Comme Si de Rien N'Etait

After a spell in Marseilles (Hex in the City?) the dogs are hanging out now, like angels, at the farm. That's the seductrice (winking). Sam "The Man," the gentleman gigolo, is looking camera shy. Click to enlarge this photo.

comme si de rien n'était

    : as if nothing had happened

Sound File & Example Sentence
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Les chiens nous regardent, comme si de rien n'était.
The dogs look at us, as if nothing had happened.


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

(Note: The following story is continued from Wednesday's post.)

We wake up to the sound of barking!
Rushing over to the bedroom window, we see no dogs in the cours* below. Hearing more aboiements* I look up to the sky. It is the seagulls that are calling. Cursed seagulls!

The sun is shining brightly, comme si de rien n'était.* The night had the nerve to end, the next day, to begin, sans chiens.*

"What are we going to tell Jackie?" Jean-Marc asks.
Our daughter sleeps, each night, with her hand dangling from the bed, to the floor, where it rests with reassurance on her dog's soft back.

I made two handmade tags and quickly attached them, with twisties, to their collars. We will have new médailles made "illico presto"!

I do not know how to answer my husband's question. I keep opening my mouth, but only the letter "I" comes out. 

"Je vais faire un tour,*" Jean-Marc decides, putting on his T-shirt.
"Wait for me!"

During the ride over to the commissariat,* I see a caniche* on a leash, its owner trotting along, light on her feet.  My face feels so heavy--as if anchors were drawing down the sides of my mouth; it is a strange sensation: the palpable weight of a frown.

I was not brought up to be so negative! "What You Say Is What You Get!" was the only other elixir in the medicine cabinet of my American childhood--that--and a bottle of Pepto-Bismol. There were no cures for lost dogs even then.

*     *     *

At the police station, the droplets of blood have been wiped away. The comptoir is clean and behind it one of the officers is telling us there have been no reports of missing dogs.

We are turning to leave when another officer speaks up: Attendez une minute*... golden retrievers? Ça me dit quelque chose*... Yes, last night... at the train station--il y avait deux chiens goldens en train de s'amuser sur la pelouse.*

"Ce sont nos chiens!"* My husband shouts, his back already to the police officers as we hurry toward the exit.

*     *     *

At la Gare Saint-Charles a man is passed out beneath a tree, beer bottles surrounding his head like a halo. Jean-Marc and I step around the SDF*. There are no dogs playing on the grass, some twelve hours after the last sighting. We head up the famous sky-high stairs.

I see spots of blood on the steps--the same sanguine spots that Braise had left across the kitchen floor last week, before going into heat.
"Braise!" Jean-Marc shouts across the upper esplanade. A few disheveled men, beer in hand, look over to the shouting man. "BRAISE!" he calls out, with force. The men set down their bottles and study the newbie wanderer. 

Braise come here! my husband commands, to the empty air before him, as if our dog would appear, comme ça.* And why not?
"BRAISE, Braise viens*!" I join in, zigzagging forward, looking here, there, in search of a miracle.

I see another homeless man sleeping on a filthy mattress beneath the train station. I hope the dogs slept here, à côté de lui,* so that all might find comfort.

"Let's go back to the B&B and get something to eat," Jean-Marc finally decides.

Driving out of the parking lot, Jean-Marc turns right--changing direction at the last minute. 
"We'll just have a look over here," he explains. The car climbs to the upper-level, behind the train station, where a small square is empty... but for a couple of wayward travelers who are perched, side by furry-side, at the top of some steps, three or four meters from the street.

Ils sont là!* The tired travelers look over at us... comme si de rien n'était.

*     *   *

Once the dogs are locked into the car, with the windows slighly ajar, I turn to thank the hero. "You are king. KING!" I shout, having once mistaken my husband for the King of Spain,** once upon a time....

"I would marry you all over again!" I say, wrapping my arms tight around him, rediscovering the palpability of passion. And a kiss never tasted so good.


Update: Don't miss SAM'S version of this story (in French, of course!)... over at the blog Entre Gris et Rose.

Words in a French Life: Lessons in Language and Love King of Spain: please don't miss the Gallic love story of how I met my husband... and mistook him for un roi. Read the introductory chapter to my book Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love and Language.

An attentive amour.

French Vocabulary
Would some of you like to help define these words in the comments box? Merci!

comme si de rien n'était
sans chiens
je vais faire un tour
Attendez une minute

ça me dit quelque chose
il y avait deux chiens goldens en train de s'amuser sur la pelouse
ce sont nos chiens! = those are our dogs!
comme ça
à côte de lui
ils sont là

Braise, left, and her dashing, doting, date for the night in Marseilles.

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MAP of the Misadventurers' path

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Evelyn Jackson

Thru my tears I say Bravo! to Jean-Marc for finding the wayward kids. I'm happy for your family...and all the future furry additions to it!


What a wonderful end to a potentially tragic story...something must've pulled JM over to that area at that moment.
We recently got a puppy and I can only imagine how heartsick you were.
So does this mean you'll be a "mamie" in 60 days?! :-)


Bravo! Donnez un gros bisous à Jean-Marc pour moi aussi!


Bravo! Donnez un gros bisou à Jean-Marc pour moi aussi!


Looks like honeymoon album to me..
Such cute cute photos not to mention the RIGHT words~


Do you think they had eaten/been fed all the time they were lost?
I'm very happy for all of you to have found your pet dogs back.


cours -- courtyard
aboiements --- barking
comme si de rien n'était --- as if nothing had happened
sans chiens -- without dogs
je vais faire un tour -- i'm gonna go for a walk
commissariat -- police (sub)station
caniche --- mutt
Attendez une minute -- wait a sec.
ça me dit quelque chose -- that rings a bell
il y avait deux chiens goldens en train de s'amuser sur la pelouse -- there were a couple of golden retrievers hanging out on the lawn
SDF -- ??
comme ça -- (just) like that
viens -- come on
à côte de lui -- next to him
ils sont là -- there they are !!

btw - not all of us have url-s in the thing below that requires name/email_address/url, so since i've had to give something .... i've given yours; you might want to modify your coding for that ....

Lynn McBride

Hi Kristen,
Talk about a couple of needles in a meule de foin! Boy were y'all lucky to have such a happy ending. We have a cat who likes to sneak into barns and such just as the owners are ldeparting, so we feel your pain. He's at least on no. 6 of his lives (and french cats only have 7, I've discovered). Big bisous to those chic pups and your hero of a husband.

Ruth Hallett

cours - courtyards
aboiements - barking
comme si de rien n'etait - as if nothing had happened
sans chiens - without dogs
je vais faire un tour - i'm going to go around
commissariat - police station
caniche - poodle
attendez une minute - wait a minute
ca me dit quelque chose - that tells me something
il y avait deux chiens golden en train de s'amuser sur la pelouse - there were two goldens "having a good time" on the grass (let me know when the puppies are born!)
SDF - sans domicile fise - homeless
comme ca - like that
viens - come
a cote de lui - next to him
ils sont la - they're there

Ruth Hallett

oops - that's "sans domicile fixe" (je m'excuse)


cours= lesson , period of time or space.
aboiements= barking
comme si de rien n'était= just as if nothing had happened
sans chiens= 'dogless'
je vais faire un tour= go for a walk
commissariat= police station
caniche = poodle
Attendez une minute= hang on a minute
ça me dit quelque chose= that tells me something
il y avait deux chiens goldens en train de s'amuser sur la pelouse- there were two golden retrievers playing on the grass.
SDF= sans domicile fixe= homeless
comme ça= like this
viens= come on
à côte de lui= beside him
ils sont là= there they are


For a good definition of SDF at


If you don't have a Web site, you simply leave the URL field blank.

Glad the dogs are back home. I'll bet you have Braise spayed after this round of puppies! I have a friend who breeds labs and the puppies are a lot of work -- though they sell for a breathtaking amount of money so I guess it's worth it.


Hey, Forest Gump was right: "Life IS like a box of chocolates!"

What a story these two will have to tell their petits-enfants.

Love the photos of the chic and now-worldly couple.



Felicitations! Tout va bien dans le monde encore!

Sabrina DiMichele

Our indoor cat recently went touring around the neighborhood (or who knows where, actually), returning three days later completement comme si de rien n'etait. There is the phrase "if only these walls could talk." If only these furry friends could talk! What adventures might they recount?

Pat Cargill

Perfect ending to l'histoire de deux chiens rendevouz d'amour a Marseilles. Kristi, the photos are great, and a bonne idee to top les chiens w/old straw hats for an amusing photo of the wandering duo. I think they must have been sitting on the grass the morning you found them wondering, "now what do we do...where's breakfast... what were we thinking?!"

The times I have found Maxine when she has gone a-wandering in the neighborhood (ignoring my cries to come--she's w/in earshot), she always looks up as I spy her with that "Me? You're talking to ME?" look, and in her own sweet time comes over. I am terrified as I do not always know how long she has been out. I am now very very careful anytime I go out the back gate into the alley, with a Stay Inside! and a stern look and a definite shutting the gate all the way.

It is not easy training masters.

Wishing you a jolly good weekend with les chiens -- hope there will be pups in the future!


So, this story, complete with a very happy ending, reminded of your Glossolalie post.

"And so I'm betting on God," I informed my husband, "and gambling on a Virgin Birth and, while I'm here, I'm wagering that walk on the water!"

And the finder of needles in haystacks. :)


But you haven't told us about Braise's paw?


Rollingthunder6, Ruth, and James: Thanks for the translations! And to the other translators (in previous posts...) I am behind on my remerciements!

Janet: thanks for remembering those lines, which reminds me of a scene I left out, along with several others: following our last visit to the police station, Jean-Marc and I got into the car. As I was putting on my seatbelt, my husband reached over and took both my hands into his own. Next, he said a prayer.

Katie: Braise is not limping today. She will see the vet this week and we'll double check her leg.

Not sure if the dogs had anything to eat or drink. When we got them back to the B&B on Rue de La Liberation (!) they did not run for their water / food bowls.

Christine Jackson

How far is the train station from the B&B? I hope you took pictures and will share them via Cinema Verite this weekend!


Wow. That was an exciting episode. Our dog Tutti went on a lone journey for only one nite... When we found her, it was through the city, with her running like a scared rabbit, across a four lane road, and fortunately, into a place with a complete fenced yard! My son-in-law, the hero, herded her, shaking in her little paws, into a place where we could gather her up. I think her heartbeat was 150 pm. I understand your elation when you got your babies back, comparing it to our experience. Wonderful!


Christine: check out this cool map (hope the link is clickable):,+13004+Marseilles,+France&daddr=Gare+Marseille+St-Charles&geocode=Fe6-lAId9FZSAA%3BFSe_lAId9RlSACHeTb4lV-Pl-w&hl=en&mra=pe&mrcr=0&sll=43.301165,5.388215&sspn=0.010775,0.027895&ie=UTF8&ll=43.301836,5.388558&spn=0.010775,0.027895&t=h&z=16


What a story! Adore the dogs! I imagine you have been smiling big smiles the last few days. Have a great weekend.




comme si de rien n'était= just as if nothing had happened = como si nada hubiera pasado

Lori Milbier

cours - class
comme si de rien n'était - as if nothing had happened
sans chiens - without dogs
Attendez une minute - Wait a minute
comme ça - like that
viens - come
à côte de lui - near him
ils sont là - they are there

Shannon, Alexandria, VA

WONDERFUL story, Kristin!! I actually had tears of joy in my eyes.

Cate Salenger

Made me laugh, made me cry. And romantic, on top of that! So happy you've all been reunited.


Such a relief! Jean-Marc must have just sensed that he should turn the car in that direction. What does Max think of the country? Had he ever been out of Marseilles? Jackie-love the hats on the dogs. I sent your Mom a photo of one of my caniche wearing a baseball cap.


Sorry, I mean SAM not Max!!!


Tres Bien J-M!

Elizabeth Manny

So glad to hear the dogs are safe and bien chez vous!


Such a happy ending!!!! Bravo!

Lynette Simser

Kristin - your recounting of this episode in your life is beautiful. Thankfully the ending is happy, but your writing before the happy ending is quite moving. Well done.

We live in a town of about 20,000 just south of Minneapolis. Our Springer Spaniel, Bailey, is twelve years old. When my husband and I take her walking through the woods and fields outside of town he likes to let her off her leash. She remembers her younger days when she would run off and flush pheasants from their hiding spots. She goes bounding through the tall grass with ears flying behind her, doing what she was bred to do. She is beautiful. I, having never been a hunter, I am always so afraid that she won't find her way back to us. And what would a city dog do out there in all that space?

I'm so glad that Jean-Marc listened to his intuition and turned down the right path. And I'm glad Braise had a chance to visit the city - oh what stories she'd have to tell! And to have her adventure with such a handsome suitor! It reminds me of a certain American author, who went off on an excellent adventure to France and found her own handsome suitor......

Marianne Rankin

I love happy endings! I hope both dogs will be safe and sound from now on. When will you know if puppies are on the way?

A friend of mine has a Lab or mostly-Lab dog who just had puppies. She e-mailed photos, and they are so cute. If she didn't live hundreds of miles away, and if I didn't have to be gone most of the day for a job, I would adopt one. Meanwhile, we keep our three cats mostly indoors, since we are close to a main road.

Animals enrich our lives, and in a way, I think, make us more human, in our efforts to care for them and about them.

When I see the name "Braise," I think of "braising," as in cooking meat. Is it just a name in French, or does it have a meaning?

So glad you are all reunited.

Sandy Maberly

Loved the ending and the pic with the hats. Amazing that the two of them made their way across town, through traffic to the railway station when it appears there was a very nice park within a few steps of the house! They make a very handsome couple and look quite comfortable with each other. Too bad they don't live within "barking" distance of each other for easy visits!

P J Luckey

Tres bien mes amis!!! Kristin, you and Jean-Marc are King and Queen for the day----JM for his dogged persistence- pun intended, and you for your warm and wonderful pup pix.

Posted by P J Luckey


A wonderful happy ending. It is amazing that they made their way through all that traffic, railway lines, etc. with no more than a sore paw. You and Jean-Marc are heroes. I think we often don't pay enough attention to that instinct that says "try one last look - try over here",
The dogs are beautiful, and look very happy. So does Jackie.
In terms of your last post, what to do in Paris, my best answer is just walk. Be a "flanneur".


Thank you so much for sharing this happy ending story! I was riveted to every word. I have 2 golden Labs, one of which is a wanderer when he escapes. So far his adventures have also ended happily for us! I truly felt what you went through & your joy at finding these 2 beauties!


Unreal... I'm trying to type through tears of relief... That was just as heart wrenching as any Disney movie...

You tell that Braise that I said "Never never NEVER" is she allowed to run away again...

I can't help to see the comparison in this though... She ran off to a new place with her handsome new beau... Sound familiar?


Do let us know when the puppies will arrive!!!

Anne - Music and Markets

Kirk and I read this together as we were waiting at the airport for our daughter and grandchildren to arrive goday. I, too, as a previous poster, found a tear or two in my eye as I read the happy (and romantic, and prayerful) ending.

Cindy Gooch

We live in the northwest part of the city of Phoenix, AZ. When we first moved into our house, we had 2 dogs (both have died since). They had definitely "sheltered" lives. One afternoon, they escaped from the house. We drove up & down the streets for hours anywhere near our neighborhood, calling and looking for our dogs. And it was raining! We gave up for the night eventually. The next day, we received a phone call. A young man had seen the 2 dogs sitting calmly, but looking tired, across 35th Avenue (about a mile from our house)- and 35th Avenue is a pretty busy street! He eventually checked their collars & called us. We met him there - both dogs still just sitting by a phone pole, like they were waiting for a bus. They dragged themselves into our minivan - exhausted - we drove them home, and they slept solidly for about the next 24 hours. We were SOOO happy to find them, and I STILL hate to think about how they got across 35th Avenue in one (two?) piece!

Cindy - Phoenix

Jennifer in OR

Whew!! I've not had a chance to check in and was wondering how this all turned. What a miracle.


Praise God! I am SO glad you found them both safe and sound!

Christine Dashper

Hi Kristin,

I am so glad you have the dogs back and so glad we didn't get the story all at once. It would have been too much to take in all at once! Although you and Jean Marc had to, I imagine you slept very well the next night or two.

Love the photos, thank you again for sharing this with us all

warmest wishes


So happy to come to this page and read the final installment. Les chiens sont chez vous et "tout va bien dans le monde."

Bravo a Jean-Marc, le mari qu'on doit garder bien.


Yahoo! All's well that end's well! Now, when are the puppies due? :)


Hugs and kisses to the dog angels. Now I hope they learned their lesson!!


Oh, my gosh. Have been out of town and just caught up with all these stories in one fell swoop!! From a dislocated shoulder to a lost dog child.... what a month you have had! And what a beautiful, happy ending. Now I can go take a walk. Glad I didn't have to wait a whole day to know what happened.

Can you and Jackie turn this story into a children's book? It's a great story and sort of like Madeleine, I think children would love it. I can just imagine the illustrations. :)

Bonne journée. Hope you have a calm week.


Let the royal feast begin! And I'm sure they looked at you as if nothing had happened, wondering where you had been all that time and why you looked so worried! Always love a happy ending.

Patty B

Thank God they are safe and sound and home again--for good!


So glad the dogs made it back safe and sound. This reminded me of the time our dog Lucky disappeared. I searched everywhere but could not find him. He came back exactly a week later. We joked that he must have rented a condo on the beach for a week.
Really love your website. It's fun brushing up on my French again.

Pat Cargill

"La gare Saint-Charles fut longtemps le point de passage obligé des voyageurs à destination de l'Afrique et du Moyen-Orient. Avant l'avènement de l'avion, ces voyageurs, arrivant du nord de l'Europe, de Paris et d'Angleterre notamment, faisaient une halte d'une nuit avant de repartir en bateau." (Wikipedia, link above)

Peut-etre les deux amoureux errdeux were contemplating a trip to far away places with strange sounding names.

K, I appreciate the interesting links, comme ca. Merci.


Ophelia, a children's book would be wonderful! With actual photos of the dogs, Marseille street scenes, etc.


So glad they were found safe and blissful. I love the photos of the wayward pair! My cat went missing in April for 35 days and came back sans les testicules. (
He learned what a harsh world it is beyond the confines of our own Deer Palace!

Bill Dombrowski

so good to hear!

Shandy Burton

What a great story! So glad you found the dogs. Love the cute! I wish I could get my dogs to sit with hats on for a photo.


Oh my, I followed their route on street far as it was possible, and it is amazing how far they ventured! Perhaps Braise was leading her sweetheart home..or attempting to. Amazing that you and your hero were able to find them. Your continued efforts, and no doubt the prayers of all your dog-loving friends had a great deal to do with that! How delightful to have such a happy ending. Salut!


i am so very happy for all of you! i weep with joy for your reunion!!!
HURRAH!!! a thousand times, HURRAH!!!

Fabienne Bourreli

alors là , bravo c'est un super blog , tes photos sont magnifiques et je travail mon anglais pour essayer de tout comprendre !!!!
bisous à toute la famille ainsi qu'à Braise et à son fiancé !!


Beautiful story, so well communicated! I cried and remembered my own 'chien fuguer' and how it made me feel. Thank you.

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