Tag Archives: France

A Kid’s Life: France

31 Jan


Time for another A Kid’s Life interview.   Over the last year I’ve interviewed families about from Italy, Japan, America,  The Philippines, Australia (Tasmania), New Zealand, Canada, Holland, Germany, Colombia and Belgium about their daily life and family routines.  They have all been really interesting and quite eye-opening.  I’m still thinking about the fact that school starts at 7:20 am in Colombia, that they eat fish for breakfast in Japan and that you have the option to learn Chinese in Tasmanian schools.

For this interview I talk with a family who is living in France.  I stumbled upon Nicola’s blog ages ago and became enthralled with her gorgeous photography and stories about life in France.  Nicola has 4 lovely daughters including twins.  Being a mother of twins myself, I always have an instant connection with other mothers of multiples.  Nicola is also a sewer and crafter and expert Lady Gaga hair-bow maker.  Go check out her blog cover photo…absolutely gorgeous and self made!

I love Nicola’s comment, “so far our philosophy is to educate rather than restrict”  in regards to their children and the amount of screen time they get.  I think we could use that philosophy in so many areas of our parenting..  And I relate to the month of May being “Swiss Cheese Month”.  We have the same problem here.

So, let’s meet Nicola and hear about her family and French style of life!

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What country do you live in?

We’re currently living in France in the western suburbs of Paris, not far from the famous Château de Versailles. Before being posted to Paris, we spent ten years living in California. We love living in France, but our experience here is definitely that of expats. We are not a typical French family.

Are you and your husband the same nationality?

Yes, we’re both British born and raised. Our eldest daughter was born in London but the younger girls were born in the USA which entitles them to dual nationality. We always travel with a ‘tower’ of passports!

Do you both work? Or does someone stay at home?

My husband works very hard outside of the home and has to travel a lot for work. I work less hard inside the home and try not to feel too guilty when I get to go into Paris for a museum visit and a long lunch. It doesn’t happen that often!

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How many languages are spoken in your house? What one(s)?

English; my husband and I with a British accent and the girls with an American accent! However, our two year old is learning English and French simultaneously which is fascinating to watch. I still can’t figure out what kind of accent she has!

How many kids do you have? What are their ages?

We have four girls. India is almost twelve, Georgia and Savannah are nine and Florence is two and – the all important – three quarters.

At what age do kids start school in your country?

The older girls are enrolled in an international school which begins with a preschool class at four and Kindergarten at five which is the same as the United States. Florence currently goes to a French Halte Garderie (non-compulsory nursery school) two full days a week and will start Maternelle (the formal and free beginning of a French school career) when she is three.

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Click to read more of interview… Continue reading

Lam Musee d’Art Moderne

3 Aug

The other day we woke up in Belgium to a rainy cloudy sky.  We hadn’t really made plans for the day so we decided to drive to Lille, France to visit the Lam Modern Art Museum.  After wrestling the kids out of their pajamas and into normal clothing (they wanted to stay home and read comics all day) we made it out the door.

Luckily the French border is mere minutes from where we were staying and we made it to the museum in less than half an hour. The kids were slowly getting over their dismay at being forced out of the house and by the time we saw the museum they were actually excited to visit it.  They kept asking whether the “beetle-guy” (Jan Fabre) would be exhibiting seeing as it was a modern art museum.  Unfortunately for them he wasn’t.

The Lam Musee d’Art Modern is a great museum to take kids.  It has some really lovely permanent collections as well as temporary ones.  The museum isn’t too big which means the kids can visit all the collections without getting  too tired or  “bored”.

The museum offers modern art collections as well as contemporary art collections.  The kids loved all the cubist pieces and the way they evolved over time.  I always find it amazing what kids notice in art and they way they communicate what they see.  When they were looking at the Modigliani paintings they were commenting to each other on the ladies he painted and their long necks and noses, their blank eyes and sloped shoulders.  They also really enjoyed the room with art brut.  They loved reading the stories of the untrained artists and their life stories.

The museum offers (for a small fee) ipods for kids, teens and adults with guided tours of the museum.  Our girls took the French version of the teen tour (after 4 years of French as a second language!).

After our successful trip to the museum the kids were motivated and excited to walk into town with a box of charcoal and some paper to do some sketching at the local convent.

They all found a little spot with a view and sketched away for the rest of the afternoon.

After the drawings were finished we headed to the local waffle shop (of course).  All in all it was a perfect ending to our Belgian summer vacation.

Apt

25 Nov

If you’re ever in the South of France and happen to be close to a town called Apt I would strongly recommend that you stop and visit the most beautiful pottery shop in the world.  My first time visiting the shop was about 5 or 6 years ago.  We were meandering through the market on a chilly spring day and we happened to pass this tiny little colourful shop on a corner of a little piazza.  The bowls in the windows were stacked from floor to ceiling.  The colours were so bright and cheerful we couldn’t help ourselves from going in to take a look.  My mother bought me 3 beautiful bowls with stripes and polka dots.  Despite the relatively thin terracotta that they are made of these bowls are very durable (ie. they survived 5 years in a house with 3 small children).

This past summer we found ourselves once again in the area of Apt so of course we went for a visit.  After walking around in circles in the centre of Apt we finally found it again and it was just as we had remembered it.  Still the same colourful bowls and dishes and still the same old bearded man making them in the corner of the shop.  In the end we stayed and chatted with him for over and hour.  A very interesting man with an amazingly artistic family.

I ended up buying quite a few bowls, plates and jugs this time.  That purple and striped salad bowl in the upper right hand corner of this photo became mine!

My complete collection which I use on a daily basis.

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