French word for catacombs + photos of French locks
le nounours + teddy bears spotted in France (photos)

How to say "to fall for it" in French? + the charming "door curtain" (photos)

Poissonnerie or Fish Department (c) Kristin Espinasse
If you thought the previous story was a bit fishy... it was! (Photo of the fishmonger's taken in Brignoles.)

Rent an apartment in Monaco
Villa Royale apartment in Monaco. Large studio with beautiful sea views located in the residential district of Beausoleil


Today's word, an expression, really, comes from a comment following Monday's post. Claudette Kunsay writes:

Oh! Kristin, je suis tombée dans le panneau comme bcp d'autres !!! Et j'étais si fâchée contre ces hommes de loi!!! Je trouvais la situation ridicule mais, tout est possible. Oh, Kristin, I fell for it like a lot of others!!! And I was so mad at the authorities!!! I found the situation ridiculous but anything's possible.

Thanks, Claudette, for inspiring today's entry:

tomber dans le panneau (tohm bay dahn leuh pah noh)

    : to fall for it, to walk into the trap, to be duped

Audio File: Listen to me Claudette's letter (above) Download MP3 or Wav


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

I wanted to tell you about the kick I got writing the Paris catacombs story and all I learned in the process of creating fiction. But that will have to wait. Today is Day 2 of renovation and I hope to chronicle the messy process this time! 

Yesterday played to the tune of the jackhammer as a lonely demolishioner brought down the old brick fireplace....

French fireplace: bricks and wood (c) Jean-Marc Espinasse

(That rustic cheminée had character but it also had a bad habit of feeding on all the air in the house, going as far as to pull freezing cold oxygen in from the outside, via the window and door cracks. In return it gave back puffs of ashes which coated the floors, the furniture, and our dinner plates as we ate, wide-eyed, watching the disheartening process repeat itself.

The new fireplace--an insert--will send out heat via a network of pipes. The floors will stay a little cleaner, too--if one of us would once and for all wipe off the dogs' muddy paws before our goldens came in for the night. As for all the dog hair that carpets the floors....)

rock wall and demolition man (c) Jean-Marc Espinasse

To prepare for the destruction, we removed all bagatelles and cleared the foyer of its furniture before the demolitioner taped up a clear plastic curtain to prevent dust, or la poussière, from blowing into the dining room, which connects to the busy kitchen. 

(Here I'd like to add that plastic renovation curtain must be very much like plastic "packing bubbles"... for one of our kids had a hard time resisting the urge to poke at the curtain holes, rendering the plastic shield that much more useless and causing the other grumpy members of her family--who were resting on the opposite side of the curtain--to shout, "Stop that, Jackie!" and "Mais arrête! Oh! Ça vas pas, non?!")

Regarding moodiness during renovation, we held it together that first day, no matter how disorienting things were. It was even a little amusing to find that every time you went to set down your keys or your sacoche or your coffee cup, the desk or the table or the fireplace mantel was no longer there to hold it! And when you went to sneak another chocolate your husband brought back from recent travels, you wondered, for a split second, why a plastic wall of poked holes was blocking your path. Ah, oui! you shook your head as you detoured out of the house, across the driveway, and over to the other end of the house to enter from there.

In your slippers, walking out of the house to access the kitchen (via the garage), it was again amusing to pass your neighbor, the demolishioner, who took the occasional break in the back of his demolition van, amidst piles of rubble. Seated there, beyond the open van doors, he smoked his cigarette and patted the furry head of a new fan (Smokey).

...And when you smiled, in passing, wishing him bon courage, you were startled, delightedly so, when he paused to wish you the same.

"Bon courage à vous aussi, Madame," he bowed his head.

At first I took the demolitioner's encouragment as politesse... (Yes, thank you, and you too!) until I realized, coughing my way back across the house, encumbered by all the construction dust--my head ringing from the pounding hammer--that bon courage was something we were going to need a lot of these next weeks.

To respond to this story, you can leave a note in the comments box. Thanks in advance!

Mas des Brun
This isn't the first time this mas has undergone renovation. In the 70s the façade you see, above, and the rooms beyond it, were renovated. We are privileged to learn about the history of Mas des Brun (Brown's house) as Maggie and Michael, who sold us their home, tell it to us, via the thoughtful emails and letters they send us. I hope to share excerpts with you at some point.

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door curtain in Vinsobres (c) Kristin Espinasse

In honor of the plastic curtain that is protection our house from dust (if only it really worked!) here are some charming rideaux de porte I've spotted in France. The wind-whipped curtain, above, lives in Vinsobres, near our old village of Sainte Cécile-les-Vignes

Door curtain or rideau in Serignan (c) Kristin Espinasse
This door curtain lives in Serignan. Be still my heart, I thought, each time I passed it. Such charm. 

  Madras door curtain in Croation (c) Kristin Espinasse

This one lives on an island in Croatia. Can't you just feel the sea breeze? See how it moves the madras curtain. More themed photos on the way. After reading your responses to the sacoche post, and all the "bag" photos, it is a pleasure to come up with more themed-photo editions. To comment on the photos, or on something in today's post, click here.

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

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