Pancarte: A Funny Sign Taped to the wall of our W.C.
Canular: How To Say Practical Joke in French? + Jackie & I have fun at Max's expense...

Indice: Jackie's Airport Layover + A “flighty” Hint or Clue Regarding Something I’m Up To

Le Petit Prince airplane on french merry-go-round
Because airports are part of today's update, here’s one of the few pictures from my camera roll in theme with the story. It's a bit of a stretch, but then so is today's update (and that is your first clue).


    : clue, hint

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

As I type this billet my daughter is flying over the Atlantic, halfway between New York and Paris. Jackie's been away 4 weeks, on the road and in the air since earning her B+3 bachelor's degree in Lyon. (Ça y est! It's official: we have a graduate!)

Such freedom after buckling down for the intensive program must feel revigorante. After receiving her UI (user interface) degree, our 26-year-old flew from Marseille to Denver, on to Palm Springs, then to Tulum (le Mexique) where she zipped around on a scooter (mama mia!), then onto her old stomping grounds in Miami, and finally to New York City where former Florida roommate, Ruby, offered a canapé to sleep on and a snuggly Shiba Inu. (Jackie wanted to sneak the puppy into her bagage cabine before leaving.) 

Soon my youngest will land in Paris for a several-hour layover. At Aeroport Charles de Gaulle she'll have plenty of time to think about her next move (more schooling? a job? Or more travel before settling down?). Meantime I'm wondering just what will she do in the Paris airport with all that time on her hands? What healthy alternatives are there to do in any international airport besides drop more money and eat at Chuck E. Cheese (Is there a Chuck E. Cheese in Paris? I know my daughter was asking about it when nostalgia had her revisiting her favorite childhood haunts on her US visit).

But back to costly airport layovers—a subject I’ve been obsessed about lately (more about that in a bit)….A visit online at reveals a thousand ways to spend-while-you-wait for your connecting flight. From food to fancy fringues, if you're not careful with your portemonnaie your vacation could end up costing even more than you bargained for.

Beginning with food... Brioche Dorée, Ladurée (pastries and candy…), McDonald's, Starbucks--unless you’ve managed to hijack a sandwich from the previous flight (and pockets full of pretzels from the cocktail cart) these airport eateries will be your pricey alternatives....

One could always stick to water. But have you seen the price of a bottle of H20? I don't know about Paris, but a tiny bottle of water was $6 when I landed in Frankfurt 2 weeks ago. It sent me on a nostalgic hunt for the nearest water fountain (located just across the mall from one of the Frankfurter hotdog stands).

After you’ve eaten, you might be tempted by all the airport boutiques--a most dangerous way to pass the time! One more warning: jet lag is like being drunk—your senses are not as sharp. This is not a good time to be making costly decisions. Meantime Bulgari, Céline, Gucci, Dior - line the Paris airport walkways like pricey little traps. A young woman with a credit card could get in trouble!

Say you manage to skip the overpriced food and tempting boutiques (including the glittering joailleries!)—just what is there to do for all those terminally long hours in an airport terminal, international or otherwise? Some sort of healthy activity would be ideal. But what—beyond walking in circles—is available beneath the friendly skies that won't take your wallet for a ride?

They say business is about finding a need and filling it. And this, dear reader, got me thinking about a side gig. Lately, it's been a struggle to keep this blog up and "flying", and now with a sharp decline in readership, I wonder what tomorrow holds. Fifteen years ago, at its peak, this French Word-A-Day newsletter had 50,000 subscribers from all over the world. And now I watch with growing alarm as dozens unsubscribe each week. This journal is becoming a shadow of its former self--even the old saying If you build it they will come no longer seems to apply when readers are rushing elsewhere. But where?

Part of me (the part that doesn’t take things too personally) suspects that with the growth of social media readers are migrating north, leaving the warm shores of the blogosphere for a thrilly-chilly dose of whatever the Algorithm Gods serve up on Instagram--anything to keep us addicted to bite-size bits of information. When I lament about the future of blogging, my tech-savvy daughter tells me You must keep up with the times, Mom! But how to keep up with the times as a writer? Isn't writing timeless?

And so I’ve begun dreaming up a side-gig--un petit boulot supplémentaire--something outside the writing sphere but with the familiar rhythm and beat that keeps my soul singing and my mind dancing. There you have it, dear reader--sphere, rhythm, beat, dancing--a few hints, clues, or indices regarding an idea that’s taken a seat I’m my mind. You might say a seat amidst thousands in a bustling airport terminal. In the next 5 weeks, I’ll flesh out this novel idea and report back to you beginning of April. For now, cha-cha-cha! Time to get up and make a move!


Dogs at the airport
One healthy, free activity at the airport during a long layover is dog watching. It's a favorite airport sport. But I may have one better... stay tuned!


Click here to listen to the French  pronunciation

un indice = clue, hint
le billet =
post, blog post
ça y est =
that's it
= to fly over
revigorant,e = invigorating
le canapé = couch, sofa
le bagage en cabine = carry-on bag
les fringues = threads (clothing)
le porte-monnaie
= wallet
une escale = layover
la joaillerie = jewelry store
intemporelle = timeless
un petit boulot supplémentaire = a side gig


Sincere appreciation to readers supporting this journal via a donation!

Lowery W. 
Jackie C. 

"(For) Your wonderful blog." --Jackie
"Thank you for your letters." --Lowery


Ricci relaxing
It's been 4+ months since we brought darling Ricci home from a farm in Aveyron. She's gone through two separations since then: one, after I went to the States and, two, when Jean-Marc left for New Zealand. As you can see by her relaxed attitude here, she's adapting very well! Still, she's got one eye open lest her current guardian leave the room.

Jackie on bike
After touring Tulum on a scooter, Jackie rode one of these on the beach. She's now safe here at home in France, after her memorable trip.

If you are reading via the newsletter, click here to comment, send a correction, or share your thoughts about today's topic. Merci!

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I know exactly what you are up to. Waiting for April. ;-)


RE readership decline: this might reverse. The fast growth of AI means human creativity and sensible editing should grow much more valuable. Maybe a Facebook entry saying "No AI -- just FW-A-D and real live people" or the like. John

Kristin Espinasse

Hello, John. Interesting perspective about AI, writing, and editing. Thanks for your helpful suggestion.


I enjoy reading every story. I would miss them so much if you weren't able to continue.

John Blanton

Keep up the good work. It's not the numbers that matter.


Last time I was through Charles de Gaule airport, there was a sushi restaurant in the round. You sit on a stool with other people and it or the food offering revolve. I didn't partake, but thought it was pretty nifty!

Youtube vlogs seem to be very popular. I watch folks renovating properties in France, Italy & Portugal.


Hi Kristi,
You might be upset with the downward spiral of readership but we, the ones still reading, would greatly miss FWAD. I don’t know what you have in mind, but it sounds intriguing.
As for Jackie, she is so lucky to have taken the US, Mexico trip. I have friends you are scared to go to Mexico. We will be there for 2 weeks starting on Saturday and look forward to the vacation.
Keep up the spirits…you are not obsolete 🥰
Peace, Kathleen

Maureen McCormick

Merci beaucoup Kristi ! J'adore ton blog. Bon courage ❤️‍🩹


I eagerly anticipate an April 1 reveal!

Emily Lamb

I'm sorry to hear about the decline in readership! I have been a subscriber/reader of your blog for years. But, I have to admit that when you went to the format where you had to click through the email to get to the rest of the post, I often skipped it, only reading the short snippet that was in the body of the email. When you returned to having the full post in the email itself, I was so excited! Just that small tweak made a difference, at least for me. I hope you keep that format! I enjoy every story!


I will read and enjoy this peak into life in France as long as you write and share your life stories with us. I look forward to "seeing" you on Thursdays and look forward to hearing about your additional "gig". Change is the one thing we can count on in this world and allows for the creation of new opportunities. You're very creative - go for it.

Kristin Espinasse

Hi Emily, Your thoughts about the format are most helpful. I had been thinking about returning to the snippets and will stick to the full posts now.


Reading a book; crocheting; word puzzles; sudoku …. Ways to pass time in an airport (and in the plane or on a train).


I follow you on Instagram as well, but I admit that I enjoy reading this blog more. Lots of links to other interesting things that are not on Instagram (books, past blogs, recipes, etc.). :-)

Stacy Lund

Dear Kristi,
While I look forward to, and enjoy, your beautiful posts on instagram, it is your blog that has made me feel as if I’m in your circle of friends. This is invaluable in today’s fast paced and trendy content. Stay true to you, dear friend! Much love, Stacy


Please don't leave us! I've been following your life adventures since meeting you and visiting your farm in 2012 when I traveled to France. You keep my love of everything French alive!

Lauren Golden

I agree with Muriel. Keeping up with the times means allowing social media to make us dumb. Reading a book is always a treat.


your newsletter was interesting today.
i am interested in your comments about people unsubscribing.
one thing i have said to people: "if i had never "met" you, i would be worse off, because through reading your notes, weekly, i have learned a great deal about France and about people.
so, i must tell you that even if i am the only one left in your mailing address, i will be there.
keep up the good work.

and friends who are reading the comments, we need to continue to support Kristin in her efforts to entertain us.

bonne journee.


Cathy L - So Calif

OK, my guess is that you will begin dance lessons for people in the airport. That should keep people busy and active while they wait!
But, seriously, I believe you and your blog will survive. We all need change every so often (whether we want it or not) and change opens us up to avenues we could not have imagined.
Onward and upward!


Your stories in my inbox are a treat. They are a time to sit back and travel to France in the form of a creative glimpse into life in another place close to my heart. I would miss reading them. But I also know that life shifts and we must adjust. I am very curious to read about how you navigate this and I hope that you are able to keep sharing your writing with us.


Keep up the great work. For some of us, it's our only connection to la belle France. Looking forward to your EARLY APRIL scheme, too!

Anna Johnston

I love your posts. Reading them, sometimes a couple of times through, is like spending a bit of time in France without the hassle of airports, money changing, etc. You always transmit the essence of an experience, if you will. I taste what you're tasting, smell what you're smelling, and seem to absorb La Belle France through my pores. I cannot imagine ever unsubscribing. Please keep it up!

Raisa Berriz

I know you are on Instagram, you should follow Jaqui’s advice. Publish a daily snippet on there and Tic-Toc with links to your blog and longer reels. I know that I prefer Instagram above any other social media these days. I know a couple of my daughter’s friends are living off their social media income and they had less followers than you when they started! I’ve been following you from the beginning, I will continue to do so. Bon chance!

Kristin Espinasse

Many thanks, Darlene! 💕

Kristin Espinasse

Hi John, You are right about the numbers. I will try to remember this. Thanks.

Kristin Espinasse

Funny, On his way to New Zealand Jean-Marc enjoyed the very same sushi spectacle at the airport in London!

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Kathleen! It means a lot to me that you are still reading and responding to my blog. Wishing you and Dean a fun time in Mexico!

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Maureen! And thanks for the support you sent!


Your sphere is always so informative and tres intéressant. The blog is the best touchstone between trips to France. Merci

Frances, Napa, CA USA

I read every one of your emails and always enjoy them. I am glad Jackie had some time to relax after her studies. There are so many choices at CDG - lots of places to eat, rooms to rent to shower and sleep, yoga, exercise - so many choices!

As you are inquiring about ideas for your writing and readership, do you follow David Lebovitz? He is a chef and author living in Paris. He recently switched to Substack, and he likes the format very much. He has paid and unpaid subscribers. Another place for inspiration is The Earful Tower - an Australian living in Paris who is on Pateron, and he likes that - both paid and unpaid subscribers. Those 2 are also active on IG, FB, and they both have podcasts. Another one is Curious Provence - she is on IG and FB, and she is a Canadian living in Provence. She is a photographer, and she and her husband recently restored a farmhouse that they now rent in the summer. Just some ideas!

I so enjoy your writing so you know I am a fan!


It's interesting and disappointing to hear that readership has dropped. Agree, that todays quick communications ie. text, messaging, social media has decreased the deeper thoughtful meaning behind life, as personal writing brings forth. It seems the downside of AI is going to come forth. Humans are complex and powerful with a presence that people will want to come back into. I appreciate your commitment to the art.


Airport Layovers: We do laps in the airport to get our daily steps and to revive circulation before the next leg in a cramped seat. In the process, we usually spy all sorts of interesting things in an airport's nooks and crannies.

Declining Readership: Oh no! Reminds me to re-up my subscription. As someone who has met all of you (except Ricci, maybe I can correct that in June) and visited you in all your houses since Rouge-Bleu, reading FWAD for me is almost like reading about family. I so hope is continues.

You gave too many hints. Some of us know what is coming--and can't wait!


I agree with Joie; part of the yearly April Fool's Day newsletter . . . I hope!


I suspect a lot of people are in information and/or general blog overload theses days and I very happily disconnected from Facebook and Instagram some years ago, recognising that it was pretty banal stuff and also a place where pure nastiness towards others could operate without any restriction.continually looking at others selfies or travel photos is pretty tedious, particularly when there isn’t a delicious letter attached to it with thoughts and feelings. The sense of peace that I have had from that simple move is surprisingly profound. I do however love reading your writing and the window into your French life it provides…perhaps the Universe (or such) is gently nudging you into a new way of formatting, or presenting your writing, so we may all continue to join you on your life’s journey. I really enjoy watching and subscribing to multiple YouTube bloggers, as one can be very selective about who you follow and financially support as a patreon. I have the pleasure of listening to, and watching, so many truly beautiful human beings on this planet from all walks of life, living creatively and true to their spirit. I feel that you could perhaps find a gentle way to share your musings on YouTube, whilst connecting to a global audience who ‘gets’ you, appreciates you and most likely renumerates you in the process.

Sarah LaBelle

The change to Instagram — they will choose what I see — is not a good one! I want the photos from my group, and to see them more than a minute before they vanish.

As to newsletters, they are what I choose to fill my e-mail box, including yours. They are the best way to keep up with the world in many aspects. I had no idea yours peaked at 50,000 subscribers. That is huge number.

I gave one of your books to a niece who studied a year in France, at Compiegne. Time flies; she has moved west in the US, had 2 tech jobs and will marry this summer.

Please do keep writing.

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Julie. Loved your words about the Universe gently urging a new way of formatting. I love YouTube but feel jittery at the thought of trying it again. And those videos involve a l certain amount of technical skill and hours of editing, which is impressive. I will keep an open mind. 



I have followed your blog for years with great enjoyment! I want to say, "Please don't stop!" However, I will say instead, thank you so much and the best of luck to you in whatever you work out as the best way forward for yourself. I second the thought of another reader who urged you to be true to yourself.

With gratitude, Kerry in Atlanta


I am a dinosaur with regard to social media; I never indulged in it and have no regrets. I can be very critical of the material I read and view. I hope you take this as a compliment because I am a long time subscriber and value the wit and humor I read by you and your readers.


I've been a reader since the beginning and can't imagine not having my Thursday Kristi fix. When you started, there weren't a lot of France blogs but now there are hundreds which might account for the readership drop as some become more selective. I personally can't imagine not being able to follow your family after watching your children row up. I was even lucky enough to meet Jean-Marc and your Dad at a wine tasting in Newport Beach many long years ago. Please, just hang in there and you may find many new fans.

Ann Borman

Dear Kristi, I must echo all of the posts above--we would miss you so much if you went away! I have never read any other blogs, but your weekly reports from France are a ray of sunshine, even when you share stories of challenging times. I'm very grateful for your generous spirit in letting us in on your family's adventures. I must also add, that I did drop off for a while, but then I found you again, and have enjoyed your writing all the more. You are a gifted observer, and photographer.

I eagerly await your April reveal... but I also know that you are a crafty April fool's creator, so with that caveat, I wish you bonne chance!

Ann from MN

barbara michels

I am in no hurry to sever my connection France through you. I'm glad you now write for France Today as I am now a subscriber to that lovely journal. I am glad your fille is home safe from Mexico. Things there have been getting very ugly. If I listen to the US State Department, most of my favorite places in the Caribbean are unsafe these days. Keep your eyes peeled and your head down low. Moi aussi am from Denver.

Anne Umphrey

"leaving the warm shores of the blogosphere for a thrilly-chilly dose of whatever the Algorithm Gods serve up on Instagram."
What wonderful words you have, a delightful virtual piece of candy. Kristi, You seem to be caught up in the desire of readers now for instantaneous information, not for a good story. Younger demographic? No thanks to "insta"gram, or the minimal word allowance of so many platforms. Glance and move on. Please know that I and many are still with you.
My chicks have grown and flown the roost. I am single now. I so enjoy a peek into your family, your activities, your happinesses, and your concerns. I enjoy "walking" in Ciotat with you, sitting by the water as Jean Marc goes after his favorite oursins de mer, enjoying your mother's enjoyment of life.
I hope you will continue and let me enjoy France and your life.

I wish you the best on whatever you take on. By the way, your photos are delightful too. Maybe there is a future there? Best regards, Anne

Anne Umphrey

Sorry, my full information. Hit send too quickly

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