How to say "snapshot" in French + photos from Sanary-sur-Mer
sejour + how to say "a nice change of scenery" in French

To spring for the bill (or how to say "it's on me" in French)

Quincaillerie or hardware store (c) Kristin Espinasse
An old hardware store in Les Arcs-sur-Argens... and another one in today's vignette.

c'est moi qui paye (say-mwah-kee-pay)

    : it's on me

Example Sentence:
Non, mais tu rigoles? C'est moi qui paye!
Don't be silly. I'm paying for it! 

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

"I think the translation is 'hardware store'," I say to my dad as we enter our town's old quincaillerie.

My belle-mère nods her head: "I used to love hardware stores...."

As Marsha looks around the small boutique, I can see nostalgie in her eyes: "My kids would each choose something--they loved hardware stores too!"

"They sell all kinds of things here," I point out. "Look there's a wicker panier... and a potato peeler... and some curtain rods.... And over there you can get a new key made. It's the everything store," I say, as our eyes comb the walls of the narrow shop, filled to the brim with machin-trucs, or doodads. 

Speaking of dads, I feel a little guilty for dragging mine into the "everything" store, after our latest shopping sprees: we've been to the butcher's--for cordon bleu and beignets de courgettes--and to the market for a hat and a dress!

"You shouldn't have to pay for everything," I say to my dad, as the shopkeeper adds up the bill (we've bought furniture polish, a static duster, and a can of WD-40 that Dad wants to use to repair the creaky doors on my car).

"We have such a lovely free hotel..." Marsha says, "it is the least we can do!" my belle-mère's twinkling eyes meet my Dad's, and the latter can't help but agree. The shopkeeper seems to agree too and he snaps up two more bills from Dad's wallet

 As the transaction comes to a close, the shop's cat, "Fefield" (from Felix and Garfield--his family couldn't make up their minds) looks up from his post beneath the canned paint. He stretches his legs and yawns as the sentimental tourists leave his shop.


French Vocabulary

la belle-mère = step-mom

la nostalgie = nostalgia

le panier = basket

le machin-truc = a doodad or whatchamacallit

 le beignet de courgette = zucchini fritter

  How much is that Dad in the window? (c) Kristin Espinasse
Dad and his morning coffee. He's in the family room, where Marsha is answering an email to her grandson, Aaron. I can hear her giggling reading Aaron's message. 

Three shades of bleu: sky blue, t-shirt blue, ping pong table blue. (Dad and Marsha love playing ping pong with their grandchildren).


That hat Marsha and Dad bought me. It's hanging on the window, waiting for another stroll out to the garden, or a picnic. Speaking of lunch... I'm off now to see about those left-over cordon bleus... See you next week! Enjoy your weekend :-)


Jackie and Grandpère Kip (c) Kristin Espinasse
A couple of fish, poolside. Love this snapshot of Dad and Jackie (taken in 2003 when Jackie was 5 years old). By the way, did I tell you my dad is a famous actor?

(Just kidding--but he is a star in his daughter's heart!)

Droguerie in Orange, France (c) Kristin Espinasse
Is there a difference between a droguerie and a quincaillerie?

Chez Eugenie - Bazar - Mercerie in St. Tropez (c) Kristin Espinasse
Then again, a bazar / mercerie seems to carry the kind of things a droguerie or a quincaillerie carries... are they synonyms of each other: quincaillerie - mercerie - droguerie? (Photo taken in St. Tropez)

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Bill in St. Paul

That's what parents/grandparents are for, Kristen, to pick up the tab so everybody can have fun. We're on Cape Cod where we gave each of the three grandchildren $5 to spend as they like. At the candy store, the money quickly disappeared. Watching the different approaches to consuming the candy was interesting, one is a saver, the other two are immediate consumers.

Edie Marie

I'm so excited to find your blog! I am attempting to learn some french in my golden years and am so happy to learn expressions and phrases. Everything on your post is so interesting.

Thank you for teaching us and sharing with us!
Blessings, Edie Marie

Eileen deCamp

Love the photo of Jackie and your dad! So precious! Sounds like you are having a great time with your dad and Marsha!


Hi Kristin,
I,m in Rognes housesitting and I have asked my Marseilles friend the difference between the two.The Droguerie has mostly cleaning supplies for the house,baskets etc but the quincaillerier is for hardware supplies,anything to fix things.Enjoying your stories with your Dad,very important to have family close to you.

Linda - New Delhi, India

I too love the photo of your dad and Jackie. There's such tenderness in the way he's holding her, his cheek angling towards hers, and on Jackie's part the security and happiness with which she's snuggling into him. It's a real study in affection. Thank you Kristin.


Great photos! I have also heard "Je t'invite." to imply "It's on me."

Jacquelyn S

I always enjoy reading your charming vignettes - and I also loved the perception of the blues in the photograph of your Dad with the sky. It is very trompe l'oei!



I am laughing my head off as I read your post this morning, of course I am reading between the lines, since I am your Mom and know what is really going on behind the scenes of your mind...!

I am falling in love all over again with the wonderful combination of "Kip & Marsha.'

Still laughing that Kip has decided to tackle your car. Brings back memories of the day Uncle Tucker decided to work on your car long ago when you lived in Les Arcs...

You are truly blessed to have a Dad like Kip - loved this story about your day...please keep these wonderful memories coming.

Big hug to Kip & Marsha...



Kathleen from Connecticut


I understand the ...c'est moi qui paye....because if we get free room .....we offer to pay the board...that is buy food and cook it or else buy little things which the need. Itis the least that we can do.

I too love the pics if Jackie and her father and of course all of the others.



Lovely story and love the photos, Kristin, as always. Bisous from Paris.


Kristen, we love your posts and newsy, fun insights of your family. Thanks. My wife and I lived in the Paris region (Seine-et-Marne) for over 10 years, and loved every moment of it!

From what we observed in the local shops at the time, I think there's a little overlap between a quincaillerie and a droguerie, with the latter being like an old-fashioned, American "general store".

However, there's more in common between a droguerie and a bazar-mercerie, which are comparable to a small, mom-and-pop operated "department store" such as a Kresge's 5 & 10 , a Woolworth's, or a W.T. Grant store. These would carry some hardware items such as simple tools, and packs of penny nails or screws, but not much more.

(from Wisconsin, U.S.A.)

julie camp

Tender. Tight. A JUST-RIGHT, slice of life story, K. Encore.

Faye Stampe, Gleneden Beach, OR

Hi Kristin,

I love the photos of the shops --- they are so colorful & bright. Enjoy your dad & step mom!

Stay well!

Trina, St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

As always, your blog is a bright spot to my day. LOVED the 2005 photo of Jackie and her dad; delightful!

Nancy in Fort Worth, TX

I see a strong family resemblance between your son and his maternal grandfather in the 2003 photo of Jackie above.


Mother of Gawd. I looked online for a French dictionary with a definition of quincaillerie and found this example of idiomatic usage:

Jetez votre quincaillerie!
Drop your shit on the floor.

Pass the smelling salts with this one.

Bill Facker

Let Dad pick up the tab, Kristin ... your love for him and his pride for you and your success is more than a balance for the few Euros. Besides, anytime a guy can get his hands on a can of WD-40....oh yeah, Baby, we are Happy Puppies! Aloha, Bill


Could not Quincaillerie and drogerie and bazar-mercerie not all be subsumed under Bazar aux Couleurs?

Judi Miller, Lake Balboa, CA

I don't know the difference in the types of stores, just that I want to go into each of them... I could probably spend my whole vacation just in these three stores - love hardware stores and 5 &10 stores of long ago!
Great pictures as always, from the colorful to the sublime (Kip & Jackie).


I love the blue sky, blue table top, and blue tee shirt photo,!


What a feel good post! Enjoyed.

Barbara Artson

Hi Kristen,

I thought that belle- mere was mother in law.? N'est pas? Merci pour votre blogs.

Barbara Artson


I learned that the way to say "it's on me"
is "c'est cadeau"


West Palm Beach, FL.

Diane Young

I thought drogerie was another word for pharmacie. Tres interessant, ces mots.


Our dear Kristi,
What a wonderful post and beautiful pictures(!); yet another one to make us feel happy and privileged to be part of your family!
XO to you all!
Love, Natalia


Droguerie also has soaps and unguents, doesn't it? At least here in Germany it does. NO pharmaceutical products....LOVE your vignettes, you are one big beautiful family....

Stacy ~ Sweet Life Farm ~ Applegate, Oregon

Sweet story! My dad lovingly takes care of all the fix-it details in his daughters’ lives too. I’m off for a picnic, thanks for the reminder, I’m sure now not to forget my hat!

Enjoy the weekend, Kristi, please give a hug for me to your dear dad and Marsha.

Donna Grieder

Loved it!

Linda Barreira

In France, quincaillerie is about tools, hardware, screws bolts and nuts. Droguerie sells soaps, house cleaners, brooms ect. However many crossover and sell both.

Aurélie Beaumont

Merci pour les photos! La France me manque beaucoup. Merci pour la définition de nappe de mazout. Avez-vous une photo d'une nappe de mazout?

Nancy,                     Cambridge

The mercerie was the only store in France that sold all my needs for an embroidery project I had in mind. There is usually a lovely selection of threads, buttons, needles and hand sewing projects in these stores.
Reading this has been like a mini vacation.

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