The halls are still decked in many French towns... including Orange.

cachette (kah-shet) noun, feminine
  : hiding-place, hideout

La poésie est à la fois une cachette et un haut-parleur.
Poetry is at once a hiding-place and a loudspeaker.

                                          --Nadine Gordimer
In books:
The Ultimate French Review and Practice: Mastering French Grammar for Confident Communication

When my husband's aunt came to visit from Paris she brought homemade quenelles and her contagious curiosity.

"Alors, fais voir ta jolie maison!" Setting the warm dumplings on the picnic table, Aunt Michou followed me into the farmhouse, still in the middle of renovation: cords, wires, and scaffolding made it difficult to navigate, but Tante Michou ignored the obstacles, so happy was she to see our new place.

Many "OH LA LAs" ensued as Aunt Michou, through the eyes of a Parisian apartment dweller, viewed our new nest....

StairsAt the top of the staircase we stepped into my son's room.

Michou caught her breath and looked up at the wooden beams.
"Oh là là!" she exclaimed. Shaking out her hand, as if to dry it. She was definitely impressed!

"This is our bedroom and that is our closet," I said, entering the west wing.
"... and that will be the laundry room...."

Aunt Michou paused to mentally group together the last few rooms. "In Paris," she explained with a widening of her arms, "this area alone equals an apartment!"

"This, here, will be the TV room..." I continued.
"Oh là là!
"And that, over there, is Jean-Marc's office... and this is my own...." I said, arriving at the end of the hall bureau.
"Là là là!" Michou continued.

When the tour was complete, Aunt Michou turned to me.
"Oh là là," she concluded. "There's enough room here to hide 50 lovers!"

In the time it took for me to worry about whether or not that was an accusation, Aunt Michou added: "...and 50 for Jean-Marc!"

As I swapped one worry for another, I turned to find that Aunt Michou had vanished. Off she'd gone to put those homemade quenelles into the oven, the hottest hideout in the house.

                                           *     *     *
Psst (or, as the French say, "psitt"): If I ever get the quenelle recipe from Aunt Michou, I'll post it here

References: la quenelle = meat or vegetable dumpling; Michou = Marie-Claire

       New French Country: A Style and Source Book
       In French music:  Oh Là Là, Sing Your Way to French

:: Audio File ::
Listen to my son, Max, pronounce the French word "cachette" and read today's quote: La poésie est à la fois une cachette et un haut-parleur.
Download cachette.wav
Download cachette.mp3
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Terms & Expressions:
  en cachette = secretly, on the sly
  en cachette de quelqu'un = behind somebody's back

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