Mom goes missing - and What does "quiproquo" mean in French?
Visit our new vineyard? + "hairspray" in French

s'incruster: do you know this popular French word?

Argousier or sea-buckthorn

My smartphone offers these automatic edits. I know they exaggerate the truth, so I'm letting you know that the fruit you are looking at is un chouiard, or "a smig" lighter in reality. As for the taste, I'm not lying when I say these orange berries will make your face pucker faster than French lips!

HulstonExclusive French made clothes now available to purchase on-line. Thomas Hulston Collections.


Vite fait, trois mots!
 Quickly, three words for you today--along with the various situations in which I learned them. (You can listen to Jean-Marc pronounce all three words: Download MP3 or Wav file)

(to crash a party, or to overstay one's welcome)

Friday night, after enjoying salmon and leek crêpes with our Texas Wine Importers, we carried on to Chez Henri--a pizzeria at the end of our local fishing port.

"Salut, les amis!" Jean-Marc announced, swooping in on a large table of montagnards. Our friends from the Alps were back! They'd been invited to join some other friends for a birthday celebration.

"On va s'incruster," my husband announced, greeting his friends with kisses. Then, scooting onto an already cramped bench, he signaled for me to do the same.

The table erupted in cheers, with a lot of tipsy revelers motionning for me to join in, "Allez. Assis-toi! A côté de moi!"

Talk about a warm welcome for a couple of gatecrashers!


Overheard near the beach: 

Mes cuisses sont flasques! (My thighs are flabby!)
La peau de mon ventre est flasque! (My stomach is flabby!)
Mes bras sont flasques! (My arms are flabby!)

(Note: To the person who writes in whenever I share weight-related terms--please know I am not promoting dieting (at the expense of young women readers, as you say). The goal here is to highlight spoken French. Hopefully one day we can file away this word as "dinasaur French"!

(Hippophae rhamnoides)
*see picture at the top of this post

Serendipidous! The following comment by Theresa helped me identify a plant I bought last year at the market in La Ciotat. Ever since the name tag fell off I've been trying to remember just what was this local shrub I'd dragged home--and then I read this reader comment:

For your skin, have you looked into sea-buckthorn? It is a great plant remedy for a lot of skin issues, including cancer.

 Thank you, Theresa. This is great news! I had not realized the buisson I got at the market was so suited for my situation! I'm enjoying all the info on this argousier shrub, including this, from Wikipedia:

Sea buckthorn:  various pharmacological activities such as cytoprotective, anti-stress, immunomodulatory, hepatoprotective, radioprotective, anti-atherogenic, anti-tumor, anti-microbial and tissue regeneration have been reported.

I hope you enjoyed today's change of format. When thoughts are hard to settle, these mini updates are another way to share a few more French words. To comment, click here.

  Max summer job

I leave you with a few photos and a letter from a reader. One of the perks of Max's summer job at the pizzeria? Free food! Max is making plenty of "pies," given that soccer fans are favoring this snack for the soccer Coup du Monde. And what are you eating while watching le foot?

Chère Kristin,

I know you won't remember me, but early last year I sent you a note asking if you knew anything about Maison des Pelerins in Sablet because I wanted to go spend a couple of weeks in the south of France, particularly in the Rhone valley area. You were kind enough to reply and said that while you didn't have any personal experience of it, you had heard some good things. I wanted to let you know that we did go there for two weeks at the end of September and it was truly lovely, the house was larger and prettier that we expected from the photos, with a great little patio and a well-equipped kitchen, the town was tiny and charming and well located and we had the unexpected pleasure of meeting the owners, who were staying in their other property below us. It was a wonderful two weeks, and when I saw the new photos that were posted in today's column, I really wanted to go back there! 

Bien amicalement à vous,

Deborah Page

(Thanks, Deborah. Great to read your review of our longtime sponsor, Maison des Pelerins, in the beautiful village of Sablet. To view photos of this rental home, click here.)

Braise and bee flower

Braise and the bee flower -- the name escapes me at the moment, but they grow here, abundantly, after Jean-Marc used them as a soil amendment (afterwhich we learned these flowers are bee favorites. Good for saving and protecting les abeilles.)


Mom dressed up our picnic table, using the almonds we picked. I love this picture--and loved the comments at Facebook. This photo caption from Sh'reen Morrison really made me laugh:

"Got her back with the help of the CIA, FBI, TSA and all Santa's Reindeer ! Nice work Kristin !"

(If you missed the story of Mom's 10 hour disappearance, read it here.)

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal week after week. If you find value in this website and would like to keep it going strong, I kindly ask for your support by making a donation today. Thank you very much for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

Ways to contribute:
1. Paypal or credit card
2. A bank transfer via Zelle, a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase my book for a friend, and so help spread the French word.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


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Au contrary les histories de flasques makes me run out and exercise.
Great day to all!


Oops, typo ... Tablet didn't like "contrare" ... Desolee

Alison at The Gracious Posse

Another great picture of Jules. Her impromptu tablescaping proves that she is as talented as you.

David Sheegog

That "bee flower"is Vetch, a close kin to Afalfa. It fixes Nitrogin into the soil, and bees really to love it. In fact, Vetch honey is the best honey in the world. The other good thing about the plant it is encourages microrizel(sp?) organisms which are also good for the soil.

I don't know how many varieties of Vetch are in France, but I know of two for sure - the one you have in your yard, which I have in mine, and another variety I've seen in fields on the road over the Montaigne Noir to Mazamet.


I know the "bee flower" as phacelia . . .

Sarah LaBelle near Chicago

Ah you meant the photo was altered automatically, making the berries look a stronger orange than they realy are. I am slow this morning! Automatic edit meant words to me, until my brain engaged.

Wow, just saying the word for flabby or thin or fat gets a reader upset !! Well, my body has gone flabby on me, so it is a reality I face, and thus need a word for it.

Almonds in their shell do look great on the table. I never saw that before your photos. I see them shelled, ready to eat.

Monarda is a bee attracting flower, but I am not sure if those in your photo are monarda didyma or something else.


The "bee flower" I am familiar with is Bee Balm -- as Sarah says, it's Monarda. But the leaves are very different from the leaves of the plants in your photo.

By the way, counter-intuitively, it's "pizzeria" not "pizzaria"; and I think you mean your picture is a smidge lighter. It's the abbreviated form of smidgeon.

The reader who objects every time you explain a word relating to weight would do better to be concerned at the fact that 34.9% of U.S. adults are obese (most recent figures from Centers for Disease Control).

Kathleen from Connecticut

Your mom looks so beautiful. When you look at her, you can see how beautiful you will continue to look as you get older. Love her table arrangement.
...and of course Braise is a beauty against the flowers.
A family of beautiful females.
You are blessed...least we forget the handsome men in your life....and beauty is not JUST skin deep but dedicates out from within .... The spirit and soul.

catharine ewart-touzot

you are indeed fortunate to have so many lovely pictures of your mother..glad she arrived safely.


Vous avez une mere amiable et l'adore. Je vois votre visage dans le sien. Quelle chance :)


Our dear Kristin,
Another wonderful post today!
How privileged we are to spend such happy Summer adventures with you!
No better way to start the week!
Thank you!
Natalia XO

Cynthia Lewis

I enjoyed the format today and always learn so much. Of course Jules stole the show! It's no wonder she has happy and unique adventures for she has an open, generous heart to match her beauty. And you are the same, Kristin. Thanks so much for today's FWAD.

Diane Young

Jules is one of those people whom you miss as soon as she leaves. Thanks for sharing her visit, pictures and interesting fruit. It is tres humide ici, quoique seulement in the 80's (Fahrenheit)/ Il y a un orage dans l'Atlantique and that makes me a little nervous although the weathermen say it will likely go up the coast around the Carolinas and as yet isn't large. Dinosaur the word contains "saur" which is used for various reptile types in addition to the many big creatures of long ago.Greek;deinos (terrible) and saurus (lizard).

Chris Allin

Wish I could meet your mom, Kristin. She reminds me of the free spirits toward whom
I gravitate,the kind of friends who just make everyone happy to be around.

A beautiful photo of Braise. I think FM might have pointed out the flower...phacelia tanacetifolia or more commonly purple tansy?


Bonjour Kristin
I put a several drops of sea buckthorn oil in my facecreams. Supposed to be good for the skin and has anti-oxidants. I get it at WholeFoods in Vancouver, B.C. (where I live). I love your writings and I hope to meet you one day when I am walking around a market or village in your area. I haven't been to France in 5 years, but just retired from teaching and would love to spend a few months in Provence improving my French. I am always looking at the "housesitting" websites in hope of finding a little gem that speaks just to me!! Maybe one day !!! All Your writings are so fun and informative - I always look forward to your next adventure. Merci et A Bientot ! Patricia in Vancouver

Judy Feldman from Flagstaff, AZ

We also stayed at the Maison des Pelerins in Sablet - a few years ago. I agree, it's a wonderful house to rent! And so nice of the owners to sponsor Kriistin's blog.

Philip Hicks

As a luddite, I don't have an MP3 player or am I able to download the pronunciations as you suggest. Please put in the OLD fashioned guide you used before. eg. (seen crew say') This might not be correct since I can't even get back to your column to check it.
Thanks, love your bits and pieces.


Wonderful post and comments; yet again!
Thank you Kristin and readers. You help this brain from getting flasque! And I am to-ta-le-ment incrustée in this blog... (evil smirk!).
Here are my "typos du jour":
Coupe du monde
Yours in universal love of words, languages and herbs!
Jacqueline in sunny and very cold Brisbane. Propoer winter last!


And another thing:
I would be most interested to find out the final identification of the the blue flower.


L'argousier is fabulous! It has become one of my favourite ingredients in skin lotion.

Kristin, we went strawberry picking yesterday at a local organic farm and I was delighted to see that those blue flowers also grow abundantly there. It could very well be that they are there for soil amendment, but I also know that this particular farm also has a few bee hives, so it's great to know that the flowers are also a favourite of the bees.

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Jacq--and all who have written in. I appreciate your responses, your corrections, and your encouragements much. Wishing you a lovely, lovely Wednesday. Hope this comment makes it through, as my others end up lost or in spam....

David Sheegog

Wrong, Chris Allin,

Here it is:

if you can't see the difference between phacelia and vicia you are some kind of blind.

Kristin Espinasse

And the winning flower is... Phacelia! According to the package of flower seeds: phacelie

Kristin Espinasse

And the winning flower is... Phacelia! According to the package of flower seeds: phacelie

David Sheegog

Your pic is vetch, you may have planted phacelia somewhere on your property, but your pic was not phacelia. Look again at Chis' wiki image - the flower is different and the leaves are different. My vetch came up in my yard without my planting it, and I have to assume yours did the same.

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