Mourning Notre Dame de Paris: A Brief Liturgical Perspective

Holy Week, la semaine sainte, began Sunday; yesterday evening Notre Dame de Paris lost her roof and spire to flames. The footage of her spire toppling left me hollow, ready to retch. I wonder that this has occurred in our lifetime, to gaze at the height of the landmark cathedral that has endured since the Middle Ages and watch her soaring roofline burned to ash.

The flames were doused as night fell; we appreciate the hundreds of pompiers who worked to stop the destruction. Ave Maria was sung in the twilight by some who looked on, though few knew the words. Even the morning after, it is evident that the spirit of mourning will linger long after the smoke and ashes drift away. Notre Dame's spire was a lenten candle snuffed out. Most of the world recognizes that an enduring symbol and cultural heritage has been stricken; we ultimately grieve the fracture of an enduring testament to faith.

Read More

La Pause à Paris: Hanging Out at the (Updated) Eiffel Tower

When we last visited Paris three years ago, we chose not to go up the Eiffel Tower because our children were content to see it from below and we knew there would be hundreds of tourists in line. But this visit, it was important to our 6- and 9-year-olds to ascend the tower, so we made it a priority on our last day in Paris. Here's what we learned:

Read More

Our Family Stay in Paris: Housing, Activities, & Memories Made

After an overnight flight from the West Coast, USA, our family of six (with children ages 4 months to 9 years) arrived at CDG just over two weeks ago. The last days of July were the hottest of the year here, but this was to our advantage at first: the government declared journées anti-pollution and offered price-reduced tickets for public transport, so our family was able to take the RER train from the airport to our apartment for under 20 Euros. (This was a blessing after an expensive mistake three years ago.)

Our apartment, reserved through Kid & Coe, proved to be fantastic. Spacious for the price (meaning it was not simply a studio with a loft), it was in the 7th arrondissement, within walking distance of the Musée d'Orsay, Eiffel Tower, and Jardin des Tuileries. Normally I prefer to stay in the Marais, but getting to know this relatively quiet quarter (near Les Invalides and the American University of Paris) was a nice change.

Read More

New Books About French Homes: Home Sweet Maison & L'Appart

There's something alluring about anything French, and classic French homes and apartments are no exception. With their high ceilings and windows, ornate molding, decorative mantels, and parquet floors, they simply exude character. Of course, owning a French home or apartment also means one has to deal with antiquated plumbing and wiring, and any renovations one undertakes will require extensive--and expensive--paperwork, permissions, payments, and pain

Paris-based food blogger David Lebovitz knows this firsthand. His recently released book L'Appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home traces his path from San Francisco to Paris as he sought out an appartment to purchase and renovate.

Read More

Marathon de Paris 2017: Sweat & Joie de Vivre

Twelve days ago I sat cross-legged in the middle of the Champs Elysées, feeling strangely calm as the sun warmed the cobblestones and I waited for the start of my first marathon. I regarded the sea of running shoes and bare legs--many of the 52,000 marathon runners had chosen to wear shorts because of the predicted warmth. A friend who'd run this marathon years earlier had warned me about the low number of porta-potties here at the start, and now I was grateful not to need to join the ranks of worried-looking runners currently queuing at significant lengths from the occasional toilet.

Read More

Approaching the Paris Marathon: from Oregon Snow to Sunday Sunshine

Signing up for a marathon is an act of faith: you hope for good weather, ever-increasing health, and adequate time to complete your training. From my standpoint last fall, the 2017 Marathon de Paris seemed possible: my toddler would be weaned (hopefully), our year-long homebuilding project would be finished, and although my husband wouldn't be able to travel with me, my mother and sister could help watch my children while I was away.

In reality, unforeseen training hurdles piled up like snowdrifts over the past few months.

Read More

C'est le Weekend: Links for April 1st

Bonjour! Oh my, it's been too long since I've posted here, and I'm sorry. Even when I'm not writing, I'm constantly thinking about what I can share with you next--resources that would be helpful, thoughts to help us sort out family life together in this messy world . . . so merci for staying with me through the quieter periods. Today's post simply has some fun and informative weekend links, but I'll be back next week with more about homeschooling in French (along with some of the English resources my family uses too). I'll also be posting some of my children's favorite French iPad apps. In the meantime, read on:

    Read More

    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:

    Read More