Canvas: Toile, carte bancaire, papeterie and belle époque in French
Plage des Estagnets and the French words dorloter, bichonner, pouponner, and gâter, chipie, grincement

French words goéland, muette, profiter, detente, marais, nommer & Giens Peninsula

Une mouette or un goéland = seagull
Is there a difference between un goéland & une mouette (French words for seagull)? Photo taken at the old port in Giens, the peninsula near Hyères.

détente (day-tant) noun, feminine

    : relaxation, easing

synonym: relâchement (loosening, slackening)

Audio file & Example Sentence:
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La sieste consiste essentiellement en un repos du cerveau. Elle suppose une relaxation mentale suite à une détente physique. ("La sieste serait bénéfique à la santé" Le Bien Public)


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

I am lying on a sandy beach somewhere in the Giens* peninsula. My suitcase is packed, the floor is swept, et je profite,* taking advantage of the two hours that remain until check-out time.

But before I check back into the real world again, post four-day family vacation, there remains the here and now, no matter how dwindling, with its soaring seagulls, its whoosh of gentle waves, and its soft, rocking chatter of voices along the salt-scented marais.*

Not far from the pungent salt beds, or salins, and the picket fences that line a grassy, dotted-with-daisies-this-time-of-year marsh, other families, like my own, are planted along the plage* unwilling to budge lest that hamster wheel, nommé* "Overkill,"* return too fast, reach into a newly-rested soul (where Peace, the sacred prize, resides), and hasten to shake, ravage, and steal.

*    *    *

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~French Vocabulary~~~~~~~~~~~
Giens peninsula =
seaside town near Hyères; et je profite = and I take advantage; le marais (m) = marsh; la plage (f) = beach; nommé (verb nommer) = named; Overkill (hamster wheel) = work, when unbalanced with life



Three Random Words:
infâme = vile, unspeakable, loathsome, despicable

parsemer = to sprinkle with
antirides = anti-wrinkle

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Jerry Holtaway

We are lucky enough to live on the Bay of Socoa in Pays Basque. From here we can see the mountains as we sit on the beach (or see the beach from the mountains). C'est tres belle!


La mer..(J'adore même la chanson..Je Voudrais voir la mer).
Hands down.
Sounds like you enjoyed your much deserved repos.You painted a lovely picture with your words.

Marti Schmidt

Parce que je vis près d'une plage, un amour pour visiter des montagnes. La France a de des perspectives les plus belles et me rappelle de nos Montagnes appalachiennes en North Carolina USA.


This scene always reminds me of 'Summer Breeze,' by Seals and Crofts.

Robert Louis Stevenson said, '...I was only happy once; that was at Hyères.'

Leslie in Massachusetts

Je préfère la plage. Et quelle belle et artistique photo. On peut presque sentir l'air salé (si çela se dit). Elle me donne très envie d'être près de la mer.

Mary Jo

When we vacation in the US my husband and I love to go to the mountains, enjoying visits to some of our National Parks like Glacier in Montana or Yellowstone and Grand Tetons in Wyoming. When we come to France - as we will again this summer - we always choose a site near the sea. We will be in Nice again this August and I can hardly wait!

Sandy Maberly

I prefer the mountains, in summer even more than in winter. I love to sit in the ice cold streams trailing down from traces of snow still lingering above the fall line. There are wild flowers there too, waving in the tall grasses of those endless, open fields. At Sundance, the ski resort south of Salt Lake City, you can even take the chairlift up the mountainside for a breathtaking view of the Wasatch Mountains.


I grew up in the foothills of the North Carolian mountains; I now live in a valley surrounded by mountains, in Virginia. I love the mountains. Yet I have to go to the beach, to the place I love the most, which is the marsh, a special one, in fact, in South Carolina. The marsh is full of great mystery and oozes with teeming life. It is a wet, dark muddy, tall-grass place of rebirth and regeneration. I specially like it there at daybreak and sunset. There is a pier there, with a hammock and some tables...the best place I know.

Jennifer in OR

Mer. Mes enfants aiment la plage et ils aiment construire les chateaux de sable!

I do love the mountains, too. It's a hard choice, but the ocean has a special draw because we don't live there, so it's a treat to go. We live near and hike in the mountains here fairly often.

Looks like you had a lovely time!!

Maureen Britton

I love your site and I love reading your book. I just got lucky and picked it up somewhere...maybe Barnes and Noble. It sat there for a month or so and then I started reading it. It's great. So relaxing and yet very useful for learning about French culture and how words are used in everyday life.

I'm going to the Luberon next month and feel so lucky that I read your book before the trip.




"Summer Breeze"!!!...a most favourite song from way back...thank-you for that clip!

What a lovely fence construction...I am curious though as to what is being fenced (besides the seaside daisies) and why there seems to be tight layers of fences? Two beautiful photos including the "seagull" speckled like the rocks!

Thank-you for your breath of freshly salted air Kristin! I hope you and your family enjoyed a well earned break.


I prefer the sea to the mountains, if I had to choose one or the other, and not both! :-) I love the smell of the sea and find the view of a stretch of water more relaxing and soothing than the view of mountains. Just my opinion :-)


Water. There's something both compelling and soothing in the movement of water, especially the sea. Makes me feel both miniscule and grand at the same time.

Marianne Rankin

J'aime et les montagnes et l'ocean, mais si je devais choisir, je prefererais la plage. Je crois qu'on peut y se decontracter un peu mieux, et il y a plus de choses a faire, si l'on veut.

Ce serait ideale de vivre pres de toutes les deux!


I really need to be in that photo today...reminds me of a trip to Chincoteague!



I would choose the sea, preferably if it's warm. I like the sight and sound of waves...


Hi Gretel: I'm not sure what they are trying to fence in either. Probably just an excuse for the French to make yet another corner of France pretty, memorable, and oh-so-charmant!


I was just wondering about goeland and mouette the other day, really! What was the answer, other than etymology (isn't goeland from Breton?)?

(My Petit Robert on CD-ROM allows searches by all entry fields by which I think I discovered that "bijou" is from Breton.)

Little curiosities

Funny to read your post. I guess a lot of provencal bloggers were around Giens this past week end . My favorite place is definitely : the beach .
And above all our little Cabanon in Giens

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