Automne à Lyon: Learning to Live Like a Local

My four children and I have been living in Lyon for roughly six weeks now, but it feels longer in the best way. We just love it here. I’m so grateful that God has blessed our stay, and yet at the same time I’m grieving that we’ll have to leave in two weeks. However, my husband has been waiting patiently for us in Oregon, so being with him again will truly make it feel like coming home.

What do we love about Lyon right now? Here are four aspects that are making us happy:

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4 French-Related Reads from Summer 2018

It’s September 11th here in Lyon and I find myself reflecting on Franco-American relations, books, and the state of the world. When I’m teaching on September 11th, I often share a condolence letter I received from a French acquaintance just after the attacks of September 11, 2001. My French friend was so kind to offer support; his thoughtful letter still reminds me how individual actions of encouragement can cause ripple effects wider than we realize.

What we read and write can shape others in significant ways.

Four years ago on this blog I recommended a fairly obscure book on childhood anthropology because it was a thought-provoking reminder that there are many ways to parent well. My book recommendation, The Anthropology of Childhood, was spotted by journalist Michael Erard, who read the book and in turn wrote a very impactful piece about it in The New York Times. I wouldn’t have known the impact that my book suggestion had on him were it not for a fellow blogger who shared his article with me, not knowing that I had recommended the book in the first place. The world is a more beautiful place when we can learn from each other’s reading!

Likewise, had it not been for blogger Gabrielle Blair’s mention of reading Global Mom in late 2013, I would not have sought out Melissa Dalton Bradford’s book and gotten to interview her here on the blog a few months later. I’m grateful for authors like her who write honestly from their experience, especially when their words spring from a place of grief and growth and healing.

Summer reading, though, on the whole, leans towards the light and leisurely; in July and August I hope you had a chance to read a novel or two that you loved. Here are three French-related non-fiction reads that I enjoyed this summer:

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Our Family's Five Favorite Shows at Puy du Fou Theme Park, France

After hearing all of our French friends' incredible reviews about Puy du Fou theme park, we spent two days there late last week, and we were completely awed by the shows, the animals, and the competence that made the experience exceptional. Here are our top five favorite shows that we saw:

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The Best History Theme Park in the World: France's Best-Kept Secret

In Northwest France, one hour from Nantes, there's a history-oriented theme park that puts on the most amazing and original shows you can imagine. Le Puy du Fou has been voted the best theme park in the world several times (Thea Awards, given in the USA), plus it attracts more than 2.3 million visitors per year and has top ratings on TripAdvisor. So why have you never heard of it?

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Preparing for an Extended Family Trip to France

What a monumental weekend it was for France last weekend, with la fête nationale on Saturday followed by the Coupe du Monde win on Sunday! My first visit to France (as a high school student) was just months before their first World Cup win in 1996, so this weekend brought back fond memories.

My husband and I and our four children will have the opportunity to see if France is still celebrating a week from now when we arrive in France for our extended family séjour. Three years ago we took our children to France so they could improve their French language skills and even attend school for several weeks. We had an amazing stay in Paris and Lyon, and the children enjoyed their school attendance even though we had only homeschooled until then.

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Giverny and Monet's Garden: the Beauty of Spring

May has arrived and Mother's Day is around the corner, but I'm still thinking of April . . . as in April one year ago! I was visiting Paris to run my first marathon and I squeezed in a side trip to Giverny, the site of Monet's family home and garden. My French friends were unsure as to whether there would be many blooms there so early in the season, but I made the half-day trip anyhow and I am still dreaming of the timeless beauty I saw there.

(You might also enjoy the garden stamps we've been inspired to use this spring! I share them at the bottom of this post.)

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Library Visits in France & the Children's Books We Loved There

Bonjour! The rain is pouring down, but spring is whispering from around the corner here in Oregon--there are little purple crocuses blooming in our front yard and yellow forsythia blossoms beckoning from the backyard. Nonetheless, today I'm taking you back to our summer travels in France to share about the library books my children enjoyed during our stay there. (I'll link to them on Amazon so you can obtain them if you're in the U.S. or Canada.) We visited libraries everywhere we traveled in France, and we were thrilled to obtain a library card in Lyon during the last two months of our France stay. (I simply needed to sign a form swearing to our address in France, however temporary it was.)

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Playing in Paris with Little Ones: What Local Families Know

Bonjour les amis! We've been back from France for four months now and I'm feeling the distance. It's been nice to send and receive new year's cards this month (as the French do so throughout the month of January), but a completely unreasonable part of me wishes we could have stayed for the whole school year! Some of you are hoping to take your children to Paris someday soon just as my husband and I did. If you go, you should know about these two lesser-known family-oriented places that will give your children opportunities to play and speak in French:

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