French Language Blog

Bons baisers d’Amqui!* Posted by on Nov 15, 2016 in Culture, Vocabulary

Je vous écris cette semaine de chez ma tante Rose. (I’m writing to you this week from my Aunt Rose’s) After last week, it seemed like a little escape to Canada was in order. Have no fear though, by the time you read this, I’ll actually already be back in the US.



Tante Rose est la femme de Jean-Claude. Jean-Claude est le frère de ma belle-mère. (Aunt Rose is the wife of Jean-Claude. Jean-Claude is the brother of my mother-in-law.) Rose et Jean-Claude habitent à Amqui. Amqui est une petite ville dans l’est du Provence de Québec. (Rose and Jean-Claude live in Amqui. Amqui is a small city in the eastern part of Québec.)

Rose et Jean-Claude sont à la retraite. (Rose and Jean-Claude are retired.) So as their novelty license plate says ils ont pas d’heure, pas d’adresse, pas de téléphone, et pas d’argent! (they have no time, no address, no telephone, and no money!**)

Notre week-end à Amqui. Our weekend in Amqui.

Notre week-end. Our weekend.

Amqui est à la porte de la Gaspésie. (Amqui is at the doorstep of the Gaspé region.) The Gaspé is a beautiful, wild region full of great hikes, river and ocean views and other outdoor adventures. And while Amqui is just outside, it still offers lots of fun. It is also la ville des ponts couverts. (the town of covered bridges.) The mayor of Amqui loves covered bridges so much that he even had one ‘imported’ from the next town!

One of the highlights of our trip was a hike to les chutes à Philomène  (the Philomene falls)*** The falls are accessible via two trails, one which leads to the haut de la chute (top of the falls) and another, much steeper, which leads to the bas de la chute (the bottom of the falls).

We also enjoyed plusieurs parties de cartes. (many card games.) Like many of us, tante Rose aime jouer aux cartes . . . mais elle n’aime pas perdre! (aunt Rose likes to play cards . . . but she doesn’t like to lose!) Happily for all of us, elle a gangné. (she won.)

Et pour finir cette semaine, (And to finish this week,) a little vocabulary lesson. Amqui is located at the confluence of two rivières. (rivers.) French has two words for ‘river’ where English generally has one. In French, une rivière is a ‘river that flows into another river’. Un fleuve is ‘a river that flows to the ocean’. La Seine, which flows through Paris, is un fleuve. So is Le Saint-Laurent (the Saint Laurnce) which flows to the Atlantic Ocean by way of Québec City.

* ‘Bon baiser de . . . ‘ is an old expression that people used to sign postcards from their vacation destinations with. It’s also famously part of the movie title ‘Bons baisers de Russie’ otherwise known as “From Russia With Love”.

** In a good way . . . except for the ‘no money’ . . . and even then, after more than 40 years in the same town, they’re doing just fine!

*** The falls get their name from Madame Philomène Dubé, who lived nearby with her husband, François Gauthier. Their home was open to travellers on the route to Amqui who needed to warm up on their way.

Photo Credits: (C) Michael Bissonnette

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About the Author: Tim Hildreth

Since my first trip to France at 16, I have been a passionate francophile. I love the language, food, music, art, people, and more that make France and la Francophonie in general such an amazing part of our global community. Having lived in France and studied the language and culture for over 35 years, it is my great pleasure to be able to share a little bit of my deep love with you through this blog.