What to do in the Luberon? / Que faire dans le Luberon?

point du jour

You'll excuse this old jug of wine for not washing its face before our photo session... tsk tsk!

Today's bilingual poem is for Mariem, Meissa, and Farès in Avignon... and the English version is for The Dirt Divas: Malou and Doreen: do you have any idea how much joy your flowers bring?

le point du jour (leuh pwahn doo joor)

    : daybreak, dawn

French synonymes: aube (f) (daybreak), aurore (dawn), le matin (morning), la première lueur du jour (first light of day)

C'était le point du jour mais les fleurs dormaient toujours....
It was daybreak but the flowers were still sleeping....

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

I don't know much about history...
... geography ...
(or even plants and trees)

and so I'm starting with morning glories...
seeds and the dawn of happenstance

I have many accidental gardener stories to tell you... once I settle down along with the fallen seeds. Hard to believe it is harvest time for some of the flowers in my garden. As the flower heads ripen in succession, I run around throttling the Lily of Spain, shaking off seeds and sometimes catching them.

Careful not to miss any overnight activity, I dash out to the flower beds each morning for a look-see. Wouldn't you know that some daisies are lackadaisical, whilst others (not to mention names, such as 'morning glories'...) are downright lazy?

Read on... 

                "Le Point du Jour"

Ce matin je me suis levée avant les ipomées.

Coucou, levez-vous!

Je me suis penchée vers ces fleurs matinales

Qui dormaient comme de futures cigales

Coucou! levez-vous!

Plus loin, les grillons ont fait leur cricri pareil,

Mais les jolies fleurs bleues

Elles ont continué leur grasse matinée.

This morning I woke up before the morning glorys
Cooee! (Hey oh!) wake up!
I leaned over towards the flowery auroras
who slept like future cicadas
Cooee! (Hey oh!) wake up!
Yonder the crickets called out the same ol' song
but the pretty blue flowers
continued their sleep along

Earlier, I asked you to excuse the dirty wine jug. This time, je vous prie to excuse me. This edition is choppy due to some technical problems brought on by the Mistral wind (how's that for a change from "the dog ate it?")

:: Le Coin Commentaire ::

Click here to leave a comment.

Bucolic butter dish--delightful! Wonderful mix and match rooster motif in the colors of Provence with coordinating floral accessories. Hand Painted Ceramic Dinnerware. Dishwasher & Microware Safe.
  Rooster butter dish 

A Year in Provence... "I really loved this book." —Julia Child

  A Year in Provence

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Jules Greer

Hi Honey, I loved today's post, to know that you are truly bonding with your garden is a wish come true for me. I know I have told you a million times, but here goes once again, BUY MULCH...and a little plant food never hurts. Also, strangely, I woke up last night thinking about that little rooster butter dish, thinking I could probably hide three pieces of candy in it beside my bed instead of butter...he really is adorable.

I remember Monsieur Mistral. One morning as I was walking down your driveway thinking I could not stand one more moment of his windy force, I passed from the barrier of your trees into his full rage as he roared down the Rhone Valley. I was stunned by the icy energy that nearly flatened me on the spot. Until one has experienced Monsieur Mistral - life in France is incomplete.

Could you please send me some of your great pasta summer salad receipes...John's cooking is starting to get on my nerves...please no more mashed potato's.



Kristin Espinasse

Dear Mom, so many frustrations trying to get todays word out. (I hope it is not riddled with errors...). Your note brightens the room (the windows of which are shaking from Mr Mistral!). Lots of love.

Carole Buschmann

I love this garden poem. It is true, gardening requires one each day to rush out and see what has pushed its tip a little further away from the earth. Here is to terra and flora!


awww...even sweeter than the lovely poem/song and story, is the comment exchange :-)


Chere Kristin, today's photo is perfection.
Merci pour la photo et la poésie. Take care.

Eileen deCamp

I love the poem and the butter dish is adorable! I have read A Year in Provence and enjoyed it very much! I remember visiting Avignon and a shopkeeper told me about Le Mistral and how it has made people go crazy!


Je me suis penchée vers ses fleurs matinales
Qui dormez comme les futurs cigales

Désolé, mais vous avez fait une faute. Le verbe "dormez" ne s'accorde pas avec les sujet "ses fleurs". Ça doit être "dormaient".


Oops! Une autre.

Mais les jolies fleurs bleues

Elles ont continuées leur grasse matinée.

The past participle "continuées" does not agree with the subject "elles" but with a preceding direct object IF there is one. It should read: "Elles ont continué leur grasse matinée".

A nice poem but after teaching French for many years, I can't stop correcting errors. Je vous demande pardon.


Hi Kristin,

I would not be able to tell that it was choppy but I like your creativity in coming up with excuses...so I am going to use the excuse of Santa Ana winds! : ) I love it that you harvest flower seeds, do you replant from seeds always? Have a great one and it is ok that the jug of wine is unwashed!



Moi, aussi. J'ai fait une faute. I wrote "LES sujet" when it should be "LE sujet". C'est ma faute, c'est ma faute, c'est ma plus grande faute d'orthographe! (Jacques Prévert)

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you for the very kind comments and thanks, Bill, for the needed corrections. If youll all keep correcting... then well try for some more stories in French. ... :-)

Cheryl in STL

Lovely photo! And I enjoyed your garden poems. Gardening and the fruits of the work just speak to my soul.

joie  carmel,ca

The poem was sweet, and since my french is limited I loved being able to read and understand it. Loved the photo too. Think I will send your mother a summer pasta salad recipe.
Daybreak...le pont de jour. I like that. Here we name our houses as we have no street addresses....mine has unofficially been sundowner, or sundown....does anyone have a nice french phrase that I could use?
Sleeping sun? any help?

Leslie in GA

Photo, poetry and prose all in one post and all of it lovely! Too bad blaming the wind doesn't work around here--we have to pin it all on the humidity!

Herm Meyer

Salut tout le monde,

Kristin blames the wind. Leslie blames the humidity. Here in Phoenix, AZ it's the heat....105 degrees F. today. Many of us will be heading up to the northern Arizona mountains to cool off!

À bientôt,


Bill in St. Paul

I've never had the "joy" of experiencing the Mistral, but those who have say it's truely awful.

So what do people in Provence think of Peter Mayle's books on Provence? My wife made the mistake of telling a hotel clerk from Provence (we were in London) that he must love Peter Mayle's books. His response was that Peter Mayle was despised in Provence because now there were all sorts of foreigners wandering around Provence, clogging up the roads, overrunning the towns, etc. So he still not liked in Provence, Kristin?

Stacy, Applegate, Oregon

Love it all, Kristi...beautiful photo, poem & post! I look forward to touring my yard each morning to see what is new. Here, my rose buds are beginning to open (those the deer didn’t eat). I wonder, is your hollyhock soon to bloom?

Thank you, Jules, mulching and fertilizing are on my weekend to-do list.

Karen (in Towson, Md) Whitcome

Keep on writing in French. It really helps and the corrections do also.

Jules - you wrote very poetically today. I too enjoyed this exchange between you and Kristin as much as the post.

Life seems so much simpler when we talk of flowers, doesn't it?

Jennifer in OR

Gorgeous photo of the old jug! Do I see you in the reflection?

And I've really enjoyed Peter Mayle's writing!


In response to Jules.... I've experienced Monsieur Mistral, and had the misfortune of having to replace a broken window because of it. There's a spot in Marseille on the Corniche Kennedy where the wind is so powerful that the locals tell of a time it ripped the door off a car.

Pat Cargill

Chere Kristen, the post is lovely...the poem the very idea of our connection to our gardens is, as you know, near and dear to my heart. Tonight, as I fed the fish in the little water garden, I wnadered about and WA!la! (does anyone else remember WHO said "wala....instead of "voila"? in a certain book???) I saw the first firefly of the summer. Maxine was out w/me and I could see her reaction as they lit up. All eyes and ears and interest...another thing to chase and be glad about. I am glad about FWAD, and Jules, loved your comment about too much mashed taters! Ha! Just mix pasta with about ANYTHING...using a nice vinaigrette salad dressing, too...it's your call!


Just be patient.... The Morning Glories in France don't grow nor bloom lots until late August or early September. Then they go crazy!!! So, keep watering and keeping them alive and you will LOVE them in September! They are fabulous! XXX Allison


Bonjour Kristin

Such a joy to read you, comme d’habitude.
I am Not a poet or a grammarian, je ne suis pas une intello! But I read you avec le Cœur et les oreilles.

Please consider:
1/ using the présent tense: “les fleurs matinales qui dorment”, rather than “qui dormaient”
2/ cigale is féminin, so: “les futures cigales”.
3/ cricri is usually spelt (or spelled) cri cri or cri-cri
4/ Insert a comma after fleurs bleues, or maybe delete "Elles” on the last line.

It's winter in Brisbane, sunny, blue skies and it's now cool enough to sow my coriander, chervil and parley... :)

Packabook - Books Set In France

Hi Kristin - have just discovered your blog and have added 'Words in a French Life' to our France page at Packabook. If you are looking for it, you need to click on 'France - True Stories' in the right hand navigation on the France page.
Thank you - it is exactly the kind of book we love to share with our readers....and now, I am going to go for a good, long meander around the south of France via your blog!



Hi Kristin,

Yesterday, there was still no FWAD in the middle of the afternoon. As we had an extra newsletter on Tuesday, I thought we would simply have to wait until Friday for the next one. In the evening, just before a fascinating “Springwatch” Nature programme, I briefly noticed “le point du jour” on my laptop. No time to spend in “Le Coin Commentaires”. After reading the poem in French, I sent you immediately a quick e-mail (Subject: “ Aïe Aïe Aïe!”) blaming “le Mistral très fantaisiste” for playing tricks on you and the French language!
→ possessive adj “ses”, instead of demonstrative adj “ces”
→ subject of the verb to sleep? “Ces fleurs”, so, “ces fleurs qui dormEZ? No, the ending for the “imparfait tense, 3rd person plural is → ”AIENT ( “ez” is the ending for the 2nd person plural, “présent” tense) – and if you wanted to stick to the present, then, only dorm“ENT”
→ “les cigales” are feminine, so “ les futurEs cigales”
→ as for the pretty blue flowers, they continued to sleep through the morning … (not ready yet to show off their full glory!) They needed the support of the auxiliary verb "avoir" - "ont" is fine - but, the Past Participle should have followed the rules of agreement with “avoir”... Ah! ce Mistral, n'est-ce pas?
So here I am now, publicly blaming “l'abominable Monsieur Mistral” for all the muddle. Oh la la !

These are the main points. There may be a few more details (not grammatical ones) I could put in an e-mail, but it seems as if emails don't get through at the moment (the reply to my yesterday evening e-mail to you tells me this morning that you are 'away' from your desk.


Has anyone ever come across the lovely French word “volubilis” for 'Morning Glories'?
I simply adore the gorgeous sound of that word.
Bonne journée à tous et à toutes!


Kristin, I am intrigued by the enormous jug of wine and its rusty 'cage' - very decorative outdoors! "Le liseron rose pâle" has found the perfect trellis to climb to the top of the jug, and eventually all around it. Lucky jug!
At least, the wild version of Morning Glories did respond to your "Cooee! (Hey oh!) wake up!" ... in fact, they were already up and about and doing so well when you approached them with your camera.
Merci pour la jolie photo!



just re-read your Newsletter.
How lovely to know you are already collecting seeds (of ?... )

-Your lazy Morning Glories- and mine, still babies.
At this time of the year, your volubilis may be lazy and wait till late morning to wake up, but mine are still in their infant state, in 'the nursery' (which is my conservatory). I won't blame the mistral … this wild wind doesn't reach the North of France and cannot cross the Channel!...
I wasn't regularly at home at the time of “sowing indoors”, then I was supposed to travel to France - a missed trip because of the annoying volcano - then there were a few disturbing days during which trays stayed somewhere in the garage and sowing was completely out of my mind. The final decision to put some (flower) seeds in trays was taken very very late!

Never mind the instructions regarding the perfect time for 'sowing indoors', and after all: "Mieux vaut tard que jamais!" (= Better late than never). Yes but, no point to take any risk and plant the seeds directly outdoors, because we still had extremely cold nights and day temperatures were not brilliant!... Sooo, … there came the trays, in the conservatory. The seeds found their little niche, got watered regularly, and even ended up spending some nights in the kitchen, when the conservatory wouldn't be warm enough.
What happened to my Morning Glories”? A little while ago, half of them perished after their transfer to pots (not yet ready to get out of the tray? was I too impatient?)
The tougher seedlings adjusted happily to their life in pots and are doing well. Are they ready for a life outdoors? Not yet! The glorious weather we had at the end of May is getting through a greyish mood – and at this very moment, the sky is whitish-grey, it's trying to drizzle and I need an extra pair of warm long sleeves...

Hoping your technical problems are over .. as for the wild wind... ?

Ophelia in Nashville

Kristin - I loved this post! One of my retirement dreams has been to cultivate the small garden behind our house. Am beginning slowly with the help of a green-thumbed and very generous amie. As a morning person, I especially love the thought of checking out the latest shoots and blooms at the point du jour. Thanks for the vision.

Leslie in Massachusetts

Hi, Kristin
What a lovely poem. If I didn't know I might guess that you are a native French speaker, because the poem in French sounds so perfect, the rhymes, the alliteration, the rhythm, the images, the feelings expressed. I'm not an expert in poetry or French - but I've read lots of both - and it is just a really good French poem.

Kristin Espinasse

Newforest, just back from a wonderful visit with The Dirt Divas (more flowers to plant. Yippee!!!). Time now to get to work on email and editing (thank you so much for the corrections and more!). Yikes, I feel so badly about being this behind on email and comments. No excuses (OK, the flowers are pulling on my legs and begging to be admired and fussed over. I know that you, Jules, and other Dirt Divas understand this :-)

Suzi, many thanks for adding Words in a French Life to Packabook.com!

Re Nancys photo of the cat overlooking the valley: The cats name is Belle and the photo was taken in Ménerbes. Thanks again to Nancy and Michael Armstrong for sending in the photo!

Stacy, Yes, the hollyhocks have bloomed! (so far in pink! There are several others that have not yet revealed which color they will be. Fingers crossed that red or blackish red... will be one of them!


→ "au point du jour" / "à l'aube" / "à la pointe du jour" / "à l'aurore"
= at dawn / at daybreak

→ "dès l'aurore" = at first light
→ "aux aurores" / "au chant de l'alouette"
= too early! / with the lark

→ "le concert matinal des oiseaux" = dawn chorus

peak time to enjoy a 'dawn chorus' where I live (county of Dorset – South of England) is in May and June - same as in most European countries.

“Au point du jour”, I can't open my eyes properly and wouldn't be able to check on the development of my flowers. Very sorry but, a proper visit before 9 am - examining the development of these blooming beauties, ... and chatting to them - is a bit of a rare event for me! Having admitted that, would you be surprised if “au point du jour”, my ears are always sharply tuned to the epic, exciting and calming sound of birds engaged in their amazing 'dawn chorus' ? At the moment, our feathered friends start extremely early! I open the window and return to bed, enjoying the uplifting sound experience with the blackbird kicking off … The robin and the spotted song thrush follow, singing their heart out, and many other birds join in... while my husband is deeply asleep and not a bit disturbed! Then, I have a proper sleep!

So, for you Kristin, and Jules, and garden lovers, and for all the nature lovers among the readers, here is a nice addition of 'dawn chorus' to this newsletter on “le point du jour”, ... that perfect time when Kristin, (the early bird!) goes and check her flowers:
Chris Packham will guide you through the 'DAWN CHORUS' of the (British) feathered friends who enjoy life in my area and give such a performance altogether – I guess some of them also live in your area, and if they don't... I think it is still enjoyable to listen to the recording and to the way Chris describes their sound (oh! there is a quiz at the end!). Have a jolly good time!

Hope you have no trouble downloading this:

Ashley @ honeysucklechic.com

So cute! Thank you for sharing!

I've included your bicycle photo in my posting today--I've enjoyed so much reading your posts & your story!


Marianne Rankin

I think a real test of one's ability in a language is being able to write poetry in it (I've written some in French, too). I liked the poem, and hope you will write others.

What's a challenge is to write the same thing in two languages, even your own. Robert Graves, who I think was poet laureate some years past, and who did translations, said, "A translation is a lie. A polite lie, but still a lie." I believe what he meant is that it's almost impossible to express exactly the same thing, and also preserve rhyme, meter, etc., in two languages. But you have come close!




I too love to see what my gardens are doing over night! We have rain and canyon winds that seem content to never stop this year, good thing we are as hardy as our flowers :)

Karen (in Towson, Md) Whitcome

Marianne, I whole-heartedly agree with you and Robert Graves. The same applies to the lyrics of songs when attempting to translate.

NewForest, I actually took a small cat nap at my laptop listening to the birds. Thanks for putting that out there for us.

Kristin Espinasse

Hi Bill,

Re Peter Mayle -- I remember giving Jean-Marc a treasured copy of Toujours Provence. He loved it. So, a roundabout way of answering your question: voilà, another Frenchy who loves Peter Mayle :-) 

Nikki Tureen

Just gotten to reading this - the Mistral blew some technical mischief and frustration here in Vaison, too - but wanted you to know that I loved the poem and its rhythm, all the community suggestions/corrections (they help me immeasurably) and the chat about translating poetry. Is/isn't it best done by a poet? I think the Roberts Hass and Pinsky translated Czesław Miłosz and I always wonder how they've unintentionally "revised" as poets almost always do. And so the creative process continues.

NewForest, thank you not only for the recording, but for not getting up with the dawn!!! I feel much less alone in being "un hibou du nuit??? qui passe heureusement mes grasse matinées."

Corrections most welcome...

Donna Peters

I cannot tell you howm much your e-mails have meant to me in the past 2 weeks. I finally got to come to Provence to paint and the words you have shared with me have been a true asset.
Today I am in Lacoste painting the old arch. After my session I always enjoy a great cup of cafe just steps away at Le Cafe de Sade.
For those who are planning a trip, you will spend money very well if you bring a Garmin with the French maps. How liberating this has been!!
Well, I am off to Gordes to paint a view of the hills I began yesterday.
Thanks again for all the info and inspiration not to mention the French language help. What a blessing!
Donna Peters, artist


Hello Nikki,

Just read your comments and had a big smile when I noticed you were, like me, "une couche-tard" (a night owl). You certainly understand that in May and June, I listen with great joy to the 'dawn chorus' from the comfort of my bed... then I can easily close my eyes after the performance.
Not everybody is a "couche-tôt" and is able to be a perfect 'early bird', 'a lark', like Kristin who pays a visit to her flowers at daybreak... I don't get up with the lark, unless I really really have to (I used to do so, when my children were at home, of course).

I rather go and say "Good night" to the garden, specially at this time of the year, when the days are so much longer... It was 10pm, last night, when I 'told' the blackbird and the robin they should rest their voice and settle down! I enjoyed a quiet encounter with the garden frog (we've got a few, although we don't have a pond!) and encourage 'la petite grenouille' to feast on the snails and slugs...

You wanted some correction? I've already mentioned the correct French expression for 'a night owl'.
- "Je suis un/une couche-tard."
- "heureusement" = fortunately, (malheureusement = unfortunately). Here, for 'happily', you could use "avec plaisir"

See the last line of Kristin's poem, 'Daybreak', at the end of the newsletter she sent on Friday (section Pal Poetry)
As you already love the poem, you will certainly appreciate and enjoy the revised French version and feel the last line is for you!

Bon week-end!

Annie Shultz

hi kristin,

i love you posts and i loved the poem - i am reading 'a year in my garden by jenny ferguson' this wonderful lady has written a book of flowers food family and friends - i got it from the library i wish you could read it - it must be one of the best books of a garden i have read - this lady had a very successful restaurant at one time

i love french word a day


I have just discovered your delightful site. I am very much a beginner starting the French lessons.

Is there not another more colloquial term for "morning glory"?

I believe I once heard someone call the flowers by a word that began with L and she said it was not the proper name for the flower.

albert smith

nice information www.facebook.com

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