment he might pack his toothbrush and join me for the spring cleaning of the Paris catacombs

French Vocabulary

la lune de miel = honeymoon

hors de question = out of the question

le vélo = bike 

  Doves and church in village of Porquerolles (c) Kristin Espinasse
Our hotel room faced the Église Sainte-Anne de Porquerolles. Jean-Marc gave the rest of the morning croissants to the friendly doves... (re the hotel, we stayed at L'Oustau)

Port in Porquerolles

The Quai des Pecheurs or Fishermen's dock.

  fishing boat on Porquerolles
Classic wooden Provençal fishing boat, aka le pointu.

A Message from KristiFor twenty years now, support from readers like you has been an encouragement and a means to carve out a career in writing. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider a donation. Your gift keeps me going! Thank you very much.

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

Or purchase my book for a friend, and so help spread the French word.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety