High heels & the Paris Metro = une mauvais idee?
A Hussy to the IRS + Next meet up (at the docks after midnight, wink wink!)

grandir: Growing up in Paris + a link to Tuesday's exciting talk!

Apres-midi meet

Scene from Adrian Leeds' Après-Midi meet-up. (Mom, can you find me in the crowd? :-) Check out Adrian's Parler Paris & sign up for more Paris news! Next meetup (with Kristi) is April 28th, in St. Cyr Les Lecques. Check back next week for more info!

grandir (grahn-deer)

    : to grow up

Audio File: Listen to my son Max pronounce these French words: Download MP3

Grandir. Qu'est-ce qu'elle a grandi ma soeur!
To grow up. My sister has really grown up!


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

This week's trip to Paris was the chance to meet an impressive young lady. Assertive, efficient, and street smart--I can't believe how my 16-year-old has matured!

You wouldn't know it from the way she orders from a menu, and I had to fight the urge to clue-in the restaurateur: Mademoiselle is not old as she looks! If the fancy menu is off-putting, it is because she still prefers the nuggets on the childrens' menu.

But don't let her simple taste fool you, Jackie is quickly becoming a seasoned citoyenne du monde! I am amazed watching my daughter take the initiative--outside the restaurant when our ride doesn't show up as expected. "Mom, take the restaurateur's offer. Let him call a taxi!"

It is the same timely advice she gave me last time, back at the hotel, and if I hadn't listened then we might have missed our first appointment. Thanks to my child's quick-thinking, we were on time and efficace....

"Donne-moi ça. Hand me that," Jackie says, grabbing my suitcase of books as soon as we arrive to the Marais, where I'm scheduled to speak at Adrian Leeds' Après Midi. I watch my girl beeline it from the cab straight to a bistro table to begin setting up the book stand we never even talked about. I don't know where this assertiveness is coming from, but I can't argue with it. 

She would make a great assistant! I realize, as I skip off, not quite knowing where to spend so much new-found freedom. Turns out my daughter has an answer for that too!

"Mom!" Jackie signals. In hushed tones she points to a table where a man with salt-and-pepper hair is seated. "You need to sign Mike's book."

"Mike's book?" I am a little confused, until my daughter waves a couple of bills. "Oh! you've already sold some books! Good for you, Honey!"

From the serious look on Jackie's face, this is no time for sweet talk. This is business!

"Vas-y! Hurry up. Mike's over there!"

I notice how she recalled one guest's name when she might easily have said "Monsieur." My daughter may not remember to put her dinner plate in the dishwasher, but her memory is sharp as a tack when it comes to business manners!

1-Capture plein écran 11042014 120001

During my talk, Jackie silently cheers me from a table in the back and before long the presentation is over and we are sitting side by side at the book stand. Jackie is back in business mode and she's swiftly elbowing me.

"Mom, Susan's been waiting!" Seems I'm chatting too long with each guest. Time to get a move on!

1-Capture plein écran 11042014 105219

As savvy and professional as my daughter is, I am reminded she still has a lot to learn about selling.

"Look!" Jackie says, when we've packed up our stand. Opening the bright red money pocket she points out 300 euros.

"Can you buy me a pair of shoes?" She's remembered my promise to buy her something special while we are in Paris.

"Sweety, we have not made 300 euros. We have made more like 80 euros." I have to explain that the books weren't free to begin with. We have first bought the books and paid to have them shipped. "We have to deduct our cost for the books. Also, twenty of those euros were already in the billfold, in case we needed change for our customers."

Jackie's disappointment is palpable and I almost regret breaking it to her that the writing life is not as lucrative as she imagined!

Wrapping my arm around my daughter, on our way down the cobbled streets of the Marais, I'm delighted to see her smile return. And a million-dollar smile at that...

"Eighty-euros," she calculates. "It's enough to buy those shoes!"

*    *    *

All About Tuesday's Talk!
Don't miss Adrian's write up of my talk! Click here.

  Adrian Leeds Kristin Espinasse

Adrian and Kristin at Tuesday's Après-Midi gathering

A very big thanks to Adrian Leeds, of Parler Paris, for inviting me to speak at her Après-Midi. Be sure to sign up for her free Nouvellettre for a taste of life in Paris and France: http://www.adrianleeds.com/parler-paris

I am now struggling to put names to faces (look at this endearing brochette). One of the challenges, at events like this (besides fear of public speaking), is to remember names--and sometimes faces. The idea of not recognizing someone in unthinkable. 

All photos by Adrian Leeds (or Adrian's camera :-)

Jim haynes
Several of the women who attended emailed me beforehand, to offer good wishes. Talk about feeling support before even arriving to the event! And there was even a big surprise: Jim Haynes showed up! I have been wanting to meet this character ever since reading about his Sunday Night dinner. For 36 years Jim has served dinner at his home--to over 130,000 guests! Eating at Jim's has been on my bucket list for some time, but I never dreamed I'd see him so soon! Jackie tells me that when Jim arrived at the book stand, he hesitated between the two books, and ended up buying Blossoming in Provence. "I think he wanted the other," Jackie said, "but he was 5 euros short."

When I heard the news I wanted to chase Jim down the street. But it was too late to give him a copy. Mr Sunday Night Dinner disappeared, as quietly as he'd come.

Jackie and jim

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


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Kristi Darling,

Loved, loved, loved today´s post….everything about it was totally you. I am so proud of you for stepping out of your comfort zone and meeting the all of your new and old friends in Paris. This was quite an accomplishment for you - you are now free of fear of speaking in public. Yea Kristi !!!!

Jackie was your perfect assistant and perfect daughter…I am so proud of Jackie. I noticed in the photo of Jackie that her strength just shines through….she is not someone I would ever want to come up against…although I would like to think that she gets some of her power of presence from me, but most likely she really gets it from Michael-France. Oh - you can´t beat the French for presence in a crowd….and Jackie has scored big in presence and professionalism.

Loved your lacy top and slacks….just perfect. You looked beautiful Honey.

Also, please send Jim your latest book, I hope I can share in your Bucket List when you finally find your way to his place for dinner. Loved the article you posted about Jim.




Looks like everyone had a very nice time! Jim sounds like a lovely person to get to know. I would love to attend one of his dinners, also! Maybe I could join you and Jules! ;) You and Jackie look beautiful!

Nancy, San Antonio, Texas

Congratulations on a happy event. I am enjoying my copy. They have to grow up - the alternative is unthinkable. Now she is "blossoming". You must be so proud of her.

Jolley G

I've had dinner at Jim Haynes' place. Great place to meet all kinds of interesting people.

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristin,
Loved this post and it looks like everyone had a great time! I really like the outfit you were wearing and Jackie looks beautiful. How nice to have your daughter there to support you!

Eileen deCamp

Wouldn't it be fun to go to one of Jim's dinners?! He looks like a fun loving person and his story would make a great movie too!


Our Dear Kristi,
So proud of beautiful Jackie and so proud of beautiful you!
What wonderful memories you two made! Happy ones to last a lifetime!
And they will grow even sweeter with time!
How privileged we are to be included in such an enchanted evening!(No! Make that Apres-Midi!!!
Thank you!
Love, Natalia XO


You must be so proud of Jackie! What a special experience to share with your daughter! You both look charming. Glad to read that the event went well and that you got to meet loyal readers. Like you, I'm also not great at remembering names. I think it comes with the introvert territory. ;)

Ellen from BH

First things first: Congratulations on this book signing, speech, and on your terrific new book. I love the color photos and the selection of stories (note to self: write that Amazon review). You and Jackie both looked happy and beautiful - the new hairdresser knows her stuff. :-) Hope Jackie had some time to window shop and get caught up on the Paris fashions.
As a long time fan of both your FWD and Adrian Leeds' Parler Paris, I am delighted to see you two together, and even more delighted to see that Jim Haynes was in attendance.
My husband and I had the privilege of attending one of Jim's Sunday dinners two years ago. What fun! Like a college night party with huge pots of food, wine in plastic cups, and dozens of travellers and expats to chat with.
If you'd like to send Jim the other book, his address is 83, rue de la Tombe Issoire, Paris 75014. Folks who would like to attend a future Sunday dinner are advised to book far in advance. Go to www.jim-haynes.com and click on "Come to Sunday Dinner" for more information. If your chosen Sunday is available, you'll be given the gate code and information about how to deliver your contribution toward the cost of food and drink. A highly quirky and recommended experience.


A heartwarming post. You grew your daughter well.


I really enjoyed reading this post - as a mom with a daughter (not quite as old as yours) I see there is hope for the future ;-) , as a fan of Paris (really, who isn't) and as an artist, where the profit is never quite as much as the gross total suggests it could be!

I look forward to picking up your new book!

Chris Allin

What fun to have Jackie with you for this adventure. A daughter can be such a treasure and a joy.

Absolutely wonderful interview for Bonjour Paris, Kristin!

Joan Linneman

Great post... Joan L.

Karen from Phoenix

Congratulations on your book signing. You looked beautiful as always. Jackie is turning into a beautiful young woman. How could she not with her beautiful parents. So glad it all worked well and everyone looked like they were having fun. Oh what I would give to be at one of Jim's dinners. Love your way!


Kristi . You looked fabulous in that black lace top.Very Parisian. And I love Adrian. Always watch her on HH Int. on HGTV here. Jackie has grown to be quite the young lady and seems to be strong in spirit. Now when do you get a visit from Jules. Have the cats returned?
As a writer have you visited 20 Rue Jacob in Paris home of the late American writer and salonist Natalie Clifford Barney or Rue Christine to see the home of Gertrude Stein who would probbly say Kristi what is writing or is writing about writing thats writing what you say is writing....

Leslie in Oregon

You anecdote about Jackie helping you navigate Paris reminds me of my son helping me navigate New York City (to which I, at first, was supposedly introducing him). Aren't we fortunate to have so much to learn from our kids?

Gongratulations on your lecture and book signing in Paris. I'm so happy to see you and Adrian come together!

Holly H

So glad you had a great event! Great post!
Question: Was it the Uber car that didn't show up on time? After you spoke about Uber a few days ago on your blog, I downloaded the app for future travel needs. I hope they didn't let you down after your glowing praise of them!

Anne Ryan

I absolutely love this post. Aren't daughters just wonderful? I love having mine right by my side, too. They can certainly teach us so much. Wishing you all the very best as you continue promoting your latest book. Kindest regards from North Carolina. Anne Ryan

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Don, and to everyone for these heartwarming comments! We have to all meet Chez Jim, for his Sunday dinner. It is fun to imagine, though a little trickier to get us all together....


Congrats Kirstin. So fun to have great (almost) grown up children!
Same question as Holly re the Uber car. I signed up too (with your referral link) and was going to use them when I am in Paris next,so would love your feed-back.


Oooopsss....meant Kristin!

Kathleen from Connecticut

Congratulations...you and Jackie both look stunning and Jackie has certainly grown up into a you lady. It was great that you could both share the experience together.


Kathleen from Connecticut

I meant young lady....

Nancy Greig

I enjoyed the post but I read your posts to learn more interesting expressions in French - and this one contained almost no French!!! S'il vous plait, more French in future posts!

Diane Young

I think that's you over to the left by the window in the photo. You looked great in that lace top. Jackie is so lovely and very hip. So glad you had a chance to be together for this adventure. Tough to learn early about the economics of sales, but better now than later. So impressed with JM in London and Tokyo and you and Jackie is Paris. Tres continental! Am enjoying your book very much.


A very belated "Congratulations!" And, may I say you looked fabulous - absolutely love your dress! And, Jackie is so pretty and it must be such a joy to have her at your side, so grown up! I think I'll go read your latest book all over again!


Oh, the lady from House Hunter's International! I saw an episode with her tonight in Paris. I love that show!! Sounds like you and your daughter are having a nice time in Paris. I am enjoying your book.

Chris Allin

I am sure your mom quickly found you, Kristin, smack dab in the middle of the picture, talking with a a lucky couple. Thank you for taking us into the midst of the American community in Paris which I had forgotten about from my college days there... decades ago. Your stories tell us so much about the culture that I often feel transformed into another time or place. Not to mention the human aspect you so often touch upon...such as the joy of witnessing one's child come into her own. Where will you take us next???

Sevahn Merian from Michigan

Hope it's not too late to say you looked beautiful in that pretty light brown lace....and lovely daughter too. Very happy for you!

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