Serre Chevalier 049
All photos © Kristin Espinasse

crever (kreuh-vay) verb

    : to burst, split; to break
Also: crevé(e) = exhausted

Audio File: listen to Jean-Marc read the following expressions and pronounce the verb conjugations to the French verb crever Download MP3  Download Wav

crever un pneu = to flatten a tire
crever de faim = to be starving
crever d'ennui = to be bored to death

je crève, tu crèves, il crève, nous crevons, vous crevez, ils crèvent

*Thanks for adding additional crever terms and meanings to the comments box. Merci d'avance!


(Note: for part one of this story, click here)

I happened to be staring at an ancient French cemetery (opposite Madame's chalet) when a little voice whispered to me, "Don't push your luck!"

There in the town of Le Rosier, I had been set free for 15 delicious minutes in time to capture one village's Alpine uniqueness. But Jean-Marc and the kids, who were waiting for me back at the village parking lot, needed to return to Serre Chevalier by noon, in time for snowboard lessons. The three had kindly devoted the morning to me, for this photographic-themed family outing (basically, the kids agreed to tag along and play in the snow, while I tip-toed up and down the icy streets snap-shooting; it was Jean-Marc's job to navigate).

Now feeling the pressure to finish up, I took one last photo of a faded flourish, just above an ordinary wooden door -- one that had been hastily replaced. The new style didn't match so well, but then isn't that part of the charm?

On the way back to the car, I passed the wise woman, who was still reading on her porch, and nodded "bonjour". That's when I stole a mental snapshot... to replace the image that I had not dared capture with my camera. Like that "Wise Woman Reading on Deck" will forever be burned into my memory.

Back at the parking lot, at the bottom of the village, I thanked Jean-Marc and the kids for waiting for me and for their patience. With that, we buckled ourselves into the car, and rode up the concrete ramp leading to the main road.

At the top of the ramp, there was an old lion-head fountain (water gushing from its fierce chops), beyond a picturesque building with yet another sundial.

"Did you get that one (on film)?" Jean-Marc inquired, pointing to the colorful cadran.
Did I get that one on film? I, the roving photographer, did I get that one on film?!

And that is all it took... for a zillion zen-like thoughts, thoughts that I had wrangled into one primo philosophical treatise on Peace (just moments before while floating through town, psycho-babble in tow), yes, that is all it took for such noble "nuggets" to dissolve into pathetic pride -- in time for me to revert right back to my usual pre-teen wit:

"Duh!" I thought. "How could he think that I could have missed THAT one?"

Immediately I regretted the sarcastic, unfriendly pensée... but it was too late... for the Powers That Be had another plan for holier-than-thou me: TRIAL BY TIRE !

And, like that, all eyes on the sundial (the sundial that I had indeed photographed and not at all overlooked), the car inched over toward the ramp's edge.... and the next thing we heard was a very loud POP!

(Final chapter on Friday)

Serre Chevalier 050
photo © Kristin Espinasse

What are these two clinking to?  Time now to celebrate achievements: I'll begin: Tchin-tchin to Jean-Marc!, who won a gold medal for his Domaine Rouge-Bleu Mistral wine! and tchin-tchin to Jackie for winning a gold ribbon in Sunday's horse competition (the horse she chose was handicapped, with only one eye (the other permanantly stiched!). Your turn: who are you clinking to today? Say a toast, write a mini (or maxi!) tribute, to someone in your circle who has recently succeeded in something. Share it with us here, in the comments box, where we continue to get to know one another.

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal each week. If you find joy or value in these stories and would like to keep this site going, donating today will help so much. Thank you for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


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To my lovely daughter Claire - a freshman at Berkeley who, through hard work, has a 4.0 average - and was named to the Dean's Honor List. I am one proud mom!!

Debbie Chavers

Clinkety-Clink...Cheers to Kristin for her new endeavor to showcase her photographic art! Congratulations :)

Vivienne Mackie

To my son, a new assistant prof at UCF, who just won a teaching award.
And to my husband, who just received another grant to work in the bio-fuels area.
Well done to you both!
And thanks to you Kristin for arranging and allowing these types of comments and getting us all thinking.


Félicitations, Claire!

Bravo Vivienne's son and cheers and tchin-tchin to V's husband :-)

(and thank you for the wonderful encouragement for my photo journal, Debbie. This means alot coming from another artist!)


Having nearly finished "Corkscrewed," I now understand . . . and raise my glass of Domaine Rouge-Bleu to toast Kristin and Jean-Marc for their mettle (which truly deserves the Gold Medal)in embarking on an unimaginably terrifying Adventure into the New French Wine Country!

Cheers, Diane

Sandy Maberly

Congrats to Jean-Marc as well as Jackie, for their gold awards. It is always a wonderful feeling to receive acknowledgement for jobs well done! As for the rest.... I congratulate myself for actually managing to get out of bed at 0415 this morning (I almost overslept)and onto my plane in Albuquerque (after spending 16 hours in the emergency room the previous day with a fellow flight attendant who was ill) She was diagnosed with pneumonia. I was lucky enough to escape with just a few "excess bags" under my eyes!

Leslie Karst

Artemis Gordon, Steampunk, and a Rising Star

I admit it: Even though I ultimately ended up involved with a woman, one of my first crushes was on Ross Martin, playing the role of Artemis Gordon in the 1960s TV show "The Wild Wild West". The primary attraction for me was his wit and intelligence—especially compared to his pretty-boy co-star Robert Conrad (aka James West). But I also loved all those cool gadgets he came up with to foil the dastardly villains.

For years I haven’t though much about that TV show. Then, yesterday, my partner Robin, my sister Laura, and I went to the Berkeley Opera to see our friend Nora Lennox Martin sing the role of the Muse/Nicklaus in Jacques Offenbach’s "Les Contes d'Hoffmann" (aka "The Tales of Hoffmann").

So I’m sitting there, reading the program notes while waiting for the show to start, and I see all this stuff about “steampunk.” Huh? What’s that, I wonder. Something like cyberpunk? Turns out the answer is yes: Steampunk basically takes the techno/sci-fi/fantasy aspect of cyberpunk, but sets the stories in the Victorian and Edwardian era. Think H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, but with a sort of punk rock sensibility. Very Euro-trash, as they call it here in the States. And imagine my surprise to see in the liner notes that "The Wild Wild West" is now considered an example of “steampunk.” Cool; that means I was punk before Johnny Rotten.

"The Tales of Hoffmann" is a good match for the steampunk aesthetic, as one of the main plots of the opera—-which premiered right smack in the middle of the Victorian era—-revolves around a mechanical doll created by a sort of mad scientist type. (And that scene was great, by the way, in the Berkeley Opera’s production.)

The revelation, however, was Nora. We had never heard her sing before, and there’s always a bit of trepidation when you go for the first time to see a musician friend perform. What if she sucks? What would you say to her?

No such problem. The San Francisco Chronicle music critic Joshua Kosman declared Nora Lennox Martin “the star of the evening,” and said in his review of the show that her “plush and resplendent vocal tone and a winningly fleet stage presence...turned her every appearance into a theatrical high point.” And he’s right: Her mezzo voice was glorious, with a clear, bell-like quality. And her acting was brilliant; she was charming and funny, and stole the show every time she was on stage.

Nora, we are so proud.

(Go to (at March 9) for a link to the review, and to see a photo of Nora.)


Congratulations to a good friend Robert in Montreal who just found out that he will not be out of a job in May. He's been asked to stay on.
Chimo (chee' mo) is an Inuit (Eskimo) word of toast before drinking in Canada.


cheers to my daughter for marrying her parisian beau a yr ago this month....making my wildest dreams of being almost french come if his green card would finally come thru we'd really be cheering

Betty Bailey

Congrats to son-in-law entertainment reporter who survived another (of many) layoffs at another troubled American newspaper. Congrats to my daughter who is part of a team coming out with a new magazine next month. As some journalists become unemployed, others are being hired by entrepreneurs brave enough to start something new in this troubled economy. ("Entrepreneur"...borrowed from the French, naturellement!) Vive les entrepreneurs!


To add to the word "crever" meanings and phrases:

In slang, it translates as "to die". In the same slang-to die vein:

attraper la creve = to catch one's death (of cold)
Il a la creve = He is terribly sick
Je creve de faim = I'm starving
Ca creve le coeur = It's heartbreaking
Marche ou creve = sink or swim (literally march or die)
un pneu creve = a flat tire


Comgratulations to Andrew and Robyn, who last week presented us with our first grandson, Zachary!
Lovely to see life continue, for all of us.
Chimo, indeed!


I just want to tell everyone how overcome with love for you and your generosity with your time, your talent and your Self I feel this morning, Kristin. I haven't even begun to read the page, but just felt this up-swell of gratitude for your bravery and vulnerability. Turning those things into a gift to all of us. I am truly inspired by the notion that if one stays close to "home", true to whatever is going on, there is a deep gift there. Everything truly sprouts from the soil of our present moment.

It is frosty here; we are at that place where everyone is lurking around the seed packets, eager to get ahead of Spring. But it is not the right time. The soil needs to warm up to be ready for germination. I am learning from you, dear One to be where I am and cherish what I have, to look around me and follow my senses to what I love. That my sharing of my point of view is what I have to give.
Thank you, thank you. May you continue to be blessed and to know that you are Exactly perfect right now, as is.

I think that is what you are showing us too. Right now I am battling mice, carrying them out one by one as catch them, my house is a wreck, I am writing to you and I have made a great terrine. Isn't that a crack up! We are truly Something else, we women.
Now I will go read your page.

Penny Teeters

I am toasting and congratulating my husband and I for 33 years of marriage, and 40 years of friendship. It's been quite a journey; not always pleasant, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. I look forward to the next 25 years. We are planning another trip to France for our 35th anniversary. We took our first one together on our 25th anniversary - Paris in the springtime and then Provence. Such memories.

Thank you Kristin for sharing your life with me. I live vicariously through you.


Kristin, we know how much joy snapping photos gives you. As for us, it is always a great pleasure to appreciate the results of your discerning eye, capturing landscapes, architectural details and local scenes from the picturesque area around you! Enjoy yourself and keep snapping! Thank you so much for collecting your photos and getting a photo journal organised online. Wonderful news!

Tchin-tchin to you, to the gold medals, to your family, and to everybody's success!

I am so pleased to have now become a subscriber -via Paypal- of your NEW online photo journal "ciné vérité". I wish a lot of your readers will do the same.
Looking forward to the first 'special package' on Saturday!



Where to begin - so much to say regarding your last two posts. One thing I know for sure, after reading this mornings post, I have found myself in an adventure with you, a virtual adventure, that only you could create.

First of all, I was so frustrated when I couldn't get my total "photo-fix" (WHAT'S THIS) a little tiny photo - you are young so you don't realize how hard it is when you are 62 to see those little tiny photo's, I always copy and enlarge - BUT THIS - plus the fact that I have had to go back and re-read your last post so I could finally understand the full meaning of your second post. I'm glad I did, I missed the beautiful poetic flow of the first and second paragraph the first time (as I was only greedly looking for clues about what you and the kids were up to for a whole week, which - by the way was a total surprise to me. Why don't you save those adventures for when I'm there.

I have so many comments (complaints) right now - but I guess after complaining one more time that there is NO SPELLCHECK on this damn comment page - I will now go to the pool and see if I can find someone with a credit card so I can sign up for whatever
you have planned for this weekend.

Please forgive me for rambling on "HONEY" -
I will follow you to the end of the world, I just miss my "photo-fix" and this surprise you have placed before me this morning has just thrown me 'OFF THE HORSE" for a moment.

THANK GOD FOR NEWFOREST, i read her comment before I re-read your post so I now had a better understanding of all the little gold nuggets you had sprinkled throughout you story. WHAT WOULD I DO WITHOUT WITHOUT THIS WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL NEWFOREST. Do you think she is some kind of professor?

I love what (I think) you are doing with FWAD - kind of a seriel story for the week -
which I translate to mean we will be having all kinds of adventures to different villages when I arrive.

I wonder how long it will take me to talk someone at the pool into signing me up with their paypal...of course Honey, I will take the 500 peso's with me to back up my request.

Thanks for creating a new adventure for me today - YOU ARE KEEPING ME YOUNG - I LOVE YOU.



En réponse à the toasting photo...
Tchin-Tchin to Stuart!
Je porte un toast à Stuart, mon mari, pour tout son travail à la installation du l’électrique dans la salle de bains. C'est du travail. Maintenant nous avons assez de la lumière nous pouvons joueons au base-ball. Ce n’est pas encore fini. Je s’appelle il, la salle de bains des rêves (the bathroom of dreams). Like “The Field of Dreams,” only a bathroom. “If you build it they will come.” But, now that I think about it, I don’t know who I’d want in my bathroom. Ball players? Peut-être bien que oui? (Karen- jái le sourire).

Pat in Virginia

Merci, chere Ahlani for your beautiful words of wisdom. KNOW: "You are exactly perfect right now, as is."

K, sometimes it is especially the moments of awareness-bursting reality, like the juxtaposition of thoughts: (he thinks) I could have missed THAT one" and "noble nuggets dissolving in pride,"-- that you truly live in the Noble Moment. The dance of life (my favorite) the lovely, lively, lucious tango, which counts out: slow, slow, quick, quick, slow--we live, Slow (Who I think I am), Slow (How I am thinking about how I am), Quick (How I could be!), Quick (How I just acted!) Slow (How I Am beyond Thinking...You, Me.) Awareness is a powerful gift. So, three cheers to everyone when we experience shimmering moments of truth beyond all thinking. Being perfect right now.

As I gave up alcohol I am toasting you with an orange juice/carbonated water beverage...homemade "Orangina" (yummm).


In English when something is funny we say "I busted a gut" or that's a real side-splitter. Would the french say je crève le intestin ou je crève côté? C'est juste une pensée.

Stephanie in Webster, NY

Some friends taught me the expression Je creve la dale. It's for being famished. I'm not sure what "dale" is, though.


Permettez aux petits oiseaux de voler

Les petits oiseaux chantent: "Cheep, Cheep, Chip, Chip!" Voila! Le ciel est si bleu...le coleur de la mur comme le bleu du ciel, Tchien, Tchien. Bow Wow!

Ne makes sense pas?

Jill in Sydney

tchin tchin to my son Nic who has recently returned from a challenging time working in an orphanage in Kenya. Welcome home


To the furnace repair people and my Mom. I had to go to work but Mom, who had many other things to do today, came over to let the tech in the house. The repairs didn't cost as much as feared and now the house is warm once again. Plus when I did get home, Mom was still here and she gives the best hugs!!!


In response to Karen,

I am familiar with the expression

avoir la dalle = to be hungry

In additiona the expression:

que dalle = nothing

ex. Je comprends que dalle = I don't understand a thing

According to the dictionary, dalle means flagston, concrete slab

I've never heard the expression "crever la dalle" so I looked it up because it just didn't make sense if you think of dalle = concrete slab.

According to, a long time ago, dalle = gutter to the point where it gave an illusion of gutter=throat.

So that's the history of the expression:

crever la dalle = extreme hunger


The following idioms: avoir la dalle / crever la dalle are slang for "crever de faim"
= to be very hungry / to be ravenous / to be famished

In UK English, 'I busted a gut' = 'I tried very hard' (to do this job), which you can translate in French by: "J'ai eu un mal de chien" (pour faire ce travail).

'side-splitting' = "très drôle" / "tordant".
The nearest connection I can think of, using the verb "crever" is the expression “à crever de rire”.
-> If a situation, or a story is 'hysterically funny', you can say that it is (une histoire) “ crevante” / une histoire “à crever de rire”

Other examples with the 'word of the day': CREVER

I gathered some examples describing how people feel:
->crever de froid = to be freezing
->crever de chaud = to be boiling
->crever de soif = to be very thirsty
->crever de faim = to be starving
->crever la dalle / avoir la dalle = slang for to be starving
->crever de fatigue = to be excessively tired
->crever de sommeil = to be in great need of sleep
->crever d'orgueil = to be excessively proud
->crever de jalousie = to be eaten up with envy / jaleousy

Other uses:
→ J'ai crevé (en route) = I got a flat tyre / I got a puncture (on the way)

→ Je suis “crevé(e)" = I am 'knackered' / exhausted (after long journey, hard work...)

→ (about an actor) crever l´écran = to have a great screen presence

→ Ça crève les yeux! = It's more than obvious / blindingly obvious!

→ (Un travail) crevant = exhausting / killing / excessively tiring (job)
→ “crevant” can also means hilarious, very amusing, making you laugh

→ Attraper la crève = slang for: to get very cold and fall ill
→ Avoir la crève = slang for: to have a very bad cold

→ “Un crève-coeur” is a deep heartbreaking pain
→ “un crève-la-faim” = a person in need of roof, money and food, a tramp, a down-and-out.


Thank you, Stacey, and Merci bcp, Newforest, for these helpful and fun "crever" contributions! I love "crever de rire".

Martina : give your Mom a hug from us all (I'm sure we're good huggers, too !)

Cheers to Nic, Penny's husband, and Pat; welcome Baby Zach!... cheers (and "chimos") to all.


Avec un peu help de la Yahoo BabelPoisson:

Je demande ceci : là où pourrait on aller avoir une ressource si généreuse pour la langue française en tant qu'ici, avec le Newforest incomparable. Merci tellement, Newforest… vous nous aidez à voir la forêt par la langue française d'arbres !

Myrna Laracuente

Cheera to my ganddaughter Amanda for being the only freshman to make the varsity softball team at her high school. She is the catcher! Cheers to my daughter Lara for becoming a certified equine masseuse. I call her the horse whisperer.



I enjoyed reading Part 2 of the story. I am delighted to know the famous “cadran solaire” hadn't been overlooked, – sure, Kristin wouldn't have missed it! Very pleased it was, indeed, photographed.

… Ultimat Necat →... “The last hour kills” (part of the inscription on the sundial in the previous post). Indeed, --- and I' m sorry for what happened during the last minute of the last hour of the tyre, when it became “un pneu crevé”! Oh dear, the children will be late for their snowboard lessons!?

At least, the event gave us an appropriate “Word-of-the-day” : “crever”!

As for what was revealed at the very end of Part 1 (Monday's newsletter ) => 'a flat and an unexpected fortune …' Hmmmmm, I simply can't guess at all what the end will be like, so, I am looking forward to Part 3 on Friday
... and ...
... I bet all the readers who became subscribers to the exclusive Saturday Webpage, are, just like me, looking forward to Kristin's expanded photo adventure based on her hobby!

Have a wonderful day!

Jules Greer

(Note: the following comment (by my Mom) is not addressed to Newforest but was addressed to a spammer, whose message was just deleted...)



Jules, don't worry.... Kristin has got all the power and technique she needs to remove the intruder and warn him to stay away.


Hi, Mom. No worries about punching that one in the nose! Newforest is right: I was able to remove the "intruder" (which turned out to be some disguised spam). Spam is beginning to creep in here which, sadly, means that we'll have to add a verification code -- making it a bit more of a "process" to leave a comment. We'll see...


Thank you Kristin for your prompt action!


A big "cheese" (my kids used to think we said "cheese" not "cheers"!) to Kristin and Jules for saving the day!!!!! :-)

Rachel Rossos

I am toasting my fiance, who just yesterday received a large promotion to Senior Editor of his magazine!


Kristin, Your phootos as they are have been a treasure. I can't wait to see what you'll come up with next. Merci infiniment. I don't care if it's corny. You do light up our lives!

Jules Greer

A toast to KRISTI - who has had the courage to live in the middle of a vineyard and only drink grapejuice. A second toast to all of her friends at French-Word-A-Day - who unknowingly have held her up with their support and love. You are all so wonderful.


Also a big "cheers" to my daughter who has just started Architecture and is on the beach making sandcastles as I write! Glad she has gone to university!!! (lol)

Ann at Cooking the Books

Here's a "cheers" to those of us living as expats in a foreign country! It's a rewarding life, but one that has its ups and downs...

Kristin -- when will Jean-Marc come to Paris for a dégustation?


Tchin Tchin to my husband who is showing his photographs in the Galerie of the Cite des Arts in Paris. The Vernissage is 18 Mars. Join us if you're in the Marais. He's very happily excited about showing meconnu views of Paris.


To you, Kristin, for your wonderful book "Words in a French Life" which I bought last week and am half-way through. I am enjoying meeting you and your wonderful famille.
My husband and I have been studing french at the university two evenings a week for three years now. This year, we return to France for two weeks. We will stay in a little apartement in Paris and visit my cousin, who lives just outside Paris with her husband (a correspondent with the CBC -Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). I am sure Lisa would be able to relate to your experiences as a young woman with small children in France.
Continue the good work. I will become a regular viewer and hopefully find my way out of preposition and subjonctif hell one day soon.

Hilda Anaya

To Kristin, I read your beautiful job as much as i can, I love your photos and what you write about France, the really life about that little place and calm in La Provence, always small a nice people, and really incredibles constructions, flowers and clean places, also the La Provence restaurant french food.
I am mexican and I live in Puerto Vallarta Jalisco , México is a nice beach

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