Not a cougar! A "wife hen"! + James Dean in France!
Paris meet-up! + "Ticket Restaurant": an idea worth spreading?

Winetasting invitation! + "Allez, zou!"

  1-yellow flowers blue door
If flowers could talk (and who says they can't) then these are shouting ALLEZ ZOU! After oggling this sunshiny plant forever--and owning it, for a time--I broke down and ordered the Helianthus grosseserratus or "sawtooth sunflower" seeds. If you, like me, believe your garden or balcony or windowbox cannot live without this jumble of happiness, then order some seeds like I just did!

And now for some French to keep you in the know:

Allez zou!

    : let's go!, off you go!

from allez! (interjection) and zou (sound) (like shoo!)

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

I was going to write you a story when I realized that today's definitions are as entertaining and inspiring as anything I could cook up for you this morning! (So later I'll tell you about our secret magic wine barrel--the one that grows 300-year-old olive trees and maybe lilacs and figs and ladders to heaven, too! Thank God real life keeps fueling these anecdotes. A writer could not make this stuff up!) 

Now for those definitions I was telling you about. You can listen to them too! Just click on the following links and hurry down to the French words beneath. Allez. Zou!

Sound File: Download MP3 or Wave file and listen to Jean-Marc read all the French text, below (the first is by Wikipédia):

Dans la langue française, zou est une interjection, sûrement d'origine occitane, qui invite à un changement brusque et soudain dans l'attitude. In the French language, "zou" is an interjection, probably of Occitane origine, that invites a swift and sudden change in attitude:

  • Allez zou ! On s'en va. (Come on. Let's go.)
  • Allez zou ! J'achète ce pull-over. (Oh! I'm going to buy this sweater.)

And here's a wonderful definition from

  • Zou!–petit mot d'origine provençale qui appelle à l'action. Il signifie tout simplement « Allez! ». Zou!—a little word of Provençale origin and a call to action. It means, simply, "Go!" 
  • Zou! est le terme rassembleur par excellence; il est le point de départ des petites comme des grandes aventures. Il précède le premier pas de toute initiative. Il indique la volonté de laisser toute la place à l'action et aux résultats. Zou! in the most excellent rallying term; it is the starting point for both little and big adventures. It preceeds the first step in any initiative. It indicates the will to leave everything to the action and to the results. 

Did you enjoy this last definition and find it as cheering as I did? Did you read it a second time, too? May it be just the invitation to begin  your weekend. Allez, zou! Have a good one!

To respond to this post, or to add to it, click here.


Two places to stay in the South of France:

“La Trouvaille”--a true find in Provence!  Affordable vacation rental in this beautiful old stone house in the charming village of Sablet. 

New rental in Provence! La Baume des Pelerins, in Sablet--spacious, comfortable the perfect place to return to after a busy day’s sightseeing, bicycling or hiking.

Remember those "sawtooth sunflowers" I told you about, earlier? They, and we, lived here once upon a time--along with these beautiful plants you see in the photo (all gifts from Malou and Doreen, "the Dirt Divas").

When Caroline and Thomas bought our vineyard, Caroline thoughtfully dug up and sent back some of the plants--the first, "eurphorbia" (I'd heard it was an alternative treatment for that skin cancer, but Caroline urged me NOT to experiment. I listened to her... but wanted the plant, anyway). Caroline also collected seeds from my favorite sawtooth sunflowers (previously dug up at Malou or Doreen's and transplanted in front of our grape vines). But I've somehow misplaced the seeds! (They've got to be here, in a pocket... somewhere. Hence, my recent online order!

The good news is--and the reason for this long-winded introduction--you can soon meet Carolyn and Thomas at their upcoming winetasting (near Nice). I'll be there too and if you ask me, I'll even pass you a few of the sawtooth seeds I've been going on about! I'll put them in my pocket (on second thought maybe that's a bad place, after all?)

Very excited to have received this invitation from Julie and Dan, who are happy to extend it to you, too! Julie and Dan write:

You are cordially invited to a wine tasting on Saturday, 01 February 2014. Domaine Rouge Bleu ( is a Côtes-du-Rhône winery, ideally situated between the revered appellations of Gigondas and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The wines of Domaine Rouge Bleu–Dentelle, Mistral, and Lunatique – have  garnered accolades from numerous concours events and wine publications, including Wine Spectator, RVF and Guide Hachette.

The proprietors, Caroline Jones and Thomas Bertrand, will lead a tasting of select Rouge Bleu cuvées and vintages and share their philosophy of terroir and their passion for the principles of bio-dynamic farming and natural vinification. Please join Caroline and Thomas at: Le Tire Bouchon 198 Chemin des Comtes de Provence 06650 Le Rouret 06 95 08 74 70 

*    *    *

Hope to see you there! I won't forget those seeds--and maybe I'll have some others...

Collecting cosmos seeds at Domaine Rouge-Bleu. About to stick them in my pocket. And then forget all about them.

Enjoy this bouquet and have a bright and wonderful weekend. 

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal each week. If you find joy or value in these stories and would like to keep this site going, donating today will help so much. Thank you for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

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


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Kristin - I grew up here in the South (Georgia, to be exact)hearing and using the word "shoo" all of my life. It's used just like your "zou" to mean "go" or "run along". Now I know the origin of that word, thanks to you! Those "sawtooth sunflowers" of yours look just like a plant we grow here called a "swamp daisy". they can get to be 8 to 10 feet tall.
Thanks for your always entertaining, informative and delightful entries!


Always thought it sounded like "Soo" and not "Shoo".
In Italian they say - Andiamo, su - which is short for subito.

Love all your posts -

Joanie Clark

Hi Kristin,
Love this new word "zou". I think It will be one of my favorites. And I love he picture of you with your Cosmos. They were one of my fathers favorites. He loved to garden and he always had tons of cosmos mixed in with the other flowers for cutting. My mother hated gardening but fortunately for me I have my fathers love of the soil and the marvelous things it produces. Even though my mother hated gardening she decided one day to help dad by weeding his garden while he was at work. When dad returned home that evening Mom was so excited to show him what she had done (it was truly an act of love in her eyes). He looked at his garden that had started to sprout hundreds of cosmos only to find mom had weeded them all out. Good thing they really loved one another.
Mom was informed that in the future HIS garden was off limits. My brother-in-law says "It is sometimes true that good deeds hardly ever go unpunished."

Linda R.

Good morning, Kristin. Your photos are wonderful - they remind me that spring is not too far around the corner. I have never heard the expression allez zou - love it! Thank you for bringing to us 'all things French'. It's a nice ray of sunshine to begin the day.


Hi, Actually for a Provençal-born (is it correct ?) and overall born in Marseille, you can imagine I am very used to this expression "allez zou !" and... we also use it for : "dépêche-toi" (hurry up !), it depends on the situation - the moment - and the way of pronouncing it.
Have a very nice WE all of you here in France and/or in my favorite foreign Country !

Patty Gibian

Good Morning,
It is -10 degrees Celcious this morning here in
Gwynedd, Pennsylvania. We are expecting more snow tomorrow.
What fun it is to look forward to seeing French Word of the Day.
I always thought it was sout now I can pronounce it properly,
Merci and thank you. Two members of our French Conversation
Group also get your blog. I love to read the ads for rentals too
All the best,

Kristin Espinasse

Claudette, sorry for the confusion. The correct pronunciation is zoo. :-)


Chere Kristin, today's post brings a bit of printemps to a dreary morning in south Louisiana. Everyone is hoping for snow but getting rain and sleet accidents, unwanted lagniappe. Love the photo of you among the Cosmos! Brightens my day. Merci!

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristin,

I love this word and the last definition which I did read a second time! How many of us will go out on an adventure now this weekend?! Your photos are gorgeous and I ordered some of the sawtooth sunflowers too! I had some Cosmos last summer that were the same color!

Jan greene

Thank you for the sunny, flower photos as we are in the deep freeze,

Audrey Wilson

Hi ! Kristin,
It's always good to learn new expressions in day to day french . Here in the Roussillion the expression is 'Allez-y ' ! . I shall try the Provençal version out & see how many locals know it . Might be a one off score for l'anglaise !!
Perhaps one day you could cover the french expression for missing someone or something . For we English it is a strange arrangement of the words.."Ma mère me manque " to say "I miss my mother"
I collect seeds from my acanthus molinus Perhaps we could exchange ??!

Herm in Phoenix, AZ

Salut Kristin,
Today’s French lesson helped. The conversational French course I’m taking often used that phrase at the beginning of a session. For a long time, because of the French liaisons, I thought they were saying “aller òu” (go where) which didn’t make sense in the context. Your FWAD today helped with the usage of the phrase.

Gaelle from AZ

Hello Kristin! Planted my Hollyhocks and nasturtium last week. Am inspired to plant the sawtooth sunflowers and cosmos now as well! The seeds are in my Amazon cart. Winter seems to have deserted us (someone told it to (allez zou?) here in the desert so...on with Spring! Thank you for the inspiration.

Gaelle from AZ

Oops..sorry for those typos!

David Navarre

Oh, I didn't realize they were right outside our doorstep when we visited in September! We stayed in Avignon, but ventured afield often in our two weeks, including attending the Festival des Chefs in the amphitheatre in Orange. If I'd realized where they were, we'd certainly have visited.

I missed my first chance to taste at the dinner in DC with the Chief Grape when I was bed-ridden for 3 days last year, forcing us to cancel our reservation. If they come to the US, make sure you announce it, so we can make it to one of their events.


The tall pink flowers are hollyhocks.


Our dear Kristi,
This lovely post today does indeed start
our weekend off in the best way!
ESPECIALLY the photos of beautiful you and our bouquet!
Truly a treasured gift!
Natalia XO

Faye Stampe, Gleneden Beach, OR

I love all your photos & posts. Today was so needed, to just think about Spring is a treat!

Thank you and stay well!

Nancy, San Antonio, Texas

I have allez zou ed into my painting studio. Thanks for your energizing post. Have a great weekend. Off to mthe garden center tomorrow. Love your blog!!!


I looked up "oggling" because it was a new word for me. Urban dictionary says it is secretly staring at a woman's breasts or derriere. Is that what you meant to convey?

linda doyle

The site is a super idea BUT let's not presume that we all know the actual pronunciation. It'd be a WUNderful idea to include the phonetic pronunciation. Right? Allez, for instance...

Kathleen from Connecticut

I used to say "Allez-y" to my cats. They have since passed away,but I will try the Allez zou when I am again in Provence.
Love the pictures of the flowers and maybe I'll try growing some cutting flowers,but deer seem to eat everything unless I continuously spray it. They are pretty,but they do a job on the garden and now that it is winter, they are eating all the food in my bird feeders.


Kristin Espinasse

Ellen, LOL! On second thought--maybe not. But I sure so lust after those flowers :-)

Linda, Zut! Forgot the pronunciation guide this time. Be sure to listen to the sound files --recorded by a French national (myhusband).

Lis Steeden

Hope more wine tasting to come later in the end of February we'll be 'in' Provence and setting up our little B&B in La Roque d'Anthéron - so lots to do this spring...have a nice weekend :)

Diane Young

Vivent des fleurs! What a wonderful sight, all those beautiful flowers to cheer up my cold, gray day. Milles remerciements. Vous etes toujours bienvenue chez moi.

Joan Linneman

I've used Allez-y, Allons-y, and Vas-y forever. Allez zou is fun; I'll have to remember to use it. It seems especially approrpriate for piling the dogs in the car. I've always liked "donc" too, for stress. We are sitting here in the midwest waiting for the new eruption of what the meteo here is calling a "polar vortex."
Joan L.

june furey

Kristen, so love the photo of you amongst the cosmos flowers. I really enjoy all your pictures but I think this one captures your lovely smile also, may you have years of happy days ahead,will try and capture a likeness in a painting, its so full of color. June, Gold coast, Qld

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