formation (warning: faux amis!)

les chiens ne font pas des chats

Hollyhock and Wet Dog. Smokey volunteers his mug to illustrate today's expression "les chiens ne font pas des chats". Does he look disappointed by the news? No worries, Smokelicot, you can still do most anything you set your sweet mind to! Since your ordeal, two years ago, you are a true survivor!


les chiens ne font pas des chats*

    : the apple doesn't fall far from the tree

*literally "dogs don't make cats". Both the French and the English expression are used to indicate that certain family members look very much alike. See a very personal example at the end of this post!

 Audio File: Listen to today's expression: Download MP3 or Wav file

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

It's a little frustrant to want to chronicle the present... while trying to edit the past! As I watch the would-be stories slip away (I haven't told you about Max's two-week stint at French bootcamp or Jackie's early Mother's Day present or yesterday's visit avec mon papa!... and there's the nest of chirpy baby birds inside the mulberry's trunk...); no time to share these when trying to focus on a current project: the story collection Vignettes from the Var.

To proofread the next chapter, titled "Tiède", click this link:

Thanks in advance for your understanding and encouragement!




Le chat or Cat in Provence (c) Kristin Espinasse

Do you have a caption for this photo or the one below? Share it here.

                Photo of le chat blanc taken at le Girocèdre.

Thanks for forwarding this edition to a friend! Also:

Sylvia, Jean-Marc, and Mary (who saluts friend Penny Leady. Penny, you were missed!)

Mon papa et moi.  Do you think Dad and I look alike? Would you say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, or les chiens ne font pas des chats?

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.

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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.

Bill Facker


Pat, Roanoke, VA

How nice to meet your father! Clearly, you are the best of both your dear parents! Have a great weekend! And, once more, Smokey darling, you are adorable, and the treat's in the mail. XOX, Aunt Patty

Marie La Salle

Tu prends pour ton papa. Who by the way looks a lot like Pierce Brosnan in this photo.

Pour l'image du chat a la porte...
"Ouvrez-moi la porte pour l'amour de Dieu."

wendy jaeger

You look identical...Nice to see the first of the Rose out. It's like looking at summer!

Joan Mikkelsen

Twins! And beautiful twins at that!

Mary Helen

Oui,les chiens ne font pas des chats! Beautiful! :D

Michele Fraser

cor blimey guv, indeed you do - especially around the eyes! xoxox


great photo....the expression rings true...we are all reflections of our parents!

Bill Facker

"So, they think turning the newspaper upside down will keep me from being informed .. Stupid humans .. I vote - I win - I want my tuna .....NOW!"


You have your Papas eyes and your Mamas smile
the best of both I think.....

Maxine Tomashefsky

Yes,you have a strong look of your dad but there is also a look of your mom in there too.
Please send our regards to both of them from us. Maxine & Steve xx

Johanna DeMay

Bonjour chère Kristin.

Your have piqued my curiosity with these untold stories! I want to read them! So if you have not time for them now, make notes. Advice from a writer friend: "Your memories are your index tabs. If you remember something, there is a reason for it."

We will look forward to reading the new stories when you get around to them.

Je t'embrace,


Petra Douma

Yes, you do look like your Dad!


What is spitting image in French? Definitely, you look like your dad.

Betsy Shequine

Now I know where you get your good looks!! But then, again, your mother is also a beauty. How could you miss.

First time poster, (je pense!?) but I love the look and the tone of your blog!!

Betsy Shequine

sorry I posted my old website url just now. here is the correct one. I will put in a link for your site.


yes, a resemblance exists for sure in colouring etc. But your beautiful daughter is the image of your father ! Does anyone say so?

Audrey Wilson

Definitely Daddy's girl !! I'm also delighted to see no evidence of your scar. Well done!



I wish I was there right now with all of you. Yes, Kip does look a little like Pierce, but you just can't imagine how darling Kip's personality is, he was a 'charmer' and still is to this day. Always smiling, with a happy and kind spirit. I'll never forget 'our meeting' and the stories that followed....I guess I'll have to get Kip's permission before I start reminising about the past.

I always giggle to myself about how when I first met Kip's beautiful wife Marsha - that she also captivated me and swept me off my feet with her gracious charm, beauty and intelligence. Can you all believe Marsha and I send emails back and forth - and decided two months ago that after almost 18 years we are sisters. Life is wonderful with it's mysteries.




David Navarre

Only two weeks for his initial training? Wow. That's hardly enough to learn how to march and wear the uniform properly. Looking forward to hearing about it.

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks for your responses to the photo. I hope Dad is reading :-)

Michele, LOL, I had to look up the expression (cor blimey guv).

Johanna, interesting way to think about our memories, as index tabs, and the idea that there is a reason for our remembering.

Betsy, so good to hear from you! I hope you will post again.

Sarah, I think our daughter, Jackie, looks just like her grandfather. My half-sister, Kelley, looks as much like my daughter, at times, as I do! The same is true for my other half-sister, Heidi. (We never say *half-sister*, but for the purposes of genes and how their mysteries, it is interesting, here, to point it out!)

Thanks, Audrey. Dad was happy to see (or rather not see) the scar, too. He looked for it right away... and had a hard time locating it. Here is the before picture, in case anyone is interested (warning: not a pretty picture!):

Mom, Ill pass along that hug.

David, Max has completed only a part of the training. It isnt the equivalent, really, of boot camp (he is only 17). He goes back to the FMIR training camp this summer.

Joy Bryden

Yes you do look like Papa! Proves my theory, girls tend to look more like their Papas, and boys tend to look more like Mama.

Pennu Leady

Bonjour Kristen
Oui, c'est vrai, les chiens ne font pas les chats! Votre père et vous sont identique! Je suis très jalouse que mon amie Mary ont fait votre connaissance. Mais merci beaucoup pour le salutation à la fin de votre blog. J'adore vos histoires!
Penny Leady

Priscilla Fleming Vayda

Good morning, Kristin from La Nouvelle Orleans. Boy I do wish I could get my mind to accept the French language but I keep trying. I just can't wrap my mind around the pronunciation. About the pic of you and your dad, mais yeah, as they say down on the bayou, you and your dad look alike. Enjoyed reading about your halves as I come from a family of halves and have grandkids from mixed families as well (although they do not mix as much as I'd like for them to!) so perhaps as they grow up they will find one another. Keep up the excellent writing, and of course j'adore' your photographs. That is probably not the correct spelling of the phrase "I love" but is as close as my mind can get! Keep on loving your aggregate family! Must get back to work as I too have deadlines to meet. Love to all from this almost 80-year-old painter/writer. Maybe one day I will make it back to Paris and Provence. Perhaps next spring. Priscilla

Dianne Gallagher

Your Dad looks young enough to be your brother - certainly a family resemblance. this is the first time I have made a comment but I have been following your blog with great enjoyment for several years - thank you for such a refreshing read.

Brenda Brown

Very strong family resemblance and a very cute Papa. Thanks for sharing.


I like "les chiens ne font pas des chats" better than "the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree." But then again, I love dogs! Cheers~

mhwebb in NM, USA

Love the cat photo.

You have your dad's eyebrows. They are nicely shaped ones. You are a lovely combination of both your parents.


I love Jules' comment--yes! Life has its amazing twists and turns. Have a wonderful time with your Dad. Mary


Yes, high cheek bones, wonderful noses, and the same sly smirk. Both beautiful

Sarah LaBelle

for the first photo Le Journal

for the second photo le cyclamen et le chat

Sarah LaBelle

I do hope you post about your son's two weeks with the Reserves (a big choice), and about Mother's Day. Your life is so full now, of good things.



Jan Acorn

Je suis d'accord - les chiens ne font pas des chats avec vous et votre père. C'est le meme chose avec mon père!

Lisa A.,Los Angeles, CA

WOW! You do look very much alike. It's the eyes. :)

Cat photos: "If I just sit here someone is bound to let me in soon...right?"


Our dear Kristin,
What a wonderful post and such beautiful pictures!
You and your Dad most certainly do look alike!
And Jules' comments are just a delight!
Our weekend couldn't get started on a better note!
THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love, Natalia XO

Susan Carter, Westminster, CA

Yes, you do look very much like your father. I so enjoyed meeting him at the Rouge-Bleu wine tasting in Orange County.

Lee Adams

Kristin i tis great to see your smile, just like your dad!!
Great to enjoying the tasting with you and JM!! see you next week;
lots of love,

Cher Kristin,love your smile and your papa's!! It was wonderful sharing last week's wine tasting with you and JM, NICE JOB!! See you soon,
Love, Lee and Maureen


Where is Smokey's trademark tongue? He's adorable even when wet. Dad isn't bad either.

Dana Jones

Salut Kristin!

Vous et votre papa look very much alike! Great photo, tres belle!


Yes, "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree" can often mean similarity in physical appearance, but I've most often heard it refer to a characteristic. If a son is bright, and so is his father, or if a son has a criminal history - and so does the father, one might hear "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree".

Suzanne Hurst

Captions pour le chat:
First: Reading the Headlines in the Newspaper
Second: Enough News for Today!

Marianne Rankin

Yes, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree with you and your dad - there is a definite resemblance. I had always thought that in addition to meaning looking somewhat alike, it means sharing personality or character traits.

Both you and your father are attractive people. Does he speak French?

Please be sure to include posts at some point about Max's boot camp, Jackie's gift, or details of Dad's visit; I'd like to read them.

Captions: (1) Any news of interest? (2) Nah!

Since I know Kip is interested in weather: This past winter was one of the warmest ever in the Washington, D.C. area. The past two summers were among the top ten hottest on record, and the coming summer is predicted to be nearly as hot. Let's hope this year we have more rain. The weather in the photo looks lovely.

Enjoy the visit!


Salut Kristin, j'aimerais bien dire que tu es le portrait craché de ton père qui, à propos, pourrait bien passer pour ton grand frère. Mais à mon avis, tu es la combination de tes parents. You've got the good genes from both. C'est un compliment de ma part.
Bon weekend, Kristin!

Elaine Moulden

We, like Susan from Westminster, CA, met your father at the Rouge-Bleu tasting in Orange County, saw the resemblance to your father immediately!! We also met Maxine and Steve from England there; exchanged emails and chatted about our mutual love of your FWAD and how it enriches our lives!! We hope to see you and J-M next year for a wine tasting!
Elaine Moulden (Anaheim Hills, CA)

joie/carmel-by-the-sea, ca.

So funny.....I am thinking that I have got it about the chiens et les chats, and then you say the apple and the tree. Wow was I lost for a moment. Yes there you do resemble your father....especially in your nose and eyes.... and the shape of your face is your mothers, but what about the inner self. Certainly you are not like your gregarious, flamboyant mother. (and I say thay with affection). Is your father calm like you. Hmm, somehow after reading your blogs for a few years I do not think you are calm inside, but exude it on the exterior.Has your father been to France to visit before? Was this a first? Hopefully you will be back in the present soon so none of these stories that are happening now will be lost.

la voisine

Tu ressembles beaucoup à ton papa ! Vous êtes très beaux tous les deux !

Dad in Indi

Dear Kristi...I love the photo of the two of us and yes, we do look very much alike and share the same temperament. Thank you Jules for the kind words. You have been Kristi's biggest fan all these years...wish you were here too. Marsha and I are really enjoying our month in France.

Dad in Indi

Dear Kristi...I love the photo of the two of us and yes, we do look very much alike and share the same temperament. Thank you Jules for the kind words. You have been Kristi's biggest fan all these years...wish you were here too. Marsha and I are really enjoying our month in France.

Rick Spring

In Oklahoma (USA) we usually say, "The acorn doesn't fall far from the tree." Aren't regional differences fascinating?

Suzie Jennings

Am reading the book you recommended Ravel. Great suggestion. Thanks. Suzie Jennings

Kerry Cordis

The view from Central Illinois is that there is a resemblance but clearly Dad's daughter is beautiful.

Judi dunn

,,, Your father is as handsome
as you are beautiful... A most wonderful photo!!!
Judi Dunn... Tallahassee, Fl.

Leana Leach  (in Sun Valley, Idaho)

Kristin, this is too close to home not to post a comment! The Mary in the photo is giving a
salut to Penny Leady who is a friend of mine here in Sun Valley. En fait, c'est Penny avec
qui j'étudie français chaque semaine. À ce moment Penny fait un voyage à Turquie, et dans
trois jours je departerai pour Birmanie (Myanmar). Je suis la personne qui a écrit que
tu as un coeur très doux, honnête et sensible.
(Et j'aime aussi ton goût pour l'humour!) Voilà! Le monde est très petit, n'est-ce pas?
J'espére que tu peux faire une visite à Sun Valley pour que nous pouvons faire ta connaissance un jour!
Amicalement, Leana


Kristin, although you resemble your dad, you really do take more after your beautiful mom Jules! How nice, though, that you were able to visit with him. Smokelicot is definitely such a beautiful, sweet survivor! BTW, my childhood friend Sandy and I are still in touch and are planning to get together at some point when our lives are settled enough to do so. Thank you again for helping to reunite us.


Hmmm! In the photo there is a great resemblance between the two of you but I still think you look more like Jules.

Alice Halliday

what a good looking man and you take after him, Kristie!
alice Halliday Oxford UK

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristin,
I think Jackie looks so much like your dad but so do you!
For the first photo I was thinking...."What does the headline say?...Les Mew?...Oh, forget it, I can't read upside down!"

Matilda Cosgrove

Kristin-Your beauty inside and out clearly comes from Jules.Jules is gorgeous and so it is with you. Returned home yesterday,May 17th, from Barcelona, the beginning and the ending of our visit to Europe. Tom drove us over 2000,miles around Spain,Portugal and South of France,for a total of 28 "sleeps".Such fun to have attended your meet up on May,8th,and to have met Braise and Smoky.Thanks ever Kristin and Jean Marc for a touch down in your beautiful dream.We could see how much effort and love has gone into your vendage-Matilda at Superstition Mt.

Linda Casey

In Dutch, there's an expression: twee handen op een buik. (two hands on one belly). That's you and your Dad. You could have been hatched from the same egg.

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