Joyeux Anniversaire, Chief Grape!
Sur la production de la passion


Pêle-Mêle in the Panier (c) Kristin Espinasse

Though you can't see it, this basket has a hole in the bottom... which reminds me of a wonderful French idiom: "un panier percé" ("a pierced basket" or a spendthrift!). The expression is très imagée (one can easily visualize money falling right through the hole of the basket, as the reckless spender practices that iffy prescription known as "retail therapy"!

le panier (pan yay)

    : basket

(from the Latin panarium, "bread basket")

Audio file :Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce the following "panier" expressions:
Download MP3 or Wav

mettre tous ses oeufs dans le même panier = to put all of one's eggs in the same basket

réussir/marquer un panier (basketball) to score a basket

un panier-repas = a packed lunch, lunch bucket

le dessus du panier = the pick of the bunch

un panier à salade = a prison van, or paddy wagon


Would anyone like to add to/comment on these panier expressions? Thank you for sharing them in the comments box.


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

The following meditation "Soyez Enfant" is in honor of my mom, The Ultimate Babe! 

Au fait
, or by the way, this is Jules's cherished panier (pah-nee-ay)... so well loved and so often used... that it finished with a great hole in the bottom of its "shoes"

I tried to find different uses for the wicker panier (so as not to have to store it, or, worse, throw it away) but its latest incarnation (as a laundry basket) proved a flop (too many disappearing socks!). Then, just yesterday, when trying to find "lodging" for a homeless flower pot... SHAZAM! the little panier whispered here - I - am!

I leave you with this thought for the day, from a favorite Frenchman, François Fenelon. This passage is from a chapter called "Knowledge Can Stand in the Way of Wisdom"....  

Soyez enfant

L'enfant n'a rien à lui
Il traite un diamant comme une pomme
Soyez enfant.

Rien de propre.
Cédez à tout.
Que les moindres choses soient plus grandes que vous.

Be A Babe

A baby owns nothing. 
It treats a diamond and an apple alike.
Be a babe.
Have nothing of your own.
Forget yourself.
Give way on all occasions.
Let the smallest person be greater than you.

Let go*English text from the book "Let Go" by François Fenelon. Order a copy here

Le Coin Commentaires
Please join us now in the community corner: comment about today's word or story or bilingual "Babe" passage -- or add your own thought bubble for the picture at the end of this post. You might take the opportunity to ask a question about France or French life. Click here to leave a message.   


Smokey says: Strange... but, for some reason, I don't feel so lopsided anymore... 

To see the flowers on the other side of this doorstep, click here.... and thanks again to Doreen for brightening up our entrance!


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Bill in St. Paul

Great picture of a lopsided panier and a lopsided tongue! Those goofy Goldens will do anything to get their picture taken.


Ciao Kristin da Perugia! Here I am on your side of the world again, this time for close to four months, three of which I'm spending at the Università per Stranieri di Perugia in the continuing effort to drag my Italian back up to where it was many years ago.

Your doorstep looks beautiful--so creative.

Mary-Anne Helms

Lovely photos, per usuel! I have that panier,bought at L'isle-sur-Sorgue a few years ago. Use it to go to the farmers'
markets in the warmer months. Love it but I also have a panier on wheels which I bought
on Ebay some years ago...does that ever get
admiring glances and remarks! Love the expression panier perce (sorry no accents on my keyboard). It is so descriptive of the actual fact! Spring (?)greetings from
very chilly Princeton, NJ!!


Eileen deCamp

Beautiful photo of the panier and blooms. Smokey is such a sweetie!
I love the passage from Fenelon. I ordered the book from a previous post on FWAD but haven't had a chance to read it yet. Maybe today, we are supposed to get some snow, 1-3 inches.

Suzanne, Monroe Twp., NJ

Hmm your story about the panier has inspired me to go down to the basement to check out some objects sitting on shelves that might be better used on the deck when the herbs and flowers come out of the greenhouse in a few weeks.

It seems that Smokey has found that lopsided can be beautiful! Great photo.

Kristin Espinasse

Passante, we'll be in the Verona area next month, for a wine fair. Maybe there'll be the possibility to meet up (though I see Verona is 3+ hours from you...) Any other readers in the area?...

Mary-Anne, re admiring glances: when the man in line ahead of me had one of those sturdy wicker paniers, the ladies all around him did not hesitate to shower down compliments. He left the store with a skip in his step!

Eileen, it's a treasure of a book. A very thin volume that one can open to any page for a nugget of sagesse. Thanks for ordering it last time.

Suzanne, I imagine you have many treasures there--so many potting possibilities! Though the wicker panier (in the photo) is charming as can be... after the first rain it took a beating... it may have to be moved inside. I can see why the French favor iron bicycle baskets (attached to their old bikes) for outdoor flower arrangements.


Oh those goldens! Can they BE any more photogenic? Crosby, our golden, has a place on each side of his mouth just the perfect size for a tongue to slip out. Looks like Smokey Dokey came with the same slots. When they're not busy being regal, they're busy being cute.

Love the flowers, both sides of the door. I wish we had an early spring like yours.


Hi Kristin,
I'm glad to know the basket has got a hole, otherwise it would get a very wet bottom! (unless lined carefully with plastic).

How lovely to see the straw basket bag recycled into a container that hugs plants and flowers in such a friendly way! The blue muscaris, with their "air penchant", give the impression they would like to get more and more space ... and attention(?) I'm sure Jules will love and praise the way her Moroccan style shopping basket got a new life among some bright "pots de fleurs"...

Kristin, when you walk around the porch, listen carefully. You might hear the most charming whispering going on between "le panier troué", and... "la chaise sans siège".


Merci Kristin for reminding us about Fénelon (1651-1715). Good opportinity to read more about him, in French and in English, via Google.

"rien de propre" --> slight ambiguity, because there is a difference between "rien de propre" (nothing clean) and "N'ayez rien qui vous soit propre" / "N'ayez rien à vous", meaning 'Have no possession, nothing of your own.
I don't know whether the original text in French mentioned "les moindres choses" or "les moindres personnes"... but it doesn't seem to be too essential.
As for "s'oublier" (oubliez-vous), it is more a question about -> "s'oublier (à) soi-même" which means you have to forget about your 'own' self and put others before yourself. I don't know what Fénelon's own words were in this passage.

"Soyez enfant"... made me think of another approach of the word "enfant" - all of us being equally "children of the universe".
('You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars'...)

Angela Rivera O'Brien

Love the panier! I have six of them, collected from France over the years. Addicted to your FWAD!

Bonne chance, Angie

Kristin Espinasse

Newforest, thank you for bringing the little, seatless, Sicilian chair into this conversation, and for giving it a voice of its own. I will be listening in to the dialogue "goings-on" out on the front porch!

I appreciate your notes on the Fenelon text. It clears things up and underlines the idea of putting others before oneself (a daily struggle for some... but we try!) and so good to see that line from the Desiderata poem, which brings me back to the desert, to a struggling friend. Her desperate request was for that very poem! I would love to share the French version here... if it exists. I have just read the English version and been electrified by the inspiration in it.

Angie, so good to see your note!


"un panier à salade" - who would have guessed! I'm not sure I'll be using this phrase, but I know I'll never mistake it for a salad basket!!

Love the photo of lopsided Smokey - that tongue is his trademark.

Thanks as always.

Herm in Phoenix, Az

Salut Kristin,

Today’s photo turns a “basket case” into a positive attraction and gives a new slant to floral presentations.

Maybe Newforest can give us the French term for “basket case”

À bientôt


Love the panier aux fleurs! I have the same panier (sans holes) -- and I'm going to totally copy that idea (which I'm sure will turn it into a "basket case" soon enough).


Hello Kristin,
Re: your post and the 'Desiderata'.

In Spring 1971, walking along the picturesque “Lanes” in the centre of Norwich (area of old cobbled streets and narrow alleys) I was looking for the newly opened "Head in the clouds". What a quaint little shop! I immediately spotted an A4 size poster at the window, and there I read the “Desiderata” for the first time. I was fascinated. I went in, asked if they wouldn't mind me copying the text in my notebook. They simply showed me a very big pile of papers on a shelf and with a large smile, the young assistant told me they sold copies of it! I felt over the moon and bought one. I eventually bought more copies, gave them to all my friends and kept a few for myself.

Dorset, mid 90s ... a 17 year-old French girl stayed with us for a month. I gave her a copy of the Desiderata, as I thought her English was good enough to understand the text and she was the type of person who would appreciate it. A few minutes later I saw some big tears rolling down her cheeks. She told me her father, who died two years earlier, had the text of that poem on the wall of his office at home in the North of France. He once told her he bought it when travelling in England and how much he loved it... and why. Deux weeks before he died, he translated a few passages to her. When they moved out of their house six months after his death, she looked for the poem but couldn't find it. Now, I could fully understand her deep emotions!

Xmas time in Norfolk - On the 26th December 1999 we had the opportunity to spend most of the day in Norwich. “Head in the clouds” was still there, in 'Pottergate' street! The shop window seemed slightly bigger, and it still had (was it a dream?) a nice copy of the Desiderata stuck on the right bottom corner of its window. In England, on the 26th of December, all the shops are closed, so, I phoned up a few days later, and ordered a couple of copies over the phone.

Meanwhile, the French girl found a copy of it in French and was very pleased to send it to me.

just found a translation in French (more or less the same as the one that was sent to me)

Jules Greer

Thank you Kristi - another great post to lighten up our day, fill us with happiness and joy.




Hello Herm,
Just saw your note about "a basket case".

Here, part of the shopping basket got lost 'in battle' (so to speak). The old basket became
---> "un grand invalide"

When an old battered object made of metal has reached the end of its life, you say it's reduced to
---> "un tas de ferraille"

If you apply the expression "basket case" to a person who is 'a nervous wreck', you would then say that he/she is
---> "un paquet de nerfs"

Now, on a pretty note,
"Les robes à paniers" were worn in France in the middle of the XVIIIth century.
Imagine a 'basket' on each side of a woman's waist and click on the links below.

They were not "paniers" as such, but a hoop frame supporting petticoat and dress.

Sally in WA

It is always a pleasure to hear Jean-Marc pronounce the word(s) of the day but to hear the sweet bird song in the background makes me believe Spring is just around the corner.


Encore une belle photo, comme toujours! And a very good composition with Smokey's tongue to match the lopsided panier.
Kristin, you got me hooked on your blog. It is just like my daily fix. I'm still reading your old posts, always plein d'humour.

Marianne Rankin

Thanks for all the useful expressions and "Desiderata" in French, which I'll send to a fellow Francophile. I enjoy the pictures, too.

Meilleurs voeux a Jean-Marc au jour de son anniversaire. On est toujours jeune dans l'esprit, n'importe quel age qu'on a. J'espere que l'annee suivante va etre bonne pour J-M et toute la famille.

Linda Collison

Merci pour nous donnez la poeme.

Therese Terry Stacy

The irony is delicious indeed, that from Fenelon and many Eastern philosophies too, we aspire to "let go" of ownership meant to define us, while at the same time fully engage in the invitation to live and honor what we are here to be and do.You are an inspiration and delight, having, it seems, a lovely "old soul." I was old before I was young, and my 6 "golden girls" and a passion for new challenges provide curiosity and excitement in each moment, yet gentle reminders whisper to get smaller in the world, and more connected with a bigger space. What a fascinating ride we are on...!
Joyeux Anniversaire, Jean-Marc!

Stacy, Applegate, Oregon

Lovely, Kristi!!! Such beautiful ways to honor your Mom, this gem of a poem (such wisdom) and your charming basket of flowers. I strive to be more and more like my young niece and nephew in the way they love so completely unconditionally – treating “a diamond and an apple alike”. I am pleased to be introduced to Mr. Fenelon and now I must go and order this book!

Julie Schorr

I enjoyed hearing Jean-Marc and the birds in the background this morning! Smokey is absolutely adorable!! I always love seeing Smokey and his gentle spirit in your pictures.
Beautiful floral picture today. I thought the basket was very creative.

Bill Facker

You put a melody inside my head today - "A tisket, a tasket, a green and yellow basket ...." As always, your writing evokes wonderful memories and visualizations .. Mahalo Nui Loa, Kristin.

Candy in SW KS

Love the photo of Smokey and the basket! Both of them so precious and unique. Is it not the imperfections in each of us that give us our distinct individuality? And that connect us to each other? Such a perfect poem to go alongside the photos. Merci, chere Kristi! And merci to everyone else for your lovely comments. They always lift my spirits. (And that has been much needed in gloomy, chilly SW KS!) Spring, wherefore art thou? Obviously, on Kristi's front porch :)

chantal in louisiana

Thank you for introducing me to Fenelon. I looked him up on wiki, what an interesting person, Roman Catholic archbishop, theologian, poet. I think I'll get the book. Merci

Jackson Dunes, Pug At The Beach

Thank you for this lovely photo!

For the past three years I've lived in south Florida and while I love being "At The Beach" with its tropical vegetation (the woman down the street has 6 - count 'em 6 - giant gardenia bushes in her front yard!) I miss the blossoms of Spring: tulips and grape hyacinth.

Jackson Dunes
Pug At The Beach
Delray Beach, Florida, USA

Jennifer in OR

Thank you for the Fenelon poem and I hope to get the book. The panier is perfect in its new profession.

Pat Cargill

How lovely! Tulips and grape hyacinths in the reused panier - and, to top it off, flop-tongued ever-too-cute Smokey R. Dokey breaking my heart. Happy Spring. Thanks, K.

villas in provence

Flowers look gorgeous! Great snap - thanks for sharing.

Ophelia in Nashville

Am late again!

Belated birthday wishes to Jean-Marc and I love the Fénélon poem.

Bonne journée!


Pretty flowers you have there.I am pretty sure you also have a nice garden.

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