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Entries from September 2004

un arc

Jackie's column "Pensées d'une Petite Fille de France" (Thoughts of a Little Girl from France) is back. My seven-year-old talks about rainbows, or "les arcs-en-ciel." The English translation follows.

un arc (ark) noun, masculine
1. bow, arc, curve, arch

Also:
le tir à l'arc = archery
un arc-en-ciel = a rainbow
une scie à l'arc = a bow saw
l'arc des sourcils = the arch of the eyebrows
un arc roman/brisé, aigu = a semicircular/gothic arc
l'Arc de Triomphe = The Arch of Triumph

........................
Expressions:
avoir plus d'une corde à son arc = to have more than one solution; to have many resources to succeed

.........................
French Proverb:

Il faut avoir plusieurs cordes à son arc.
One must have more than one string to one's bow.

.......................................................
Pensées d'une Petite Fille de France

As-tu jamais vu un arc-en-ciel? Il y a presque toutes les couleurs dans l'arc-en-ciel.

As-tu vu les couleurs dans un arc-en-ciel? Il y a le bleu, le jaune, le rose, le rouge, le vert et le violet....

Les arcs-en-ciel viennent après la pluie, je pense.

Des fois je m'amuse à dessiner les arcs-en-ciel. Ce n'est pas difficile de les dessiner. On fait un pont et c'est tout!

* * In English * *

Have you ever seen a rainbow? There are almost all the colors in the rainbow.

Have you seen the colors in a rainbow? There is blue, yellow, pink, red, green and purple...

Rainbows come after the rain, I think.

Sometimes I like to draw rainbows. It isn't hard to draw them. You make a bridge and that's all!

.................
Post Note: More pronunciation soucis* for Jackie's mom. Here's what happened this week when I reread Jackie's story aloud, for her to edit:

Moi: un 'ark en syel'
Jackie: Non! It's 'ar KON syel'
Moi: (reading last paragraph) "difficile de dessiner...."
Jackie: "Not 'DE dessiner'! Ça ne veut rien dire! (That doesn't mean anything!) C'est: 'A dessiner'!"

*References: un soucis (m) = a worry

Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
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"Kristin, Your tips and experiences on French and life in France are the best resources I can think of to keep my French alive."
--Amy


dépayser

Piazzacat_4

dépayser (day-pay-ee-zay) verb
  1. to disorientate, to disorient
  2. to give a change of scenery to; to give a welcome change of surroundings to

Also:
dépaysant,e = exotic
dépaysé = out of one's element
un dépaysement = a disorientation

Expressions:
sentir dépaysé = to feel like a fish out of water; to not feel at home

Citation du Jour

Les passions s'étiolent quand on les dépayse.
Passions wilt when we disorient them.
--Gustave Flaubert


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

We are sitting in Il Ponte restaurant in a little Italian village called "Badalucco". Sonia, our hostess at the B&B, recommended we visit the arrière pays for a change from the Italian Riviera. "There's this wonderful restaurant," she says, kissing her fingertips, "Bene!"

"Tell them Sonia from Latte sent you! 'Latte,' like milk!"

Badalucco is an artists' village in the Argentine Valley. Faïence is scattered throughout the modest ruelles. On at least one miniscule winding village street, a painted ceramic plate announces each residence (one plate per door) and around every corner, a fresco. My favorite image is of a cat sitting next to a story. The words to the story are painted on the village wall, on a blue background.

Just like in a postcard image, the elderly Badalucchesi are seated in front of their homes, shucking beans and chatting with their neighbors. They stop from time to time to rinse their hands in the neighborhood fountain.

At the River Argentina we crossed the pont to access the family owned 'Il Ponte' restaurant. We weren't offered a menu; instead the waiter appears with a ceramic plate of fried zucchini, Italian cold cuts and some sort of fresh white cheese. Olive oil is drizzled over le tout.

Jean-Marc is trying to order Italian wine as they have offered only French. I tell him to stop fussing over the wine menu, "Just look at this! Will you just look at this! How do you say 'heaven' in Italian? In French, it is "le paradis." In a little lost village in the hinterland of the Ligurian coast, we have stumbled upon Le paradis du palais.

My husband says he would like to live in Italy. I guess Ligurian food does that to you. But still, it seems strange for a Frenchman (un Marseillais de coeur!) to admit that.

"They're so nice here," he says, as the waiter walks off humming in Italian. I'm wondering if it's the wine. Has it gotten to him? I understand his desire to move to San Francisco--but Italy?! Strangely, I've never known a Frenchman who moved to Italy. A French woman, oui, but not a French man. Don't get me wrong, the French love to visit Italy--but to s'expatrier there--c'est autre chose!

"J'aimerais bien vivre en Italie un jour."
"Sans déconner?" I say, teasing him in his native Marseilles' tongue.

It must be the rolling hills, or the Barolo wine. Or the fresh spinach linguini or the gambas. "You can eat the shells they're so good!" It could have been la baignade in the warm Ligurian sea after the meal at Marco Polo.

For me it is those little funky trucks on three wheels, the Vespa scooters, the pomodoro sauce the village lady was making as I passed by her front door. It is the language--the sound--of Italians speaking.

It is the Italian people. They have real joie de vivre mixed with a sincere generosity. It drips from their pores when they wave their arms high and low to tell you that you must, must visit the arrière pays. Try that restaurant. Savor this fruit. Eat. Enjoy. See. Come back!

A little dépaysement, ça fait du bien pour l'âme.



French Vocabulary
l'arrière pays
(m) = the countryside inland from the riviera; une ruelle (f) = an alley, lane; la faïence (f) = earthenware; le pont (m) = the bridge; le tout (m) = everything; le palais (m) = the palate; un marseillais de coeur = one who is Marseillais in his/her heart, though not born there; oui = yes; s'expatrier = to expatriate oneself; c'est autre chose = that's another thing; J'aimerais bien vivre en Italie un jour = I would like to live in Italy one day; sans déconner? = are you kidding?; les gambas (fpl) = Mediterranean prawns; la baignade (f) = the swim; une joie de vivre = a joy of life; ça fait du bien pour l'âme = that does the soul good

Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
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"Kristin, Your tips and experiences on French and life in France are the best resources I can think of to keep my French alive."
--Amy


une contrefaçon

Truck = camion (c) Kristin Espinasse


une contrefaçon
(kontr-fah-sahn)
noun, feminine
1. imitation, counterfeit, counterfeiting
2. forging, forgery, fabrication, infringement
3. pirating

Contrefaçon comes from the verb "contrefaire" which means to imitate,
to falsify, to mimic, to disguise, to infringe, to feign or to distort

Expressions:
contrefaçon littéraire = an infringement of copyright
contrefaire une signature = to forge a signature
contrefaire sa voix = to disguise one's voice
saisir des contrefaçons = to confiscate counterfeit (objects)

...........................
Citation du Jour:

La politesse n'est en elle-même qu'une ingénieuse contrefaçon de la bonté.

Politeness in itself is only an ingenious disguise of goodness.
--Alexandre Vinet

.......................................
A Day in a French Life...

The drive from our medieval village in France to the seaport town of Ventimiglia, Italy takes only an hour and a half. It is a breathtaking ride most of the way, with the glimmering Mediterranean sea below and, east of Nice, hills peppered with villas; the colorful facades showing a charming patina from age and the salty sea breeze.

In Ventimiglia there is a jewellery shop on every street, and perhaps as many liquor stores. Shop windows are bursting with bottles of Ricard,* Italian grappa and a variety of alcohol. For those who like l'or* Ventimiglia has gold à gogo.* Perhaps the idea is to put a little wind in your companion's sails (or "mettre du vent dans ses voiles" = to get him a little tipsy) before venturing in to purchase that ring or collier.*

On many a street corner you'll see a man dressed in a boubou,* Louis Vuitton handbags dangling from each arm and more monogrammed purses bursting from a duffle bag... all knock-offs. Though Ventimiglia is known for its smoking deals on jewelry and alcohol (due to a lower liquor and jewellery tax) and for having one of the largest outdoor markets in Italy, it also seems to be the capital of...

"Contrefaçon," my husband says.
"What is contrefaçon?"
"You know, fakes."

"Si, si," says Sonia. "But if you want a Louis Vuitton, one that even the boutique sales people can't tell is faux, see Fernando next to the fish stall, just past the flowers. He has the season's new collection before the real line hits the shops! You cannot tell the difference!"

We are not in Ventimiglia for LV purses, alcohol or flowers, but to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary. The Italian Riviera is a good choice for its proximity to chez nous,* for its gastronomy, for its seaside allure and for an exotic change of scenery. (Exotic because we can't speak Italian and such foreignness has a way of throwing a warm pink hue on everything.)

"Ventimiglia is known for la joaillerie* and alcohol," Sonia confirms, "But also for its beauty!" she says, waving her arm out to the turquoise blue Ligurian sea.

We are seated on the terrace at the most eclectic lodge I have ever stayed in. Jean-Marc found the secluded B&B via an internet search and made reservations illico.* The former convent is practically perched over the sea and overrun by purple vine flowers, fig trees, lavender, blackberries and bamboo. To access the funky B&B we are obliged to park at the end of a gravel path, before heading down a steep stairway leading to the villa.

The stairs inside the house are severely sloped from 800 years of being tread upon and are now painted black. The white hallway walls are full of black and white photos of Hollywood stars. In our room's library, I find an odd assortment of books including a thick volume of the collected stories of Jane Austin, a book titled "Psychopathia Sexualis" and a "Dictionary of Marine Insurance Terms".

The next day Sonia makes us breakfast: un petit déjeuner as eclectic as the convent itself. We begin with dessert: crème caramel and a peach yogurt. Next, there is a tray of cantaloupe and Italian ham. After that we have a deep fried omelette with sliced hot dog followed by an apple cake. Finally she brings out a plate of fruit which resembles Lychee but smells like a rose. "From my garden," she says.

I notice Jean-Marc isn't eating the hot dog omelette or the apple cake and I end up eating it all so as not to vex our hostess. On I went, feigning, or one might say "en contrefaisant la faim."*

............................................................................................................................
*References: Ricard = a brand of French pastis; l'or (m) = gold; à gogo = in abundance; un collier (m) = necklace; un boubou = a long robe worn in parts of Africa; chez nous = at our house; la joaillerie (f) = jewellery; illico = right away; en contrefaisant la faim = feigning hunger

Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
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"Kristin, Your tips and experiences on French and life in France are the best resources I can think of to keep my French alive."
--Amy


un voile

Voile = veil

Jean-Marc and I celebrated ten years of marriage this past weekend. Don't miss today's story about how the bride almost missed her wedding.

voile(vwal) noun, feminine
1. a sail

voile (vwal) noun, masculine
1. a veil

Also:
un voile de mariée = a bride's veil
un bateau à voiles = a sailing boat
un voile noir = a blackout (fainting)
un voile de nuages = a cloud veil

Expressions:
mettre les voiles = to leave (to take off, to scram, to hit the road...)
un voile de larmes = a blur of tears
faire de la voile = to go sailing or yachting
prendre le voile = to take the veil, to enter into religion
sous le voile de la religion = under the cloak, mask of religion
avoir du vent dans les voiles = to have wind in one's sailes = to be drunk
marcher à voile et à vapeur = to go both ways (in romance, to like both men and women)

.........................
Citation du Jour:

La vie quotidienne aliène et voile la vraie vie, la vie quotidienne permet trop de compromis.

Daily life alienates and veils real life, daily life allows too much compromise. --Hélène Rioux

............................................
A Day in a French Life...

The story of my wedding ceremony originally appeared here and is now part of this book

Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
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"Kristin, Your tips and experiences on French and life in France are the best resources I can think of to keep my French alive."
--Amy


un poireau

One of today's expressions has to do with "to be kept waiting." I didn't want to keep a friend in India waiting to send wishes of a "Bonne fête de Ganesh". Ganesh is the "le dieu" (the God) with "la tête d'éléphant" (the elephant's head) and is the deity of knowledge and wisdom (of "le Savoir" and "la Sagesse").

Recently in Paris, more than 20,000 people participated in "la grande fête hindoue" (the great Hindu celebration). Bonne fête to Ravindra (and son!) in Pune, India.

un poireau (pwah-roh) noun, masculine
1. a leek

(The plural is "poireaux")

And from the image of a leek stuck in the ground comes the popular verb "poireauter" = literally "to leek," to be "planted" like a leek (to be kept waiting; to kick, cool, one's heels...)

Expressions:
faire le poireau = to be kept waiting; to hang about
faire poireauter quelqu'un = to leave somebody waiting about

..........................
Citation du Jour

Quand on dit que le poireau est l'asperge du pauvre, ce n'est gentil ni pour le poireau, ni pour l'asperge, ni pour le pauvre.

When we say that the leek is the asparagus of the poor, that's not nice to the leek, the asparagus or the poor man. --Albert Valentin

....................................
A Day in a French Life...

"La Soupe des Vendangeurs"

In French the verb "poireauter" means "attendre longtemps" or to wait a long time. We waited only four days for the Harvest Soup which is (in some parts of France) savored during la vendange.* In Chateauneuf du Pape, where we harvested grapes last Sunday, we feasted on porc à la moutarde after the harvest so it somehow seemed sacrilege to finish the vendange and not "souper"* on some comforting potage* this week.

Although the soup calls for a long list of ingredients, it tastes just as good with half as many legumes,* and so for our version I used what I could find in our frigo:* poireaux,* pommes de terres,* tomatoes, onions, courgettes and garlic.

I filled a pan half full of water, peeled back the silver foil jacket of a bouillon cube, threw the cube into the pot and added vegetables until they reached the surface of the water. And voilà!

While the soup simmered, and to get into the spirit of things, we went out to the back yard and slumped through the four rangs* of grape vines, running our hands along the leaves. Ouf!* Having built up an appetite, we headed back in for La Soupe des Vendangeurs.

Au fait,* La Soupe des Vendangeurs can include any or all of the following ingredients: carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, poireaux, spinach, turnips, chou vert, celery, garlic, a bay leaf, thyme, parsley, bacon and sausages.

Bon appétit et bon week-end!

...................
*References: la vendange (f) = the grape harvest; un légume (m) = a vegetable; le frigo (m) = the refrigerator; souper = to have supper; un potage (m) = soup; au fait = by the way; une pomme de terre (f) = potato; un rang = a row; ouf! = whew!: une courgette (f) = zucchini; le chou vert (m) = green cabbage

Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
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"Kristin, Your tips and experiences on French and life in France are the best resources I can think of to keep my French alive."
--Amy


un écart

My daughter Jackie turned seven ("l'âge de raison") on Saturday. She is back today with her column "Thoughts of a Little Girl from France" (in French and English).

un écart (ay-kar) noun, masculine
1. distance apart, gap

Expressions:
faire le grand écart = to do the splits
faire un écart = to step aside
un écart de conduite = a lapse of conduct, misdemeanor
écarts de jeunesse = youthful indiscretions
un écart de l'imagination = a flight of the imagination
se tenir à l'écart = to keep oneself apart, aloof
habiter à l'écart = to live in a remote, lonely area
un écart d'âge = an age gap
un grand écart = (fig) a balancing act
un écart de langage = a rude or offensive word or phrase = a "gap" in language

.........................
French Proverb:

Ecarte-toi des lieux où l'on parle ou trop fort ou trop bas.
Distance yourself from places where people talk too loud or too low.

.......................................................
Pensées d'une Petite Fille de France

"Le Grand Ecart"

L'autre jour dans la salle de gym on a fait la danse et on a fait le grand écart.

Pour faire le grand écart il faut toucher par terre tout la longueur des jambes. Ce n'est pas du tout facile car ça tire dans les jambes.

Dans mon cours de danse, il y a Juliette qui le fait bien le grand écart mais aussi Bérénice. Pour certains, ce n'est pas évident de faire le grand écart. (Par exemple, pour moi et pour Cassandra, ce n'est pas encore ça.)

* * * In English * * *

The other day in the gym we danced and did the splits.

To do the splits, the length of one's legs must touch the ground. It isn't easy at all because it really pulls (with)in the legs.

In my dance class, there's Juliette who does the splits well, but so does Bérénice. For certain people, it isn't easy to do the splits. (For example, for me and for Cassandra. We're not there yet.)

...............
Post note: Jackie became flustered while dictating today's story to me. Apparently my French pronunciation, for even the simplest of phrases, is ultra null. The following scene took place:

Me: (reading back story, and the phrase 'un grand écart') "Ewn grahnd ay kart"
Jackie: "Ça veut rien dire!" (that doesn't mean anything!) "It's 'uhn grah taykar'!"
Me (re-reading story) "Ewn grahnd ay kart"
Jackie: "Oh la la!!!! C'est "uhn grah TAYKAR!"

Read more about my daughter, Jackie, in the book Words in a French Life

Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
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"Kristin, Your tips and experiences on French and life in France are the best resources I can think of to keep my French alive."
--Amy


coin

le coin (kwun --silent n) noun, masculine
1. corner
2. part
3. area

Also:
le coin bureau = the work area
le coin repas = the dining area

Expressions:
les gens du coin = the locals
coins et recoins = nooks and crannies
va au coin! = go and stand in the corner!
mettre un enfant au coin = to put a child in the corner
rester dans son coin = to keep to oneself
laisser quelqu'un dans son coin = to leave somebody alone
le coin du bricoleur = the DIY department
un petit coin pas cher = a cheap, inexpensive little place
un regard en coin = a sidelong glance
le petit coin = the bathroom, the loo
les quatre coins du monde = the four corners of the world
la maison qui fait le coin = the corner house
chercher quelque chose dans tous les coins = to look high and low for something

..........................
Citation du Jour:

Tout ce que l'on cherche à redécouvrir
Fleurit chaque jour au coin de nos vies.

All that we seek to discover
Flowers each day in the corner of our lives
--Jacques Brel

.................................................
A Day in a French Life...

On my way to Aix-en-Provence last Friday, I pulled into une station-service* to visit le petit coin.* I entered the gas station boutique and walked past the coin-operated beverage machines, pausing to eye the motley duo huddled around a high table: a paysan* in a faded chemise* and an elderly woman. The woman looked like she'd just stepped off stage at le Moulin Rouge. Her maquillage,* in tones of red and blue, was painted thickly above her eyes and across her lips. I was thankful she was not in cabaret attire. I continued to the back of the shop, looking for the door with the "Dames" caricature.

Pas de chance,* the ladies room was blocked off and a sign instructed patrons to use the next room (that would be the "Messieurs"...) No big deal, I thought. I've been in the men's room before, having walked past many a wall urinal on my way to the commode. (In my college semester in Lille we had to share the bathroom with les garçons*). Of course gliding past urinals in a nonchalant fashion takes time
getting used to, and the red never left my face even if my hands shielded my eyes.

Starting toward the men's room I froze in my tracks and couldn't lift my foot over the threshold. Backing up, I decided to check and see if the attendant was done cleaning the ladies room, and so I called into
les toilettes.*

"Allo?"
"Oui, Madame," a man's voice echoed from a stall.
"Oh, so I'll just, uh, go next door, right?" I said in French with a heavy American accent.
"Venez. C'est bon." It's okay, I could come in. I was hoping he wouldn't say that...

I tiptoed over the wet floor, and selected the cabin farthest from Monsieur. The bathroom stall walls became paper-thin just as soon as I closed the door; it might as well have been a rideau* separating the toilets, and of course one could hear a pin drop just as soon as I slid the lever shut. I now stood hesitant atop the newly mopped floor.

Soon enough Monsieur began to whistle a tune from Les Misérables, and all I could think was "Whistle louder, please!" and then, as art would have it, I found myself immersed in that sad tune.

Humming along with Monsieur, I studied the diagonal designs left by the dirty mop and thought about the melody. Gavroche...Cosette? Victor Hugo!

My former gêne* turned into a burning quest to name that tune. Busy trying to pin title to chanson,* I forgot about Monsieur as well as my soucis.* Before long I was pulling on the chasse* and scrambling out of the stall to confirm that Monsieur was indeed singing "I dreamed a dream". N'est-ce pas? N'est-ce pas!

By then Monsieur had disappeared. I followed the hum and found another sign, this time propped outside the men's room. A few guys stood hesitant, eyeing the ladies' room, wondering whether or not to cross the threshold...

......................
*References: la station-service (f) = the gas station; le petit coin (m) = the bathroom; le paysan (m) = the farmer; le maquillage (m) = make-up; un garçon (m) = a boy; le rideau (m) = the curtain; une gêne = an embarrassment; une chanson (f) = a song; un soucis (m) = a worry; la chasse (f) = the toilet flush; les toilettes = the bathroom

Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
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"Kristin, Your tips and experiences on French and life in France are the best resources I can think of to keep my French alive."
--Amy


un rang

Vendange2004_007

un rang (rah or rahng--silent n & g) noun, masculine
1. a row; line
2. a country road
3. station
4. rank

Also:
un rang de perles = a string or rope of pearls
deux (trois, quatre...) jours de rang = two (three, four...) days in a row

..........................
Expressions:
en rangs serrés = in close order
de premier rang = first class, first rate
de haut rang = noble, of high ranking
du plus haut rang = of highest standing
formez vos rangs! = fall in!
par rang d'âge/de taille = in order of age, of size
le rang social = social status
rompre les rangs = to break ranks; to fall out
se mettre sur un rang = to get in line
serrer les rangs = to close ranks, to close up
sortir du rang = to rise from the ranks
se mettre sur les rangs = to come forward as a candidate

.........................
Citation du Jour

C'est à notre coeur à régler le rang de nos intérêts, et à notre raison de les conduire.

It is up to our heart to settle the order of our interests, and up to our reason to drive them. --Vauvenargues

.....................................
A Day in a French Life...

(The story that originally appeared here, with the vocabulary below, is now part of the book "Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love and Language from the South of France.")

....................
*References: un pape (m) = a pope; un galet (m) = a pebble; les retrouvailles (nfpl) = the reunion; sécateur (m) = pruning shears; un seau (m) = a pail, bucket; sain (adj) = healthy; la pourriture (f) = rot; le fouloir = the grape crusher; une cuve (f) = the tank; chef d'équipe = man in charge of the workers; le repas (m) = meal; les rangs (m) = rows (of vines)

Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
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"Kristin, Your tips and experiences on French and life in France are the best resources I can think of to keep my French alive."
--Amy


vendanger

Vendange2004_001_5

We spent yesterday grape harvesting at Uncle Jean-Claude's vineyard in Chateauneuf du Pape. More about that demain!

la vendange (von-donzh) noun, feminine
1. grape harvest; grapes (harvested); grape crop

vendanger (von-don-zhay) verb
1. to pick or to harvest grapes

And:
une vendangeuse, un vendangeur = a grape picker
une bonne vendange = a good vintage
les vendanges = grape harvesting time
un vendangeoir = a grape-picker's basket
la vendange en vert = a green harvest (crop/cluster thinning)

Expressions:
vendanger une vigne = to harvest a vine
pendant les vendanges = during the grape harvest
faire les vendanges = to harvest or pick the grapes
vendanger de bonne heure = to get an early start on the harvesting

Citation du Jour
Comme les vendanges, les amours tardives* sont les plus délicieuses.--Jean Amadou
(Like the grape harvest, love gathered late is the most delicious.)

A "vendange tardive" is a "late harvest" (for sweeter grapes).

Families of the Vine : Seasons Among the Winemakers of Southwest France "Sanders’s book brings contemporary winemaking in France to life....Absorbing and informative." --Library Journal 

Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
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--Amy


fourré

Today's column is in French and English and is written by my French friend Barbara. Remember her? She was jumping off cliffs in the "Illico" story three days ago. Today she leaves les falaises* behind and contemplates fur in her story "Fashion Victim." Don't miss it!

fourré (foo-ray) adjective
1. fur-lined; fleece-lined
2. filled, filling, filling paste
3. thicket (botany)

Also:
les gants fourrés = fur-lined gloves
un gâteau fourré à la crême = a cream-filled cake
un coup fourré = an exchanged hit, double hit (in fencing)

...................
Expressions:

un coup fourré = a stab in the back; an underhand trick
une paix fourrée = false peace, mock peace
se cacher dans les fourrés = to hide in the bushes

*une falaise = a cliff

........................
Citation du Jour:

Peut-être la paix est-elle plus que le bonheur.
Perhaps peace is more than happiness.
--Henri Bosco

..................................................................
"Fashion Victim"
by Barbara Barles

En lisant ma rubrique adorée A Day in a French Life ce matin, j'ai pu constater que mon amie Kristi avait bien retenu ce qu'il nous faudra porter cette saison automne-hiver 2004/2005 pour être dans le coup! Il me semble toutefois qu'un détail (de taille) t'a échappé Kristi ...: les bottes fourrées!

En effet, lors d'un récent après-midi lèche-vitrines à Cannes, j'ai constaté à ma grande stupéfaction, que pour être à la page cette année, il nous faudrait chausser, nous les filles, de drôles de bottes, style "esquimaux".

Bien qu'ayant souvent froid aux pieds l'hiver, j'ai beau essayer d'imaginer à quelles tenues assortir cet accessoire incontournable, il me semble que la seule qui soit vraiment adaptée soit la combinaison de ski ! Hélas, je ne pense pas que les créateurs l'aient envisagé ainsi...

Pourtant, et alors que je commençais à me faire une raison, en me persuadant qu'avec un jean je n'aurais peut-être pas l'air trop ridicule (quoi que ?) je me suis sentie comme soulagée lorsqu'une phrase prononcée par une commentatrice de défilés de mode m'est revenue à l'esprit: "Cette année, être tendance n'est plus tendance".

Ouf ! Cela m'ôte une belle épine du pied (c'est le cas de le dire)! Je ne serai pas obligée d'avoir l'air déguisée en Inuit pour aller bosser ou pour aller chercher mon fils à l'école!


English Text
While reading my adored column A Day in a French Life this morning, I noted that my friend Kristi understood what we need to wear this fall 2004/2005 season in order to be in style. It seems to me, however, that one detail (of great size) escaped you, Kristi....: fur boots!

As a matter of fact, while out window shopping in Cannes one recent afternoon I noted, to my great surprise, that in order to be in style this year we must put on, us girls, some very funny boots..."Eskimo" style.

While I often have cold feet in the winter, I have a hard time imagining what sort of outfits to match with this indispensable accessory. It seems to me that the only thing that could really go with them is a ski outfit. Unfortunately, I don't think the designers had imagined the furry boots in this way.

Yet, and just when I began to resign myself to wearing them, convincing myself that with a pair of jeans I might not look too ridiculous (on second thought...) I felt very relieved when a statement by a fashion commentator came to mind: "This year, to be trendy is no longer trendy".

Phew! That takes a great thorn out of my foot (how true in this case!) I will no longer be obliged to look dressed up as an Inuit for work or when I pick my son up at school!

...........................................
Fashion Related Expressions from today's story:

être dans le coup = to be in (on the style)
être à la page = to be up to date (on fashions, trends...)
être tendance = to be trendy
un après-midi lèche-vitrines = an afternoon spent window shopping

Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Kristin, Your tips and experiences on French and life in France are the best resources I can think of to keep my French alive."
--Amy