ravissant

Bignonia (c) Kristin Espinasse
Bignonias always remind me of our home in Les Arcs, where the flowers clambored up and over the metal pergola beside our driveway, throwing shade onto the boules (or "pétanque" or "bocce ball") court just beyond. Our house in Les Arcs-sur-Argens was a 30-minute drive from Bagnols-en-Forêt, where my English friend, Michèle, had a "pied-à-terre", or second home....

 

ravissant

rah-vee-sahn

lovely


At Michèle's home in Bagnols, I am waiting patiently to meet an Englishwoman who has lived through two world wars. It is easy to pass the time, seated here on a lovely terrace beneath the blossoming cherry tree. The picnic table is gradually filling up as Michèle's golden-haired daughters, Violet and Natalie, bring out roasted chicken, a lovely green-bean salad, and baguettes fresh from the local bakery. 

As the girls disappear into the kitchen in search of les couverts, the guest of honor arrives.

"I'm so sorry for the delay," she apologizes. "The workmen are busy cleaning my terrace. The tiles are covered with mold! I told the men to scrub it down with vinegar. Vinegar works best!"

"Hello Bobby!" Michèle welcomes her neighbor, l'invitée d'honneur.  Bobby pauses to admire the cherry tree, which towers above her like a giant floral umbrella. I try to picture this delicate woman giving orders to a couple of burly ouvriers. In my mind's eye, I see the workmen reluctantly setting aside their industrial cleaners for the simple home remedy: le vinaigre—good ol' sour wine! 

As Bobby settles into her chair, Michèle and her belle-mère, Shirley, shake their heads in appreciation of their friend's latest adventure. 

"Oh, they must love you, Bobby!"

Bobby says that's possible, perhaps because of the beer she gives the men at the end of the workday!

The ladies at the table laugh as Bobby explains what happens when she runs out of Kronenbourg.

"I knock on the neighbor's door." We then learn about Bobby's 72-year-old friend. At 18 years her junior, le voisin wears a black toupee and a handlebar mustache, and provides back-up beer for the sour-scented workmen.


Listening to her colorful story, I notice Bobby's charm and how the flowering cerisier frames her beautifully. Its full, white blossoms muffle the rumbling of a thousand nectar-hungry bees. The buzzing causes us to look up through the trees, to the clear blue sky above. 

"When the Mistral wind blows through, it chases away the clouds," Bobby notes. We search the ciel bleu. Not a cloud in sight.

The sky invites our wondering eyes and questioning hearts. I pull my chair closer to Bobby's.

"What brought you to France?" I ask.

Bobby tells me that when her husband died 12 years ago, she decided to come to the South of France and build a summer nest. She was 78 at the time.

As she shares her story, I can't help but admire her. Her eyes are that pretty shade between "steel" and "powder" that some call robin's-egg blue. Her short hair has that quality of white that tips the edges of the blue sea. I notice how it falls back off her face in endless waves.

Bobby is now talking about her 35-year-old granddaughter, an art teacher in Texas. As she speaks, I try to pinpoint her British accent. Just what part of Angleterre has rubbed off on her voice?

I notice her earrings: large pearl-colored disks. I make a note to wear such earrings in 53 years' time, as if boucles d'oreille would render me as beautiful as she.

Bobby tells me that her 63-year-old daughter has a butterfly tattoo on her hand.

"She got it thirty years ago."

"Were you upset?"

"No. But I told her the butterfly might look different when her skin begins to wrinkle!" 

"Does it?" I am curious.

"It's looking fine," Bobby smiles. Her blue eyes deepen as she turns her attention to the saturated sky.

I look down at my hands as I search for words. I want to tell Bobby that she is like that butterfly.

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Your edits here. Thanks for checking grammar and punctuation. Is the story clear enough? Good to go? Share your thoughts, here in the comments box . P.S. Thanks for checking the vocab section, too!

Did you enjoy this story? Check out Kristi's books, including Blossoming in Provence. They are a wonderful way to increase your French vocabulary and to support this blog. Merci beaucoup!
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French Vocabulary

Bagnols (Bagnols-en-Forêt)
a town in the Var, not far from the sea 

le couvert
place setting (fork, knive, spoon) 

l'invitée d'honneur
guest of honor

l'ouvrier (m)
worker

le vinaigre
vinegar 

la belle-mère
mother-in-law 

le voisin
neighbor

le cerisier
cherry tree 

le ciel bleu
blue sky 

 l'Angleterre (f)
England

une boucle d'oreille
earring

 

A Message from Kristi on this blog's 19th anniversary
Thank you for reading this language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on writing. My wish is to continue creating posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check
2. PayPal or credit card
3. A bank transfer, ZELLE is a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase our online memoir, The Lost Gardens


entrelacer

WWI Memorial (c) Kristin Espinasse
We met near the WWI memorial. Her family name was engraved into the sad stone tribute. Read on, in today's story column.

From French Word-A-Day: don't miss this blog, for nearly 800 posts, words and stories.

entrelacer (ontr-lah-say) verb

    to interlace, intertwine

Sound File & Example Sentence
  Listen to my daughter, Jackie, pronounce these French words:
Download Entrelacer

On a marché, mon amie et moi, les bras entrelacés en amitié.
We walked, my friend and I, arms interlaced in friendship.



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

Angels abound around every corner and if you are lucky you will meet them when you walk in love--my momma always showed me--with grace in your gait....
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It's as easy as this: One minute you are pulling into the parking lot of an unfamiliar town--smoothing your hair... toning down your stars and stripes appearance, so as to fit in, hopefully, as a Frenchwoman--
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and the next minute you are walking, arm in arm, with a stranger twice your age
, chatting like old friends, of bygone days.

(...In the French town of St-Maurice Sur Eygues...)

"You haven't aged a bit!" Madame assures me. I look over to the elderly woman whose delicate arm is laced through my own. I notice how the sun sets off her silver curls. Looking into her pupils, time is erased. We walk on, this time as two venturesome girls.
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We had picked each other up halfway down the street, just past the old, stone lavoir* where, unbeknownst to me, another chance meeting was about to take place, some fifteen minutes into the future, in between meeting Madame, and taking photos of an old Chateau up on the hill...
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Presently, I studied Madame. I noticed she'd put on a jewel-toned scarf, noticed how it clashed, disarmingly, with her faded house-dress. Now this was a woman with whom I could unpack my heart.
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"And so we meet again!" the woman exclaimed, cheerfully. Indeed we had met some ten minutes earlier, for the first time, after I had set out from le parking* to shoot the village. Shoot it not as it was shot at in WWI; I hoped only to capture its "colorful façade," not its people, not against their will.
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It was not far from a WWI monument that Madame struck up the first of our two conversations. That is when I had explained that I was taking photos of the village, to share with others who love France, as I do.  Madame smiled and there began our exchange: we talked about politics, architecture, the mundane ménage* that never goes away, but gets harder day, by aging day. We chatted, ditching traffic now and then (occasionally, a car would drive up or down the country lane, causing me to pull Madame forward, or to push her gently aside, depending. But Madame ignored the danger, content, instead, to focus on the rewarding risk of talking to a stranger).
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"And so we meet again," Madame was now saying.
"Oh... yes," I answered, afraid of making Madame feel obligated. It seemed she was now on her way somewhere--what with that pretty dress-up scarf--and I didn't want to hold her back.
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"Yes," I repeated. "I'm just taking a few more photos. I have to go and get my daughter now...
"Daughter? You have children?"
"Yes, an eleven- and a fourteen-year-old. Une fille et un garçon."*
"Oh, said, Madame, and that is when she flattered me:
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"You certainly don't look old enough!"
"I am 41."
"Ce n'est pas vrai!"*
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I was embarrassed by the first fruits of flattery: red cheeks, warm heart. If I didn't stop Madame now, I might be tempted to listen, un-haltingly. I reveled for a little instant longer (and what a delight and change this was from having one's age over-guessed, not that I have ever once asked to be judged -- but that does not stop others from offering, from accidentally tacking on "time" to a growing collection of facial lines).
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"Et vous, Madame... Quel age avez-vous?"* Again, it is a question I don't dare ask (so as not to be asked) les dames d'un certain âge*... but this dame was different. This dame was divine and the heavens were whispering to me to inquire.
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"Quatre-vingt quatre,"* Madame replied.
"You don't say!"
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And on we walked and talked, helping each other along, now light on our feet: Madame on my arm, my own beneath hers, l'entrelacement des âmes et des dames.*

***

Post note: I gave Madame my calling card, with my web address, but I'm not sure she has internet. I also began to doubt that she has traveled beyond the Drôme... for when I named my home town (not ten miles from her own) Madame looked at me quizzically, as if I had just answered "Sicily". I realized then, that I was in the privileged presence of the venerable past... where people were content to know their neighbors, without the nagging, nefast need.. for newness.

***

Then again... given Madame's curious and energetic disposition, who's to say she's not penning her own blog post, at this very instant? In which case, I hope she is having as much fun in the recounting of this tranche de vie* as I have had writing my version of our story.  Merci, Madame.
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Comments, corrections--and stories of your own--are always welcome and appreciated in the comments box.
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~~~~~~~~~~~French Vocabulary~~~~~~~~~~
le lavoir
(m) = washing place; le parking (m) = car park; le ménage (m) = housework; une fille et un garçon = a girl and a boy; quatre-vingt-quatre = eighty-four; Et vous, Madame. Quel âge avez-vous; ce n'est pas vrai = And you, Madame. How old are you? It isn't true; les dames d'un certain âge = women "of a certain age"; l'entrelacement (m) des âmes et des dames = the intertwining of women and souls; une tranche de vie = slice of life

***

Bien dire magazine Keep up your French with Bien Dire (magazine subscription). A 52-page magazine to improve your French! Full of interesting articles on France and French culture: order here.
 

DSC_0002
More photos of St-Maurice--and beyond--in the upcoming editions of Cinéma Vérité: your gift when you commit to a contributing membership at French Word-A-Day. Thank you for helping me to continue to produce and distribute this seven-year-old journal -- and to share these pictures and stories.

A Message from Kristi on this blog's 19th anniversary
Thank you for reading this language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on writing. My wish is to continue creating posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check
2. PayPal or credit card
3. A bank transfer, ZELLE is a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase our online memoir, The Lost Gardens


lavoir

lavoir (c) Kristin Espinasse

lavoir (laah-vwar)noun, masculine

    wash house, washing place

Audio File & Example Sentence
Listen to my daughter's dear friend, Sonia, pronounce these French words:
Download MP3 sound file

On lave son linge sale au lavoir.
We wash our clothes at the (community) wash basin
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Improve your French pronunciation with the Exercises in French phonetics book. Click here. 
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A Day in a French Life...
by Kristin Espinasse

At the old stone lavoir* in Saint-Maurice-sur-Eygues a man is doing the washing.  There is a plastic bucket beside him and box of sugar in his hand. He is sprinkling the white powder over the linge sale,* which drips from the centuries-old stone below. When the laundry begins to froth at the surface, I realize that not sugar--but laundry detergent--is responsible for this sudsy chemical reaction.  Turns out our washer man has recycled the plastic box of sugar into a soap recipient, so as not to carry a much bigger box to the launderette each time.

lavoir (c) Kristin Espinasse

I study the ancient wash room from across the street, where I have finished a photographic journey around the Provençal village. I am headed back to my car, content with the images I have captured, only, the man at the lavoir is the most precious picture of all! As a rule, I do not point my lens at the locals. It seems intrusive--if not exploitative. However, just as with French grammar, there is an exception to every rule and, in this case friends are that exception.

After all, the man and I had established some sort of rapport* (you might say we were des connaissances*) back at the fountain when first I arrived to the village. Seated on some steps, he had been feeding the birds... and I had been setting out, from the municipal parking lot, to discover the village. 

Locking my car door, I had paused to witness the scene across the way:  the joy on a stranger's face, the happiness that only a dance with Dame Nature* can bring. The dance, in this instance, was no more than the doting relationship between man and wild animal: Monsieur was feeding the pigeons.

How his face lit up with delight, bite after bite, on feeding the feathered friends to his right! When one of the pigeons flew up--to land at the top of the fountain--a friendship was born: that's when I pointed my lens at the pigeon and snapped the photo. Monsieur smiled at me, as if I had photographed a member of his very own family. He pointed to his bag of bird feed (a small sack of rice, premier prix*). I nodded in affirmation. Hunger is hunger, black, white, or feathered, and he who gives to the poor is priceless.

...Priceless as the scene before me of a lone man washing a lone shirt in a lonely French town. Of the many remarkable scenes I had viewed from the other end of a camera lens, none were so picturesque as this. But how to proceed? It occurred to me that I might simply ask Monsieur's permission for his photo.

Lavoir (c) Kristin Espinasse

Permission granted, I watched as Monsieur thoughtfully rearranged the bucket and the box of soap before returning to his chore. I could now see his working hands, as they kneaded and scrubbed, and I now had a better view of the soapy subject:
"Ma chemise,"* Monsieur explained, and his accent was as foreign as my own.

"Je suis marocain,"* the washer man offered.
"And I am American," I offered back.

But what to say next--apart from "do you come here often?" And so it was that I asked the clumsy question:

"Do people actually use these old washbasins?"
"Vous savez,"* Monsieur said simply, unassumingly, "on n'est pas tous les riches."*

I set my costly camera aside... and wanted to crawl under the stone lavoir and hide. I had an urge to become small, petit as the pigeon back at the fountain--and with an appetite as all-consuming as its own: an appetite for amour* and approval from the man sans machine.

*   *   *

Thank you for your comments & feedback.


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Lavoirs: Washhouses of Rural France ~~~~~~~~~French Vocabulary~~~~~~~~

le lavoir (m) = wash basin; le linge (m) sale = dirty laundry; le rapport (m) = connection, relationship; la connaissance (f) = acquaintance; la Dame Nature (f) = Mother Nature; le premier prix (m) = first (bargain) price; ma chemise (f) = my shirt; je suis marocain = I am Moroccan; vous savez = you know; on n'est pas tous les riches = we are not (all of us) rich; l'amour (m) = love

Book (photo above): Lavoirs: Washhouses of Rural France
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lavoir (c) Kristin Espinasse
Postnote: Monsieur, sensing my malaise, offered a kind conclusion to our conversation:
"Besides," he said, "Je n'ai pas de femme," I don't have a wife... and not alot of clothes to wash.... Je n'ai pas besoin d'une machine à laver.

A Message from Kristi on this blog's 19th anniversary
Thank you for reading this language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on writing. My wish is to continue creating posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check
2. PayPal or credit card
3. A bank transfer, ZELLE is a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase our online memoir, The Lost Gardens


roupillon

Roupillon (c) Kristin Espinasse
See the little sign hanging from the clothespin (lower left)? The faded writing reads "Je suis couchée" ("I am in bed"). Leave it to the French to post such warnings out front their doors! Discover the sleepy town (and sleepy inhabitants...) of Mirabel-aux-Baronnies in today's story column.


roupillon (roo-pee-yon) noun, masculine

    nap, siesta

piquer / faire un roupillon = to have a nap, rest.


Sound File & Example Sentence
Download MP3
or Download WAV file

Pas loin de Nyons les gens se couchent, ils font des roupillons.
Not far from Nyons, the people lie down, and take a nap.


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A Day in a French Life...
Kristin Espinasse

"Naptime Near Nyons"

Over fragrant French hills and through grapevines teeming with leaves... past fruit trees, branches bowing, weighted down by cerises*... beyond, count them, un, deux--au moins trois--églises*... there lies the old tattered town of Mirabel-aux-Baronnies.

I wander up and down its sleepy streets, see a faded sundial, a fish-faced fountain, and a church steeple. In private gardens acanthus and purple lavender grow... but where, I wonder are the townspeople?

Through an arch in a stone wall I follow a path goudronné,* climb stairs up to the nestled village, traverse a few placettes*. There are lauriers-roses,* passiflore,* jasmine--and yet--where are the gardeners, where are the locals?

A clue and an answer lie just around the bend, beyond a beaten bamboo fence... where a citoyenne* lies sleeping at the front door, in the hall entrance! There, flanked by a narrow door frame, a cot has been placed; in it, a dozing dame!

I can just spot her twinkle toes, at the edge of the bed, a draped door curtain covers the rest, hiding her sleepy head.

The sweet scene is the most delightful and quirky yet -- it is everything I love about France: eccentric, original, authentic.

I tuck my camera under my arm and walk on. They say "Let sleeping dogs lie" and, of sleeping dames, well--it's not polite to spy!

*     *     *

Post note: I have only ever seen humans stand in a doorway... until I moved to France, where the French are wont to pull up a chair (or a cot) flush with door-sill, and watch the world walk by, or simply be still.

Comments, corrections--and stories of your own--are always welcome and appreciated. Click here to access the comments box.

Note: there are several photos that accompany this story. Don't miss them in an upcoming photo bouquet over at Cinéma Vérité! (In tomorrow's photo blog we'll enjoy over 15 pictures of Hyères--and another character!).


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~French Vocabulary~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

la cerise (f) = cherry; un, deux--au moins trois...églises = one, two--at least three--churches; goudronner = to tar; la placette (f) = "little place" (square); le laurier-rose (m) = oleander, rosebay; la passiflore (f) = passionflower; la citoyenne (le citoyen) = citizen


In books: because today's topic touches on the art of living (something the French might have learned from the Italians?) I thought some of you language lovers might appreciate this new book:

Bella lingua La Bella Lingua: My Love Affair with Italian, the World's Most Enchanting Language
by Dianne Hales

A celebration of the language and culture of Italy, La Bella Lingua is the story of how a language shaped a nation, told against the backdrop of one woman’s personal quest to speak fluent Italian.

For anyone who has been to Italy, the fantasy of living the Italian life is powerfully seductive. But to truly become Italian, one must learn the language. This is how Dianne Hales began her journey. In La Bella Lingua, she brings the story of her decades-long experience with the “the world’s most loved and lovable language,” together with explorations of Italy’s history, literature, art, music, movies, lifestyle, and food in a true opera amorosa—a labor of her love of Italy.

Three Random Words:
nier = to deny
oyat (m) = beachgrass
PV (p.-v.) (procès-verbal) = fine (speeding, parking ticket)

A Message from Kristi on this blog's 19th anniversary
Thank you for reading this language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on writing. My wish is to continue creating posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check
2. PayPal or credit card
3. A bank transfer, ZELLE is a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase our online memoir, The Lost Gardens


Canvas: Toile, carte bancaire, papeterie and belle époque in French

Canvasing St. Tropez
French art and a classic car along the port in St. Tropez


la toile
(twal)
noun, feminine
canvas 


Françoise has not changed much in the three years since Mom and I have frequented her art shop. She still has her ballerina-thin figure and still paints cherry-red streaks through her chocolate-brown hair; the contrast is as stark as her customers' paintings, which line the store's entrance hall and make shoppers feel smug about their own art.


At the cash register, when I take out my carte bancaire, Françoise still picks up the phone to call over to the papeterie, shouting for them to bring back the hand-held credit-card processor (the one the two stores have always shared, never mind the inconvenience).

"Moins vingt... moins vingt... moins vingt...." Françoise mumbles, as she tallies up the art supplies. She still gives my mom twenty percent off all items, and then rounds down the total. This morning she even threw in a freebie.
"Those paintbrushes have been discontinued," she said. "I can offer this one to your maman."

To this day, Françoise listens to my mom's English, only to reply in French. Just how the two women can understand each other is high art to me. The paintings which result from their exchanges need not be translated either. They are, like the language barrier the women have overcome, indeed like love itself, transcendent.


*   *   *

Returning a few years later, Mom and I were shocked to discover that Françoise's shop had closed down. Standing out on the sidewalk, we stared sadly at the handwritten sign in the window; it read "A VENDRE". Our eyes caught on a bold reflection in the window; we turned to discover the bigger, fancier, more deluxe store that had opened across the street.... 

Unlike Françoise's window, which displayed tubes of paint, brushes, and even a few modest creations of her customers, the competitor's windows were filled with a new rage: "scrapbooking"... ink pads, stamps, glue and tiny cutouts crowded the window. 

At the back of the glittery new store, a few paint supplies hung, like the end of a belle époque.

 

Click here to leave an edit or suggestion in the comments box. Thanks for checking the vocab section, below. Note: the story was originally published without the sad post note (about the shop closing). Do you think the postnote should be included in the book? Or leave off the story with the happy ending?

French Vocabulary

la toile = canvas
la carte bancaire = credit/debit card
la papeterie = office/school supply store
moins vingt = minus twenty (percent)
la maman
 = mom
à vendre = for sale
la belle époque
 = beautiful era

A Message from Kristi on this blog's 19th anniversary
Thank you for reading this language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on writing. My wish is to continue creating posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check
2. PayPal or credit card
3. A bank transfer, ZELLE is a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase our online memoir, The Lost Gardens


la frangine

Frangine
Jean-Marc's frangine.

la frangine 

  : sister (in informal French)
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A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

When Jean-Marc's sister comes to stay with us, the kids want to touch their aunt's pink hair, ride in her orange car, and give up their beds for her comfort. Do you still live in a school bus and can we come visit? they want to know.

The bus has been sold, she tells them, but there is plenty of room in her two-ton camion. The home being of a mobile nature, such a visit might be in Normandy or Paris or even Africa—wherever work or wonderment might take her. Aunt Cécile has worked as a mime, as a circus-tent technician and, most recently, as a driver for a punk-rock band—she even holds a poids lourds license.

Aunt Cécile with the pink hair drove up in an orange station wagon this weekend. She is taking the clunker to Africa. Her mission is to transport English books to a bibliothèque in Gambia. For cash, which she calls flouze, she will sell her car along the way, in Morocco perhaps, where station wagons are used as taxis. And while she is there, she—and the friends with whom she is traveling—will get the shots they need for Africa. Immunization, Cécile explains, is less expensive in Morocco. For the price of one French injection, she and her potes can each get vaccinated before venturing south along war-torn roads that lead to hungry villages.

Along our manicured driveway, our family gathers for the bon voyage wishes. But before she goes, there are so many things I want to ask my sister-in-law about her life, one so different from mine.

"We don't ask these questions," my mother-in-law sighs, wanting to ask them more than I. 

After my belle-mère kisses her daughter goodbye, it is my turn to say au revoir.

There we stand, side by side, my frangine and I—I with salon highlights in my hair, my sister-in-law with Mercurochrome streaks in hers (the dark red liquid stains it radical pink), I with diamonds on my finger, she with jewels in her soul. She is a French Robin Hood and her treasures are the cast-offs that she spirits away from the privileged. I am the stable, square, secure sister-in-law, still searching, longing to be spirited away with those old clothes and books of mine that are headed out the door, to Afrique.

***
This story is part of a collection of blog posts, in the book Blossoming in Provence.

Blossoming in provence
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French Vocabulary

le camion
truck

le poids lourd
heavy goods vehicle

la bibliothèque
library

le flouze
(or flouse)
dough (argot for cash as are le fric, le pognon, le blé, and la thune)

le pote

pal

bon voyage

have a nice trip

la belle-mère

mother-in-law

au revoir

goodbye 
 
l'Afrique (f)
Africa

DSC_0057

A Message from Kristi on this blog's 19th anniversary
Thank you for reading this language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on writing. My wish is to continue creating posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check
2. PayPal or credit card
3. A bank transfer, ZELLE is a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase our online memoir, The Lost Gardens


une pantoufle

Three Characters in the Vaucluse (c) Kristin Espinasse
This week we reunite with three characters from the archives, French personnages who have touched me in one way or another. I hope they will touch you, too.
Note: a sound file for today's word, and more, can be found at the end of this letter.

*     *     *

Pantoufle

(pahn-too-fle)

noun, feminine

  : slipper

 

The man in line in front of me wore pantoufles two sizes too small. His swollen calves, riddled with eczema, hung over his ankles, which disappeared into his shrunken slippers. As usual, he wore sweatpants that rose mid-calf.

I often see the man in pantoufles hanging out of a village poubelle. He is passionate about garbage and is forever reaching for it. His backside, with the vertical line peeking out from the center of his waistband, is a familiar sight in our village. When he isn't dangling (and flashing) from a trash barrel, he is hunched over, collecting litter from the street, careful to put the waste where it belongs. We have a tidy village thanks to this man, who appears to both love and abhor trash.

Standing in line at the Crédit Agricole, the man wearing pantoufles waited for his turn to visit the bank teller. He had that same blank look on his face, the one he wears while hunting for garbage: expressionless, transfixed by trash—or troubled by it, you never know.

From behind the counter, the pretty guichetière inquired:

"How much today, Jean-Pierre?"

J.-P. stepped forward and replied, "Vingt euros."

"Il n'y a pas. You don't have that much," she answered. "How about fifteen?"

Jean-Pierre nodded, fixing his eyes on a ballpoint pen chained to the comptoir.

"Here you are. And don't spend it all at the Bar des Sports, okay?"

Jean-Pierre remained unresponsive to the guichetière's charm and humor. Though the carefree cashier and the catatonic garbage-picker had this same exchange every day, I stood there, ill at ease about overhearing the limits of J.-P.'s fortune. Not that I didn't know even more about him—and his family (everyone knows everything about everybody in this village. Or so they like to think they do).

Take, for example, J.-P.'s sister, Agnès, who hangs out the clothes to dry along their apartment's tiny 2nd-floor balcony. She does housework in her underwear. The only time she is dressed is in the winter or when she walks her dilapidated dog. She has the exact same corpulent frame as her brother and looks identical to him; only, she wears teal-green eye shadow, caked black mascara and red lipstick when she drinks. Drunk or sober, her hair is a nid d'oiseau. When she's not hanging out clothes, she can be heard a kilometer away, barking orders to their elderly mother.

"J'en ai marre! Mange! Mange! I'm fed up! Eat! Eat!" she says, waving a spoon before her mother.

My own mom, Jules, who lived for a while in a third-floor studio across the street from Jean-Pierre and his family, encouraged me to not be so quick to judge Agnès (pronounced ON-yes).

"She has so many worries," Mom explained. "Poor thing. She has to spoonfeed her mother, who sits there, mouth clamped shut, stubborn as can be. When she does get a spoonful in, her mother just spits it right back out! Then she's got all that laundry. She never stops!"

I tried not to judge Agnès, but I did find myself avoiding her, and I crossed the street at the sight of her and her porto-enflamed cheeks. Something about her seemed déséquilibrée.

One day, while walking to my mom's studio, I saw Agnès slumped over her doorstep. I noticed she was dressed. From her eyes poured two black rivers, down her face, across her red lips and onto her thin, soiled shirt. My mom sat next to Agnès, her arm around the sad woman's shoulder. In front of the women there was a flurry of French paramedics, beyond, a narrow stretcher covered with a long white sheet. My eyes locked on the bundle in the center, beneath le drap blanc.

That evening I saw Agnès' brother snapping up litter from the uneven cobblestone paths of our village. His pants were on straight, and the unsightly crack had disappeared. Gone were his predictable pantoufles. He wore white, canvas tennis shoes, his puffy heels hanging out the back. His face remained expressionless, though his lips sunk a bit at each end. His hair was combed, parted. And just like the garbage collector's shoes, the village was pristine the night they carried Agnès's and Jean-Pierre's mother away.

The trash man may never understand the beautiful bank teller's humor, but Life's comedy is something he knows: as with the never-ending reach of litter, the trick is to keep moving, to keep after it. Life, that is.

*     *     *

Feedback and corrections are always welcome, appreciated, and helpful! Thank you for responding to my story in the comments box.

Not sure how to respond to today's story? Maybe you'd rather answer this light-hearted question, instead: Do you, like Agnès, do housework in your underwear? Answers, here.

French Vocabulary

le personnage
= character
la pantoufle = house slippers
la poubelle = garbage can
le Crédit Agricole = the "largest retail banking group in France"
la guichetière = the bank teller
vingt euros = twenty euros
le comptoir = counter
le nid d'oiseau = bird's nest
déséquilibré = unbalanced
le drap blanc = white sheet

 

More about today's French word pantoufle...

un(e) pantouflard(e) = a homebody

The verb "pantoufler" means to leave a government job to work for a private corporation (speaking of a civil servant).

Expressions:
passer sa vie dans ses pantoufles = to live a secluded life
raisonner comme une pantoufle = (to reason like a slipper) to reason foolishly

And a charming old expression (sadly, not used anymore): "Et caetera pantoufle" or "Etc. pantoufle" used to end an enumeration. "In our refrigerator we have milk, eggs, butter, sour cream, etc. pantoufle."

 

Shopping: two books  
 1. French dictionary:  Acclaimed by language professionals the world over, the Oxford-Hachette Dictionary has long been the market leader.  
 2. Barron's How to Prepare for the AP French Advanced Placement Examination

 

 


Citation du Jour:
Il y a de grands voyages qu'on ne fait bien qu'en pantoufles.
There are great journeys that are best traveled in slippers.

--Jean Sarment

Audio File by Jean-Marc: listen to the French word pantoufle and the example sentence, above: Download "Pantoufle" Wav File . Download Pantoufle MP3 file

In Books & Music:
Chasing Matisse: A Year in France Living My Dream
I'll Never Be French (no matter what I do): Living in a Small Village in Brittany
In French music: Serge Lama

Songs in French for Children including Alouette, Sur le Pont d'Avignon, Claire Fontaine, Prom'non Nous dans les Bois...


 

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More characters on the way, in the Wednesday and Friday editions! Meantime, don't miss some of my favorite personnages in my book: Words in a French Life. You'll meet "Madame Richard," "La Petite Souris", and one persnickety priest ... among many other French characters. And if you already have a copy of "Words", why not buy another copy for a friend? You might just ignite the love of French life in another, and there's no telling where this language adventure will take them. I still can't believe where it has taken me!

Three Random Words:
desseller = to unsaddle
empoté,e = awkward, maladroit, clumsy
fâcher = to make angry, to vex

A Message from Kristi on this blog's 19th anniversary
Thank you for reading this language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on writing. My wish is to continue creating posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check
2. PayPal or credit card
3. A bank transfer, ZELLE is a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase our online memoir, The Lost Gardens


rencontre

DSC_0074
                                     In the town of Violès (Vaucluse)  


rencontre (rahn kontr) noun, feminine

    : encounter, meeting (of persons); duel, skirmish
.
A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

(Note: The following post was written in 2009)

Jules made it from Mexico to Marseilles yesterday! On the way out of the airport terminal, Mom and I stopped along the tree-lined sidewalk to gather handfuls of grapefruit-size cones that the parasol pines had dropped onto the parking lot. Like that, our treasure hunt has begun and I'm excited thinking about where the next eight weeks will take us, as Mom and I help each other to see France through one another's eyes.

Speaking about seeing France, here is a letter that Jules wrote just hours before she left Mexico. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I have.

A note about grammar and syntax (whatever that last one means): Mom is pouting in the corner as I prepare to post her unedited letter (I threw my hands up in the air, in despair, after the third run-on sentence, at which point I quit fixing things). Mom's just nervous about grammar, and thinks she's going to sound really dumb compared to some of the blog commenters (she cites "Newforest" and "Intuit" among others). Because Mom was thrown out of school at 16, she has a huge inferiority complex over her composition skills (having daydreamed through every English class). That said, I did reserve the right to edit out just one word (I replaced "interrupter" with "interpreter". I still don't know whether that was a Freudian slip on the part of Mom, but I don't like being referred to as an interrupter! Read on, in Mom's letter.

My Dearest Marie-Francoise,
  
I have waited since last week for the translation of your beautiful story. What a delightful surprise for me this morning. How generous of you to let us into a moment of your life in your beautiful village.  I wonder if everyone knows how famous your village is, perhaps Kristi can post a link.  Your wine is world famous! Whenever someone asks me where I am going to be in France I always say "Have you ever heard of "Chateauneuf-de-Pape? I'll be almost next door in a little village about 15 minutes north." 

I'll never forget the first time I visited your lovely home and vineyard, and your amazing wine cellar located in another area of the village.  Wine barrels of old wood the size of little French Citroen.  A treasured memory forever.
  
IMG_1648 I actually had a beautiful rencontre with a little old woman as Kristi and I were climbing up the ancient pathway to your house two years ago.  The first thing I noticed as we came around the corner were her bright red geraniums, then, as my eyes settled on what clippings I could swipe, my eye was drawn to her black and white checked tile floor with the little curtain of beads blocking my way.

IMG_1645 A few "Coo-coo's, are you there Darling?" and I had my new friend pulled from her morning chores in the back of her house, out in the courtyard explaining to my interpreter (Kristi) what treasures her garden held.  Kristi, do you think you could find that photo of us when she gifted me with the antique pot and plant that now resides in your office. Didn't we name that darling little plant "Rachel"?
 
My goodness am I off-track on today's subject, sitting here typing when I should be packing.  My little helper "Adela" has been ironing all of my little Mexican poncho's and now she is threatening me with the vacuum noise to get off this computer. Back to today's topic, "Little old ladies in the morning - preparing their entrances for another day in Provence Paradise."
 
I can remember when I spent almost a month in Marseilles with my husband John and my Mom Audrey, preparing for Kristi and Jean-Marc's wedding.  Jean-Marc found us a little guest house close to Vieux Port.  Each morning I would step out of the bedroom through a french door onto a lovely patio even larger than our bedroom.  This patio hovered over the street on the side of Marseilles beautiful hills.  John had arranged all of my paints and easel, along with a comfortable chair.  As I sipped my early morning "Pastis" (those days are long gone), I became fascinated with the different styles each woman demonstrated as she prepared her front entrance for the day.  The lady I was most drawn to was always dressed to the nines (heels too!) but her demeanor shouted drill Sargent attacking, attacking, attacking the steps with her broom and then scrubbing like the plague had passed her door the night before.  I continued to sip my pastis and watch the village unfold.

A few mornings later I abandoned my work and joined the fray to become one of the people in my painting.  My Mother thought I was nuts talking to everyone, continually telling me to 'settle down". My John just smiled and winked.  Throughout this visit I managed to meet most of the people on MY STREET, and even drift down to the docks and meet all of the fishermen. The woman who has remained forever in my memories was a little old lady directly across from my "studio" who encouraged me to become her assistant as we went from station to station each morning feeding the wild cats of the hills above our street.  After our work we would return to her little ground floor studio apartment, me to lie on her bed in the kitchen while she prepared me one of her many little treats each day as my reward for packing the water and food up the hills.  After my rest I moved onto the next neighbor, securing her German Shepard, so I could pretend I was a French lady walking my dog around the secret side streets of this vivid and famous city.  I will never forget the surprise in my little lady's voice when I called her 6 months later from Arizona.  She recognized my voice and I chatted on in English, she in French, as our tears of joy in real friendship trailed down our cheeks. 
COMO TALLY CHATS??? One of my first French phrases....
 
I was invited into many of the homes of Marseilles over the next month, sampling in love and friendship, experiencing the true hospitality of the French. I will always treasure these memories, especially walking Kristi down the isle in my black tuxedo.
 
Of course my Darling Jean-Marc found out that his future mother-in-law wasn't ready for the rock'in chair as I entered his life full blast.  Poor Jean-Marc had no idea what a woman (who had been divorced for 25 years--independent to the hilt) from the wild, wild west was like. As I have mentioned before, Jean-Marc and I have crossed over many torrential rivers together, I'm sure I was not what he had in mind, but I now occupy a giant part of his heart - a woman he lovingly started calling MOM about 5 years ago.
 
Time to finish packing - I'll see you all soon in our beautiful FRANCE. 
 
VIVA LA FRANCE!
 
XOXO
 
JULES

*     *     *
If you enjoyed Mom's letter, you might leave her a note in the comments box. Mille mercis!

 

DSC_0076
In the French town of Violès... photo © Kristin Espinasse

Audio File: Download Rencontre * Download Rencontre-mp 3 
Toute culture naît du mélange, de la rencontre, des chocs. A l'inverse, c'est de l'isolement que meurent les civilisations. All cultures are born out of mingling, meetings and clashes. Conversely, civilizations die from isolation. --Octavio Paz

Mille mercis to Divya, Jacqui, Ally, and Leslie (and anyone I might have missed) for translating Marie-Françoise's story. You'll find their versions (in American and English) in the "routine" and "anodin" comments boxes!

A Message from Kristi on this blog's 19th anniversary
Thank you for reading this language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on writing. My wish is to continue creating posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check
2. PayPal or credit card
3. A bank transfer, ZELLE is a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase our online memoir, The Lost Gardens


à fond

Cat
When the last time you were "cat" off guard? What did you discover about yourself: pridefulness? greed? Read on in today's story....


à fond (ah fohn) prepositional phrase
 
    : deeply, thoroughly

Audio File: listen to Jean-Marc read the following quote: Download MP3 or Wav file

A mon avis, vous ne pouvez pas dire que vous avez vu quelque chose à fond si vous n'en avez pas pris une photographie. In my opinion, you cannot say you have thoroughly seen something if you haven't taken a photograph of it. —Emile Zola

                                       *     *     *
Booksales Report: only two days left to reach my goal of 1500 books sold in the first six weeks since publication! I have another 114 copies to go... Can you think of anyone who might enjoy a copy of Blossoming in Provence? Meantime, click here to check out the latest reader reviews!

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

On Consideration and Connecting (This story first appeared in January 2008)

Not far from some lazy lavender fields, gray now with the grogginess of winter, there lives a picture perfect town. There, above a valley of grapevines, geraniums grow in wintertime, tempting French cats to pose prettily beside them (they'll even say "cheese", or ouistiti, if you ask them to, unlike those hurry purry Parisians).

I reach up to snap a photo of some small flower pots that are crowded together, as if for warmth, along a window sill. Beyond the fenêtre, I can just see into a private residence, where a porcelain lamp glows above a well-polished table. My eyes zoom out and refocus on the painted volets. As the shutters come into focus, the private study receeds into a cozy blur. Très bien... I take up my camera again.

I am pointing my lens to the lively window, when my walking companion remarks, "The pictures frame themselves." 

Click... Snap! 

Her breezy comment ruffles me. Pretty pictures might frame themselves, but you must first search out the frame-worthy subject! Then, there are a number of considerations—including, for one, consideration! (I think about the window that I have just captured, careful to blur the private interior, choosing to bring the shutters into focus instead).

If I am a little froissée, or feather-ruffled, it is less about my friend's innocent comment than about my fussy reaction to it. 

Thinking about the fuss, I recognize a familiar old character. L'Ego! Yes, here we have the ego talking, blathering on with its absurd sense of pride! C'est PATHETIQUE! It isn't as though I have ever taken a photography class or know anything about the rules of photo composition. The fact is I am an untrained photographer who is learning by doing, having had some lucky shots along the way—and some generous feedback. Perhaps the feedback has gone to my head?

Turning to my walking companon, I offer an awkwardly delayed reaction to her observation (I nod forcefully). When my head begins to shake, I recognize, once again, the inner wrestlings of that stubborn ego, which is still not willing to cough up a humble response, such as "So true! It is easy as pie to take a stunning picture in France! Anyone can do it!" (I am satisfied with this imagined response, especially since pie, to me, is rocket-science!)

Turns out there is no need to respond to the comment, and my mini identity crisis goes unnoticed. My friend is a million miles away, lost in the beauty of a Provencal village. Our photo périple rambles on, punctuated by her innocent commentary:

"Villedieu," she coos. "The name of the town says it all!" I relax back into the environment, as we stroll though the "Town of God," photographing the already "framed" pictures. Like a blessed writer—through whom words flow as if channeled—we point our cameras, letting the village compose itself. 

My roving eyes catch on The Sweeping Woman. Every town has one. She is the picture of domestic sagesse: broom in hand... and yet wearing a dainty dress! 

That itchy inner-dialogue starts up again. Now that the ego has fallen to sleep, Ms. Ethics has returned with a discours on dignity:

Madame—or "The Sweeping Woman", as you call her—is not behind bars in a zoo. She is not swallowing a blazing torch in one of three circus rings. She is not lounging in a window display, swathed in a beaded gown and feather boa—bringing fashion barracudas to halt along 5th Avenue, at Bergdorf Goodman's. She is, simply, being she. So let her be!

I consider Ms Ethics thoughts about dignity and manners. But might one try a direct approach, something like: "Bonjour, Madame, may I take your picture?" 

I imagine Madame's response. "What is it about me that you find so amusing? It is my white hair? my worn robe? Or is it my Frenchness that is on show?"

In an ethical instant I decide not to snap a picture of Madame and her balai. And yet...

I want Madame's picture because she reminds me of warmth and not steel, being and not doing, prayer and not pricing. She is authentic, real—unswayed by commercial sex appeal. It is what is missing—hairs in place, make-up on her face, a knotted shoe lace—that makes her mystical to me.

No. Not all pictures frame themselves. Some must remain uncontained—free to travel beyond the camera lens, beyond even the mind's eye... to expand and to swell like a giant-hearted universe.

I slip the camera into my coat pocket and take one last admirative gaze at Madame. Her broom comes to a halt as she fastens her eyes on mine. The universe that is my own heart skips a beat. Madame smiles.


French Vocabulary

ouistiti! (exclamation) = cheese! 

la fenêtre
(f) = window

le volet = shutter

très bien = very good!

la sagesse (f) = wisdom

le balai (m) = broom

la robe (f) = dress
.

.

A Message from Kristi on this blog's 19th anniversary
Thank you for reading this language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on writing. My wish is to continue creating posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check
2. PayPal or credit card
3. A bank transfer, ZELLE is a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase our online memoir, The Lost Gardens


âme

Ame
Fishing boats, or "pointus", at the end of Marseilles... These vessels have almost as much character as the man in today's story. Read on and enjoy.

une âme (am) noun, feminine

  1. soul; spirit; heart; essence

La patience est le sourire de l'âme.
Patience is the soul's smile.
--Philippe Obrecht
.

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

In the tiny fishing village of les Goudes, the second to last port along Marseilles' limestone coast, Jean-Marc admires the small Provençal fishing boats while I snap photos. The names of the wooden pointus have as much character as the boats themselves: the fun-loving "Fanny" has received a new coat of white paint and the thick green border around her "waist" has been filled in again; "Paulette's" sides are a bit chipped which suits her chipie personality; further down the dock, the boats "Saint Antoine" and "Saint Nicolas" rock in silent meditation.

Stepping off the docks on our way out of the port, we hear, "Do you want some wood?" Jean-Marc and I turn toward the voice. "Please, take some," the man in the salt and pepper beard continues. Jean-Marc stares down at a pile of driftwood, or bois flottant. As if reading his mind, the fisherman replies, "It's no good for burning." Before Jean-Marc can decline, the man adds, "but you can make art out of it!"

Jean-Marc and I look at each other quizzically. "I'll show you," the man offers, introducing himself as "Camille" (pronouncing it 'ka-me'). "Venez," Come. I look over to the boats: Fanny and Paulette seem to wink and so we enter the fisherman's cottage.

Inside Camille's cabanon the walls are whitewashed--except for one--which holds the cheminée and is painted azure-blue. To the right of the front door is a matchbox kitchen delineated by a U-shaped counter; the kitchen floor is slightly wider than the fisherman's belly. Knives line the wall below a few dented casseroles. There are two wooden tabourets on the opposite side of the concrete counter, which overlooks the small room with the azure colored wall.

"These chairs," Camille explains, "are called 'assis-debout.' Workers lean back on them, not quite seated (assis), not quite standing (debout)." Camille demonstrates, pretending to shuck oysters on the counter before him.

"Venez." We follow Camille's suggestion and take the stairs which lead to a bedroom just off the wooden mezzanine. We walk single file past the unmade bed to the terrace, which overlooks the tiny port. There, on the balcony, Camille has put more driftwood out to dry. Below, I see Fanny and Paulette who are bumping hips on the sparkling dance floor that covers the sea all the way to Africa; the wooden Saints, Antoine and Nicolas, bob up and down and seem to make the sign of the cross in response to the dancing she-boats.

We leave the terrace, pausing before a chest of drawers. Camille points to the unusual applique that camouflages a lightbulb on the wall above; it reminds me of a buffalo scull from my native Arizona, only this one is made of bois and not bone. "Voilà. You can create something like this," he says, reminding us of the woodpiles bleaching beneath the Mediterranean sun. I admire the applique, wondering how we could ever make something so clever as it.

We return to the room with the azure wall to stand in front of the windows which are level with the boats outside. Camille explains that each year he paints the shutters and each year the Mistral wind strips them all over again. Last year he solved the problem by painting them with a product used on boats like Fanny. I study the painted blue shutters until my eyes land on what looks to be a bookshelf below. "Do you know what that is?" Camille says, noticing my interest. "The lavandières used to wash clothes inside there. The linens were pushed against the accordion base in order to free the dirt from the cloth."

At the end of our visit Camille tells us that the fishing port of Les Goudes is where the soul of Marseilles lies. I wonder if Camille might be the âme of Marseilles incarnate, but I don't tell him this. Instead we thank him for the driftwood and promise to "make art out of it."

Camille

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
la chipie = little devil; le bois flottant = driftwood; le cabanon = cottage; la cheminée = fireplace; la casserole = saucepan; le tabouret = stool; une applique = appliqué (bulb/lamp cover); le bois = wood; la lavandière = woman who handwashes clothes, washerwoman; une âme = soul

       The Pudlo Paris guide--available in English for the first time in 17 years!
       Tune Up Your French: Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Spoken French

:: Audio File ::
Hear my daughter, Jackie, pronounce the word âme and today's quote:
La patience est le sourire de l'âme.
MP3 file: Download ame1.mp3
Wave file: Download ame1.wav

Francophile Gifts and more...:
  In DVD: Visions of France
  In music... Provence: A Romantic Journey
  Gathered from the salt beds of Camargue: Fleur De Sel

French Expressions:
une âme soeur = a kindred soul
rendre l'âme = to give up the ghost
se donner corps et âme à quelqu'un = to give oneself body and soul to someone

A Message from Kristi on this blog's 19th anniversary
Thank you for reading this language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on writing. My wish is to continue creating posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check
2. PayPal or credit card
3. A bank transfer, ZELLE is a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase our online memoir, The Lost Gardens