Spit, wrinkles and my braless hairdresser
grandir: Growing up in Paris + a link to Tuesday's exciting talk!

High heels & the Paris Metro = une mauvais idee?

Vespa and Golden (c) Kristin Espinasse
La dèche (pronounced "desh") means broke or down-and-out... only it's clearly la vie en rose for this shop dog, which lives in La Ciotat.

A quick story for you today. By the time you read this I'll be in the train on my way to the capital! In this short edition we've already seen the vocab word (above). Come with me now to see what's in my suitcase for Paris....

A Day in a FRENCH Life... by Kristin Espinasse

Paris Obstacle Course: Help Kristi get to her talk in the Marais!

It's Sunday afternoon and I am packing for Paris, for the talk I'll give on Tuesday. I've got three small bags to break up the weight of 41 books, one bottle of wine, and a bouquet of flowering thyme from the field outside. I know the last item doesn't count, but when you're pushing your packing limits even herbs de Provence are enough to tip the scale! Thankfully they don't have weight limits on the train, but a woman's back has her limits, no?

I think I've brought too many books, which won't make commuting in Paris any easier. After much debating, I've decided that on the day of my talk I'm not lugging books up and down subway stairs. The price of the public transit ride (2,40 for my daughter and me) will go towards a driver! 

I know it is a splurge, using a car service, but I've checked out the fee and the 12 euros it will cost are a bargain when you factor in "peace of mind." Besides, I have not worn heels this high in years. Tuesday's race to the Marais (I'm meeting a reader on the opposite side of Paris, just before the talk...) is not the time to practice my stride. Walking from the car to the podium will be enough of a test!

Wish me luck, and if you want to help my daughter and me win a free ride to the talk (and possibly earn one for yourself!) sign up for Uber car rides using this promotional code.

I leave you with three good reasons to use Uber:

  • No need to tip or exchange money sur place (the fare is charged to your credit card, the one you registered when you signed up to the service).
  • Easy to hail a driver! Using SMS, you simply text Uber and a driver appears within 10 minutes. You don't even need to know where you are, your phone automatically positions you on the map!
  • No driver meltdowns. Uber drivers are not known for arguing with clients, or refusing a ride when you are jet-lagged and lugging heavy bags (and a baby and a screaming toddler).  And you don't have to walk blocks to find a taxi stand, Uber drivers will find you!

The above observations are personal and not written in stone, curbside! But chances are you will be pleased with this car ride service, which operates all over the world. Note: this is not an Uber sponsored post, but if you do sign up for Uber, with this promotional code, then Jackie and I may get a free ride on Tuesday :-) Our feet will thank you for it!

P.S.: I tried to get my husband to join--so I could get the free ride thanks to him--but the sign up page said "an account already exists." Too bad for Chief Grape, who could have used the service this week--when he'll be promoting wine in London and Tokyo!

P.P.S.: Now, I know what you are thinking: That Kristin, she's going to rack up a lot of free rides with Uber, now that she's rallied her subscribers!

But so far all I see, when I click the promotional code link, is a message saying the other guy (you) gets the credit (or $20 off your first ride"). However, if things do work out that way, and several of you sign up--and that somehow qualifies me for many free rides--then I will dream a new dream: like using so many free rides for a book tour, so we can finally meet! 

Meantime, fingers crossed my daughter and I will win a ride to the Marais on Tuesday. So thanks for checking out Uber and signing up! Here's that link and bon voyage!

Update: Jean-Marc emailed me this morning from London. He was able to sign up and we will both get credit toward our rides! Uber says the promo code is still good for friends so visit this page and consider signing up. And if I did bring too many books and don't sell them all in Paris, I can always get a ride back to the train station.

To comment, click here

Mr sacks goes to japan
Jean-Marc is bringing one bag to Japan and we can see where his priorities lie: wine and swim trunks. That's old Mr. Sacks on the top of the heap. If you have not met Jean-Marc's beloved purse, go here now!

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


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You are braver than I dear Kristin! I haven't worn heels in since last August before I broke my right foot.
To tell the truth I never wore a heel over 2.5 inches high to begin with. I like my feet planted on solid ground!

My torn ligaments and muscles are still healing- it's taking too long! I've missed my lace up boots this past winter. I love them with jeans. Hopefully this fall I will feel secure/stable enough to wear them.

I can't imagine hauling three bags full of books up and down the stairs of the metro stations, and on and off the trains/metro!
I still break out in sweats thinking about the time I was in a Paris Metro station really early in the morning to catch the train to the airport, and the turnstile closed before I could get my one valise through it. I raced back upstairs to plead with the ticket person to let me in. He insisted that I relate the problem in French! I'm sure he had a good laugh, but he gave me another ticket and let me in despite my horrible grammar!

I think you're wise hiring a car!

Best of luck with the talk, but I'm sure you'll be great. I wish I was able to be there.

Karen from Phoenix

Best of luck on Tuesday. I know you will do great!!



I hope the weather cooperates, Kristin. It was beautiful last week - cherry tree is blooming, the tulips are up and all that jazz. Let's hope this week is as nice.

I crossed my fingers and brought my heels to Washington, D.C. and to my surprise I was actually able to get around without too much trouble. I wouldn't want to do it every day but for one short week it was doable.

All the best,


David DeCrane

Dommage, mais on ne peux pas dire:
Wish me luck, and if you want to help my daughter and I win a free ride to the talk (and possibly earn one for yourself!

Il faut dire:
....if you want to help me daughter and ME

Sorry if the French is wrong, but the English isn't.

Susan Klee

I use Uber n New York if I can't find a cab (recently on a sleeting Friday at 5:30) and in San Francisco, where taxi service is abysmal. We swear by them.

Brenda Prowse

I am so excited that I will be able to meet you tomorrow, Kristin. I will be taking the bus because I live in the 5th, have a metro pass and the bus takes me right to the place where you are speaking. Hooray!! I will be wearing flats so hope I don't feel out of place! I will try to cheer for you quietly.
I so enjoy your posts and your new book. Merci beaucoup for making the trip and speaking to a group. You will be brilliant.

Susie Lavenson

Two suggestions..wear flats in the metro and carry the heels in a tote..
Also..you forgot the "e" on the end of "mauvais"..since it modifies a feminine noun.
Love the car service suggestion and appreciate the tip.

Patricia Sands

'Break a leg' with your talk, Kristin but not with those heels! Uber sounds like an excellent idea and I'm betting your ride will be free by the time you need it. Bonne courage!


Bonne courage on Tuesday! The hired driver sounds like a great idea!


I've never heard of Uber! Have I been living in a cave??? Sounds like a great service and U'm signing up today! Bonne chance with your lecture aujourd'hui!


My husband's bag is still going where ever he goes and he turns 70 this year. I agree with the comment to wear flats in the city and carry the heels. I used to do that when I worked and walked in D.C.


Have a great time in Paris, and bonne chance with the heels!:)


bonne chance!

Julie Farrar

I've only recently heard of Uber. I will check out your links and probably sign up for when we're in France. As for the heels, my Paris friend says that women wear them all over the city. In my Dijon, we wear comfortable yet trés fashionable low-heeled shoes. I don't know how anyone could navigate our cobblestones all day in heels. If doing the metro, the idea of wearing flats and toting heels is the way to go. But if you are lugging things, Uber or taxi, bien sur. Bonne chance!

Vivian Langley

Bon voyage et bonne chance avec vos livres et les high heels.

Susan Wardell

Une mauvaise idée (fém.)

Eileen deCamp

Congratulations on the book and you will be great on Tuesday! Wish I could be there in person but I will be thinking of you! Uber sounds like a great idea! Have fun teetering on the heels! I always wondered how European women walked on the cobblestones with heels. They looked so elegant and never caught their heel or fell over!


You will be stunning in your heels & undoubtedly your talk will be splendid...good for you!
& thanks for the Uber tip....sounds like a great service....will sign up ASAP!


Bon Voyage Kristin et bonne chance pour votre presentation :-) Alain

Sandy Vann

Bon chance avec tout chere Kristin. Will definitely check out the Uber connection and sign up. Sounds great. You will be fabulous at your talk in Paris! Bravo to JM for his trip to Japan as well. All the best.

An Oregonian in Paris

Uber sounds FANTASTIC. I learn something helpful from you every time I read your posting. Thanks! Paris is THE dream city for Orthopedists. All those changing textures under your feet (cobblestone, to cracked concrete, slick blacktop and grity gravel, holes where a post once stood and cracks) not to mention the totally non-uniform curb and stairstep heights. And the iron doors with the horizontal piece at the bottom which DOES NOT swing open with the door and will trip you and tip you over onto your face, hands and knees if you don't watch out. Oh, and the canted sidewalks so the shop keepers and street cleaner can slosh that dirty water from the Seine and making me feel constantly as if I have one leg too long or too short. Spring rain? Try jumping over one of those flowing gutters in heels. Or a torrent of overflowing street swill during a rainstorm creating a waterfall down a Metro stairway. Like that Randy Newman song says: You can leave your hat on !!! But baby take off those shoes" (and leave the heels at home). ;-)


Our dear Kristi,
Bonne courage tomorrow!You will be WONDERFUL! How exciting!!!Please know that we'll be there with you in spirit!!
You are so wise to hire a driver.Though I've had to wear orthopedic shoes for years now,I do remember when in younger days I was wearing heels,and attempting to lug bundles on to the Metro.
My foot got stuck and the heel went flying into the tracks.I made myself a promise then and there to do what you're doing: hire a driver!
Looking forward to hearing how your talk went! The last one was awesome!
Love, Natalia XO

Sarah LaBelle near Chicago

Uber is really a shared ride service, relying on crowds to provide both enough drivers with empty seats in their car, and enough people wanting rides.

It is causing a rumpus in Chicago, where the city wants to license Uber and related services just like taxi service, which is pretty much what Uber is, but the drivers are not full time. Insurance, training, obligation to take all comers: a hearty debate is ongoing.

Good luck selling books!

Michael Abulencia

Just signed up for Uber using your promo code. Sounds like a great service, thanks for telling us about it.

Bob Johnston, River Landing, North Carolina, USA

I would like to recommend that you consider complementing your written column with an audio file as well that allows us to hear your beautiful voice as well as your lesson and anecdotes that accompany your storyline. Just a thought.

Diane Young

I'm with Bob. It's too late for Tuesday, since it's over by now, but we would all love to hear your talk sometime. I already know that your talk was a success because you are a winner,cherie.

Kathleen from Connecticut

I just read your interview with BonjourParis. Very nice. I hope that this gets more people reading your blog. I learned things that I didn't know...you flunked French in HS. But look at you today...you recovered .congratulations.



Wish me luck, and if you want to help my daughter and I win a free ride to the talk

IMPROPER ENGLISH!!! Should be: my daughter and ME - objective form!

Mistake written TWICE

K Bayly

My daughter uses Über every day in San Francisco - her company pays for it (lucky girl). I did not realize it was in Paris too!


Thank You!!! I am bringing my granddaughter to Paris and I was going to use this to and from the airport!! yay
merci beaucoup!!

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