Wednesday, January 5, 2011

It's all about the 11th.

I work hard to see that the kids learn English. I've talked before about how I must martyr myself (and really, what mother doesn't) by sacrificing my learning French for their learning English. Any TV, while limited to downloads of US programs from iTunes (small confession: we have every episode of Dora the Explorer ever made), is in English and our bookshelves are stacked with English childrens' books including an old favorite of mine that I couldn't help but pick up while in NYC over the summer, Blueberries for Sal. Nothing against French (nor the French), but it's essential to me that RC be able to speak English well (and with an American accent :).) For the moment, Camille is enrolled in a French maternelle (think: pre-pre K, they start 'em early here at age 3), so I'm looking for alternate ways for her to learn English, beyond making the transatlantic flight to the states once a year.

And so it goes that last July (yes, I drafted this post THAT long ago)
, I signed her up for an English-speaking puppet workshop with Little Tykes Theatre, a children's theater offering workshops in English, in Paris (see photo above from the performance!) It was meant to be a mother-daughter sort of day. Camille and I had a little screw-up getting there: I thought it was in the center of Paris, but in fact it was in the 11th arrondissement. I was annoyed at the mishap, and felt put upon for having to suddenly drag myself to the 11th; I'd never been there before and even the metro stop was foreign to me. No matter: it was, in a word, serendipitous, because even though Camille was a 1/2 hour late for the workshop, I got to kill some time in the neighborhood.

And how! It's the kind of neighborhood that lets me squint my eyes, look up and down and up again, surveying the land, doing a little drum roll over my lips, as if to say, "hmmmm, I could live here." It reminded me a little of the Lower East Side in NYC, a bit more spacious, but similarly dotted with wonderful artist-owned boutiques, local restaurants, and green community spaces. The architecture, while not faaaabulous in that typical Haussmann Grand Boulevard-y way, was interesting, like the old Boutet factory shown below. There was a Vespa repair shop, old-school beauty salon, specialty cookbook bookstores, a community garden, and more.

We topped off the afternoon with a puppet performance and a celebratory lunch in the neighborhood. Seems appropriate I post this now as I long for days of summer dresses and high-top Converse.

Need a repair? Visit Ye Old Vespa Shoppe.

Must be a little easier to show up for work when you're passing through these doors.

Signage from the volunteer gardeners at this community garden.

Camille with new Anglo friends, sans marionettes, but with Converse.

Stopped here for a café creme and quick read of the new book I bought en route.

Working the Woodwork.

I love the signage here of a shop for clogs. See them hanging?


  1. I love this as you know we do the exact opposite and work hard to ensure that the triplets can speak French (unlike their mommy). We won't buy a DVD unless it has a French option (Cars is the one exception). There has been a payoff as just last night Chris was asking all sorts of qustions in French to the kids (half expecting them to answer in English...). They actually answered them all in French. Even the Nanny was surprised (who thought we were nuts for trying to teach them both languages.)

  2. Slege, I adore reading your blog because it feels like I get to see/hear a little piece of your life....much more robust than on that fb.... love you and seriously missing and night as well. big hugs to the family. slege