Friday, May 25, 2018

RED AS A POPPY


Rouge comme un coquelicot is a French expression describing either a deeply blushing person or someone who is red with anger. A favorite French wildflower, the coquelicot was one the first flowers to spring up on graves of soldiers buried in northern France and Belgium during World War I. The small, red species of poppies quickly became an international symbol of remembrance after being immortalized in the 1915 poem In Flanders Fields written by Canadian military doctor, John McCrae. The red poppy is also a favorite of pollinating insects. The poppy field above was photographed by our friend Sylvia, near her village in the Gard.

Vocabulary
un coquelicot:  poppy
un butineur: a nectar gatherer; a browser; a crawler (as in a search engine indexer)
un pollinisateur:  a pollinator
éclatant(e):  brillant, bright
champêtre:  country, rural, open-air
une fleur champêtre:  a wildflower


Reading in French is fun!
Immerse yourself or your child for a moment in a French children's story! Reading an illustrated children's story in a foreign language is a great way to jump-start the acquisition of a second language. For starters we suggest a charming conte, Le Lapin et la lune, écrit par Marianne Lecron, illustré par P. B. Lecron. It and its English version, The Rabbit and the Moon, are both available on worldwide Amazon sites.




















For more posts about poppies:
A French Education: THE ARABLE WEED
A French Education: COCORICO
A French Education: CORSICA OF COURSE
©2018 P. B. Lecron

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

RECYCLE THAT CORK!

In case you didn't know...
Wine bottle corks are a very recyclable product, and today more and more wine sellers or cavistes around the world collect them to that end. If yours doesn't, then it's high time to militate and get a program started! Used corks are transformed into many decorative and construction products. In France, people can localize the nearest businesses where they can drop off used corks by consulting planeteliege.

Vocabulary
un bouchon de liège:  a wine bottle cork

©2018 P. B. Lecron

Saturday, April 21, 2018

IN MATCHING SHADES

Ton sur ton
The tone-on-tone color of these tulips sunning on the windowsill are an inspired choice for the gardener's house of the Parc Bagatelle, Paris.

Vocabulary
un rebord de la fenêtre:  an exterieur windowsill
un appui de la fenêtre:  an interieur windowsill



©2018 P. B. Lecron



Click and take a peak!

Friday, April 20, 2018

FIFTY SHADES OF GREEN

A peahen in the Parc Bagatelle in Paris's Bois de Boulogne on a very warm, spring day.

Vocabulary
une paonne:  a peahen
un paon:  a peacock


©2018 P. B. Lecron


Read it in French!
We're pleased to post these links to the French and English versions of a new children's story, written by my daughter and illustrated by myself:  Le lapin et la lune, écrit par Marianne Lecron, illustré par P. B. Lecron; and The Rabbit and the Moon.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

BEFORE AND AFTER

Some of friend Sylvia's last year's batch of cerises à l'eau de vie shown with this spring's cherry blossoms in her country garden in the south of France. Fresh cherries are washed, placed in a jar and left to macerate in aqua vitae with a little bit of sugar and a cinnamon stick for at least 5 to 6 weeks. Sylvia says that in her recipe, however, she used equal parts of Pineau des Charentes liqueur and aqua vitae. To consume with moderation!

Vocabulary
cueillir:  to pick, to gather
un bocal:  a jar
un bocal à conserves:  a kilner jar, a canning jar
l'eau de vie:  aqua vitae


©2018 P. B. Lecron


Read it in French! For young and old alike, an illustrated children's book with an engaging and gentle lesson in the importance of helping others:  Le lapin et la lune, écrit par Marianne Lecron, illustré par P. B. Lecron. The conte is also available in English: The Rabbit and the Moon. Both are sold on worldwide Amazon sites.

Monday, April 16, 2018

HIGH DRAMA


There's drama in the garden when the cherry trees are blossoming. Friend Sylvia in the Gard just sent us this dramatic photo of what will soon be confiture of her own making! Merci pour la photo, Sylvia!

Vocabulary
les fleurs de cerisier:  cherry blossoms


©2018 P. B. Lecron


What is this? Click here.






Sunday, April 8, 2018

BITS AND BOBS

De bric et de broc
A gardener's sundry items whimsically displayed on a vintage cart at les Floralies de Château de Campuget caught photographer and contributor Sylvia's eye while visiting the yearly plant and garden event in the small town of Manduel in the Gard. Merci, Sylvia!


Vocabulary
de bric et de broc:  bits and bobs; with any old thing
une charette:  a cart

©2018 P. B. Lecron


Read a children's book in French!
Attain fluency faster by immersing yourself in children's books, which after all, are great learning sources! For starters, we recommend Le lapin et la lune, écrit par Marianne Lecron, illustré par P. B. Lecron. If learning English, then take heart, this new and popular conte is available in English, The Rabbit and the Moon. Both are sold on worldwide Amazon sites, and both are for young and old alike!




Saturday, April 7, 2018

AM I BLUE?


Imported from Japan to Europe in the later years of the 18th century, the hydrangea in France was given the name hortensia by the famous French naturalist, botanist, doctor, and explorer, Philibert Commerson (1727-1773), in honor of a friend named Hortense. 

The acidity of the soil determines the color of most hydrangeas, with color variations of its clusters of petals ranging from cream to pinks, and blues to purple. 

Friend Sylvia photographed these showy young flowers at a plant and garden event, les Floralies de Campuget, in Manduel, a small town in the Gard. The Gard is a department in the Région Occitanie.

Vocabulary
inflorescence:  inflorescence; i.e. the disposition of flowers on the stem of a plant

©2018 P. B. Lecron


Read it in French...or in English!
Whether learning French or looking for a charming bedtime story for your children, consider this new conte pour enfants, Le lapin et la lune, écrit par Marianne Lecron, illustré par P. B. Lecron. Versions in French and English are available on worldwide Amazon sites. The title of the English version is The Rabbit and the Moon.


Friday, April 6, 2018

IT IS SPRING INDEED!

En effet . . .
You may know this wild spring flower by the name of star of Bethelem or l'etoile de Bethléem. The French have still more names for this very common, paper-white beauty:  l'ornithogale en ombelle, la jacinthe du Pérou, la belle-d'onze heures, or what I like best, la dame d'onze heures. Friend Sylvia snapped this photo in the Gard in the south of France.


Vocabulary
en effet:  indeed


©2018 P. B. Lecron


A word about reading...
Reading children's books in a foreign language, at no matter what age, is a great jump-start for the acquisition of a second language! If you're learning French, or simply looking for a children's book in French as a gift, then here's our recommendation, Le lapin et la lune, écrit par Marianne Lecron, illustré par P. B. Lecron. The book is also available in English, The Rabbit and the Moon. The story gives a gentle lesson and highlights the importance helping others.


Thursday, April 5, 2018

COMESTIBLE?

Too pretty to eat
One of the earliest spring flowers in France is the primevère, which according to multiple online sources is comestible. Culinary and medicinal virtues are attributed to its young, tender leaves for use in soups and salads, and its blossoms for decorative effect. The primevère is both a wild and cultivated flower. When picking, it is advised to simply pinch off a few leaves and flowers and to not uproot this adorable perennial that begins to carpet the ground in early March. If any doubt persists about identifying this plant for consumption, or having an allergic reaction, then abstain!



Vocabulary
une primevère:  a primrose (Primula)
se régaler:  to feast
se régaler de:  to really enjoy
un régal pour les yeux:  a feast for the eyes

©2018 P. B. Lecron


If you are learning French, or looking for a language-rich experience for yourself or a child, 
then we suggest delving into children's books! Here's our own recommendation with text




Tuesday, April 3, 2018

FRESH AS A DAISY

Frais comme un gardon!
Fresh as a daisy might be stretching it a bit as a translation for "frais comme un gardon" considering that a gardon is a small, fresh-water fish in France. Gardon is coincidentally also the name of the river that the engineering marvel of antiquity, above, le Pont du Gard, crosses. From what I've read, "frais comme un gardon" is a 17th-century expression that was used to boast about the freshness of produce; this was because the gardon was known to stay fresher longer than other fish sold in the markets. Over time, it came to be used to describe one who is either in good form or who is well conserved--like this elegant Roman aquaduct which dates to the first century.
Photo contributed by good friend, Sylvia.





©2018 P. B. Lecron




Learning a foreign language? Know that reading children's books is great practice!
For starters, here's my own family's contribution to the French Education's Reading List,
Le lapin et la lune.  It's English version, of course, is The Rabbit and the Moon.






Monday, April 2, 2018

SUNDAYS IN UZÈS

This year's "Dimanches d'Uzès" has kicked off with a pottery market featuring more than 40 pre-selected ceramic artists. The two-day event celebrating local renown in the ceramic world is held on the Place aux Herbes, the picturesque market place of one of the most beautiful cities in France. Friend Sylvia, who perused the displays under some welcome spring sunshine in the département du Gard, contributed this photo.




©2018 P. B. Lecron



Saturday, March 31, 2018

WITH AND WITHOUT



It's amazing that this unauthorized street-art mosaic of a decapitated Louis XVI is still up on this building in the Notre Dame quarter of Versailles. From all accounts, the pixel-like work is that of the urban artist known world-wide as Invader. In the summer of 2017 he stealthily and surreptitiously installed a series of mosaics high up on buildings in Versailles. His pseudonym makes reference to the popular video game, Space Invaders. Some of the mosaics in the royal city have been removed, some have remained; for the decision of the mosaics' fate on private buildings has been left to property owners. For more examples of what was once up in Versailles, click here.


©2018 P. B. Lecron



Une nouveauté !
For the family that reads together:  a new children's story written by my daughter and illustrated by myself, Le lapin et la lune, is now available on Amazon. Its translation from the French, The Rabbit and the Moon, is likewise on sale.








Sunday, March 4, 2018

TYPICALLY FRENCH COUNTRY

Decorative hexagonal brass mesh, commonly known as chicken wire, finds its place in French country cabinetry, bookcases, and dressers.


Vocabulary
grillage à poules:  chicken wire




©2018 P. B. Lecron



Quoi de neuf?

What's new? A bedtime story for your children and grandchildren available in French,  Le lapin et la lune,  or in English, The Rabbit and the Moon.  Both books are offered for sale by Amazon.


Saturday, March 3, 2018

KNOCK-KNOCK

Nothing adds character to a door quite like an interesting door knocker does! This one we spotted in one of my favorite villages, Gerberoy, in Picardie.

Vocabulary
un heurtoir:  a door knocker
frapper à la porte:  to knock at the door


©2018 P. B. Lecron

Friday, March 2, 2018

FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH

  Ça vaut ce que ça vaut

The old French proverb  "À la chandelle, la chèvre semble demoiselle," meaning literally that by candlelight a goat seems to be a young lady,  is replete with innuendos we choose not to get into; suffice it to say that  the adage is worth what it is worth. It is generally taken to mean that in the dark it's not always easy to make things out. The photo of the charming portrait, above, was taken in the Musée de Vernon, a small and interesting museum in Normandie which is one of only a few in France that specializes in animal art. The mixed media work of charcoal, ink wax, and brass leaf on canvas is by Jean-Jacques Ostier (1945-2014).


Expression
Ça vaut ce que ça vaut:  for what it's worth



©2018 P. B. Lecron



Wednesday, February 28, 2018

ONE THING LEADS TO ANOTHER

De fil en aiguille


The words, fil for thread, and aiguille for needle, are used in this very old French expression for the idea that events follow a logical continuity, as in sewing steps. It's translated as "one thing leads to another," or even "gradually."

One thing does indeed lead to another! The French children's book that my French daughter wrote and which I illustrated, Le lapin et la lune, has progressed to the next logical step, and has just been released in English. It's un conte or tale with a subtle lesson about helping others. If you'd like to know more about it, click here.


©2018 P.B. Lecron

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

STRONG COFFEE

Beyond the pale
Here's one of those old 19th-century French expressions that grandmothers used to use: C'est un peu fort de café!  It means that something is beyond the pale, or incredibly improbable. It comes from the complaint that the coffee is too strong. To illustrate today's post, we're using a rendering of coffee served at a café at the Gare de Courbevoie. The aquarelle is that of artist Gary J. Kirkpatrick, who has an interesting portfolio of expressionist and figurative works, many of which are travel-based, you should check out by clicking here.


Expression
C'est un peu fort de café!   It's difficult to believe!


Aquarelle posted with permission of the artist.

©2018 P.B. Lecron

Of interest . . .
A new French children's book (click here), also available in English (and click here)!
Both are sold on worldwide Amazon sites.