See you at Monday's meet-up & How to say fingernail in French
Favorite word for car in French

peau de banane: soothes the skin, whitens teeth


Early this morning, three enormous sangliers crossed the field beside the potager. Jean-Marc and I scrambled to the window, eyes glued to the massive boars (not pictured) that had come out of the forêt. As we stood gazing, a loud snapping broke the silence. It was Smokey, on the terrace below us--bolting toward the trespassers

Tout est bien qui finit bien. All's well that ends well. It took seconds to reach my dog and get him safely into the house. Ouf! Another exciting start to the day. Now let me tell you about yesterday... just after today's word.

Join Jean-Marc and Kristi for the April 28th wine-tasting in St. Cyr-sur-Mer. 10 euros. Email jm.espinasse AT 

peau de banane (poh-deuh-bah-nan)

    : banana peel

Audio File: hear the following example sentence. Download Peau-de-banane

Frotter l'intérieur de la peau de banane sur une piqûre de moustique ou autre insecte, apaise la sensation. Cette astuce marche aussi pour les piqûres de plantes.

Rubbing the inside of the banana peel on the mosquito or other insect bite, will calm the sensation. This tip works for plant bites too. 


Beautifully renovated and decorated home in the Luberon. 4 bedrooms and a study with a sofa bed, each with ensuite (full) bath. This villa comfortably sleeps 7-9 adults.

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

And yesterday we were off!--as though bolting from an Olympic starting block. But no matter how industrious my husband and I try to be--as work-from-home beings--some days every project backfires.

Reluctantly, I left the writing at my desk to begin peeling off bed sheets (the kids--we currently have a house full for spring break--had drowned a mattress in hot chocolate). But as I sat scrubbing, a pan of soapy water beside me, I heard my husband shouting in the side yard....

As I ran from the house, I found Jean-Marc slapping himself silly. 

"Mais! Qu'est-ce qui se passe?!"

Boulders and path
  Smokey's mama, Braise, at the scene of the itchy drama.

Standing below two boulders that offset a path leading up to the kitchen garden, Jean-Marc had just cleared away the overgrown bushes--this in an attempt to create a waterfall. (I noticed the flimsy garden hose was now rigged to the top boulder... fancy that!)

"I think it was a cactus," my husband said, breathless. "It itches all over! Go check the medicine cabinet for anti-itch cream. Hurry!"

My mind was reeling as I pictured the contents of our First Aid kit. Normally there were sparadraps, tape and disinfecting spray. Married to a winefarmer, I'm always prepared for harvesting accidents.... But plant bites? What did we have for those?

No! Turning over the useless bag--the trousse de premiers secours--I kicked it aside and reached for the sack of green clay. I had hoped for baking soda, but I must have left it in the kitchen sink, while cleaning. Running a bath, I tossed handfuls of argile verte into the tub. Jean-Marc appeared, still jumping like a bean, in time to hop right into the cloudy waters.

I was counting on the green clay to "pull" the poison from my husband's skin, but it was clear he still needed something to soothe it. That's when it dawned on me: la peau de banane!

As luck would have it, we had a kitchen counter-top FULL of the fruit! Lately, I've been keeping an arsenal of the high-glucose snack, which helps both my brain and my mood (writing these stories quickly drains the cerveau--and bananas are the perfect way to refuel it! Plus, both my husband and I tend to be edgy given we live on the edge of our passions--as though that might somehow balance them.

I returned to the bathroom with an armful of bright yellow produce and a bright smile to boot! And you, dear reader, should have been a fruit fly on the bathroom wall, witnessing this odd production chain: it took one person to rip open the bananas and chew like mad before tossing the empty skins to the green man in the tub, who caught the flying banana peels in time to scrub his hairy arms and legs like a girl fixing to go to the beach. Only this was no beach. This was just another day in the life of an ordinary couple--

An ordinary couple with extraordinary dreams. To reach them we would have to scoot from the the center of our passions. This, at the risk of meeting that formidable tipping point. And aren't we all frightened of that? 

As I sling banana peels at my soul-mate, I wonder. Perhaps I can't speak for you--or even for my husband. I only know that I do have a dream. I just can't seem to grasp it. Maybe that's because it has begun to change shape? Like chasing a chameleon, it's hard to know what I'm looking for. But it is the search that keeps this engine going. That, and bananas. 

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French Vocabulary

le sanglier = boar
le potager = kitchen garden
ouf = phew
le sparadrap = Band-Aid
la trousse de premiers secours = first aid
le cerveau = brain

New rental in Provence. In the charming village of Sablet--this spacious home is the perfect place to return to after sightseeing, bicycling or hiking.


Smokey, parsley for pesto and for fingernails, and some sheep bells which make opening the kitchen window a delightful country melody.

Caro feely

Here's a wonderful photo-vignette of my book, by winemaker and author Caro Feely (taken at her vineyard!). Check out her fascinating memoir on starting a vineyard in France--it's called Grape Expectations, and delightfully so!

Grape Expectations: "this is a unique insight into the world of the winemaker, and a story of passion, dedication, and love"

Click here to order Caro's book.

My desk

I enjoy writing from my father-in-law's card table. Its fuzzy green top peeled off long ago, before I met my husband. I never had the chance to meet Jean-Marc's dad, Gerard, but sometimes wonder if he is watching over us.

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