Sunday, February 15, 2015


Consommée avec modération, l'eau ne peut pas faire de mal. -- Mark Twain
Water, taken in moderation, cannot hurt anybody. 

More of the same; another example of an unattractive utility box in Versailles transformed into a trompe l'oeil  attraction. Tourists who have the time and sensibility, track these works of the École de l'Art Mural de Versailles with the same assiduity of a hunter on safari. If only the technicians who tend to the mass of wires and cables in the boxes would sweep up the clippings they leave on the sidewalk after each intervention...


©2015 P.B. Lecron

Thursday, February 12, 2015


L'herbe est toujours plus verte ailleurs.
The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

ailleurs:  elsewhere

©2015 P.B. Lecron

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


Bricoler is one of the most useful words that you could possibly have in your French vocabulary. I've done some bricolage here, having fixed a bird feeder  onto the balcony railing with plastic-coated gardening wire for this darling and daring blue titmouse. A number of bases are covered with the verb bricoler, which can mean: to tinker, to do it yourself, to jerry-rig, to do odd jobs, to cobble together, to dabble, to muck about, to patch together, to fix, to potter about, to knock together, to tamper with, to badly repair, and etc., etc... Used as a noun, une bricole, however, is a knick-knack.

une mésange bleue:  a blue titmouse, which is a European cousin to the North American chickadee
une mangeoire:  a feeding trough or dish, here, a bird feeder
l'ornithologie pratiquée en amateur:  birding, bird-watching

©2015 P.B. Lecron

Monday, February 9, 2015


Pompon, the popular Sacré de Birmanie, bridges the gap to illustrate the meaning of the French term, "faire le pont."  The expression is frequently used when a holiday falls on a Thursday or a Tuesday and one decides to take an extra day off work, to make a four-day weekend. 

un jour férié:  a public or statutory holiday
un jour ouvrable:  a working day
un pont:  a bridge

©2015 P.B. Lecron

Sunday, February 8, 2015


From now on
Don't mistake this young Bordeaux-Clairet wine for a rosé, it truly is a red wine--but because both maceration and fermentation times are short, it has a limpid color. It also has a lighter, fruitier taste than does a typical red. What makes this uncommon and supple wine fun are the few measures of musical notes on its label (a reflection, too, on my whimsical method of wine selection). The tune dates to the 16th-century song, "Quand Je Bois du Vin Clairet."  When  I drink a Claret wine, friend, my head turns, turns, turns. The song goes on, "Aussi désormais je bois Anjou où Arbois," so from now on I'm drinking wine from Anjou or Arbois. You can hear a decent rendition of the traditional drinking song by clicking here.

A word about Claret, an anglicizing of Clairet. The English have historically had a fondness for red Bordeaux wines and over the centuries, especially those leading up to the One Hundred Years' War, have been given to calling red wines in general from Bordeaux "Claret." This came about because when the Aquitaine was an English province, the wine from Bordeaux was rapidly produced and shipped to England. The result was the clear, red wine, or clairet, which was popular during the 12th through 15th centuries. 

In 1950, the Clairet was reinvented, so to speak, by the Cave de Quinsac in Gironde, and is an agreable composition of Cabernet, Merlot, and Malbec grape varieties. To be served lightly chilled.

désormais:  from now on
un cépage:  a grape variety

©2014 P.B. Lecron