Sunday, December 10, 2017

ON A RABBIT JAG

Because we're on a rabbit jag , we've selected this glass figurine to illustrate a fairly common, but unfortunate, French expression:  poser un lapin.  In every day parlance it means to stand somebody up, that is to say to not respect an appointment and to do so without informing the person with whom one has the rendez-vous.

Vocabulary
poser:  to put, to put something down, to land; to apply; to ask
un lapin:  a rabbit
décommander:  to cancel





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©2017 P.B. Lecron

Friday, December 8, 2017

ONCE UPON A TIME

Il était une fois . . .


On a long transatlantic flight home when both her toddler and three-month old were finally sleeping, my daughter let her imagination soar and wrote an enchanting bedtime children's story, Le lapin et la lune. I loved it and wanted to try my hand at illustrating it as a gift for my grandsons. Marianne agreed, and our mother-daughter project evolved into a book which is now available on Amazon sites. If you want to take a peek inside you can do so by clicking here

Vocabulary
un bambin, une bambine:  a toddler, a little child
un nourrisson:  an infant


©2017 P.B. Lecron

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

DON'T LOOK A GIFT HORSE IN THE MOUTH

Pompon is back!
He says it's not his most flattering pose, but being the good sport that he is, our favorite mascot Pompon has agreed to let us use this photo of him to illustrate the French expression "à cheval donné on ne regarde pas les dents." It means that if one is given a gift, one shouldn't criticize it.  Merci, Pompon!

Vocabulary
être bon joueur:  to be a good sport
avoir bon caractère:  to be good-tempered


©2017 P.B. Lecron

Saturday, August 5, 2017

WAFFLE REALITY

A favorite of Lille's late and great native son, Charles de Gaulle, the fine and crispy waffle filled with vanilla cream from la maison Meert is the reference for Flemish waffles. Meert is the most famous salon de thé in the north of France. 

Vocabulary
une gauffre: a waffle
équivoque:  ambiguity
tergiverser: to waffle, to flip-flop, to shilly shally
fouré(e):  stuffed or filled


©2017 P.B. Lecron

Sunday, July 23, 2017

MEETING OF SMALL MINDS

Esprit de clocher

Here's a handy French term that encompasses the notions of both small-mindedness and local patriotism and accounts for village rivalries, village quarrels, and chauvinism. Esprit de clocher is an old expression used to express the idea that one's world view doesn't go beyond one's own village. In short, parochialism.

Despite its meaning, we're using as illustration for this term a photo of an elegant bell tower which is an architectural curiosity for its locality.  The tower's lead-covered dome, dating to the late 16th century and entirely restored, is of Spanish style, atypical to its French Brittany department, the Côtes-d'Armor. In addition, elements of the façade of this neo-Gothic church, l'Église Notre-Dame et Saint Mathurin in the village Moncontour, are borrowed from the Italian Renaissance style.   Moncontour is classed as one of the most beautiful villages in France.



Vocabulary
un beffroi:  a belfry
un clocher:  a church tower, a bell tower, a steeple
une cloche:  a bell


©2017 P.B. Lecron



Saturday, July 22, 2017

HEAD FIRST

La tête la première
Brueghelesque expressions are a presage of what visitors will see in the Jardins d'Étretât on the Normandy coast where a multitude of the resin heads are centerpieces in an incredible contemporary garden of topiary art. The heads are the work of Spanish artist Samuel Salcedo and are reminiscent of the carved stone faces that dot the terrain of another prominent suspended topiary garden, Les Jardins de Marqueyssac in the Dordogne. The Étretât garden is on the upper chalk cliff, la Falaise d'Amont, which affords a magnificent view of the opposite cliff and its the famous Aiguille, or needle structure. The above photograph was taken at the entrance of the garden.

Expression
Réfléchissons ensemble:  let's put our heads together

©2017 P.B. Lecron

Thursday, July 20, 2017

MONKEY BUSINESS


Another animal on the Mini-Carousel in Rouen serves today to illustrate a number of French terms used to translate "monkey business,"  which anglophones take to mean silly or dishonest behavior. Some of them are bêtises,  singeries,  manigances, and une affaire louche.


Vocabulary
un singe:  a monkey
une singerie:  a monkey house
les singeries:  monkeying about; antics
manigancer:  to plot
les manigances:  plotting, scheming, shenanigans
une affaire louche:  a shady deal, a shady business


©2017 P.B. Lecron

Monday, July 17, 2017

THIS LITTLE PIGGY


This little piggy went to the market on an old-style mini-carousel at the Place du Vieux Marché in Rouen.

Vocabulary
un porcinet:  a piggy, a piglet
un porcin:  a pig
un porc:  a pig, a swine (literally and figuratively)


©2017 P.B. Lecron

Saturday, July 8, 2017

SCHOOL'S OUT

Fin des cours
To mark that today is the last day of classes for French school children we're posting a photo of one more example of the charming trompe l'oeil murals painted by students and professors of the École d'Art Mural de Versailles on utility boxes around Versailles. 



©2017 P.B. Lecron

Sunday, June 4, 2017

WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE

 A play on words substituting "faim" or hunger  for "fin" which means the end, caught our eyes when passing by a local covered market  in Cannes. The market place seconds as a parking lot on non-market days. La fin des haricots roughly translates to "it's the end of the line" or "all hope is gone."
There are various explanations of the origin of this French idiomatic expression ranging from its 18th-century use in the context of sailors' consumption of the last dried food stuffs onboard ships to its 20th-century use in parlor games where family members played for dried beans rather than money.


©2017 P.B. Lecron