Friday, July 17, 2015

French Friday: Instilling a love of Paris in the Next Generation

It is no surprise to anyone who knows me well (or perhaps who barely knows me at all) that I adore Paris. It began in second grade when I first started to learn French, and coincidentally, met a young man who had just returned from his Junior Year Abroad.

At the age of eight I knew I would one day visit Paris for myself. To date, I have had the privilege to travel to my favorite city no less than four times:

  • as a junior in high school in 1977 
  • as a tour leader-in-training in 2006
  • as a Parisian wannabe in 2011
  • ...and most recently as a group tour leader in 2015. 
With each visit I learn to love something new about the city - and I will always long to return, just one more time.

I hope to instill this love of travel - and Paris specifically - in my granddaughter. And what better way than through books.

Of course, there is the Madeline series. When I visited Paris in 2011, my granddaughter was only  three months old, but I couldn't resist buying this delightful classic in the original language. We also own the English version, a remnant from my youngest's childhood library, so the story is familiar even if the language is not.

The pictures take precedent now - but some day I will read aloud the story in French, and share not only my love of the county, but its speech as well.

Recently I came across another picture book that tells a sweet story within a Parisian setting: Madame Martine by Sarah Brannen.

 Madame Martine lives alone in the 7eme arrondissement, in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. She is rather set in her ways and enjoys the same weekly routine: shopping each day for a specific item at the Rue Cler market. Hmmm....I do believe I could be Mme Martine...

She rescues a lost puppy, Max, who teaches her a little spontaneous adventure can be good for the soul.

I am excited to learn there is a second book in the series, Madame Martine Breaks the Rules, which is scheduled to be released in September. This adventure will take her to the Louvre - c'est magnifique!

I discovered a few more picture books that beautifully illustrate the City of Lights, but I have not yet had time to read them. Perhaps you will enjoy checking them out yourself:

Do you know of any other Parisian books I could set aside to read with my four-year-old granddaughter?

* This post is a part of the Paris-in-July meme, hosted by Tamara of Thyme-for-Tea. Please visit her website for links to more French-inspired posts.


  1. Actually, the original language of the Madeline books is English, original publisher was Simon & Schuster, first one published in 1939. The author's first language was German, but he became an American citizen.

  2. Oh my ... I stand corrected. Thank you so much, Mae, for bringing this to my attention!

    Perhaps I should say... Madeline's native language :)

  3. It's so enchanting, and so quintessentially French, I'd always assumed it must have have been written in French, by a French author! We had a copy somewhere when my daughters were young - wish we still had it!

  4. Christine, I assumed the author was French as well - for all the reasons you list here :)

  5. Me too, but when I introduced Madeline to my French Teacher (and a mother of a 5 year old) I was surprised she didn't know the series - but it was so important in my childhood memories of French stories. The Childrens book I've chosen to review this year is the Armadilo in Paris - watch for me review in the next week. I've had a sneak preview of my new book and the pictures are beautiful. In fact they were so engaging that my husband read the boook instantly he opened it - and loved it.

  6. Armadilo in Paris ... added to the list :)

    Thanks, Tamara!

  7. For some reason, I always remember the Madeline series fondly. Just one of the books of my childhood, I guess, like Dr. Seuss books.

  8. Yes, Bryan, I agree. I can't think of either of those books without a smile on my face.

  9. I can't resist a picture book set in Paris either. In fact just yesterday I bought a new one A Walk in Paris by Salvatore Rubbino, but I haven't had a chance to read it yet. The middle grade book I read last week My Secret Guide to Paris is about a grandmother passing on her love of Paris to her granddaughter.

  10. Oh Louise - My Secret Guide to Paris sounds absolutely delightful. I will check it out this week for sure. Thank you so much for the recommendation!


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