Some people like to head to the flea market on Sundays, whilst others are just itching to pick grapes! More in today's story column. (Photo: antique metal sign at a brocante in Piolenc. The owner says this one is not for sale.)

Sure, you know the French word "dimanche", but do you know some of the interesting expressions that go with it? Hint: there's one in today's story... and a few others that you yourself might know... and share via the comments box! Here, I'll start the ball rolling with this one: "du dimanche" refers to
someone who practices an activity as an amateur (ex: le jardinier du dimanche = amateur gardener). Let's see your "dimanche" expressions, here.

dimanche (dee-monsh) noun, masculine
    : Sunday

Audio File: listen to today's word: Download dimanche.wav. Download dimanche.mp3

Get organized with the French Country Diary 2009 and a Moleskin Paris notebook!

When you marry into a French wine-making family, the harvest never ends. Though we finished picking our grapes here in Sainte Cécile almost two weeks ago, Uncle Jean-Claude's grapes, over in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, are still hanging around.

Saturday morning, 7:30 am: fueled with peanut butter and confiture* sandwiches, Max, Jackie, Jean-Marc, Jacques, and I each take our own vine row before advancing slowly down the narrow slope. The chilly autumn air has some of us cursing under our breaths, while others of us are marveling at how breath can be an objet d'art.*

I study the great puffs of artful breath and think about how crisp autumn air is not such a bad thing: it's fun to watch, like clouds, and it puts that bit of spring into our steps. That said, I am still lagging behind the other pickers, including my son and my daughter... until I have a stroke of good luck--and hit pay dirt! "Pay dirt" in the form of a long stretch of grape-bare vines! This might not be pay dirt for a winemaker (no grapes = no wine), but for a lagging picker it is just the boost she needs to catch up with the others.

I skip past the old, empty vines, bucket swinging from my arm. "C'est dimanche! La-la-la!..C'est dimanche! Each time I pass an empty grapevine I declaire it "Sunday!"

I pass by three more empty grapevines: "Dimanche!...Dimanche!... Dimanche! La-la-la! C'est dimanche!" Soon, I've caught up, level with the others pickers in their rows.

My brother-in-law, Jacques, looks up from behind a tangle of vine branches and the expression on his face says, "Qu'est-ce qu'elle a, celle-là?!*"

"Don't you know?" I say, pointing out my vine row with a sweep of the arm, "Over here (in my row) it's Sunday; a week of Sundays!" Jacques looks confused; after all, it is Saturday morning and not dimanche.

"Uncle Jean-Claude tells me that, in the old days, when harvesters arrived at an empty vine (no grapes = no work to do) they declared that one 'Dimanche,' a day off!"

Like that, I traipse past my brother-in-law, who is tangled in the vine before him. Noticing all those hard-to-reach grapes, I add. "Looks like you're at Monday: a long way away from "the weekend"!"

And--la-la-la!--I'm off, bucket swinging from my arm, artful breath making patterns in the sky beside me.

la confiture
(f) = jam; un objet (m) d'art = work of art; qu'est-ce qu'elle a, celle-là? = what's gotten in to her?

Quiet Corners of Paris: More than eighty of the loveliest, most tranquil, and sometimes hidden places in Paris are celebrated in this charming guidebook

In World music: Dimanche à Bamako
In film: Inch'Allah Dimanche
Caudalie Beauty Elixir : vine therapy

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Dan Serfaty

Conducteur du dimanche: sunday driver

Kathryn Randall

My husband and I are amateur gardeners in Portland Oregon. We often have "the year of the green tomatoe". I thought this would be one but no I have gallons of red and yellow ones to process. We had a good apple year too.

Kathryn Randall

Oops, "tomato" I forgot to preview.

Dan Serfaty

Conducteur du dimanche: sunday driver

Dan Serfaty

Bah sorry for the double post...


---> porter ses habits du dimanche = to put one's Sunday best


After 7 hard working days, Sunday was traditionally a religious day, a day of rest, a joyful day, when families got together and shared a nice meal, when best friends had time to meet each other, so, Sunday could be considered as the best day of the week, a happy day, making people happy.
For happy people, people who enjoy themselves, every day is a great day, every day is a joy, every day is like a Sunday.
Hence the French expression:

BTW, Title of one of Maurice Chevalier's songs:
Pour les amants, c'est tous les jours dimanche!
= For lovers, every day is Sunday!

On the other hand, when life is awful, you are overworked, people treat you badly, it's not fun... the corresponding popular French expression is:
(ne/n' is omitted -> "c'est pas", instead of "ce n'est pas")


Thank you for these expressions and comments. I wanted to add the Latin "dies dominicus," or "jour du Seigneur," ( I have just seen it in Le Petit Larousse, noted next to today's word "dimanche"...)

Any other insights (or idioms!) on the French word for Sunday? How about English expressions for our French readers who use word-a-day to increase their vocabulary? I found a few here, at World Wide Words:


Dimanche des Rameaux = Palm Sunday

Cindy Gooch

A close English phrase is "weekend warriors," those who get no exercise during the week because of their jobs, but play a variety of sports on the weekend - and "pay for it" with pain the rest of the week!

Alice Dent

Jamais le dimanche - never on a Sunday


I'm just catching up. In 2005, I wanted to get off the train at St Juan de Lut, because the sun on the Atlantic was picture perfect. Kristin, did you see the ocean? I loved the photo of the mountain in the Pyranees. I saw some just like that from the train on the way to Madrid. Could I get a copy of it to put in my album?


The title of Sebastien Japrisot's book (and later a movie): Un long dimance de fiancailles--a very long engagement


This makes me think of the scene from Amélie when she tries to hand a coin to a homeless man who politely refuses, saying

"Non, merci, ma petite dame, je travaille jamais le Dimanche"

Ça me fait rigoler ^_^

John Clements

I could make feeble tries but could someone help with the followomg

"another pleasant valley Sunday"

"Sunday will never be the same"

"wedesday morning at 5 o'clock when the day begins"

thanks John


endimanché(e) = all dressed up; in one's "Sunday best"

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