How to say "chills" (from emotion) in French?
How to say "a small matter" or "something trifle" in French

What does "retour du bonheur" mean and what does this have to do with the word "muguet"?

Field of purple flowers in Orange (c) Kristin Espinasse
Larkspur? These are not lavender... and they're not the lily of the valley (a big subject today in France). Read on... 

retour du bonheur (reuh-toor-doo-buh-neur)

    : return of happiness

Audio File: listen to the following words: Download MP3 or Wav file

D'après le langage des fleurs, le muguet signifie "retour du bonheur".
According to the language of flowers, lily of the valley signifies "return of happiness".

Great book on how to pronounce French words: 
Exercises in French Phonics


by Kristin Espinasse

My daughter tells me that today is the fête du travail, wink, wink, and doesn't that mean we get the day off? 

Wink, wink, I'd say it does.

Click here to see what the rest of France is doing today, a day that symbolizes the return of happiness: le premier mai

Larkspur, or delphinium, and a humble old cabanon in Orange (c) Kristin Espinasse
How to keep your roof tiles from blowing off (or how to beat Mr Mistral at his windy game!) To comment on this edition, click here.

  • Love to read and cook? Win a cooking class in Paris and celebrate Ann Mah's new food memoir! What better excuse to plan a trip to France?

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Where did it go? du bonheur? maybe with the roof tiles in the mistral? I like the thought of Bonne Fête du Muguet! especially in light of "the challenge." And now in reverence of "fete du travail." I'll adopt this new feeling as an annual celebration, so as not to take for granted that which I take on. Wink wink...:)

Sandra Chubb

Clearly the flowers aren't lily of the valley, but if they aren't lavender then what are they please?

Bill Facker

Taking the day off is good .. and enjoy the flowers, no matter what they are! Aloha, Bill

Eileen deCamp

I love the photo of the Larkspur. I bought some of those seeds too earlier this spring when I went "seed crazy".

Enjoy a happy day!

David Simmons

That roof shot is a great way to express the meaning of the mistral to someone like me who hasn't experienced it.



Pour toi: un petit brin de muguet de bois ...

Cynthia Gillespie-Smith

I love the photo of the rocks on the tile roof. Two decades ago when we bought an old mas in the Luberon we also had rocks to hold the tiles down, and even after the roof was completely rebuilt and the potential of flying tiles no longer existed, we put the rocks back up because it looks so Provençal.


I loove the lily of the valley:


Darling Kristi,

Thanks for taking the time to brighten my day - I love you!




Oui, et en Grecque il et 'Proto Mae' (proto maya)!Καλή Πρωτομαγιά.! Oraia! Belle journee!

Diane Young

Thank you for the beautiful field of lavender flowers. I read in Carol Drinkwater's column in "FRANCE" that's it's illegal in France to cut down an olive tree, so you have treasured arbres (oliviers?) in your field. Enjoy the lovely grounds, sea and the May flowers.

Anne Butterfield

A memory of 55 years ago returns on seeing Muguet flowers! My friend & I represented our St Johns Ambulance group to be inspected by Princess Margaret. We had the morning free & did a spot of shopping when I bought Muguet perfume, fish & chips and went on the big wheel in Southports fun park. It was the fear being stuck at the the top of the wheel the greasy repas & the heady Muguet ? that together made me feel so ill and nauseous. I love see the muguet flowers but to this day still deteste their perfume! Love Words in a French life, we have, lived,, in the Gers for many years , itwas this & books like Perfume from Provence which kindled my love of France. Thank you!

Della Seaton - Colorado, USA


An offside: This shows some street art in Saint-Etienne that might be worthy of pictures or a scavenger hunt.

If you go, look for me since I don't know if I will ever get to France - though I have dreamed of it since I was a child. One day perhaps.

Writing here from snowy Colorado where on May 1 we had snow all day (Denver area +) and a Winter Storm Warning on the west side of town!! Its sunny today (May 2) but cool and on the north side we will still have snow tonight!

Kristin Espinasse

Della, that was a great link! Makes one a little more alert when walking down the boring old street... I will be on the lookout for more French street art!

Carolyn  Dahm,  Sharon, MA

Hi Kristin,

Lovely photos once again and a beautiful tradition for the first of May. We have some Lily of the Valley that grows in our yard but I haven't seen it pop up yet here in Massachusetts. I've always loved this sweet flower and its scent and this year, I'll give some to a friend in the French tradition!

Thanks for making me smile. :)

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