15 August 2013

Paris in July: a café a day (3)

Le Bistro au Franc Pinot is on the Ile Saint-Louis, in the middle of Paris on the Seine. It's not so much a café as a bar and restaurant.

There's no big awning and no outdoor seating, but Au Franc Pinot offers a splash of color all the same, along with a splash of franc pinot or "honest wine."

Maybe you can tell that I'm on a kind of post-vacation vacation. I still have so many photos of Paris that I want to post that I'm not really taking photos of the garden or vineyard these days. I take some cooking and food photos, and maybe I'll post some of those later.

For now, I'm just enjoying remembering what a good time I had in Paris in July — when the weather was so hot and at the same time so pleasant — and thinking how nice it was of CHM to put me up and put up with me chez lui those two times in one month. Our weather now is autumn-ish: chilly mornings with warm sunny afternoons, and very dry.


  1. It was a pleasure to put up with you.
    It is what friends are for, aren't they?

  2. Ahh... these Paris café street-corner scenes are just great. So... umm... Parisian :)

  3. Judith, I thought this "cafe" looks nothing like a cafe but maybe like a "quaincaillerie" or "mercerie" shop of old. I think the bars on the windows are throwing me off.

  4. beautiful blue! we are still int eh 40*'s this morning - can you believe it?!?! in august? it should feel like the Fire Swamp - but i love this weather and hope it holds. keep posting these Paris pix - cant get enough. unless you have pix of cheese - then we need to see those pronto.

  5. Bonjour, Ken. Had you not translated the café's name, I wouldn't have picked up on the difference between "franc pinot" and "pinot franc". (What popped into my head was an image of just the wine, pinot franc.)
    I see adjectives like this referred to as "fickle" French adjectives, i.e. their position before or after a noun changes their meaning from a figurative to a more literal one. Is there another name for adjectives like these?

  6. On vacation in Paris---me thinks you guys are on vacation EVERYDAY!!! Living the Life in FRANCE - GOOD CHEESE, BEAUTIFUL SITES, GOOD WINE - FRIENDLY PEOPLE!!! i'm just jealous...

  7. Dean, I didn't know the term 'fickle' adjective, but I
    guess that's a good name. CHM will tell us if he thinks 'honest' is a good translation for 'franc' applied to wine and pre-positioned as it is in the restaurant's name. I think of 'le franc parler' and so on.

  8. I like this "Cafe a day" thing you're doing!

  9. I am at a loss to understand what either “franc pinot” or "pinot franc" means. Not being very savvy about types of vine, I googled pinot franc and the only mention I found was this Jazz Club on Île St-Louis. I did find pinot noir and pinot gris, though.

    Now, Cabernet Franc do exist. And I think, in this case, franc means pure or unadulterated. The word franc has so many meanings, it all depends on the context.

    Now, whether an adjective is placed before of after a noun can change the meaning, but not always. Here are two well known examples: un grand homme et un homme grand (a famous man and a tall man); une grosse fille et une fille grosse (a big girl and a pregnant girl). However, une ville grande et une grande ville would mean the same thing, even though une ville grande would not be used at all. The place of the adjective is a matter of context and of usage (i.e. usually after a noun).

  10. P.S. Je pense que l'on pourrait dire de façon interchangeable: une ville grande, tant par sa renommée que par sa population ou une grande ville, tant par sa renommée que par sa population.

  11. Bonjour, CHM. Merci beaucoup pour votre explication.
    ("A un des grands hommes de la grammaire française, un correspondant reconnaissant.")

  12. Robert gives an old expression : 'une franche lippée' (or 'une lippée franche') meaning 'un bon repas qui ne coûte rien'. I think 'franc pinot' might be on this model.

    Why 'pinot' I don't know. 'Pinot franc' is not a grape variety. Sometimes 'pinot' gets confused with 'pineau' because the pronunciation is the same, but then 'pineau franc' is not a grape variety either. The mysteries of the French language...

    I can see how 'pinot' might mean just wine — it's close enough to 'pinard' but not pejorative, and there are many varieties of 'pinot' — blanc, gris, noir, meunier, beurot. Even pinot-chardonnay. And then there's 'pineau de la Loire' or just 'pineau' (local names for the 'chenin blanc' grape) and the famous Pineau des Charentes.

    Robert also gives the expression 'à franc étrier' — 'étrier' means stirrup, and the expression with 'franc' evidently means to ride just letting the horse run as it will (giving it free rein).

    But the dictionary also gives the expression 'le vin de l'étrier', meaning the wine you drink just before you hit the road — 'boire le coup de l'étrier' ("to have one for the road"). That is a new one for me.


What's on your mind? Qu'avez-vous à me dire ?