plein d'entrain

le soleil liquide

Light shop or magasin de lumiere in Lyon (c) Kristin Espinasse
In autumn, when the sky turns gray, all the hidden colors come out to have their say. While strolling with my dear friend Susan, my eyes drank in this vibrant scene, along a cobbled path in Vieux Lyon. The stones in the back wall seem to have caught the colorful fever. Notice how their colors reflect those of the giant balls of light. More color for you in today's edition.

le soleil liquide (so-lay-lee-keed)

    : liquid sunshine (aka rain)

Audio File: listen to Jean-Marc read the following sentence in French: Download MP3 or Wav file

Nous avons tous apprécié l'énergie et l'optimisme de notre manager de croisière, Sebastien, qui nous a souvent rappelé que la pluie n'était que du soleil liquide! We all appreciated the energy and optimism of our cruise manager, Sebastien, who often reminded us that rain was no more than liquid sunshine!

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

Just a few snapshots for you today. There are many anecdotes to share, but it is Sunday—a day to think of other things besides writing. 

Le soleil liquide...
Besides the photos, here is a wonderful expression you might employ right away. It's guaranteed to make those around you smile. I heard it on our trip when our talented and friendly cruise director, Sebastien, ushered us out of the boat and into the sometimes gray and raining skies. Allez-y! He said when we searched for our umbrellas. C'est du soleil liquide!

From there on out we called Sebastien "Mr. Sunshine".  


L'Amphitryon (c) Kristin Espinasse
I first learned the term "bouchon" from readers, who kindly offered their tips on What to do in Lyon, here.

Covered in gold (c) Kristin Espinasse
Yellow feuilles, a salon de thé called Banana's, and a popular mode of transportation...


Bouchon Lyonnais (c) Kristin Espinasse
What is the bouchon - cochon connection? Your comments welcome here. While you're there, who can explain why bouchon does not mean "cork" in Lyon?...

For the love of letters (c) Kristin Espinasse
For the love of letters...

The Original Rouge-Bleu (c) Kristin Espinasse
To the left, my long-time chum, Susan, a.k.a. "Rouge-Bleu". (Yes, this is where we got the name for the wine Jean-Marc used to make!)

In other subjects, for those looking for some French tunes to cheer the home this season--all the while helping to improve one's Français, check out this CD:

French christmas music
French Christmas Music: "Mon Beau Sapin", "Saint Nuit", "La Marche des Rois", "Petite Ville Bethléem", "Il est né Le Divin Enfant". 
Order CD here.

  Leaves of Gold (c) Kristin Espinasse

This photo was snapped from the inside of the tour bus. Lyon was covered in gold this week (mental note: mid November is a great time to see the French countryside and the towns)

These cheeky guignols seem to say, Revenez nous voir! Come back and see us again! The sign in the puppet's hand (to the right) reads:  Oyez Oyez, les gônes, prochain spectacle... Hear ye, Hear year Children, the next show is at... 

In case you missed them, I posted a few more photos from the croisière here, in the previous edition called fluviale


Voilà, we've come to the end of our photo spectacle. Hope you've enjoyed a brief glimpse of Old Lyon. More pictures coming soon... Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

For those who would enjoy another story here is one, along with a random amusing expression: les fleurs de cimetière. Find out what cemetery flowers really mean in French... click here.

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


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Shane Cook

This is a good explanation of bouchon lyonnais


Hi kristin, I will never forget "soleil liquide" and we have had three wonderful days of le soleil liquide here in Southern California--heavenly. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day, although a bit far from the US.


Le Petit Robert: Spécialt (1584) Vx Petit bouquet de paille, rameau de feuillage qui servait d'enseigne à un cabaret; ce cabaret. ➙ estaminet. « Le couple se donnait rendez-vous dans un bouchon de l'avenue »
[posted and translated in the Wikipedia entry for "bouchon"]

Lynn at Southern Fried French

Hi Kristin, LOVE your photos of Lyon. Shoot, you are so close to us, we're an hour up the road! But I think you're still on the boat---looks like a super cruise, I've been bugging Ron to try one. Too bad the boat doesn't make it to Cluny!
By the way, I admit to being absolutely vert with envy over your darling new home in the sunny south. Esp. this past week, when we seem to have descended into a bottomless gray cloud here in Burgundy. But I see a ray of soleil just now, pas liquide, so I'm off for a walk!

Julie F in St. Louis, MO

Thanks for the tour. I do love my Burgundy region in the fall. I wish I could have gotten out of Dijon on this trip, but alas I leave soon. I hope to get to Lyon for longer than the one-day visit we had a couple of years ago. I'm so glad you had a great time after the hectic move.

Jan Warner-Poole

This was the perfect word today. We live in the Pacific Northwest and today starts a week long series of storms with heavy rain and high winds. Much nicer to think of it as Le soleil liquide. Love all the photos in this post. Jan Poole, Washington State

Bill in St. Paul

Thanks for the great pictures of Lyon. It reminded me of our first trip to Provence where we started and ended in Lyon - one of the cleanest towns I've even seen.

Bill Facker

Nice shots, Kristin .. I hope to explore Lyon one of these days! Aloha, Bill

Vicki, San Francisco Bay area

Kristi, thank you for taking the time on a Sunday to post these fabulous photos of Lyon! I enjoyed the armchair traveling on this brisk fall morning in California. I tend to plan travel for when it's warm out, but your photos make a strong argument for the beauty of visiting in autumn.


This may not be the correct place to comment on the French Christmas CD but I really want to so so. I purchased this last year and have enjoyed it the entire year. Oui, j'ecoute all the time. Not just during the holidays. The songs are truly beautiful. Well worth the small cost. I also purchased one for ma soeur. Merci.


Our dear Kristin,
These photos are our Thanksgiving gift! Absolutely gorgeous! You have such talent for photography, and we are so privileged to share in both them and your life!!
THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love, Natalia XO

PS Coleen, meme moi! I love the Christmas CD,too. Such joyful music!


Comme le temps passe vite. I did not have time to wish you "Bon Voyage" and now you are back with lovely photos for show and tell.
Aren't you glad you made it to the croisière?
Happy Thanksgiving, à toi et à toute ta famille Espinasse.


here in the pacific northwest, le soleil liquide is just one of the parts of living here. it infuriates outsiders because they think it means that they can't do what they planned, but for the locals, it's just another variable. sure, sometimes you change your plans, and other times, you just carry on.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and to your family.


Merci for teaching us about the phrase soleil liquide! I am in So. Calif., where it really rarely rains (except the past few days), but if it does, we cancel almost everything! I am going to share this phrase with everyone I know :).

And merci, Kristin AND Coleen, for recommending the Christmas CD. I LOVE Christmas music, and would so enjoy one in French.

Superb pictures, as everyone else has said. You are quite the photographer! Can't wait to see more! So glad and surprised you found time to post today. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday. Until next time . . .

Diane Young

I will always remember the days we spent in Lyon many years ago, particularly the night we got lost and finally stopped at a restaurant to eat. Afterwards we asked a man who had his family in the car if he could give us directions to our hotel. He took pity on us and had us follow him. It was a kindness we always treasured as it was a lot out of his way. The main streets away from the old downtown area were one way and that further complicated our attempts. We spent the first few nights in the middle of old Lyon and that was most enjoyable. My most vivid memory was the beautiful basilique with a terrace overlooking the city.Thank you for sharing your photos.


Hi Kristen,
I'm a little behind posting my comments, but I'm wondering how you're doing with your appetite, and I'm a little worried. Unlike your other readers, I'm not convinced your lack of appetite is really about the GMOs, but perhaps a deeper problem. I hope I am wrong, but if it persists I hope you will talk to someone before it gets away from you(I hate to even say it in such a public forum, but I'm referring to eating disorders). Again, I may be mistaken, hopefully so, but just had to let you know my honest reaction. Wishing you good health and a good appetite!

Gordon Lyman

Your blog is like printed sunshine.

Bruce in northwest Connecticut

Well said, Gordon!

Maybe I'm being dim, but I don't understand Susan's connection to the name of the ancienne domaine. Is her last name Rouge-Bleu? Her mother's last name is Rouge and her fathers last name is Bleu? I thought she was American.

Carrie @ Season It Already!

Here in Minnesota in the winter we call things like a crisp white wine "liquid sunshine" in the winter! Something to make us think of days on the beach when it's still snowing and cold in March... ;-)

Georgia Schall

Hi Kristin,
Your photos and commentary remind me of the wonderful time we had on our Rhone river cruise last May. Because of so much "le soleil liquide", we were docked an extra 3 nights in Lyon. However, we were able to sneak away one day to the old town to have lunch. I ordered in my not so good French but the waitress said "tres bien" when I finished and many diners around us smiled, I hoped, thinking it was courageous of me to even try. Concerning "bouchon", we were told it meant traffic jam, cork or referred to local restaurants in the Lyon old town.

Thanks for all the great pics and story!



bouchon described by a proprietor:


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