A garden on a grape farm.


souci (soo-see) noun, masculine
    : calendula flower (pot marigold)

[from the Latin solsequia, meaning tournesol (sunflower)]

souci (soo-see) noun, masculine
    : preoccupation; concern

[from se soucier, from the Latin sollicitare (to worry)]

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

It is with a big fat lip and a bevy of bad luck that I sit here in le Cafe du Commerce. An Hitachi is blaring above my head, but no one is paying the least attention to the news. I should démènage (to the back of the bar?) but this particular table has a view of le trottoir, where passersby catch my eye.

Besides the racket of clanking cups, gurgling espresso makers, and le bonjour (every time a client walks past the door), this is an awfully agreeable ahn-dwa in which to contemplate Murphy's Law: 

       si quelque chose peut mal tourner, alors cette chose finira infailliblement par mal tourner

As I prepare to share with you these woes, I overhear the latest news, via the news or l'info:
near Grenoble, a 10-month-old baby was found starved to death in her berceau

The news has me biting a big fat mosquito-bitten lip, and I forget what brought me here to this café, if not a sprinkle of soucis, that is all. Yes, that is it.

:: Le Coin Commentaires ::

Comments are welcome! Click here to leave a message. 

French Vocabulary
ahn-dwa = (pronunciation for "endroit")
(Murphy's Law reference by Wikipedia)

Note: The regular edition--with vocabulary translations and sound file will return soon... just as soon as the telephone and internet connections are sorted out. My apologies in advance for any errors in this edition.

:: Newforest's Notes ::

Update! "Newforest," who regularly enlightens us on the French language, via the comments box, has just sent in these excellent "souci" examples:

-- des petits soucis = little worries (nothing serious)
-- de gros soucis = big worries
-- beaucoup de soucis = a lot of worries
-- bien des soucis = quite a few worries
---> avoir des soucis = to have worries
---> avoir de gros soucis de santé = to have serious health problems
---> avoir des soucis d'argent = to have financial problems

---> donner du souci à quelqu'un = to worry somebody
Ex: mon travail me donne du souci = my work worries me
Ex: Mon fils me donne du souci = my son worries me

---> se soucier de / avoir le souci de (quelque chose) = to care about (something)
Ex: se soucier de / avoir le souci de sa santé = to care about (one's health)
Ex: se soucier de / avoir le souci de bien faire = to be anxious to do well

---> se faire du souci pour / à propos de... = to worry about, to feel concerned about, to be worried about

Ex: je me fais beaucoup de soucis pour mon fils = I worry a lot about my son
Ex: Il n'y a pas de quoi se faire du souci = There's nothing to be worried about
Ex: Ne te fais pas de souci. Tout ira bien = Don't worry. Everything will be fine

-- Un souci de moins! =  one thing less to worry about!
-- un / une sans-souci = a happy-go lucky person
-- -> (vivre) sans souci / de facon insouciante  = (to live) carefree, free of worries

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.

Ways to contribute:
1.Zelle®, The best way to donate and there are no transaction fees. Zelle to [email protected]

2.Paypal or credit card
Or purchase my book for a friend and so help them discover this free weekly journal.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Ken Boyd

If we take the news to much to heart, it can ruin our sweet lives .
There is to much grief and stupidity [ much originating in California ]
in the world . I have learned from the Italians to try to live each day
as though it is your last........ this can't be done, but mostly, it can .
Napa Valley


It is terrible that such things happen, here in LA we hear of such things more frequently...and finally, so glad to know that I am not the only one who admires les trottoirs but not fond of noise! I won't say more or my cup of woes will start spilling. Have a good day Kristin!


paris (im)perfect

Sorry you're experiencing 'soucis' Kristin (actually, I am, too). The state of the world brings sorrow. But as you so often show us here, the little things in life also bring joy. It can be hard to juggle both the beauty and pain, but that's life. C'est la vie! Bon courage....

Jules Greer

My Darling Kristi,

I love your world, I am so sorry you stumbled onto the real world.




I hope the rest of the day goes better with less sorrows.

In a side note, the estate/castle in Potsdam, Germany is called Sans Souci. I hope you too will soon be sans souci and able to enjoy your day.

Marianne Rankin

Yes, reading or hearing the news, especially about the innocent and helpless baby, can be saddening. Maybe on occasion it can spur us to try to make things better in some way.

I suppose one could write a sentence such as the following: Je me souci que mes soucis [flowers] ne grandissent pas. Would that be clear to a francophone?

They say that instead of complaining that a rose has thorns, we should be glad that thorns have roses.

Gwyn Ganjeau

I think this is the challenge we have been charged walk through our day with gratitude contributing joy -- even in the face of such brutality. Especially in the face of such brutality.


So sorry to hear of your day of soucis. I seem to have those days frequently...usually a really good morning flips to a total upside down universe the second half of the day, or vice versa. and I always try to avoid the news and newspapers. I gets me too upset and angry at the stupid people and then Michael is just telling me to calm down and stop yelling at the tv. Here in FL we have been going on for over a year with one missing child after another and most are not good outcomes. Every week seems to have a child or young woman missing. At least in the last fortnight one of the children who was autistic was found in the swampy woods alive and relatively healthy...albeit a bit dehydrated and covered in mosquito bites from going days out there. See now doesn't that one on your lip seem so much better. And a found child too.

And now you have a beautiful garden to meditate and take you away when it gets to be too much. I feel everything and I have a hard time tuning it out. I try to find something beautiful in the world around me to keep it all in perspective so it doesn't pull me down too far.

Give yourself a hug, Smell your flowers and Smile. You deserve it.

BTW you inspired me to go home and scrub down my porch and plant a few seeds. Now for some fresh flowers and maybe some container veggies.
Hugs, Kellie
Sunny, windy and 70F in Central FL. To be 90s this weekend.

Linda D.

Kristin, I think of technology as a sort of yin and yang proposition. On the one hand, it can frustrate me when it doesn't work, or when I hear bad news from all over the world. On the other hand, it allows me to 'meet' lovely people like you and your family. I get to travel the world without leaving my desk. I learn about languages, cultures, food and daily life and find that in the best sense we share so much more than what separates us. Obviously, I try to focus on technology's gifts, not its burdens! I know you're a smart cookie and you'll handle this with grace. May the clouds soon part.:-)


Bonjour Kristin, It would br remiss of me to neglect a hearty merci for all of the fotos you send along for us to share (especially les fleurs). Alors, MERCI BEAUCOUP. Vita-Iris

Julie F

Bonjour Kristin. Hope the rest of your week is sans soucis. Merci beaucoup for the effort to provide us with thoughtful content, even when your technology or the world is not cooperating. And keep those flower and gardening terms coming!

Eileen deCamp

Sorry you are having a bad day! It is sad that terrible things happen in our world. All we can do is try to make our little corner of the world a better place. Praying also helps me get through the day. On a brighter note - I love the picture of the garden.
Hope things are up and running soon!
Give your troubles to God: He will be up all night anyway.


This kind of terrible news puts our little day to day "soucis" into perspective. So so sad...


Here is a good laugh for you, at my expense, but it is for a good cause so you are san souci.

As I said my days are usually 50% up and down. Just depends on which half is going smoothly, today that would have been the morning. I came home and started my lunch while my darling was sleeping. He then chooses to eat as I am almost finished making mine. So I begin to make him a quickie alfredo. Now I put mine in fridge as it is done to do the finishing cheese sauce and mix some of the "quik" version with jar parm cheese. I go to shake the jar and the top comes off and I cover the floor, myself and 2.5ft in ever direction with parm snow! The dogs got the floor. Well an hour later I sat down to my luch and the computer to relax....NO INTERNET>aarrghh. Another 2hrs later he fixes that. And so another day. But I see my pretty flowers and the sun shining and SMILE. You Kristi can enjoy a good laugh too!

Sunny and Windy in Central FL 70F

Jed Christensen

Kristin......actuellement, je suis totalement "sans souci" mais j'ai une phrase de vous donner.
"Voilà comment je suis récompensé de ma peine!" (that's all the reward I get for my troubles?) Peüt-être vous avez dit ces exacts mots a vos enfants? Jed

barbara Kaser

We lived in Paris in the 7th for over a year and one of my favorite restaurants was cafe du commerce. Nice to read you were there. We return in Sept for a visit.

Candy in SW KS

Je t'embrasse, mon amie
Sois sans soucis -


I am loving your posts. Focus on the good in life--it always overwhelms the negative.



When you sent your comment via JM's i-phone, I guessed you had some trouble... So, the truth is you had “des ennuis d'internet” (= troubles with the internet) and that gave you “bien des soucis” (= quite a few worries). On the other hand, let's look at "le revers de la médaille" (= the other side of the coin): with no internet, you managed to concentrate on other activities (a bit of gardening I suppose?)... frustrating, but, hopefully, not too bad!

Reading your report from the news made me want to know more about "la mort du bébé de 10 mois". From various articles on the internet, I read that the baby's death was caused by “dénutrition et déshydratation” while the mother had an overdose. Following a quarrel with his drug addict partner, the father (also a drug addict) was absent that week... and now, he is accusing his partner and the social services for the death of his son!
So, both parents were “toxicomanes” (= drug addicts). Their elder child, aged 3, was placed at a very young age with a caring family. Kristin, let's turn the sadness of this tragedy into some positive thinking. Let's hope the case will be discussed at school and at home with young people, including your children, as part of their education regarding drug addiction and care of babies. If at least it could help a few of them to think twice about addiction, at least, this little angel won't have died in vain.
I lit a small white candle and will let it burn until the flame dies.

As you didn't have time to do your French vocab list, and you have to catch up with a lot of emails, this might help:
--> déménager / déplacer = to move (objects) to a different place
--> déménager / changer de domicile = to move house

--> un endroit = place
--> un berceau = cradle
--> mal tourner = to go wrong
--> infailliblement / à coup sûr = infallibly, without fail

--> la loi de Murphy = Murphy's law
**Si quelque chose peut mal tourner, alors cette chose finira infailliblement par mal tourner =
**Anything that can go wrong will go wrong

I'll gather a few examples with "se soucier de"..., "avoir des soucis", "se faire du souci pour"... donner des soucis à"... and will send them later.
Bye for now


Hello again,
Kristin, I just finished gathering a few practical examples related to "souci" (for everyday use). Not sure whether I should add them here or not, so, I'll email them to you right now.

Kristin Espinasse

Newforest, I just saw this latest comment and your thoughts about the tragedy. I didnt realize the babys father is turning it against the mother. What a nightmare all around. But your suggestion -- that this not be in vain and that the news might find its way into classrooms, via drug education and prevention -- is a good idea. Ill light one of those candles that I got, when last we spoke about les bougies. It is an effective way to keep the memory of another shining on.

Ophelia Paine

Just read your blog. Heartbreaking news.... I tend to think things like that happen more in the U.S., particularly with regard to drugs, but that is obviously naive.

And I love the tradition of lighting bougies. We can't seem to stop ourselves from lighting several whenever we visit des églises in France -- our sons, my mom, a sick friend or two. I believe wholeheartedly in those invisible connections to those we love -- and even to those we we don't know but who touch our hearts.

Hope things tournent mieux (si cela se dit) for you today.

Pat Cargill

Chere Kristin, you are in my thoughts, and Newforest, mille mercis for your words--they are bouyant and give me pause, thank you, thank you. Kristin, dear one, it is so difficult to hear about these terrible, terrible things. It is impossible in our minds and hearts, in how we live, that there can exists those who could so callously deny life and imperil the wee ones. Prayers and candles are lit all over, I am assured of this. A little light burns in Roanoke tonight for le bebe et, aussi, pour toi, chere K. Hugs, Pat

Alice Halliday

So sad that children can suffer so despite all we have in this modern age. Plenty of similar stories in UK press recently.

My big souci at present is to find a lovely, inexpensive place to rent (+ possibly a pool) and walk potential for our family (6 of us)to be together for a week from about 11/12th August - somewhere in Europe. My daughter has booked her flight from Cape Town with my promise that this will come about!

Any suggestions greatfully received. We are all French speakers!

Alice Halliday (Chichester, south coast UK)


Hi Kristin,
I have just noticed the very interesting "pan de mur" (section of wall) in the background of your photo.
It says: 'A garden on a grape farm'. I assume the two indefinite articles "a" mean, respectively "the" garden (or "part of the" garden) on "our" grape farm (?)

So interesting to have a wall of that size! It's a paradise for climbers, for some evergreens... for some fruit trees "en espalier", etc...
Is it a sunny wall facing South? or a shady one facing North? East? or any other combination of the four cardinal points?

This wall makes me feel very curious...


Newforest, thanks for the term "pan de mur" or "section of wall"!

This wall faces east (or west, if one likes...) That little window in the wall is begging for a pot of tumbling nasturtiums or something of the kind.... Would you say?

We planted a wisteria on the side facing west; on that same side there is a little flower garden with a promising hollyhock... There is also a tree (a chestnut, I think, though I should know!). Also planted this year were several valerian starts, not far from the muguet (which did not come up this year. I think the weeds choked them out.)

Thanks for your interest in this "pan de mur".

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)