French words goéland, muette, profiter, detente, marais, nommer & Giens Peninsula
Giens, France and the words mauvais perdant, fiston, allez, chiche!, poignée, tas, and deranger in French

Plage des Estagnets and the French words dorloter, bichonner, pouponner, and gâter, chipie, grincement

Everyone needs affection. Read on, in today's story column. (photo taken at Le Salinas restaurant, located along La Plage des Estagnets along the presqu'île, or peninsula of Giens, near Hyères (Var).

dorloter (dor-lo-tay) verb

    : to pamper

synonyms: bichonner (to cosset), pouponner (to coddle), gâter (to spoil)

Audio File & Verb Conjugation
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je dorlote, tu dorlotes, il dorlote, nous dorlotons, vous dorlotez, ils dorlotent (p.p. = dorloté)

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

The babe on the beach two towels down from mine has got it made. Made in the French shade.

"On met le chapeau?" Shall we put on our hat? her mother coos.
"Un peu de crème?" And a bit of sun cream, her grandmother fusses.

I turn to witness the scene: a doting duo dorlotent their darling de dix-huit mois. In French that's called "le dorlotement."

"Non!" The little girl protests.
"Reste assise," the mom corrects.
"Quelle chipie!" grand-mère interjects.

Oh to be pampered, and in French! It is the best of both worlds: language and love.

"Tiens, bois un peu, Chérie," I watch as Maman reaches into her wicker panier, produces a bottle of jus.
"Ahhh, ça fait du bien," mamie sighs. "Après on va mettre les pieds dans l'eau. Allez, on y go!"

Quelle chance to be reared in France, fed on its language, fussed over en français... or fussed over, pont barre. My own skin is burned and I am thirsty. I want to go into the water and feel refreshed--by so much doting, loving tenderness. Words, even in French, cannot convey our ongoing need for affection: for a gentle humanitarian hum, a caring caress. If we need this at the age of forty, how much more will we need this at eighty? And how much less will be available to us... and who will be there to administer it? "It", or "loving tenderness," le dorlotement if you like. And we all like, want, need.

I watch mother and daughter -- unmistakably related in their fair & freckled skin, curls from heaven and lithe figure oh-so-trim. Between them, a giggly, jiggly Gaul is handled like a precious china doll.

I roll over onto my back, not without a creak--Aïe!--and a grincement. I'm no china doll, but break I could. I set my straw hat over my face, protectively, and stare up through a scented wicker dome. Through the loose weave of my own chapeau, the sky is now several hundred blue dots: it may be an impressionist painting, if I wish it so -- or a thousand doting eyes looking down on me, caringly. And the sounds of the waves clapping over the sand, the sea breeze caressing this skin, that's Mother Nature, there after all--humming, fussing, pampering--all the while holding our hands.

*     *     *

Thank you, Julie Turner, for responding to today's story with another. Julie writes, "It’s the touching story of a 104-year-old woman (Clarice "Classie" Morant) who was a primary care-giver for her 92-year-old sister who suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease." See this narrated story & photo gallery, from the Washington Post. Update: another must-read story, about Classie Morant. Please don't miss it!

Comments, corrections--and stories of your own--are welcome and appreciated. Thank you sharing in the comments box.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~French Vocabulary~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
dix-huit mois
= eighteen months; le dorlotement (m) = pampering; reste assise = don't move ("stay seated!"); quelle chipie! = what a little devil!; Tiens, bois un peu, Chérie = Here, have a bit to drink, Sweetie; le panier (m) = basket; le jus (m) = juice; ah, ça fait du bien = oh, that feels good; la mamie = granny, grandma; Après on va mettre les pieds dans l'eau. Allez, on y go! (Franglais) = After, we'll put our feet in the water. Come on, let's go!; quelle chance! (f) = what luck!; point barre = period; aïe! = ouch!; le grincement (m) = squeeking, creaking


"Ulysse" the Great Dane
"Ulysse" the Great Dane

Three Random Words:
la panosse (f) = floorcloth => passer la panosse = to mop the floor
le monticule (m) = hillock, mound; heap
la papille (f) = papilla => les papilles gustatives = taste buds

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I have that same view on the beach..the one through the straw hat~:)And I have thought the view while seeing the view..This is the first time I have heard someone else mention it as if she were writing the words I thought..

Yes.."Dorloter"..I did that to my girls..I think I still do..I do it to my grandsons.
If you have been "dorlotéed" in your life..I think it stays with you forever!

When it goes away is really missed.
You are right everyone could use some..

And I find it's fun to "dorloter".
I am most certain you do too!


I often think about not having that loving "touch" that we all need and will most likely get less of as we age. I once told someone I would "pay" to be touched if it came to that and of course I got raised eyebrows and some snickers from friends. I didn't mean THAT way, just a loving hand on the arm or shoulder, and perhaps a nice Swedish massage thrown in. Jeanne


Thank you, Kristi, for your years of sharing your writer/artist's soul with all of us! Being able to find meaning in the ordinary makes life so much richer, and you remind us all to do that. :-)


Ah, there is nothing like starting my day with a peak into your world. I was spoiled in my teens when I spent two summers in Nice and Saint Tropez. What I wouldn't do to go back and be dorloté encore.

Jules Greer

My Darling Kristi,

I send you all of my love and affection, a
Mother can always read between the lines.
Always remember I am with you, you are my first thought each morning and my last thought each evening, always keep this secret close.



Betty Bailey

As for dorlotement at advanced age, it must help (I hope) to have daughters who love you. I never stopped hugging my Mom, and this past week-end at a family holiday gathering, many gave hugs to ma belle-mere who is 89 and very frail. I know she enjoyed the voices and laughter of her family of all ages and felt she had achieved much and was much loved.


What a lovely day on the beach. And this story reminds me of my childhood with my sisters when we went to the beach. My mom would literally douse us (comment dit-on douse) with Olive Oil and we'd play all day long rolling in sand and sea water. We would return to our mom all red-brown with golden hair. It's funny that in those days not much attention was given to sunscreen!



Mom: a personal note--and many XOXO's--are on the way to you...

Mona: olive oil, yikes! (Burn city!). Thanks for "douse" which reminds me of a reflexive verb that I had wanted to include in the story: "se tartiner". I heard it a few times, over the weekend, when French friends talked about the need to put on sun cream or "to butter oneself" ("se tartiner"). Isn't that delightful?

Cate Salenger

That is the sweetest photo I think I've ever seen. By the way, your mother has become, through no knowledge of her own, my role model. I want to be more like her! You guys are so inspiring.

Fred Caswell

Chere Kristi,
Reading today's slice of your life sur la plage gave me the feeling that you have returned with this very recent and personal sharing that has, like so many others, endeared you to me -- a fresh and intimate insight into your time on the sands of life.

I am reminded, when at age 20 while serving as the life guard and Water Safety Instructor on a small safe beach during a lull in the swimming, I was able to stretch out on my stomach on the sand. A very young lass took a piece of soft stone and wrote lightly for seemingly forever on my sun tanned back -- a heavenly experience!

At the church I now less frequently attend I am sometimes called "The Hugger"!

In 2 days I will be 82 -- no less needing & seeking affection. Much love de moi.


Yikes is right! Not only we burned but for years I could not eat Olive Oil because the smell reminded me of sth I had to put on my body!

Alors, nous etions tartinees avec l'huile d'olives! Pas une bonne idee! But we were very tanned. Deep deep tan.

Lynn McBride

Beautifully said, Kristin, thank you.


I felt like I was right there while reading this story - I love the way you convey feelings and touch between a mother and child. We should never underestimate the power of a mothers love for her children. Thanks for sharing.


Your message today touches me deeply. I have been going through pangs of missing those days when my son was a wee one and all the closeness and touching and just that indescribable sense of joy and completeness that can happen out of sheer love and adoration between two people.

That was a long time ago...he is 23 now, but I am lately feeling befuddled at how quickly time passes. Where did it go? Nostalgia reigns supreme today. A friend gave me a picture of my Sam at her sons's birthday party, taken 17 years ago. I almost cried when I saw it! Sweet, sweet memories. Cherish these days with your children, let all the unecessary "stuff" go, though it is not always evident what that is. From all you have written it is easy to see how you relish your family and delight in them and, I for one, appreciate your sharing this sweet life with us. I know there are sorrows and hurts and all sorts of goofy confusions popping up--but to love and be loved, oh it is a most wondrous thing. I am truly blessed beyond anything I ever dreamed would happen in my life.

I was not coddled and held and told how wonderful I was. But having that with my son and husband, lavishing on them what I myself was denied, has given me the connection I so longed for. It took a long time to learn that lesson.

As in St. Francis' prayer, "it is in giving that we receive..." And I think Kristi, it is your generous giving of yourself and your openness and willingness to speak from your deepest self, that you give so much to us and allow us to open up a little more.

Life is richer.

Janine Cortell

Bonsoir Kristin:
What a wonderful day at the beach.
French vocabulary can be so darn difficult.
It is LE dorlotement(words ending in ment are usually masculine. Hopefully you will consider this my way of dorloting you.

Nicole Lidji

"dorloter" m'a beaucoup touchee ! Merci pour les bons moments que vous me donnez. Nicole


In the story you spelt point barre wrong :/

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