couler + new book project

How to say "it's a no-no" in French?

Bonifacio (c) Kristin Espinasse
"If these chairs could talk" Photo taken after last year's wine harvest... when we stole away to the restful southern coast of Corsica. 

 ça ne se fait pas (saah-neuh-seuh-fay-pah)

    : it's a no-no

Audio File & Example Sentence
Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce this sentence: Download MP3 or Wav file

Hé toutou! Faire pipi dans le bac à fleurs chez le fleuriste ça ne se fait pas! Hey dog! Tinkling in the florist's flower box is a no-no! 

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

Little Acts of Mischief

I sometimes think of her when I find myself trying to control my surroundings, every other instant of the day

I remember the seeming command she had over herself, if not her immediate environment. Beautiful in a flowy sundress and high-heeled sandals, her caramel-colored hair was twisted up off her delicate épaules, which were level despite the bumpy ground beneath her. 

She had a funny dog. I think it was a Jack Russell. I watched it trot along the cobbled trottoir there in the seaside town, perched high over the Mediterranean. As the woman and the dog advanced, so did a gaggle of eyes....

The looks the woman garnered were a mixture of admiration and amusement (l'amusement, for the dog did its best to temper the woman's graceful presence as she floated down the sidewalk unaware of her sidekick's antics).

Whether sniffing the policeman's socks or lifting its short leg beside a florist's flower box!... the terrier's little acts of mischief went entirely unnoticed by its mistress, sparing her from la comédie in which she was unwittingly starring.

The three wrinkled men on the municipal bench watched, as did the stylish dress shop owner, whose head was craned so far out of the shop... she might have dropped. The British family at the café lowered their menus for wee look-see—as did I, yes-sir-ee!

What a lovely serene smile the woman had, one the dog mirrored... as it whizzed on the boulanger's Welcome mat. 

Hidden behind a rack of cartes postales, I watched the perfectly-put-together lady and her take-it-all-apart cohort. Each enjoyed a leisurely stroll thanks to what the pretty one did not know....



This story is dedicated to my dear friend Stacy, at Sweet Life Farm, in Applegate Oregon—in loving memory of Sweet Pea—who had nothing in common with the mischievous protagonist in today's story, aside from her terrier lineage.


French Vocabulary

une épaule = shoulder

le trottoir = sidewalk

la comédie = comedy, act

le boulanger = baker

la carte postale = postcard



Postcard rack in the town of Bonifacio, Corsica.


One of our favorite vineyard visitors, Rohan, with Smokey (left) and Mama Braise, our golden retriever.


Rohan and his family have participated in a couple of our winetastings 


Rohan's dad, Jens, his mom, Vanita, and your hosts, Kristin and Jean-Marc. (These photos were taken a year or two ago.)

A Message from Kristi on this blog's 19th anniversary
Thank you for reading this language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on writing. My wish is to continue creating posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation.

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