Winner is announced! + faire monter la mayonnaise
faire du leche-vitrines

bluffer + mother-daughter trip


Jackie in Milan, at the spectacular Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.


TODAY'S WORD: bluffer  (bluh-fay)

    : to surprise, impress, astound someone
    : to lie, pretend, fake something

être bluffé = to be bowled over, to be impressed, to be stunned

AUDIO FILE: Listen to Jean-Marc:
Download MP3 or wav

Pensant qu'elle irait à Paris,  Kristi a été bluffé en voyant un billet de train qui l'amène à Milan.
Thinking she was going to Paris, Kristi was surprised seeing a train ticket taking her to Milan.

Improve your pronunciation with these Exercises in French Phonics.

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

"Un Voyage Mère-Fille"

When it came time to open my present, I felt guilty knowing what was in the envelope my husband was about to give me. But he didn't seem to know I knew, so it wasn't too late for one of us to experience the magic of suprise.

Peering into my Christmas stocking, I reached for the letter and opened it--immediately recognizing the billet de train. Only, as I went to kiss my husband, my eyes caught on the destination: MILAN! 

"Quelle surprise!" I shrieked. "Tu m'as complètement bluffé! I thought we were going to Paris," I admitted.

If Paris still seemed foreign, Milan was another planet. How would we get around? They have a metro? But I clam up holding the local subway map! The idea of an Italian underground sent my mind spinning with images of dark corners, dead ends, and Milanese hooligans! 

And there wouldn't be my trusty travel companion and tour guide, the man who can navigate the most winding roads, after midnight--while driving backwards. No, Jean-Marc would not be there this time!

Any panic over this last-minute change of plans dissipated when my daughter (the little bird who'd clued me in on Paris...) appeared beside me. That's right, I had Jackie. My 17-year-old globe-trotter. She loves the chance to navigate and to flex her orientation muscles--after practicing on a few solo flights over the Altantic and across the States and back. 

"And you have Uber!" my husband chimed in, referring to the car service I'd tried out in Paris. All you had to do was send Uber an SMS, and a driver appeared at your doorstep within 10 minutes! And there was no need to scrounge for exact cash or a tip: the fee was charged on my credit card along with all details of our ride!

With my street smart daughter and a car service to back us if we fell through the cobblestoned cracks, I was as assured as a homebody could be... leaving the warmth and predictability of home for the snow and unknown of an Italian métropole

To be continued (click here for part two)..... More about Uber cabs in my story "High heels and the Paris Metro". Click here.


French Vocabulary

un voyage mère-fille = mother-daughter trip
le billet de train = train ticket 
la métropole = metropolis

Jackie and kristi

In front of Milan Cathedral, with Jackie. Wishing you a happy and healthy new year filled with all the things you love and obstacles overcome! To comment on this post, click here.

Travel Tip: Refill your water bottle!
Went through too many plastic water bottles on this trip, and have no excuse after reading Zero Waste Home during the train ride to Milan. Next time I will try to be more prepared and get a stainless steel canteen! Want to join me in this effort? Check out these water bottles


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I loved seeing all the photos of your lovely mother-daughter trip! Looking forward to...the rest of the story.

Heather in Arles

This is so wonderful. Kristin, I can tell you that my memories of my trips with just my Mom are some of my very happiest in life. How lovely to see you both enjoying every moment! I too will look forward to reading the rest but in the meantime am wishing you and all of your wonderful family a Very Happy New Year!

Geraldine Ventura

What a wonderful gift/surprise! Mother daughter times are the best. Bonne Annee, Kristin!

Pejjay in Brittany

Bonne Année et Bonne Santé Kristin & Family. Looking forward to your 2015 adventures.


Mother/daughter trips are the VERY best!!!! I was in London with my wonderful daughter in Sept. and now we're plotting a trip to perhaps Copenhagen this summer. It's amazing how good they are at navigating with their Mums!!!


I'm so glad to know the expression, "un voyage mere-fille". My 15 year old daughter and I will making the trip to Paris together in June. We're both so excited! Love seeing your photos with Jackie - both tres belle!


Happy New Year & Happy your stories & photos.
Looking forward to FWD in 2015 !

Alain Braux

Bonjour Kristi

A couple of comments:

1. Bluffer veut aussi dire mentir ou cacher quelque chose d'important.
2. le métropole should be la metropole

That said, I wish you and your family "une tres bonne annee pour 2015.


Kristin Espinasse

Thank you,  Alain,  for these helpful corrections, and thank you all for the lovely wishes and notes.


What a wonderful Christmas present!!! Have a Happy New Year!! I have made some resolutions and promises I hope to keep for myself.

Sharon Auckerman

What a wonderful time you are having right now. Not just in Milan, but in life. Best wishes for all of the Espinasses.


A happy adventure for you and your daughter~


Enjoy your mother-daughter trip to Milan and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year to you and your family!

Debra Amrein-Boyes

In 2008 I had the privilege to attend the Slow Food Terra Madre conference in Turin. My daughter was at the time working in Switzerland, so we met for 4 wonderful days in Milan. I had not seen her for almost 1 year. It was such a joy, exploring the city,(climbing to the top of the cathedral roof) enjoying the cuisine (Happy Hour in Milan is the best!) and (mostly) window shopping. I treated myself to a pair of beautiful leather gloves from a small shop in the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele as a memento of the trip. So happy for you and Jackie!


No need to buy a stainless steel thermos. When I travel to Europe I buy exactly one water bottle, then refill it each day. If I were ever to leave it behind by accident then I'm not out the cost of a thermos.

Patience in CalifornIa

Ahh, Milan. I got a driving ticket in Milan. Didn't know about it until two months later when I got a notification in the mail from the Milan police. We had driven the wrong way on a one way road. Who knew. We were laughing so hard at being unable to get out of the traffic loop we were In. Yes, it Was expensive. So take Uber and relax and have fun. It is an amazing adventure. All good things in 2015.

Kristin Espinasse

Good idea, Mike!

Debbie Ambrous

This post brings back wonderful memories of trips with my teenage daughter when my husband could not break away from work to join us. I was very nervous on the first journey to England as the adult in charge. With confidence boosted, we later traveled to Venice, Florence and the Italian Alps and a bit later to Japan! Enjoyment for travel was evidently nurtured since she is presently traveling in Ireland with her husband and our sweet grandson Daniel (20 months old). I hope this is only the beginning for you and your daughter. Best wishes!

angela absalom

fairly new to your site and love it. thanks for sharing your family adventures and happiness. Bonne Annee !

Mary S

Not to be a downer, but we've read some bad things about UBER. They don't vet their drivers and that's not a good thing when pretty young women are the ones being picked up. Please be careful! I think you'd be better off in a cab.

Faye in lafayette, la.

Love the great tips I get from this addition to the heartwarming stories!

Cynthia Gillespie-Smith

So happy for you both! What a fantastic gift -- shopping, Italian cuisine, art, architecture, music, and best of all, special mother-daughter time. Very happy, healthy new year to your entire family!

Diane Young

What a wonderful present for you both. Looking forward to a bonne annee pour vous et moi. FWAD is always a must read and the photos are an extra nice addition.My parents went to Milan from Zurich by train many years ago and really loved it.


What a lovely gift! Reminds me of my mother-daughter trip to Paris when I was 17 ... and of a great restaurant experience in Milan. Try Paper Moon Cafe - excellent food, nice antmosphere, centrally located, open late. Enjoy!
Gabrielle from L. A.

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristin,

What a fun trip with Jackie! Loved all the photos and especially the one of you two in front of the cathedral! Happy New Year!

Leslie NYC

Ah, Milan!
I remember sitting in the Galleria at a caffe enjoying the incredible fashion show parading in front of me. Men in olive-colored silk suits with rust ties.
Somehow, they weren't sweating in the heat, and there were no wrinkles anywhere on their clothes. They made it look effortless!
My New Year's hunt will be for a metal water bottle not made in China(unlike kleen kanteens). It might be easier to be one of those "models" than to find one. Have any other readers succeeded?
I do refill water bottles. Also, a bottle makes an excellent vase for your hotel room. Just cut off the top third, fill with market flowers, and you have a 5-star room!

Trina, St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

Thanks for the Instagram link; so many wonderful photos to go along with the story. The Galleria looks like a cathedral! The photos had me missing the architecture of Chicago and NYC (former domiciles for me). Beautiful shots all! Bonne Année to you and yours! "A New Year is a sunrise for the soul" (from a Hallmark greeting card).

Robert Dinwoodie

Happy Hogmanay and Lang May yer Lum reek !
I should explain that Hogmanay is the Scottish New Year and the greeting means long may your chimney smoke often the only way in the old days to tell the inhabitants were still alive when their dwelling was cut off .

edie schmidt


Happy New Year and a happy trip!
The photo and the Galleria are spectacular!

Edie from Savannah

catharine ewart-touzot

what a lovely trip for the 2 of you...happy new Year's


Our dear Kristi,
Another wonderful post and pictures!
What a terrific trip for you two;well thought out,well planned,and nothing left to do but enjoy!
AND (needless to say) have a VERY bonne l'annee filled with health (completely healed elbow!)and joy.
We are so happy to be part of the extended FWAD family,and look forward to sharing 2015 together!
Blessings to you and your family always.
Natalia XO

Jackie Durham

If you climbed to the top of the cathedral, you walked in the footsteps of a saint--Saint Therese. You can read her Bio. All I can say is I should be a better person having walked in the footsteps of a saint!
Happy New a Year!

Chris Allin

A water bottle option. Also available at Whole Foods.

Chris Allin

A water bottle option. Also available at Whole Foods.


Salut Kristi!

A very happy new year to you.
Nice pictures and I look forward to all your posts eagerly.
I hope your elbow is fine by now.
I think the smiles on the pics says it all.


Angela Bell

I so enjoyed reading about your mother-daughter adventures—reminded me of all the fun times Emily and I have had. And I loved the pix of Milano. Would so love to visit there someday!
Bonne année to you and your beautiful family!


Beautiful girls on a beautiful trip!


Typo alert!
"Kristi a été bluffé" - bluffée

stephen sam


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