Our New Puppy & Dog Commands in French


Le Petit Larron -- The Little Thief.

larron (lah rohn) noun, masculine

    :  thief

l'occasion fait le larron = opportunity makes a thief

Le larron does not seem to be used in conversational French (my daughter taught me the word after she learned it in her French class while reading a classic text) ... so here are some useful synonyms:

un escroc (swindler, con man, crook)
un malfaiteur (burglar)
un voleur (thief)


Audio File and Example Idiom: Download Wav or  Download MP3

    s'entendre comme larrons en foire = to get along well, to be as thick as thieves

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

Today's episode will be brief -- brief as the life of a houseplant under the tutelage of a black-thumbed housewife.

Au revoir* to my dear Spathiphyllum plant, a gift from my voisine,* Brigitte. I kept you, dear Spati, en vie* for a record 6 months... when last night six thieves broke out of their prison pen...


(Photo of "thieves breaking out of prison pen" -- not the actual pen--which is much larger. Here, the puppies are simply re-enacting the breakout that led up to so much mischief...)

...wrapped their sharp teeth and puppy breath around your lovely white flowers, and dragged you kicking and screaming across the kitchen and living room floors... leaving your leaves and your dirt in their wiggly-tailed wake.

No time to write; I've got puppies to police and a houseplant to treat...with bandages, glue, and a splint or two --  thanks to the ol' black-thumbed housewife remedy.


(photo of Mama Braise, giving les petits larrons a lecture! Oh, those troublemakers look smug!)

Comments, corrections, and stories of your own are welcome and appreciated. Click here to access the comments box.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~French Vocabulary~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
au revoir
= goodbye; la voisine (f) = neighbor; en vie = alive


"Watch out for the Dog!"

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Dr. Mohsen Badawy

The word Larron is used by Edith Piaf in the lovely song of "La goualante du pauvre Jean" where she sang "Pour gagner des picaillons ..... Il fut un méchant larron"
The word picaillons may also be one of the words that does not seem to be used frequently nowadays.

Bill in St. Paul

Ah, the joys of raising puppies! What mischief they can get into when they escape from their pen. Years ago, my sister's puppy grabbed a bottle of bluing and ran through the house spilling it on her white carpets!

Barbara Andolsek Paintings

Such innocent cuteness! I love the stories the little thieves generate from your wonderful sense of humor and excellent, very fun and entertaining descriptions Kristin, brilliant.


Bon Lundi Kristin,

Six months is not bad at all for that sort of a plant : )
And I think you don't have to do much writing (though I love it) as long as you have puppies. I cannot concentrate on anything else.

I had never heard larron or picaillons. It would be fun to just use it.



Hola Kristin!
With this post you made me think about the dog of my childhood. A beautiful Irish Setter named “Berry”. We had it until I was around 5 or 6 years old. I remember being very sad when they took it away for another family because my parents were just “done” with dogs.

I guess since I am the youngest of 6 children, my parents just had it with all their children + friends and several dogs during the childhood of the older ones. And they always complained the backyard was a terrible mess! So, voilá! Goodbye Berry, hello beautiful backyard.

Since then I have not had a dog again. Lately, and since we are looking to buy our first home, I’ve been thinking to finally have another Irish Setter also because they are so good with children and we are planning to start a family very soon.

I think every child should have the experience to have a dog!

Love Le Petit Larron!



Today' episode WITH be brief. Please correct.


Dr. Badawy: thank you for "picaillons". I agree with Mona: it will be a fun word to use!

Barbara: mille mercis! P.S.: I've just enjoyed my visit to your painting blog.

Andrea: good luck in finding a cozy "nest" for you and your family. I hope you get your Irish Setter :-)

Chris: thank you for the correction.


Kristin, I laughed so hard when I read today's post. My girlfriend very kindly agreed to watch my 16 week old golden while we were on vacation. She also was watching another friend's puppy the same week. It seems she went to get ready for work when she walked back out to find just-watered dirt everywhere and a houseplant (I believe the same kind even) under her bureau, with two very nonchalant puppies lurking nearby. Not what you want to hear while waiting at the airplane gate! Must be a golden thing (although I'm pretty sure it was Bella that did the larceny, since my Heidi was too large to fit under the bureau.) The pictures are adorable!


Ha Ha...love those larron"ing" pups!! I can see you photographing and writing children's story books now Kristin! Gorgeous post!!

Christine Dashper

Bonjour Kristin

I love these photos! I suspect there will be more 'larcin' with these lovelies around.

xxx Chris


Great story and pics! Sorry about the plant, I lost some shoes and magazines to my dogs when they were much younger. My only suggestion on that is to put them in a crate whenever you'll be away from their immediate supervision. I've had to do that with my pups til they grew out of their "chewing on everything" stage, around six months to a year.

Denise Lavoie


I'm now home in the PNW and missing each of les petit larrons!

I must admit, I agree with the previous comment about the children's books; I was just thinking that very same thing on the plane back to the States. You should start one immediament (spelling?)! :)

I already miss the rhythm of Espinasse farm life.

Cheers -


HAHAHHAHAHHA I love how you write! Thank you sooooo much! I love reading these newsletters!


P.S. I apologize, for not mentioning the loss of your beloved plant. Terribly sad. Perhaps the pups will have to plant new flowers as part of their community service!


God made babies of the two and four-footed kind so adorable to keep us from killing them when they create such havoc. And they all grow up too soon. I've loved following the adventures of your pups. Having sworn off ever raising a puppy again, your stories just remind me why and keep me from giving in to the temptation. And yes, I agree this would all make a great children's book.

Devra Long

The photo of Braise giving her "lecture" should be the cover of your children's livre!
C'est une bonne idee!


Denise: It's just not the same without you here (for starters, who will write these blog posts?)!

I spent two hours scrubbing the floors yesterday, then decided that the "matte look" (dirt, mud, life lived) was cozier.

The puppies are eating solid food now. Put down a big plate of it and witness the puppy pirhanas (sp?) make it disappear in seconds. Yikes!

Please come back and help us with next year's harvest. I'll buy you a parapluie (not for the rain... but for the sun! Newforest would correct me here: (not a "parapluie" but a "parasol". Thanks NF and thank you, Denise, for your essays -- and for your elbow grease!

Thanks, everyone, for your encouragement, kind words, and funny stories. We enjoy every one of them!

Denise Lavoie

Chere Kristin:

You have successfully blogged for quite some time, with no "help" from me. :) You will continue to do so, I have no doubt, while you write your (now) much-anticipated childrens' book! Jules could illustrate.

As for next year, we'll discuss that off-blog. :)

Cheers -

Pat Cargill

Love these photos of the naughty petites larrons! Too, too funny. This makes my day! Childrens' books? bien sur! I'm with everyone else...do it!


Help, Kristin, au secours!

Please explain, qu'est ce que c'est qu'une salade de picaillons?
As a former casablancaise, I can't seem to have ever heard of picaillons (cousous, tagine, ras el hanout, oui). Can you help?


Kitty Morse (and faithful follower)
A Biblical Feast: Ancient Mediterranean Flavors for Today's Table


I cracked up when I read about your misadventure with those cuties. When my children were small, they asked for a dog. I always had my hands full, so I did not want another "child", for, guess who would have to clean up the mess?
When my youngest, as an adult, had his first job, living in apartment, he bought himself a puppy. Lo and behold, he could not keep the poor puppy, because he had to commute and work long hours, sometimes more than 11 hours a day. So guess where he dumped the puppy? at poor mommy's place!
I did not know how to potty train the dog and all day, I had to clean up after her mess (c'est une petite chienne et je l'ai nommée Bijou). Some friends told me to buy absorbent pads and put some of Bijou's urine on one pad each time and that would be her territory. But I was such a bad trainer, that she never went there for her "besoins". Each time, she had an accident, I would be upset, picking her up and told her sternly she should do it on the pad. Eacj time, Bijou could see I was mad by looking at me with fear in her eyes. Another time, after she had had an accident, anticipating my anger, she ran to...the pad (that I had earlier placed for her) Hahaha, so she thought that was her corner when I was mad.
Je ne savais vraiment pas comment l'apprivoiser. Mais soudain, un beau jour, elle est sortie toute seule, par la "dog door" pour faire ses besoins dehors, dans la cour. Elle a enfin compris, ma belle Bijou.

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