Monday, September 30, 2013

SHAMPOO

That my mother once had a hairdryer like this one set up at home in the early 1960's makes this unexpected display in the Château de la Roche-Guyon seem all the more normal. With a view overlooking the Seine River Valley, it's difficult to imagine happier circumstances for drying one's hair.

Vocabulary
un sèche-cheveux:  a hairdryer
shampouiner:  to shampoo
un shampooing:  a shampoo
un après-shampooing:  a conditioner
une mise en plis:  a hair set

©2013 P.B. Lecron

Friday, September 27, 2013

CAREFREE

Insouciant, indifférent, nonchalant--all French synonyms for "sans souci." 

Vocabulary
un souci:  a worry, a concern
sans souci:  carefree
cadet: second child; junior

Expression
le cadet de mes soucis, also le moindre de mes soucis: the least of my worries


©2013 P.B. Lecron

Thursday, September 26, 2013

LOST IN THOUGHT

Still waters run deep
Il faut se méfier de l'eau qui dort
The pensive river god Anqueuil, is named for the small watercourse that feeds into the canal at the gardens of the Château de Vaux le Vicomte. Sculpted by the talented 17th-century artist, Mathieu Lespagnandel, the statue was restored in 1880.

Vocabulary
se méfier:  to be wary

©2013 P.B. Lecron

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

KEEP ON TRUCKIN'

Beau comme un camion

This brand-new garbage collection truck in Valetta, the capital city of Malta, has to be the most handsome of its kind in the world. Valletta, or as the French call it, La Valette, was named for its French founder, Jean Parisot de La Valette (1494-1568). 

An awestruck onlooker was left bouche bée.


Vocabulary
un camion:  a truck or lorry
un camion poubelle:  a garbage truck
bée: gaping
bouche bée:  open-mouthed

Expression
beau comme un camion: handsome as a truck, literally; pretty as a picture, figuratively

©2013 P.B. Lecron

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

IN THE BRAMBLES

For the birds
The season's last wild blackberries, left for the birds in the Parc du Marquenterre, a natural ornithological reserve in the Baie de Somme.


Expression
c'est du pipeau:  for the birds, i.e., nonsense 


Vocabulary
une mûre sauvage:  a wild bush-grown blackberry; the French word mûre is also used for mulberry, which grows on a tree
un mûrier:  a blackberry bush; also a mulberry tree
une ronce:  a bramble, a briar
un pipeau:  a flute; a lie (familiar)

©2013 P.B. Lecron


Saturday, September 14, 2013

PROMISES, PROMISES

La promesse de la chenille n'engage pas le papillon.--André Gide

The caterpillar's promise doesn't commit the butterfly. Citation from André Gide's Journal. Gide, 1869-1951, was an important man of letters who led a complicated life. Photo taken on a long, late summer morning walk through the Marquenterre bird sanctuary, Baie de Somme.



Photo courtesy of Marianne Lecron

©2013 P.B. Lecron

Friday, September 13, 2013

JOIN THE CLUB

This 19th-century cartouche mode-nature above a fishmonger's sets the tone for storefronts along the quai in the charming bay town of Saint-Valéry-sur-Somme, a member of the Club des Plus Beaux Détours de France. The town is a must on one of my favorite French destinations, the Baie de Somme.
Vocabulary
une poissonerie:  a fishmonger's, a fish store

©2013 P.B. Lecron

Thursday, September 12, 2013

FLEECY SKY

Un ciel moutonneux
Puffy cumulus clouds, a sign of fine weather, over the Baie de Somme and its famous salt-marsh fed sheep.
Vocabulary
un mouton:  a sheep
moutonneux: fleecy
le ciel:  the sky
un nuage:  a cloud

Expressions
être au ciel:  to be in heaven
Ciel!  good heavens!


©2013 P.B. Lecron

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

CUDDLES

Un câlin de cheval
We caught these affectionate Henson horses cuddling in a prairie along the Baie de Somme. The calm and sturdy breed which can live outdoor all year long, was developed in the 1970's by crossing thoroughbred Anglo-Arabians with cold-blood Norwegian Fjords, as well as with some other lines. The impetus for the creation of this the latest new horse breed in France, came from a desire to produce a horse well-suited for touristic equestrianism in the Baie de Somme

Vocabulary
un câlin: a cuddle
câlin (-e):  affectionate
un pur-sang:  a thoroughbred


Expression
Viens me faire un câlin:  Come and give me a cuddle

©2013 P.B. Lecron

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

BUTTERFLY EFFECT

One thing leads to another. After looking at my photo of a damaged butterfly resting on a centaurea flower I learned on a Google search that there are actually people who know how to repair broken butterfly wings. For a surprising how-to video from the Live Monarch Foundation, click here. The butterfly above is called a demi-deuil, as well as l'échiquier. In English it's called a Marbled White. Photo taken on a hike near the Gorges du Gardon in the south of France.

Vocabulary
l'effet papillon:  the butterfly effect, i.e., that the flapping of a butterfly's wing might create a small change in the atmospheric conditions that could amplify and create a greater change in the weather far away
le deuil:  bereavement
demi-deuil:  dark clothing worn during the last part of official mourning; in cooking it's a dish
accompanied by a white sauce with truffles
un échiquier:  a chessboard

Expression
de fil en aiguille:  one thing leads to another; literallly from thread in needle

©2013 P.B. Lecron