c'est déjà pas mal
How to say snack in French?


St Tropez (c) Kristin Espinasse
In St. Tropez. Look closely at the sagging object my husband is carrying. Meet Mr Sacks, Jean-Marc's lovable sidekick, in today's story column. Note: the pictures of Jean-Marc in this post span over a decade. 

la sacoche (sah-kohsh)

    : handbag, saddlebag, purse, bag

from the Italian saccoccia, or "little pocket"

la sacoche en cuir = leather bag
la sacoche d'écolier = school bag
la sacoche à outils = tool bag

une soirée de sacoches
(Canadian expression) = girls' night out, evening with girlfriends

French Definition:
Sorte de grosse bourse de cuir ordinairement retenue par une courroie et qui se porte au côté ou dans le dos
. A kind of big leather purse usually held by a strap and worn on the side or on the back. --Wiktionnaire 

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

Ode to Mr. Sacks

I couldn't believe my ears when Jean-Marc, packing for his business trip, mentioned: "I'm not taking my sacoche with me." 

Vraiment? My husband might as well have decided to leave an appendage behind--son bras droit, for example, the one he uses to lift his wine glass. That is how vital his trusty, takes-with-him everywhere sacoche is to him.

What with increasing restrictions for carry-on and check-in, Jean-Marc's dear sidekick, Mr Sacks, is the latest victime of airline cutbacks!

Poor Mr Sacks! I've never felt sorry for the old bag before. Mostly, I've felt envious. Mr. Sacks is the one who goes on all the business trips with my husband. Mr. Sacks goes to all the local wine tastings while I sit at home guzzling tap water.  


sacoche (c) Kristin Espinasse

Mr Sacks in Paris... the one on the left. (Make no mistake, the other bags mean nothing to Jean-Marc!)

man purse (c) Kristin Espinasse
Mr Sacks inVentimille, Italy, watching locals play boules, or pétanque.

I do pity Mr. Sacks now that his saggy little body is pouting in the corner of my husband's office. This is the first time in his 12-year-old life that he's collected dust. Normally he's on the go....

Flower steps in Sicily (c) Kristin Espinasse

Mr. Sacks in Sicily... can't you see him sniffing the pretty flowers?

Croatia (c) Kristin Espinasse
Mr. Sacks cruising the island of Cres. Just kidding, Jean-Marc would never put Mr. Sacks in this predicament (water, not vacationing in Croatia). This brings me to the next point...

Regularly I am asked to hold on to Mr. Sacks while my husband sprints off to use a public restroom or when (as pictured above) he is practicing a sport. "Tu peux prendre ma sacoche?" He asks. And I always grumble, not wanting to hold the heavy "third wheel". Apart from tractor wrenches, he even keeps wine bottles (for his tastings) in there...

spitoon (c) Kristin Espinasse
Mr Sacks (on the floor, next to the bucket spittoon)

Some refer to Mr Sacks as a "man purse".  That always makes me snicker. Hahahahahaha! Man Bag!!! Sac Homme! I point at Mr. Sacks. But Mr. Sacks isn't laughing... 

Sicily (c) Kristin Espinasse
What do you think: man purse? Jean-Marc purchased it in une maroquinerie  in Draguignan, years and years ago. It was love at first sight.

the guilty look (c) Kristin Espinasse
Jean-Marc's got that guilty look on his face. He's always holding hands with Mr. Sacks instead of with me--and he knows it!  While others worry about the other woman, I have to worry about the old bag!

sacoche (c) Kristin Espinasse
Mr. Sacks is with him on bad hair days...

beach in St. Maxime (c) Kristin Espinasse
And on good hair days...

Avalon (c) Kristin Espinasse
And especially on family days!

Lourdes (c) Kristin Espinasse
Visiting the healing waters at Lourdes. Can you spot Mr. Sacks?

Burgandy (c) Kristin Espinasse
Mr Sacks in Burgundy... with the winemakers...

fountain (c) Kristin Espinasse

But old Mr. Sacks, as you can see, is beginning to sag. I worry that items inside him will begin to fly out of his slouching pockets. I especially worry that money will fall out. For this reason, I sometimes follow close in Jean-Marc's wake as he goes about his errands. I am stumbling along behind him swatting my arms back and forth prepared to catch those banknotes that might come flying out of that sagging bag. 

vintage sacoche (c) Kristin Espinasse
Mr Sacks is coming apart at the seams, which just goes to show even sacks have middle-age crisis.

Over the years I've tried to get Jean-Marc to consider buying a new bag. Nothin' doin'! "But it's a hazard," I argue (a financial hazard at that! Just think if money really were flying out of that bag). 

"I'm keeping my bag!" he always argues back.

in Italy (c) Kristin Espinasse

A couple of weeks ago Jean-Marc announced with an ear-to-ear grin: Je l'ai fait réparer, mon sac. He had brought Mr. Sacks to the leather mender's, in town. The guy did a wonderful job, Jean-Marc told me, adding that the man was nearly 90 years old. 

Any ill will or harsh feelings I may have felt regarding Mr. Sacks flew out of the picture (as those bank notes might have...). My heart smiled thinking of the wrinkled man sewing the wrinkled bag, one soul giving life back to the other, each content to be of service for as long as they were needed or wanted.

To leave a comment, click here

I once rummaged through my husband's sacoche and found something that stopped me in my tracks. Read the story here.

French Vocabulary

vraiment = really

le bras = arm

droit = right

tu peux prendre ma sacoche = can you take my bag?

la maroquinerie = purse, bag, and luggage shop

le sac homme = man purse 

je l'ai fait réparer = I had it fixed

mon sac = my purse 

PORQUEROLLES (c) Kristin Espinasse
Oh dear. Here is Mr Sacks and the formidable mop-spear. I hope you read about this confection--Jean-Marc was very proud of it--in the chapter "Lance". It might be worth the purchase of the book!


Did you enjoy meeting Mr. Sacks? To comment on this edition, click here.

Thanks for forwarding this edition to someone who might get a kick out of a man purse, or to someone who has a special weakness for purses or bags.

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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