How to say "to fall for it" in French? + the charming "door curtain" (photos)
pagaille + typography photos

le nounours + teddy bears spotted in France (photos)

Teddy bear or nounours in Alsace (c) Kristin Espinasse
Pooh Bear, you've got competition in France. Share today's "extra" edition with a Teddy Bear lover.

le nounours (noo-noorce)

    : teddy bear 

Word origin: Nounours--from un ours (en peluche), or a "stuffed bear," is French baby talk. See a list of French Baby Talk here.

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Un nounours c'est un câlin à quatre pattes.
A teddy is a cuddle with paws at the end. (Gill Davies) 

Pronounce It Perfectly in French - with exercises in sound discrimination and accurate sound creation. Order your copy here.

Teddy bear in Beaumes les Venise (c) Kristin Espinasse
When I was little, at the hospital getting my tonsils out, my stepfather (we'll call him that, as Dick was a big part of my childhood, even if Mom never married him) brought me a giant teddy bear.  Only, when Dick learned that the little girl sharing my room was dying, he gave her the big teddy bear. (He gave me another, on his next hospital visit.)

My would-be stepfather passed away several years ago, but I will never forget his gesture. From then on, teddy bears were BIG in my life and that seed of empathy grew and grew.

SmokeyBear and Teddy at Domaine Rouge-Bleu (c) Kristin Espinasse
 "Teddy, Resurrected". This yellow nounours, seemingly rescued from the municipal trash, was given to my mom by a villager in Les Arcs-sur-Argens. As you can see, I swiped it from Jules....

Teddy bear or nounours or doudou in France (c) Kristin Espinasse
We all need to vent sometimes. Go ahead, air your teddy laundry! (Can't remember where this picture was taken... Not too far from Sainte Cécile.)

Teddy bears or nounours in Alsace (c) Kristin Espinasse
Longing to go out and play.... A teddy reminder that we might stop what we are doing, for a moment, and get out for some fresh air. Solutions come and problems seems to solve themselves... with the help of a little fresh air.

shop window in Colmar (c) Kristin Espinasse
(A second reminder to get up and get out for some fresh air. You needed that second reminder, didn't you?)

Teddy bears in Les Baux de Provence (c) Kristin Espinasse
Teddy Bears hanging out in Les Baux de Provence. And thanks for hanging out with me, dear readers, for a few moments this Thursday morning.... I needed to concentrate on something besides the pounding and sawing and crumbling going on around here this morning.

Did you ever have a teddy bear? When's the last time you gave someone a nounours? Comment here. My friend Kate gave me two last time I saw her. I shook my head, "It's been years..." I thought, and my thoughts skipped off, right down memory lane

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here is a picture of my childhood teddy who looks like a cute old man...


Thank you for all the mailings which are enjoyed and learned from.

With the pronounciatons, would you be so kind to capitalize the syllable that is accented, AND where other french words appear in various images, include their translations, as well? For example the menu and sign.

Ciao, Mark Anthony
610 337 3335

Bill in St. Paul

My teddy bear was named Cubby and my older sister had an identical one. The problem came when our dog Woofie dismembered one of the teddy bears. Whose was it? Obvious to me that it was my sister's that was armless with stuffing coming out all over.

suzanne dunaway

And my grandmere wore "teddies"...don't you love that?

Jan Warner-Poole

Thank you for the Teddy photos. We just bought a house and move at the end of the month. Stressful. When I was in my 20's I bought a new Teddy Bear whenever I got a new job. Your post made me think a new house deserves a new bear. I love reading your posts. Jan

Pat Cargill

I received a Smokey the Bear teddy bear in the early '50's for Christmas..."with a ranger's hat and shovel and a pair of dungarees." oh how I wish I still had him! The dearest teddy in our house now is the one our son Sam received, named Kirby, whose little nose is "loved away." I must stop now or tears will begin to flow--such a dear, sweet post this morning. Mille mercis, K.


Note to the writer above who asks you to capitalize the accented syllable. French is not like English in that sense. It does not have the "accent tonique" that we do. Besides, it would be a pain in the neck. Imagine trying to capitalize a syllable in each English word. Eeeuw. Not fun. Readers of your blog should listen to the samples of spoken French you post . Listening is the best practice. Just my 2 cents!

armando zetina

The last time I gave a Teddy Bear away was to my dearest friend Clarey, she had survived the war in Vienna and now in New York, she lived alone in a women's only boarding house, so she had taken to me in a very special way. She had to go to the hospital for surgery, and I went to visit her, on that day, it was St. Valentine's Day, I brought her the Teddy Bear, she was very touched, and with tears in her eyes, she looked at me and said: Darling, now you can be nasty the rest of the year.

Chaille Reed

We lived in a house in New Mexico while having major reconstruction done plus an addition to living space - a two year project, done in two segments so we had a 6 month break between...I have great empathy with you now, but our results were so worth the inconvenience.....and hope that yours will be as well....
Really enjoy your posts, pictures are just great! Merci! C


I still have my Teddy, I am not sure when I got him, but remember taking him on a visit to Belgium in 1950.

I have a photo, but as we are having a new bathroom put in, I cannot get to my computer and I have no idea how to attach the photo.

Jan greene

Thank you for the adorable photos. In the middle of construction you remind us to notice beauty and to smile. Hope the work goes well and quickly ! Jan

Nancy in Fort Worth, TX

Thank you for the great Teddy Bear photos! This brightened my Thursday morning here in Fort Worth, Texas, where the weather is reminding us of Paris in April...cold and rainy.

Marcia Stoub

Thank you for your whimsical Teddy Bear post this morning.
Nothing like Teddy Bear memories to warm the heart and soul.!

Kristin Espinasse

Nicole, loved your blog post and the picture of your Teddy!

Mark, sorry to not be able to help, Carol explained it best: there is not a lot of emphasis on the syllables in French. Re translating the other words, I try to translate all the text, but the words in the picture I had not thought to do those... if I can I will. (The blackboard in this post reads: Todays Menu: Slab of Wild Boar, French fries, raw vegetables and tart of the day.

Bill in St Paul, Aw, Cubby!!!

Suzanne, Hotchacha grandma! Of your YOUR grandma would wear a teddy!

Jan, great idea. Youll name your new bear something French? ;-) Who wants to help name Jans bear? How about Nounours? (Nou-nou for short)

Carol, thanks for mentionning laccent tonique! My French friend Barbara assured me, last time someone asked about which syllable to emphasize, that the French do not emphasize them. 

Armando, so touched by your story and Clareys fiesty reply. What a brave character, one who has great friends.

Chaille, thanks for the sympathy. With all the hammering and drilling going on all around me in this house I feel like one big sorry tooth at the dentists office. 

Kris, got the picture. ADORE your teddy!

Thanks you Jan, Nancy, and Marsha and to all who comment after this post. Bye now from the rainy coast. The April showers are quenching all the flower seeds. Yay!


French Word-A-Day

Book: Blossoming in Provence: 

Latest video from France/sign up to our channel:


Kristin, did you see that we hosting a Teddy Bear Tea Party at the Entiat Library this month??
Poor old Dakin, the white bear in the middle, was tossed and thrown between rough little boys and lost an eye and a tail, but kept his calm and caring disposition. He will be treated to tea and likely more tossing at our party. I loved to see all of the nournours in the windows! What lovely views they must have.

Jan Roese

Kristin--I always love your blog and real-life-in-France experiences. Especially useful was today's link to French Baby Talk. I would welcome other "theme" word lists: speaking to animals, cooking terms, terms of endearment, etc. You get the idea! Many thanks, always. jr (San Diego)

Herm in Phoenix, AZ

My wife, Sharron, inherited a fur shoal when her mother passed away. Impractical for Arizona and frowned on in today’s world, Sharron had a teddy bear made from the shoal. It turned out beautiful and with the real fur, it is a unique remembrance of her mother.

À plus tard,


Kristin: Being a big fan of Teddy's myself I love the "Teddy Bear's Picnic" Song. Do you know it? The 1932 version by Henry Hall and His Orchestra is the best!
"....todays the day the Teddy Bear's have their picnic"


Good morning, Kristin,
In the throes of your remodel, perhaps you'll enjoy this collage by Kelly Rae Roberts -
Hang in there!

Audrey Wilson

Your story of your stepfather's kindness reminds me of my own one. I had a big teddy as a child . My Mum was very concerned about the little boy next door who seemed to be very unloved & not well treated ,so she gave teddy to him.
At first , as a 5 year old, I didn't apreciate the gesture until Mum said 'you have all these other toys & a Mummy & Daddy who love you'!
If you are ever in Munich there is a wonderful little museum devoted to,teddy bears .

Trina, St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

I love Jan's idea about a new bear for a new home. Teddy's are so comforting, aren't they? My mother bought a teddy bear for herself after a divorce. She had that bear for 20+ years, then gave him to a little girl who admired him on a visit. I kind of miss that bear, but the gesture was so true to my mom's personality - always enjoying the presence of children, always offering comfort to anyone in need. Dressed in a Santa hat, at the holidays, that bear often sat a top a saddle welcoming visitors. (The saddle was from my earlier horse owner years and is kept at her home.) Now my mother suffers from Alzheimer's Disease. She was given a new bear this past Christmas...perhaps we will name him honor of a French blog by an American ex-pat (we, too, have family in Phoenix) where friends share experiences, knowledge and comfort from afar.

John Zachritz

Bonjour, Kristin. Yes. My son's therapist, at our first family meeting, decided that I and not my 13 year old son needed a teddy bear... my face must have betrayed a longing for comfort. Interestingly, my poodle, who has torn every stuffed toy in our house to shreds, has never touched my teddy bear.

Back to buying Teddy Bears, in a new life chapter, to fill the "Teddy Closet" in a large shelter for abused children and women. Being with doctors and police can be REALLY scary, and a new bear to cuddle and squeeze is so helpful. Children can talk to their Teddys and help us help them. Great job for a super pal, heh?

N Vandenberg, San Antonio, Texas

I cannot remember ever having a Teddy Bear - No that is wrong - I have one now it remains packed in the moving boxes. Going to get him out for fresh air this morning.

As usual, love your pictures - they are a gentle and sweet comment on the French culture. Thank you for sharing. Really like the idea of providing teddy bears to shelters - a new project. thanks for that also.

Sheryl in Denver

My nickname is Sher-Bear and I have a special collection of my very favorite teddies, who sit on my shelves and smile at me. And they are very good at giving a hug just when you need it. I agree that they make great gifts. I gave my mom a bear when she was dying and she held onto that bear during the hardest times. I have that very special bear back now and she is "stuffed" with the most precious angel love ever. ^j^

joie in Carmel, Ca.

Somehow in my 20's I got the nick name "Pooh" by my peers. I don't remember getting my first teddy until I was about 35 when my sister gave me a locally hand made bear called "Liza Too" after my dog that had recently passed away. The next year for Christmas her kids who were 3 and 6 gave me a smaller one. Now I have to go find them because my niece just had a baby boy two weeks ago and I must send her one of them. So thank you for todays photos because I might not have thought to send one.

Bill Facker

I thought my Teddy loved spaghetti
Cause that's what little boys do

His face was covered with red marinara
parts of the rest off him too

His name became "Crusty" .. a result of my feeding
Dried sauce stuck all over the place

But I know I did right because every night
"Crusty" slept with a smile on his face.

Aloha, Bill Facker

pat Kim

Had a teddy. Gave my kids teddies. Love teddies - had over a dozen at one time. Collected all teddy cards and stickers...Gave my grandson a big teddy but he doesn't seem attached to it as his mommy was.









Teddy bears were created after an incident in Louisianna in 1902, when then President Theodore Roosevelt refused to shoot a bear cub, as it's mother was nearby. Political cartoons soon appeared, lauding the president's compassion... or something of that nature. Toy manufacturers began producing and selling "Teddy bears" in his honor. Roosevelt was one of our great presidents, and he is also purported to be the author of "Good to the last drop," prounounced during a visit to the Maxwell House hotel in Nashville, TN.

Jan in Monument, Colorado

When I was a student in France many decades ago, there was a bear on French TV named Nounours. I never realized until today that it's a generic name for a teddy bear. I just Googled it and saw that the TV show was Bonne Nuit Les Petits. I'm not sure what I was doing watching a kids' show at the age of 20, but there weren't many channels back then! Thanks for bringing back a memory.

Faye Stampe, Gleneden Beach, OR

Love the story, love the comments and love teddy bears!

I have always had them, so have my daughters and grand kids!

My mom was from Sydney, Australia so my first stuffed animal was a koala--no, not a bear --- but he was fuzzy, warm and huge.

Be well.





Karen from Phoenix

I love Teddy Bears. Had a childhood one that got accidentally donated after the kids grew up. I still have a cute pink (my favorite color) with white hearts that my youngest son gave me one birthday. He went to build a bear, love that store.


Bill Facker

JULES .. You make me blush .. so I probably resemble "Crusty" right this moment! :-) Aloha, Bill

Kristin Espinasse

EMaria, Huge smile now listening to Teddy Bears Picnic. Thank you!

Mom, thanks for all the Teddy bears you ever gave me! I realize, now, that you love them just as much and probably had a Teddy Bears picnic somewhere in the mountains.

Esther, I wonder if I saw your party on Facebook and it registered in my subconscience (sp) until -- voila -- todays post!

Danielle, that collage really spoke to me!

David, thanks for the history on Teddy! 

Thank you all for sharing your Teddy bears here. It gives a new appreciation for these sometimes neglected stuffed friends of ours! Go find your teddy bears and shake off the dust.... and sing the Teddy bear song (I am... )

French Word-A-Day

Book: Blossoming in Provence: 

Latest video from France/sign up to our channel:

Diane Young

Love those teddy bears. Am going to take a picture of my group and try to send it to you but I'm very bad at that kind of thing. Anyhow, even though I'm in my 70's, I still treasure my little rocking chair (was my father's) full of bears of many sizes.

Henry Cross

I rescued Teddy from the trash bin in our apartment complex. He looked forlorn so I took pity on him and he has been with me ever since, over 12 years.
I called him Teddy because that is what I thought he should be called. As I am a not very observant male I was wrong about his species.
When I introduced my girl friend (now my wife) to Teddy, she said "he is a lion, not a Teddy".
He is however, still called Teddy and he sits on our sofa along with Fifi his tiger companion.


Our dear Kristi,
What a wonderful post! (and pictures!)
The only thing to make us feel more wrapped in smiles than all the sweet Teddy Bears are the stories of beautiful acts of kindness! Wonderful!
Though I'm sure I had a favorite Teddy, the one toy to steal my heart was a small stuffed poodle. ("Poodley")(not very imaginative,is it?) I was four and we'd just lost out terrier (hit by a car). A family friend (disguised as Santa) gave Poodley to me as a buddy to help me through the loss. He did just that,throughout all my growing up years.
My husband and I were spending the night at my parents' house when it caught fire (remember those shake shingle roofs in Phoenix?) They were elderly then and Rod and I had our hands full getting them and the pets to safety. I never found Poodley,but his memory still gives me joy.
THANK YOU for helping me to remember him again today.
Love, Natalia XO
PS When I was handling our renovations and things got tight, I'd take a good book,a flashlight, and go hang out by myself in the closet for 15 or so minutes. Bathroom worked,too.
Just a short getaway to keep me sane!

gerard orme in Sonoma, Ca.

We all need a mascot to assist us through the bad times and the good. Mine is a stuffed lion with mangy hair and crooked whiskers who I have had many years. When irritable, restless and discontent, I look up at him; a lion always sits at the position of superioirity; and give him a nod of recognition and gratitude for sticking with me.

Laura Weiss-Lampert

A timely post as I choose a teddy panda bear from the hospital gift shop the week during my stay for pain management for my cancer. He sure brightens my days.

Joanne Johnson

Nothing is more comforting than a teddy bear. I still have my first bear. He's at least 75 years old, sans all facial features and pretty raggedy. When my Airedale, Timmy, he of the button nose and button eyes, died, I bought myself a teddy bear with button nose and button eyes to comfort me.

Erik Walton

I did the AIDS life cycle ride last year, and had the honor of Carrying Dab, The AIDS bear with me on my bicycle from SF to LA on my bicycle. here's more about the project here: AIDS affects children as well. If you would like to support me on my ride, I am a 24+ year survivor of HIV/AIDS. (And did I mention, I love your blog??? :D )

Erik Walton Here's a pic of me and my buddy bear!!!! <3

Barbara Penn - Palmdale, California

When I was small, I had a beloved teddy whose nose was pulled off by my cousin. I was the same age, but whacked him soundly & he never did anything like that again! Later in life, my friends often had stuffed animals on their beds but I never did.

One day when in my forties I told my husband I had just seen in a shop a teddy bear almost identical to the one that caused the dust-up between my cousin and me. On Valentine's Day that year mon cheri mari surprised me with the very same bear. He and two others gifted by my hubby still grace our bed even though I'm almost 71!

Mary Jo Kolb

Kristi, il y a un bâtiment avec beaucoup de nounours en face de l'hôtel de ville a St-Rémy de Provence. J'ai fait une photo mais elle n'est pas si belle comme tous des vôtres. Peut-être, le temps prochain que vous êtes là, vous pouvez faire une photo?

Mary Jo

Kathleen from Connecticut


For the Advent season, the members of the First Congregational Church of Madison, purchased Teddy Bears and brought them to church on Sundays, music events at church and church meetings. We then gave them to people in two of our health care facilities. These bears were given out with all of the love and hope from the Advent season to give joy and hope to the people who received them.

Sandy Vann

Warm memories, wishes upon reading your lovely posting tonight Kristen. Mille merci's. It is a rather chilly evening in Pezenas after a couple of long days searching for a short term rental home here. I sent my favorite teddy bear to my niece in AZ prior to our move to France, as she was pregnant, awaiting the birth of her first child. My sweet husband had purchased this gorgeous white teddy bear for me while we were dating. What joy to open our email and find a photo last evening of our niece with her beautiful new baby girl. Lovely to know that my favorite bear will now bring comfort and smiles to my niece's newborn. Thanks for another heart warming post. Wishing you the best with the renovation walk in your hills and garden for the space and peace you will need Kristen. Bon chance et bisous.

Ginny Ross

Dear Kristen,
I envision thousands of your followers around the world thinking of their Teddy bears today after seeing your wonderful photos. The mention of "The Teddy Bears' Picnic" has started me on a search for a tiny stuffed musical Teddy bear that plays that charming song. I gave my granddaughter one when she was a baby and now would like to find one for my precious little great-granddaughter. My search online has not been successful. Does anyone know where I might find one?
Hug your Teddy often, Kristen to stay calm during the home renovation.
Ginny in Tucson


I have a Teddy Bear. His name is "Loppy" and he was given to me by my older sister several years ago.
I was visiting her and enjoying with her the last segments of her life. When I arrived at her home she said "I picked out the perfect bear for you. It is at the drugstore where I buy my meds. I want you to come with me to buy it."
We made the trip to the drugstore and she pulled Loopy out of the middle of a bunch of Teddy bears and handed him to me.
"See, his head does just like yours." And, indeed Loopy's head slumped to the right side exactly as did mine. "Isn't he adorable?" she asked. Of course he was and even as imperfect as he was, in truth, because he was thus flawed, I loved him more-immediately. I looked at her bald head, glanced at a reflection of me in the glass of a show case, looked at my new friend, Loopy and thought to myself that imperfections are truly quite wonderful.
Loopy has moved many times since then and still lolls happily on our bed.
Thank you for the reminder of a happy/sad time of re-awakening.

Johanna Huber

Mine was a green bunny mais le meme chose. JH

Johanna Huber

Mine was a green bunny mais le meme chose. JH

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