Update on Max + Mortgage is a creepy word! Use this French expression instead! + bien immobilier, hypothéque, piaule, licitation judiciaire
Demain il fera jour: A reminder not to take work (life, everything) too seriously + Escapade to Porquerolles Island

France's "Cité de L'Espace" and SpaceX "dearMoon" + Jules is ready to fly the coop.

Port in la ciotat wooden boats or pointus
Our little wooden boat, an authentic French “pointu” left the old port Monday for a special mission...to accompany my Mom beyond the limits of La Ciotat. Find out what this floating craft has in common with spacecraft in today's intergalactic missive.

Today’s word: une fusée 
     : rocket, space rocket 

Audio File: listen to Jean-Marc read the following French and English:
Un milliardaire japonais offre huit sièges pour un voyage autour de la Lune à bord d’une fusée développée par Elon Musk. Japanese billionaire offers eight seats for trip around the moon aboard a rocket developed by Elon Musk

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse 
"Entrée gratuite" (Free entry). When I read a news article in Le Monde about a Japanese billionaire giving away 8 tickets to the moon, I ran to show it to my Mom. "His name is  Yusaku Maezawa and he's offering the SpaceX flight a.k.a. "dearMoon" to artists who are willing to push the limits of creativity. 

"When is it? And how long will it orbit?" Mom wanted to know.
"The rocket launches in 2023 and it's a 7-day tour if you make it past the 4 screenings!"
 "Let's do it!" Jules said, sitting up in her bed. After pushing her paintbrushes aside, mourning her husband for several years, this intergalactic journey (even the possibility of it!) was just what the doctor ordered. So, on a whim, we both signed up and made it through the first screening (as did millions of other earthlings: all you had to do was send in a picture and fill out a form). But by the second screening, I got cold feet and backed out. Yesterday's newsflash in Paris Match about the latest SpaceX rocket fusée exploding freaked me out. My fearless Mom, however, was chiche to continue! 

A souvenir from my SpaceX candidature. 

Two More requirements
Those making it past the first two screenings now had a unique challenge issued by billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, who is known for his own flamboyant marketing stunts:

1) Come up with your own publicity stunt to get the word out about our dearMoon SpaceX mission.
2) Create a useful tool/gadget for the lunar trip 

dearMom and dearMoon
Now all we needed was a way for Jules's candidature to stand out...and some sort of gadget! Last Thursday, while busy with our annual carénage (boat maintenance) it hit us! Why not parade Mom around Provence in this little wooden boat--this historic pointu?! It was sort of symbolic: a ride that begins on a humble floating vessel and ends on a trillion-dollar rocket.

"And ends on a rocket..." Oh God, will my dearMom be okay on the dearMoon mission if she makes it past this third screening? Did we really want Jules to take this risk? What if she disappeared forever in the galactic heavens?

"Honey, I am ready to move on!" Mom reassured me.

Meantime, my sister-in-law, Cécile, who helps sand and paint our boat each year, painted the words dearMoon over both sides of the pointu... and in place of La Ciotat (our town), it now read "La Lune/2023." As a further attention-getter, Jean-Marc put 8 cases of wine in the back of the newly painted boat, topping the boxes in a visual display of bottles and bottles of rosé. (Hoping to kiss up to the Japanese billionaire--who is also a wine fanatic--I had these cool wine labels printed. Look closely at all the details on the label...  (Maybe Yusaku Maezawa will be chiche to make wine with us here in France if all goes well! What do you say Yusaku? Are you reading? Please take Mom to the Moon! She is the perfect candidate and will be your Most Fun crew member!)


Crystal Goggles--Le Must!
As for the spacial gadget.... To put all chance on our side, we contacted our daughter, Jackie, who works for the historic French crystal company, Baccarat, to see if they would be willing to make some mock-goggles using their luxury crystal for the lenses. Jackie immediately drew up the plans and the CEO OK'd her design! Turns out the dearMoon "monture" is a méchant marketing booster for Baccarat as well! 

Moon or Bust!
On Tuesday, Mom, dressed in her favorite Frida Kahlo cape and boarded the little wooden boat--taking our golden retriever Smokey with her. "Look!" Mom said. She pulled two pairs of Baccarat goggles out of her bag, fitting Smokey with his own pair. "Jackie sent an extra for bonne chance!"

Jean-Marc hitched the little wooden boat onto our 4X4 and we were off, Jules and Smokey in tow! Taking all country roads and passing through little towns along this special pèlerinage to la Cité de L'Espace (Toulouse is Europe's capital of aeronautics, hosting the headquarters of the Airbus Group) everything went beautifully until we reached La Ville Rose--Toulouse's other nickname...and we now know why....

More than rose, we noticed a lot of red. Red faces! Our spacey entourage was met with hostility as angry French protesters stopped us at the city limits (having seen all the news coverage of our dearMoon "craft" advancing toward their famous city).

Jean-Marc and I sat wide-eyed in the front of our Jeep, while Mom and Smokey looked onto the crowd from the little wooden boat where they sat, literally goggle-eyed. The protest signs read: VA JOUER SUR L'AUTOROUTE!!! 

Whew! That's a seriously méchant French insult that means GO PLAY ON THE FREEWAY! It turns out the Toulousaines were livid to see us promoting an American/Japanese Outer Space adventure...when France had a rocket of its own to promote (can anyone tell me the name of that rocket? Hmm? Does France have its own chereLune?).

"What are they saying?" Mom shouted to us, as she poured glass after glass of rosé, trying to appease the protesters (many were accepting the wine, and some were helping themselves to a case of it!).

Jean-Marc and I looked at each other, unsure of whether we should break the news. Suddenly, we both turned and shouted:

"April Fools! The signs read April Fools!"

"Oh, that's a good one!" Mom said, raising her glass "cheers!" (The protesters raised theirs with jeers!)

And off we drove, with Mom and Smokey in tow. Mom shouting back at the crowd. "We're off to play on the freeway--the Intergalactic Freeway! April fools! April fools!"


Mom cape
I hope you enjoyed today's April Fools--and hopefully Jules will too when she wakes up and reads it :-) I really did sign up for the dearMoon mission...and so did dearSmokey, see below....

une fusée = space rocket
entrée gratuite = free entry
chiche = game (être chiche = game to do something)
carénage = boat service, maintenance, careening
la lune = moon
méchant = wickedly awesome
la monture = eyeglass frames
le pointu = little wooden boat from Provence or the Mediterranean
le pèlerinage = pilgrimage

Smokey DearMoon astronaut crew

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


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Nina  T


I always enjoy. your April Fool's Day missives! I should know better, but you get me EVERY time . . hook, line & sinker:)
And that DearMoon photo of Smokey! Too adorable!

Gordon Lyman

Your best April Fool’s post!
At least, I think so.

Eileen deCamp

Good one Kristi! You get me every year...and then I say...wait a minute! haha


Poisson d'avril !!

Sharon Marchisello

You had me until the mob outside Toulouse!

Geraldine Ventura

Should have remembered that April 1, is one of your favorite holidays! You fooled us again!

Brenda Pfeil

Wow. Highly creative and elaborate. My dear papa would have truly enjoyed the thought put into it. He was our jokester in the family.
And the rocket....not still the Arianne is it?


Our Kristi, what a cute story! You are such a great writer, and I can see Jules up in space now! But, I don't know about Smokey. I think he would miss you too much!

Bettye Dew

What a fun story to read first thing this morning. Much better than the serious stuff in the newspapers. Thank you for your April Fool's Day story, which has gotten my day off to a jolly start. Now I have to come down from the moon and get my (boring) car to the shop. Va jouer sur l'autoroute? J'espere que non.


I hope DEARLUNE Grenache is not a joke. Loved the label !

Cricket Hile

I always appreciate your April Fools jokes!


Ben là..tu ma hamçonner. Very creative April fools. Merci pour le rigolo!


Good one, Kristi! You got me again. I was so impressed with all the planning you had to do including Jackie getting the Baccarat goggle frames. It's just the crazy kind of adventure I could see Jules taking on. Happy April Fool's Day!

Chris Allin

Dear Kristi,
Fell for it again! I was even hoping for a photo of Jules and Smokey in the boat! Glad to know they are safe and sound at your place.
Your place...did you and Jean-Marc ever come up with a name for it? Seems you have been "over the moon" since moving there. I wonder if there is a French translation for that that British expression (which always makes me smile!).

Christine Brousse

Bonjour Kristin. Was just talking to gd son Luke (Florida to Vermont) as I had sent him your previous blog. He lived in Paris and Biarritz when he was 4 to 7 then again in Biarritz at 11 years old. Together we speak French of course! No other way do I let my gd kids communicate with me!
Finishing the book by Corine Gantz : Hidden in Paris which I ll send to Anne who had her own experience in le 16eme when Luke was 4 and the younger one Theoden only a year old!
I miss France yet I know it is nit accessible at this time in the way it was! Wishing you well until we meet in LaCiotat

Judi Miller

Good grief!! You got me again. You are the best at making, not just April Fools Day jokes but entire stories. They are so creative and so real. I fall for them every year. So imaginatively written and so real! Merci!!

Mary in Denver

I’ve been looking forward to your April 1 post for weeks. You did not disappoint. And “Lunatique Grenache” was the “cherry” on top ! Brava !!

Leslie NYC

You got me, as usual! I was with you all the way through the goggles. I had no doubt that Jackie could convince the company to do this. I only doubted they could be produced so quickly. I also began to have real confidence that Jules would be chosen. Who could refuse someone so glamorous and creative?
Happy April 1st!

Pam Horovitz

Oh Mon Dieu! Une autre fois!

This one had me going right up until the April Fools announcement at the end! You put a lot of work into this one Kristi - I loved the wine label.

I hope this was as fun to write as it was fun to read.

Merci beaucoup pour cette blague.

Cheryl in STL

What a fun post!! Yesterday was a difficult day and I'd forgotten that today is April 1. You've lifted my spirits and put a smile on my face! Merci!

Ruth Fuchs Hallett

When I saw the 0% alcohol by volume on the wine label, I knew it was "Poisson d'Avril"!
Thanks for the chuckle.

Emmanuel près de SF

Alors là tu nous a eu! Bravo. Si seulement tu nous avais aussi mis une photo de Jules assise dans le bateau sur les eaux calmes du port avant votre sois-disant départ pour Toulouse.

Sherry Frank

Oh my goodness! That is your best one ever. Kudos, clever Kristi.

Cynthia Lewis

WONDERFUL, DELIGHTFUL, INGENIOUS, out of this world AWSOME! You have done it again. I even got upset by some of the citizens! of Toulouse taking a an entire case of your wine. Thanks so much!!

Judy Feldman

Formidable! You always make me fall for your stories! I’m an April fool! This was a great one, Jules will certainly love it, too!

Anne Jewett

Wonderful! You had me until the end. Thanks for getting the day off to a delightful start.


You do great ones. I am about to do one on a friend of mine who is in French Polynesia right now. Years ago while driving, she heard on the radio that they were towing an iceberg into Monterey Bay(California). She turned the car around and went down to the wharf to see it (with several others.). No iceberg. My call will be to tell her that due to global warming, it melted before it got here.

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks, Chris. We never did name our place, but I like your *over the moon* which, in French does not translate exactly: sur un petit nuage 


Our dear Kristi,
I totally forgot that today is April Fools', and I was completely transported away by the possibility of our dear Jules and her dear daughter zipping off on a moon run!!(thinking to myself: what bravery!! What fun! What an adventure!!)
THANK YOU for happy laughter and a wonderful way to start the day!!
Blessings always!
And Joyeuse Paque!!
Natalia. Xo


The entire story line about Jules promoting the moon flight I bought hook, line, and sinker, however, the part about Jackie sending Baccarat goggle lenses raised my suspicions, but nothing, I mean nothing, could stop me from reading this blog to the very end and then reading it over again! C’est une histoire bien faite, très bien faite! Merci beaucoup, Kristi. À mon avis tu mérites une autre médaille; peut-être un blason avec un roquette, sushi, et des croissants comme emblems internationaux?


I love your April Fools posts - they re always wonderful and fun and I so fall for it until I look at the calendar and realize what you are up to. Since we (humans) need to laugh more (it is good for your health) maybe we should have an August Fools Day or September or October etc. At least twice a year.

Ellen A.

Oh, I so wanted all of this to be true (except for the nasty Toulousians)! What fun!


That might be one your best April fool ones yet, having Jules and smokey as props.. you are incredible!!! love to all, lou


You had me whole time, even when the people in Toulouse had signs saying APRIL FOOLS, I still didn’t immediately realize it. I totally forgot that today is April 1.Boy, my head must be in the sand down at the beach in La Ciotat.
Love the pictures of you and Smokey in the space suits, but was hoping to see a picture of Jules and Smokey in the boat. Not having a picture of them should have given it away, but I think that I just enjoyed the story too much.
Thank you for a great lift to the day. I think that we all needed it.🙏
Peace, Kathleen

Kitty Wilson-Pote

Simply the most fun read of 2021, Kristi!! I am shaking in guffaw-laced awe of your wit and creativity; oh, all the details and photos! A magical movie played in my head from beginning to end - truly sublime! Hang on tight to Jules whilst she reads it as this other senior lady here nearly fell off my chair from laughing so hard! Hugs to you all, from Canada, where our robins are back and daffodils in bloom again.

Karen Cafarella

That was a good one! Can't stop laughing.

Jan Goodloe

Very convincing and lots of fun!! Merci!

Augusta Elmwood

Zap! Ouf! You got me !!! :-)

Beth Fiacco

Haha! You got me again this year!!


Wow! You got me too. From what you have written about your mom (a free spirit), I totally fell for your post. Blessings to you and your family.

Susan Stafford

Very inventive and most enjoyable! A great Poisson d’Avril !


Haha!! Good one.

Vance Anderson-Inks

Knowing your mother well from Mexico and Ciotat, as well as sharing some special time with Cecile at your home, I can see this turning into something much more interesting in the near future. It's a wonderful fantasy,(maybe reality?) Love to them both.

Francine Huffman

I fell for your Poisson d’Avril...hook, line and sinker, Kristi! This was one of your BEST ever!


When? When will I learn to check the date of the posting *first*? ? ? :) I know you are always going to come up with creative April Fools stories. I know to watch for them. And, yet . . . you got me again. I was also really hoping to see a pic of Jules in her little boat being paraded around France. Darn! I could just see her being chosen for this flight, too!

Brava! Kristi! Brava! ! !

Leslie NYC

I know I already commented, but I agree with others that this is one of your best. It would take too long to put together a book of annual poisson d’ Avril tales, but you are so good at these. Maybe a book of tall tales? It’s a specific genre, apart from the equally great “straight” posts. It could be an entire branch of your writing if you would like to pursue it. My thoughts aren’t very well-formed(which I would like to blame entirely on the pandemic!), but this was impressive and might be a springboard to other things.
Happy Easter!

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you very much, Leslie! I am touched by your words and your encouragement to develop this type of story, especially as fiction has always seemed difficult or off limits. I will keep your idea in mind.

And while I am here, a thousand thanks, mille mercis, to everyone for the encouraging feedback. Because of it I took the challenge to write this story, and would not have accomplished it without you! What a blessing this community is! 

Joan L.


Elizabeth Bradbury

Wonderful! Fully bought into it though the Bacarret chrystal goggles gave me pause. The writing is so good I could visualize the whole event.

Just a side note... I think I need the red coat in bottom photo.


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