Punaise! Our Hotel in Paris had a little bug (and not the kind you’re thinking)….
Raffoler: A Great Verb for Something You Love (such as dogs and cookies...)

Thanksgiving Vocabulary + Périple: Jean-Marc's Journey from France to New Zealand & Bike Tour

Port Capucins La Ciotat France
Jean-Marc and Ricci at Port des Capucins. "I'm going to take her with me to New Zealand!" he teases. Read about my husband's 2024 périple in today's update.

Joyeuse Action de Grâce!
I can't guarantee that's how you say "Happy Thanksgiving" in French. But I hope you have so much to be thankful for and that your lives are brimming with blessings in any language. In addition to the blessings of my Franco-American family, friends, health, and our new dog, I'm grateful to have overcome my fear of making pumpkin pie...

La Tarte à la Citrouille
For a scrumptious tarte à la citrouille I roasted and puréed some farm-fresh potimarron, for 500 grams of pumpkin, mixed it in the blender with du lait concentré sucré (1 cup), 3/4 cup of sour cream, 2 eggs, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 muscade, a pinch of salt and baked it for 40 minutes at 200C (392F was a bit hot!) in a ready-made pastry--une pâte brisée. It turned out delicious! A refaire! Don't miss the photos at the end of this edition but, first, enjoy Jean-Marc's nouvelles, just below.

TODAY'S WORD: le périple

    : trek, expedition, journey, long haul


Dear Kristi's Readers,

As my New Zealand trip is getting, day after day, more realistic, I would like to thank all of you who have already offered to help me during my 3 months stay in this fabulous country.

New Zealand 2024 bike tour

Three months... Actually, in 3 months, I will be right in the middle of the bike ride I have just put together. With my long-time friend from Marseille, Bernard, we will start in Greymouth on the West Coast to end in Christchurch. After much hesitation over whether to bring our own bikes from France, we decided to buy some electric hybrid bikes in Christchurch with an extra battery and plan to ride from 40 to 80 miles per day. We will follow the West Coast South bordered by the Alps and in Haast, we will get inland, pass by Wanaka Lake where one of the best NZ wines is, so I will definitely stop there to behold the spectacular vineyard slopes and enjoy the delicious biodynamic wines of Rippon.

Copyright-free image via Google

The first leg of our trip will eventually end up in Queenstown where we will stay for 3 days to rest after 350 miles in 6 days and to explore the beauty of this city on the Waikapu lake surrounded by magnificent mountains.

The second leg of our bike tour will start by riding through the beautiful vineyards of Gibbston Valley before heading North, inland, to reach, 3 days later, the beauties of Pukaki Lake and Mount Cook

Copyright-free image via Google

It will then be time to head back northeast to reach the Banks Peninsula where we hope to see dolphins and other beautiful landscapes before returning to Christchurch at the end of February to complete this 900-mile trip.

After a needed rest, I will say au revoir to Bernard and travel North and join the Blenheim area where my job at Whitehaven Cellars starts March 4th. I found a very nice cottage located 7 miles away from my work so I will continue to enjoy my bike for commuting back and forth for another 7 weeks.

When I am done with this exciting period, I plan to explore the North Island. I am not sure if I will use my bike or rent a camper (or both) for that, those plans are still up in the air. 

What is certain is that I am going to have a wonderful time in this country that has always fascinated me.

Any suggestions, help, or contacts during my different "périples" will always be welcome at [email protected]

Happy Thanksgiving.

Love and Peace,


Click to listen to the French and English terms
le périple = trek, journey
Joyeuse Action de Grâce = Happy Thanksgiving
la tarte à la citrouille = pumpkin pie
le potimarron = red kuri squash
le lait concentré sucré = condensed milk with sugar
la noix de muscade = nutmeg
à refaire = to do again
une cuisse de dinde = turkey leg

Kristi and Jean-Marc cooking Thanksgiving Dinner in France Joyeux action de grace
We celebrated Thanksgiving a day early to accommodate friends leaving town. Thanks, Sandra Zirah, for this photo of Jean-Marc and me cooking green beans and une cuisse de dinde over my mother-in-law's chestnut and girolle stuffing. Present at table were Sandra and Patrick, our son Max and Ana, and (vicariously) Mom (she enjoyed her plate of turkey back in her studio. She has a little cold and did not wish to share it with our travelers.).

Sincere thanks to readers sending in a blog donation for the first time and to my returning patrons listed below. Your support keeps me going, and I am truly grateful!

Debbie L.
Richard L.

Love reading each week. Look forward to our next trip to France. —Richard 

Pumpkin pie
So excited to have finally made pumpkin pie. In case it didn't turn out (and it did!) I also made chocolate chip cookies.

Kristi and ricci by sandra zirah
Joyeuse Action de Grâce! photo of me and Ricci by Sandra Zirah

To comment on today's post, click here. Your edits are always appreciated, too! Merci beaucoup!

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Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Patricia Nelson

Dear Jean-Marc
I wish you a safe and unforgettable once in a lifetime journey. Stay safe and keep in touch with all your friends here in England. Bon voyage. Patricia


Happy Thanksgiving to you and all your lovely family and that includes your extended reader family. Safe travels Jean Marc - a true adventure. Are you going to film as you go? Youtube video? Feeling thankful for you Kristi and all you work on this blog.


Happy Thanksgiving, Kristi and Jean-Marc. The pie looks fantastique! We are cooking for friends today. I can hardly wait to smell our turkey roasting.

Karen Cafarella

Happy Thanksgiving to all. Have a fun and safe travels Jean-Marc, it sounds exciting. Can't wait to see the adventures in pics.


Happy Thanksgiving from NW Indiana! My house is filling up with fragrant baking food.

I thought of something that might help with New Zealand, not sure. I am a fan of a YouTube vlog called Spain Revealed. It is run by James & Yoly Blick & baby girl toddler. James is from New Zealand and Yoly is from Spain. They share their lifestyle & travel & food experiences in Spain but do occasionally give travel advice for New Zealand. I get an email newsletter from [email protected] . Check them out, they might have some tips.

suzanne dunaway

THAT IS A PERFECT PIE!!!! FELICITATIONS...and a great recipe with the already-made crust...it's the crust that throws so many cooks into a quandry. Keep it simple, oui? Thank you for your lovely posts and info and new doggy pics and sharing your amazing mama with us, we who miss ours terribly, and for your birds and garden and beautiful kids and everything you see and do and share with us.


I'm thankful for your blog, one of the few I follow. Always about good people.


Bon chance in New Zealand, Jean-Marc! What a wonderful adventure! My brother-in-law is a cyclist and just finished the 100 miles of the El Tour de Tucson, here in Arizona! Life is so short so this will be such a wonderful experience in New Zealand to add to your life resumé!



I have made a pumpkin pie but I have been able to dodge the bullet of having to make the turkey! Someone else always seems to offer or be the one. Whew! I don’t think I’d get it right.

Will you be going to New Zealand at all while J-M is working there? I sure hope so!

Happy Thanksgiving from Arizona!

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Joan! I am so thankful to have you here!

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Nancy. I love what you said about this extended reader family. Feeling very blessed to have you!! ♥️♥️


Happy Thanksgiving from Columbus, GA!
So much to be thankful for in this life and your blog is one of them!

Carol Clark

Dear Kristen,

What are your plans while Jean-Marc is traveling in New Zealand???
We all look forward to your blogs.
My daughter and I just
spend t month traveling in France. Besides Paris, we traveled to the Vanne area for
a week. We try to do a different section of France every fall.

Love, your blogs.

Carol in Los Angeles

Leslie NYC

Happy Thanksgiving!
Bon Jour d'Action de Grâce !
Congratulations on your beautiful pie.
Love to you, your family, your France, and your readers.


Happy Thanksgiving! Thank you for sharing your stories with me. Best wishes to Jean-Marc on his upcoming bicycling journey.

Judy G.

We were in NZ in 1994 -
Queenstown - must check out the 'Shotover Jet' ride, and go up the gondola - fantastic views. Also see if you can get to Rotorura - there is a Maori Arts and Crafts Institute - where we has a Maori feast with fantastic entertainment. Have a great time!

Beverly Fletcher

New Zealander here. That is beautiful and challenging country you will be cycling through. Good luck with New Zealand drivers - they are not the most considerate to cyclists! Some great vineyard and wines in the areas you will be travelling through. If you do get a camper van it's a good idea to get one with on-board toilet facilities as otherwise you can be limited in where you can stay. Good luck.


Jean-Marc, I hope you get to visit Sam Neill's vineyard, Two Paddocks, and meet his ménagerie ! (Ignore the misspelling of his name in the link, lol!)


Bon voyage. La prochaine fois: l'Australie !

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Jacqueline. Jean-Marc is looking into it now. Thank you for the recommendation!

Cerelle Bolon

I loved this post, Kristin and Marc. That is a beautiful photo of you, too, Kristin! Marc's adventure brings back memories of my wonderful, life-changing summer of 1957 (Yes, THAT long ago) when I spent the summer in France with a girl friend from college and we traveled five weeks on a Vespa around France, into Germany and Belgium and back to Paris. I hope that Marc's trip will be as wonderful as mine was. Also, I loved that you made pumpkin pie. It is one of my favorite things, and chocolate really goes well with pumpkin, too, don't you think? Best to you and Marc, your mom and Ricci and I am Thankful for you and that I was blessed to meet you here. Have a wonderful Christamas and all the best in the year to come. (I am now 86, and thankful for every day.) Hugs

Chris Allin

Dear Kristi,

You have reminded me of a column from the New York Herald Tribune by Art Buchwald many decades ago.


His back story is worth googling. His humor is definitely tongue-in-cheek.

Such an ambitious and exciting journey you have planned. It may well be your greatest adventure yet!
Hoping you will take us along with you.

And to both of you…so happy you found Ricci. For some reason I find pictures of you with her very comforting. Perhaps because of the joy that comes with a pup in one’s life…

Chris Allin


Just realized the Washington Post might require a subscription to read an article.
Here is an alternative with background ~


Sarah LaBelle

That is so funny! le Jour de Merci Donnant
Thanks for sharing that Art Buchwald column, Chris.

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Chris for the link to Art Buchwalds story, and for your sweet words about Ricci. She is bringing a lot of joy to all of us, my Mom included. Jules calls herself the Cookie Monster and loves spoiling Ricci as only a grandmother can. 

Chris Allin

I can imagine the happiness Ricci brings to Jules. It was like that for us with Henry.
Having a granddog in our lives can make each day brighter. 💛


Congratulations on the pumpkin pie! Looks delicious. Didn’t realize how many miles Jean Marc would be traveling daily. I would be having derrière fatigue!!! Do you have any special plans of your own while he is away? Lovely picture of you and Ricci. Hope you had a wonderful celebration with friends and family. Get well soon, Jules.

Marilyn Whalley

Hi Kristi
We also celebrated Thanksgiving in Australia with roast turkey and accompaniments, followed by pumpkin pie. A USA tradition happily adopted by some of my family who spent 10 years in California. The trip to NZ will be very exciting. Perhaps one day you will both visit the wine growing districts here on The Mornington Peninsula.
Now enjoy the run up to Christmas
Fond regards


Beautiful photos, Kristi and JM! It looks like you had a lovely Thanksgiving celebration.

JM, your itinerary sounds fantastic. I love Queenstown, Christchurch, and Wanaka. Lakes Tekapo and Pukaki are absolutely stunning. I just know that you will have a wonderful bike tour.

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