Meetup at our place + How to say "fair trade" in French?

bonne rentree (et bon courage!)

Sunflower tournesol golden retriever smokey
Smokey wishes you all une bonne rentrée. And, naner naner!, after enjoying his breakfast baguette, Smo-smo gets to linger beneath the lazy sunflower whilst Jackie hurries for the bus. How to say "to rub it in" in French?

TODAY'S PHRASE: "bonne rentrée" (f) (boehn-rahn-tray)

    : Happy back-to-school!, Enjoy the new school year!

Audio File & Example Sentence: Download MP3 or Wave file

Saw the following greeting on my friend Zahia's Facebook page. She's been busy wishing her nieces, Meissa and Inès, Bonne rentrée or "Welcome back (to school)."

Zahia writes:

Coucou! Toutes les bonnes choses ont une fin, hélas, je te souhaite de passer une trés bonne rentrée! Hi there! All good things have an end, alas, I wish you happy back-to-school!

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

Merci Beaucoup! 

This morning, and for the first time since summer began, I woke up in a pitch-dark room. Gone was the comforting view of the forest and with it the daily wake-up ritual of searching for my favorite tree (the old umbrella pine at the top of the hill. When I focus on the curve of that arbre I see the outline of a giant heart. Any anxieties that woke up with me disappear beneath the promise of that tree).

This morning no light, no forest, no heart. The buzz of Jean-Marc's réveil jolted our family into a new reality: la rentrée! Back-to-school for our daughter (the remaining fledgling in our nest) means a new schedule for everyone. No more sleeping in 'till seven. No more pep talks with Mr. Pin Parasol. Funny how...with the pursuit of a dream, whether writing or winemaking...each day feels like the first day of class and, waking to the uncertainty of the next 24 hours, we are like small children approaching the giant gates of the schoolyard. Shaking in our boots our socks fall to our ankles as we stumble forth, into the unknown. Another day.

Recently even a big-hearted pine tree could not coax me out of bed. You know the old ditty: Mama said there'd be days like this, there'd be days like this my mama said....

Yes, but just what did Mama say to do on days like this? To find out the answer I called my Mama and here is what she said: "Focus on others, not yourself!" The message was delivered firmly but with love.

Facing a new work day, I sucked up and wrote about another's pain, sharing my mother-in-law's situation instead of my own. Next, my thoughts traveled over to you, dear reader, and how you are surely experiencing "days like this." I wondered, Did you, too, dial up my Mom, who gave you the same answer: "Focus on another!" Because that would explain the outpouring of support following the previous post. I did not expect so much sympathy over a seemingly unsentimental subject: email. You must have read between the lines of the story -- when suddenly a heart came into focus

I'm looking out my bedroom window now and the big-hearted tree is finally coming into view. Ouf! It's back! And with it a new day. But I didn't want this day to end before sending you a sincere remerciement. Thank you so much for looking past your own pain and focusing on another's. Your empathy is deeply touching!

This post was supposed to be about back-to-school and the French penchant for wishing everyone bonne rentrée, or happy first day of classes. But we haven't gone too far off theme: "Happy return," after all, is the universal topic, the bonne rentrée everyone's talking about. Yes, many happy returns! May each day be a new day--with new hope and new courage for all. Whatever is hurting you, let it gently blend into this friendly forest and reappear as the giant heart of compassion: the balm to heal all wounds. Bon courage.



Bonne rentrée = Welcome back to school!
un arbre
 = tree
le réveil = alarm clock
le pin parasol = umbrella pine, stone pine
ouf! = phew!
un remerciement = thanks
bon courage! = good luck!
amicalement = yours, best wishes 


  Gloves gants arrangement

Things that make me happy? Decorating my potting stand with vineyard gloves and clothespins. Just looking at this scene brings a smile. Any you? What makes you happy? 

To comment on this post, click here.

 Pomegranate tree grenadier and golden retriever
Breizh, Smokey's mom napping beneath the pomegranate tree... this makes me happy.


"Bonne rentrée" is a commonly used French expression that translates to "good back-to-school" or "happy return." It is typically used in France and other French-speaking countries to wish someone well as they return to school or work after a break, such as summer vacation or a holiday.

This phrase is often heard in the weeks leading up to the start of the school year in September, and it reflects the sentiment of encouragement and positivity for the upcoming academic or work-related challenges. It's a way for people to express their hope that the return to daily routines and responsibilities will be successful and enjoyable.

"Bonne rentrée" can be used in various contexts:

1. **Informal Conversations**: Parents may use it to wish their children a good start to the school year. Friends and colleagues may also exchange this expression to offer encouragement and support as they resume their regular activities after a break.

2. **In the Workplace**: Colleagues might use it to greet each other as they return to work after a holiday or vacation. It helps create a positive and welcoming atmosphere.

3. **School Environment**: Teachers may use it to welcome students on the first day of school, and students might say it to each other to express good wishes for the academic year ahead.

4. **In Social Media**: It's not uncommon to see "Bonne rentrée" posted on social media platforms by individuals, schools, or organizations as a way of marking the return to regular schedules.

Overall, "Bonne rentrée" is a simple yet meaningful expression in French culture that reflects the emphasis on education and work-life balance. It's a way to encourage and motivate individuals as they transition back into their daily routines, and it serves as a reminder that new beginnings can be filled with opportunities and positivity.

Students in la ciotat
An old class photo with students from La Ciotat, France

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Smokey wishes you all une bonne rentrée. And, naner naner!

Que veut dire "naner, naner"?

PS Think a ditty is what you meant and not diddy.....

Sharon Auckerman

Good morning to all,
Today I can say this with a happy heart because in-spite of my troubles I am able to share something that has been of value to me for many years. I have SAD and I also suffered from clinical depression for many years after my last child was born. During those dark days where just waking up was a chore I sought answers from doctors, some were sympathetic, but most weren't. Then I talked with my grandmother, who it turned out also suffered from depression, and she told me (much like your mother), to keep my hands busy and to not think about what was bothering me. I took this to heart and to this day it helps when the SAD starts to take over. (I also use a light box which works wonders and a doctor finally prescribed a medicine that helped)

Kristin Espinase

Sharon, just commented before I saw your note, above (when I answer comments via email, they often appear later than the other comments). So I will try responding directly. Just to say thank you for sharing your story, which is helpful and encouraging to so many.

Thanks to all who respond to these posts, whether with edits, stories, links and information. It is all much appreciated!

Herm in Phoenix, AZ

Salut Kristin,

Fall is coming here also. In Phoenix, the daily high will be less than 100 degrees by weekend according to forecasts.

I remember one of YOUR mother’s sayings . . . . . . “Thank you God for moments like this”


Leslie NYC

Buddhists say if you want to be happier, think of others. If you want to be less happy, dwell on yourself. I find a lot of truth in that.

Catharine Ewart-Touzot

Change always comes with sadness..even when going into a better place, time, home, work, season. We see ourselves, and all around us aging..and in fall the leaves turning and falling off, the daylight retreating..somehow we must transform these thoughts into anticipation and excitement for life's next phage, adventure.


Sometimes it is difficult to get up in the morning. In 2013, we lost my mother, and two months later, we lost our son. It's been over a year, but I'm still dealing with the loss. I'm sure I always will, but we have two other sons and their families for whom I'm very grateful. What makes me happy is spending time with my granddaughters :-) They're so full of life! I can completely forget about my own thoughts and feelings for a while and focus on them.


Kristin Espinasse

Sandy, my heart goes out to you. Loved reading about the joy your granddaughters bring you!

Catharine, poetic and encouraging. Thanks. Enjoying everyone's thoughts. Mille mercis.

Trina, St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

"Whatever is hurting you, let it gently blend into this friendly forest and reappear as the giant heart of compassion: the balm to heal all wounds. Bon courage."

Thank you, Kristin, for these words of encouragement; I needed them today. And thank you for being brave enough to share your stories even on the days they are not light and carefree.

Thank you, thank you. Your blog shines a little light when some days we are navigating in the dark.

edie schmidt

Bonne rentree a vous!
I am reading a excellent French novel (translated into English) called "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" by Muriel Barbery. Have you read it? I think you would appreciate it and it would speak to you.

Edie from Savannah

Faye Stampe,   Gleneden Beach, OR


Such a moving post with bittersweet comments. I love the buddhist saying: I even wrote it down and put it on the fridge. Everyone can benefit from it.

I love the photos -- please consider a French Word-A-Day 2015 calendar ---- with your beautiful photos of your pups, France, your garden, and your wonderful life! It would be unique & classy.

Stay well!

Chris Allin

Dear Kristin.

Trina just quoted what must be some of the most beautiful words you have written... bringing to us a such hope and inspiration. It speaks to me of faith... in ourselves, in each other and in a power far greater than any of us. I, too, draw strength from a tree outside my bedroom window.... a cherry
(cheery!) tree. I will now think of your closing words of today and Bon Courage as I gaze upon our cherry tree each morning. Your thoughts, so beautifully expressed, are a gift that never stops giving. Thank you~


My husband the cowboy, had two sayings that he lived by. The first get up "Your burnin daylight" and the other " what are you waiting for "You can rest when your dead". He lived a full and very rich life. In fact he didn't stop reading and studying until two days before he passed. I am hopeful that he will finish his last project in heaven.


Your posts always teach/remind me of something nurturing. Focus on others - excellent advice. I manage depression in my life with time spent outdoors gardening, walking, etc. Running out of battery.


Kristi, I realized I never did leave a comment following your previous post re: courriel. In the busy world of online work, I think it's easy to think of email as an 'aside' to actual work. And yet, email and social networking takes up so much of our precious time! You lead by example and we can all borrow from your lessons. I know it's certainly true for me. Thank you so much for the reminder to focus on others in times of uncertainty and when events get challenging. It's very timely for me, as my older son nervously goes back to school and my littlest is about to start nursery school, separating from me for the first time to be with people he has never met before. I know that this transition probably seems minuscule, compared to your grown-up children's transitions, but each of us perceives our own challenges as very dramatic. There it is again, a good spot to insert the advice to "Focus on another." I will continue to return to it many times in the coming weeks. Lastly, I will say that I will continue to keep you and your family, as well as your belle mere, in my thoughts.

Stacy ~ Sweet Life Farm

Today, your story made me happy, though I barely have time to read it as I am out the door for appointments. Your line, “Whatever is hurting you….” lit a light within me for that is the path for me, the gentle blending of pain into the forest and appearing later as a winged creature of compassion and trust.

There’s much more to say, but must be on my way. Thank you for inspiring me today. May you have a lovely day my friend!

Teresa R. Schirmer

happiness is: family,friends, food, laughter...but best said in a Chinese cookie..."to be able to look back upon ones' past life with satisfaction is to live twice."


Our dear Kristi,
Today's post just wound itself around our hearts.So beautifully written,so touching,and such an inspiration when your appreciative readers are also going through a down,as we all sometimes do throughout our lives.
The book which accompanies my daily Bible studies tells me that even on the grayest of days we MUST praise God.Find something of beauty for your soul (doesn't matter what, a flower, a cloud,SOMETHING)and
open your spirit and mind in praise to Him for this gift.Each time I do this,whatever burden is upon me is lifted.
I hope it will do the same for you.
We keep you and your beautiful family in our prayers always.
Each day you wrap us in hugs and we send them back to you!
Natalia XO


A teacher from my youth said this:

If you are blue little girl, if you're blue,

Do something for somebody-quick.

It really annoyed me then-I get the point now.

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks, Claudette. And naner naner means that I have something you do not have, so naner naner. But I could be mixing up expressions or misspelling things :-)


It's comforting to know I'm not alone - none of us are, it just feels like it sometimes. It's good to have a community of loving people with wonderful advice. I think the best 'be happy' advice is to 'get busy and think of others instead of just dwelling on whatever is going on with yourself.' That's not always easy to do when in the midst of the 'low biorhythms' as my husband calls it. But, it can be well worth the effort, once the light of day starts shining through. Bon chance to one and all!

P.S. I love the photos of the pups and the garden cart with all the gloves!

Suzanne Dunaway

You make me happy, Kristin.
Along with cooking beautiful things.
And growing beautiful things.
And your mother's advice makes me happy.
Please give her my love at a distance. I'm not sure what's happening with her right now, but I'm sending her golden light that goes with her heart and and spirit.
And yes, the rentrer, c'est difficile pour les parents...


Thank you for this sweet post.
Does bonne rentree mean the same as bon retour?

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