Paris in July, what a sweet city to think about this month! I’m late to the party, hosted by Thyme for Tea, but have a quick book review and also a few thoughts on the city itself.
My experience with Paris began with books and films. It’s a romantic city, one that constantly pops up in literature. From the earliest books I read, like Madeline, to adult memoirs like A Moveable Feast, I’ve always loved seeing the city through other people’s eyes. Amelie, Moulin Rouge, Before Sunset, and Paris Je T’aime are a few of my favorite movies.
The first time I got to visit the city was something I’ll never forget. I was with a dear friend backpacking through Italy and France my junior year in college. Paris was the last stay in our trip and one that we’d both looked forward to. We saw all the big things, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, but it was in the quieter moments that Paris stole my heart.
We sat outside Shakespeare and Company waiting for the bookstore to open. When it finally did, I wandered through the precarious stacks carefully selecting a few treasures to take home with me. We bought gelato on Île de la Cité while listening to a little jazz band play on a bridge. We hiked up the stairs of Sacre Couer for a breathtaking view of the city. Those are the moments that made Paris come alive for me.
It will always be a magical city that appears in movies, but it became something real and deeper on that trip. It’s not my favorite city I’ve visited, but it’s one I would return to again in a heartbeat.
One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
by Pamela Druckerman
I was curious about the buzz this one received and since I’m pregnant, it seemed to be the perfect time to check it out. I went into it assuming that Druckerman’s argument would be that everything French is better. I was prepared to take that with a grain of salt and move on. Instead I discovered that, although she was living in Paris, she wasn’t a huge fan of France or the French. That being said, she was in awe of French parenting and the seemingly effortless success they had raising their children.
Druckerman approaches the whole subject as a journalist, not as a mother desperate to figure out what works. I appreciated her factual approach. She included anecdotes about her own experiences, but relied more heavily on what she learned from other French mothers. I thought it was fascinating to learn what cultural differences are ingrained in French and American parents, respectively.
There is plenty that I know wouldn’t work with my particular style. The sheer pressure put on women to look perfect as quickly as possible after giving birth is a bit overwhelming, but there were plenty of other things to learn from. I loved seeing how the day cares in France, called a crèche, work. Where American day cares have a negative stigma attached, crèches are the opposite.
BOTTOM LINE: Interesting and informative. There are a few parenting styles that I hope I’ll keep in mind as I attempt to find what works best for my family. I particularly liked the French approach to encouraging your kids to eat a wide variety of food and sleeping through the night as early as possible.
Photo by me.