Category Archives: Kids

Where Can I Find……

Don’t pull out your hair.  We’re keeping a running list of those things you may be searching for but just can’t seem to find.  

Dental floss:  Yes, dental floss exists in France but you won’t find it in the supermarket with the toothbrushes and toothpaste.   Stop by your neighborhood pharmacie.  You will find it there.

Fresh tortillas: Take a trip to the Latin Quarter to stock up at Mexi and Co., 10 rue Dante (5th arrondissement).  These flour tortillas freeze well.

For corn tortillas, we’re hearing good things about Mil Amores Tortilleria at 52 avenue Parmentier in the 11th.

Rice Krispies:  Kellogg’s products are widely available in Paris and you’ll easily find chocolate flavored rice cereal as well.  But for some reason, only two of the major supermarket chains carry Snap Crackle and Pop:  Auchan and Super U.  Unfortunately neither has a store in the city of Paris.  Check their Web sites for an outlet in a suburban community near you.

Graham crackers for making graham cracker crust: You can probably find graham crackers at one of the markets catering to Americans but for one-quarter of the price, grab a package of Speculoos cookies at your local supermarket. These Belgian treats, nicely spiced with cinnamon and cloves, crumble well and are the perfect foil for cheesecake, Key Lime pie, and pretty much any treat calling for a graham cracker crust.

Bread crumbs:   Take yesterday’s baguette, let it sit out another day until it’s good and hard, and then smash it with a rolling pin or put it in your food processor.  If you don’t have the time or the patience, you can usually find boxes of bread crumbs in the supermarket next to the flour.  Look for the carton marked chapelure.

A decent hamburger: Okay first of all, the beef tastes different in France so it’s never going to be like a burger back home. And second, let’s just say that neither France nor the U.S. can really do each other’s cuisine justice. That being said, there comes a time in the life of every North American expat when a decent burger is just what the doctor ordered.  So take a look at blogger David Lebovitz’s post: Where to Find a Great Hamburger in Paris and his review of the food truck specializing in American style burgers Le Camion Qui Fume.  Here’s a more recent take (in French) from Le Figaro:  Les meilleurs burgers de Paris.

A place to rent a tuxedo:   Two good sources are: www.jjloc.fr and www.lesdeuxoursons.com.  Bear in mind that you cannot rent accessories so be prepared to buy ties, shoes, pocket squares, even shirts.  Thanks to Anne at Fête in France for the info.

Dried sweetened cranberries:   Although you may find them elsewhere, you might be surprised to learn that the ubiquitous urban supermarket Franprix carries dried cranberries.  Look for a display of green or orange plastic packages with various types of nuts, dried fruit, and popcorn.    You can also sometimes find them from the fellow selling nuts, dried fruit, olives, and spices at your local open air market.  And the word in French for cranberries is…….”cranberries.”

Aluminum foil that doesn’t feel like tissue paper:  Look for the package marked papier aluminum renforcée which has roughly the same durability as the regular aluminum foil sold in North America.  Stay away from the regular variety which tears at the slightest provocation.

Aveda hair care products:  There are two licensed Aveda salons in Paris: Joel Villard at 16, rue de Saint-Simon in the 7th arrrondissement (Metro: Rue de Bac) and Montecino Salon at 7 rue du Louvre in the 1st.  Joel Villard’s stylists are trained at the Aveda Institute and familiar products like Rosemary Mint Shampoo, Be Curly, Shampure, and Hand Relief are for sale.  Call 01 45 55 85 69 for hours.

Information about what’s going on in Paris this week:  Pariscope is the definitive source for all things cultural — art shows, theater, concerts, movies, special events.  It comes out every Wednesday and is available for only 40 centimes at every press kiosque.  (And if your French is limited, check out this on-line guide  to how to read Pariscope!) Figaroscope, a weekly supplement to the newspaper Le Figaro. also comes out on Wednesday and includes feature articles as well.

A playground that suits my kids:  There are tons of playgrounds in Paris, ranging from a tiny seesaw and a sandpit in a pocket park to full fledged affairs for older kids.  The city of Paris has a complete list on-line arranged by arrondissement and you can download a .pdf here.  Look for the photo with the title “les aires de jeux” and click on the text that says “Consulter le document au format pdf.”  If that sounds like too much work, the 2011 list can be found here.

Fabric, notions, and everything else for sewing:   Take the metro to Anvers, head up the hill towards Sacre Coeur, hang a right and you’ll find everything you need for sewing whether you’re making clothes or decorating your Parisian apartment.  The two biggest stores are La Reine and the Marché Saint-Pierre but there are also a dozen or more other stores selling material, buttons, trim, and the rest.

Musical instruments and sheet music:   All musical roads lead to Rome, in this case, not the city in Italy but the metro stop on the border of the 17th and 8th arrondissements.   Some of the stores rent musical instruments but get there too late in the school term and you may be out of luck.

Plants, seeds, window boxes and other gardening gear:  Paris is thick with florists and you probably won’t have any trouble buying geraniums, vases, and small pots in your neighborhood.  If your needs go further, check out the stores along the Quai Mégisserie in the 1st arrondissement.  There’s also the Marché aux Fleurs on Place Louis Lepine on Ile de la Cité (Metro: Cité).

A cheap but decent manicure: There’s no equivalent in Paris to the $15 manicure you find in the Vietnamese nail salons in New York or LA. For the most part, a full manicure will set you back 30 to 35 euros. But if you can trim your own nails and deal with your ratty cuticles, you can get nail polish applied expertly for around 6 to 8 euros. Ask for a pose de vernis rather than for a manucure.

Plus sized women’s clothes:   Heather, the genius behind Secrets of Paris, says that “one of the best clothing brands for women shopping for size 42-60 (US sizes 12-28) is Jean Marc Philippe, a French brand with three stores in Paris (including 89 rue de Rivoli, 1st).  Down the street is another shop carrying sizes 42-62 called Couleurs (17 rue de Rivoli, 1st). In general, when looking for similar shops or sections within department stores, look for “Grandes Tailles” or “Femmes Rondes”.

Summer Camps

Les vacances d’été are just around the corner! It’s time to organize and confirm summer plans, schedule a poolside rendezvous or too, and for the parents out there, it’s time to sort out holiday activities for the kids. Fortunately, there are several schools in Paris that offer English and bilingual summer camps. See our list below!

American School in Paris
Ecole Active Bilingue Jeannine Manuel
International School of Paris (language programs only)
La Petite Ecole Bilingue
Marymount International School Paris
The Bilingual Montessori School of Paris
United Nations Nursery School

Head Lice: An Itchy Issue

Translation: The head lice have arrived at school!

Itchy head? Just reading those words sends my scalp into a scratching frenzy, and chances are if you live in Paris you’ve seen this announcement posted on a bulletin board outside one of the city’s schools. French, international, private, and public, nearly every school in Paris faces yearly head lice infestations. Head lice are so common in the Île-de-France they even secured a spot in a recent promotion for French news source RTL. Their prevalence has made them movie stars!

In the U.S., most schools have a policy of regularly checking elementary school children for lice and barring students with any evidence of lice from attending school (the so-called no nit policy). In Paris, the administrators take a laissez faire approach toward the pesky louse. It may be that they believe that head lice are simply an unfortunate (and itchy!) right of passage for students or because they don’t have the political will to create strict rules. Whatever the reason may be, head lice take advantage of this lack of oversight and happily jump from one child to the next.

Without established procedures to reduce instances of head lice, prevention, detection, and treatment is left to parents. For many this means playing hairdresser and doing more loads of laundry than they’d like to count. Forget the “nit nurse,” it’s all parents when it comes to lice in the City of Light.

What to do if one of those buggers makes home sweet home on your child’s head?

  • Educate yourself in head lice 101. A little lice know how can prevent multiple and prolonged infestations, and the Internet makes becoming a lice expert easier than ever! For clear, concise, and scientifically vetted information, we recommend the CDC’s page on prevention and treatment.
  • Inform yourself on what’s happening in your child’s classroom. Are younger children sharing mats for naps? Are hats being shared for dress up or theater?  It may take guts to suggest to your teacher that Johnny sleep on his own mat (one you provide) but consider the alternative of repeated infestations.
  • As embarrassing as it may be, share the news of the infestation with the parents of your children’s friends. As always when dealing with the French, you will get best results when you accept responsibility before you seek allies. So ‘fess up. Your kid has lice. You just want to be sure others know so they don’t get infected. If you don’t want your child reinfected, make sure their friends are lice free before you send them on a play date or sleepover.
  • Invest in a really good lice comb, a strong pair of glasses, and a nontoxic treatment lotion. Your neighborhood pharmacist can recommend the products you need to deal with an infestation.

Ice Skating in Paris

by A. Letkemann

If you’re new to Paris, you may not be aware that Parisians enjoy winter sports as much as the rest of the world does. The usually milder weather is no deterrent to ice skating enthusiasts, as evidenced the selected list of available rinks below. It’s good clean fun for the entire family, very affordable, and certain rinks offer breath-taking views.

Hôtel de Ville
49, rue Rambuteau, 75004 Paris
Métro: Hôtel de Ville
December 17, 2010 — February 27, 2011

This is the larger of the three rinks (25m x 50m), with a smaller space for kids and beginners. There is also a large play area with activities for children (under 6) and a giant teepee! Open every day: weekdays from noon to10:00 pm, weekends and public holidays from 9:00 am – 10:00 pm. Last admission one hour before closing. Free if you have skates, 5€ to rent them (free for kids). A piece of ID necessary to rent skates. Please note: gloves must be worn.

Stade Sébastien Charléty
99, boulevard Kellermann
75013 Paris
RER : Cité Universitaire (line B) Tramway : Cité Universitaire (line T3)
December 20, 2010 to December 31, 2010

The stadium in the 13th arrondissement will be transformed into an area for winter leisure activities for children aged three 16. Activities include a 4 zip-lines, snow garden (300m²), games, walks in snow shoes, sledging, ice-skating on synthetic ice, trampolines, merry-go-rounds and miniature golf.

Eiffel Tower
Champs de Mars, Paris 75007
Métro: Trocadéro, Bir Hakeim RER C: Champs de Mars
December 15, 2010 to February 9, 2011

The first floor of the Eiffel Tower is transformed into a glittering ice skating arena as one of the highest rinks in France (57 meters)! The Paris ice rink opens to the public every day from 10:30 am to 22:30 pm. This year the Eiffel Tower’s 200 square meter ice skating rink will feature interactive sensors that will project images depending on the movement of the skaters. Access is free for visitors to the Eiffel Tower (regular admission fees apply) and skates are provided with identification. (Customers cannot bring their own skates.)

Montparnasse
place Raoul Dautry, 75015 Paris
Métro: Montparnasse-Bienvenüe
December 17, 2010 — March 5, 2011

Rink measuring 22m x 35m with a 150m² ice garden for the teeny tots (3-6 year-olds). Open every day: weekdays from midday – 8:00 pm, weekend and public holidays from 9am – 10pm. Last admission one hour before closing. Free if you have skates, 5€ to hire them (free for kids). You can also take a free skating lesson at the weekend between 10am and midday, but places are very limited: for 5-8 year-olds: 8 places, for 9-12 year-olds: 10 places and for 13-80 year-olds: 12 places.

Editor’s Note:  You can also skate indoors year round at L’Espace sportif Pailleron in the 19th or at the Sonja Henie patinoire, part of the Palais omnisports at Bercy in the 12th.  Follow the links for hours and fees.

Merry Go Rounds: A Paris Christmas Tradition

by A. Letkemann

Need a break between two mad sessions of Paris Christmas shopping? Why not occupy your little darling on one of Paris’ free merry-go-rounds – for free! – and watch them whirl by as your feet recover. Music, lights, wooden horses… we all have memories of these traditional merry-go-rounds from our youth. Now it’s time to carry on the tradition with your own children, and for free. What more could you ask for!

The FREE carousel rides begin Saturday, December 18th and continue until Sunday, January 2, 2011.

Here’s the list of the 20 free merry-go-rounds for Christmas 2010 in Paris:

3rd arrondissement: Square du Temple

 4th arrondissement:  Place de l’Hôtel de Ville  (2 merry-go-rounds, one at each end of the square)

 5th arrondissement:  Square Saint Médard

6th arrondissement: Place de l’Odéon

7th arrondissement: Place Joffre

8th arrondissement: Place de la Madeleine (behind the church) and Place de la Concorde

9th arrondissement:  Place Lino Ventura

10th arrondissement: Square Alban Satragne

11th arrondissement:  Place Léon Blum

12th arrondissement:  Avenue Daumesnil

13th arrondissement: Place d’Italie

14th arrondissement: Rue d’Alésia

15th arrondissement: Montparnasse

16th arrondissement: Place du Trocadéro

17th arrondissement: Place Docteur Félix Lobligeois

18th arrondissement: Square Louise Michel

19th arrondissement: Place Armand-Carrel

 20th arrondissement: Rue Belgrand

Costuming Your Kids

updated September 2013

by A.  Letkemann

Halloween….. that magical time of year when you can be anything you want to be. The possibilities are endless! Although Halloween is not celebrated in France the way it is in North America, the idea is catching on. And even if trick or treating is not on your agenda, there will probably be other times during the school year when your kids (or perhaps even you) need a costume. Since that shopping list of costume must-haves continues to evolve, you may want to check out the costume shops before your ghosts and goblins set their hearts on the unattainable.

Tuttifiesta is a party store that has a wide range of costumes for children and adults. They also have activity ideas and recipes.

47, rue Saint Ferdinand, 75017

M°: Argentine or Porte Maillot, line 1

01 40 68 77 89

A  La Poupée Merveilleuse is a party store that carries a full line of costumes, decorations, makeup, accessories, and other party supplies.  They have Halloween costumes for children and adults. The store is conveniently located across the street from BHV.

9, rue du Temple, 75004
M°: Hôtel de Ville
01 42 72 63 46

Au Bal Masqué is a small costume shop tucked off avenue Victor Hugo in an arcade known as la Cité de l’Argentine.

111, avenue Victor Hugo, 75016
M°: Victor Hugo, line 2
01 47 55 07 88

Sommier is a family-owned shop in the 10th that has been renting costumes for all occasions to the French since 1922. They stock costumes and disguises in just about every genre from historical period outfits to traditional ethnic garb and animal getups, including ones for two people. Wigs, make-up and other accessories are also available.

3, passage Brady, 75010
M°: Château d’Eau (line 4) or Strasbourg Saint Denis (lines 4, 8, and 9)
01 42 08 27 01

Au Clown Montmartre boasts that it stocks over 4,000 different costumes, wigs galore, and all types of make-up, including prostheses for fake facial features and body parts. The shop is a joy to visit in and of itself.

22, rue du Faubourg Montmartre, 75009
M°: Cadet (line 7) or Grands Boulevards (line 9)
01 47 70 05 93

Finally, in the fabric district at the foot of the Butte Montmartre (near the metro stop Anvers), there are half a dozen or so shops selling cheap items suitable for costumes, such as faux feather boas, sequined tube tops, and colorful mini skirts.   You may have to use your imagination but at least you won’t break the bank.

Doctors and Dentists

Being sick is stressful under any circumstances.  But when you’re sick  as a stranger in a strange land, the stress multiplies.  Here then are some leads that you might want to consider checking out before illness or injury come knocking.  The health professionals on this list were recommended by Anglophone expats in the Paris region. Not all speak English. Or the doctor may speak English but not the office staff. Even so, folks with relatively little French have had successful interactions with them.   Please note that this list is not by any means exhaustive.  If you can make a recommendation for others, please do so in the comments. Another source worth consulting is the U.S. Embassy’s list of English speaking doctors.

If you are covered by the French health care system, be aware that not all of these doctors are conventionné, meaning that not all accept Social Security’s fees as payment in full. If you have a mutuelle (gap insurance typically provided by an employer), it may cover the extra charges. If you are covered only by a health insurance carrier in another country, expect to make payment in full at the time of service. Please note also that not all health professionals accept credit cards; bring cash or a check.

Chiropractic

Reine-Judith Oliver
5, rue de la Comet‎
75007 Paris
Phone: 01 45 56 95 51

Dermatology

Chantal Meslay
2, rue Villarmains
92210 Saint Cloud
Phone: 01 47 71 08 04

Wafa Ouazzani
96, avenue Victor Hugo
75016 Paris
Phone: 01 44 05 04 43

General Practice/Internal Medicine

Julia Bache
5, rue Leon Cogniet
75017 Paris
Phone: 01 47 63 42 07

Patrick Bertrand
19, Grand Rue
92420 Vaucresson
Phone:  01 47 41 64 56

Anne-Valerie Meyers
10, rue Royale
75008 Paris
Phone: 01 42 66 47 82

Michael Saba
6, rue de Sontay
75016 Paris
Phone: 01 45 00 70 61

Nancy Salzman
1, avenue Lowendal
75007 Paris
Phone:  01 45 63 18 43

Francis Slattery  
10, avenue d’Eylau
75016 Paris 
Phone:  01 47 42 02 34

Obstetrics/Gynecology

Jocelyn McGuiness
American Hospital
63, boulevard Victor Hugo
92200 Neuilly-sur-Seine
Phone: 01 46 41 26 96

Anne Francoise Neiman
150, rue de l’Universite
75007 Paris
Phone: 01 44 18 72 18

Ophthalmology

Richard Luscan
173, Grand Rue
92380 Garches
Phone: 01 47 41 31 63

Hilda Sam
10, avenue d’Eylau
75016 Paris
Phone: 01.47.55.42.22

Pediatrics

John Lovejoy
American Hospital
63, boulevard Victor Hugo
92200 Neuilly-sur-Seine
Phone: 01 46 41 27 67

Michael Robin
American Hospital
63, boulevard Victor Hugo
92200 Neuilly-sur-Seine
Phone: 01 46 41 27 67

Psychiatry

Michel Lecendreux
11, rue Bosio
75016 Paris
Phone: 01 42 15 15 75
Note: If your child has ADD/ADHD and is on medication, you may be used to going to your GP or neurologist for prescriptions. In France, you can only obtain a prescription for these medications from a psychiatrist.

Radiology

Anne Ducellier-Orlowski
16, rue Benjamin Franklin
75016 Paris
Phone: 01 45 25 15 10

Dentistry

Gerard Benmussa
18, rue Duphot
75001 Paris
Phone: 01 40 20 03 00

Frank Boukobza
42, avenue de la Bourdonnais
75007 Paris
Phone: 01 45 55 49 22

Dr. Hazan
185, rue de La Pompe
75016 Paris
Phone: 01 47 27 45 35

Corinne Lallam-Laroye
65, rue Fessart
92100 Boulogne
Phone: 01.46.05.24.40

Children only
Lorraine Arav and Ariane Arav-Hazan
60, avenue d’Iéna
75016 Paris
Phone:  01 40 70 98 48

Orthodontia
Jacques-Yves Assor
10, avenue Felix Faure
75015 Paris
Phone: 01 45 57 21 17

Emeric Augeraud
146, rue Gallieni
92100 Boulogne
Phone: 01 41 31 01 01

Claudine Boggetto
70, boulevard de la Reine
78000 Versailles
Phone: 01 30 21 87 68

Patrick Curiel
109bis, avenue Charles de Gaulle
92200 Neuilly sur Seine
Phone: 01 46 40 01 02

Eric Maupas
11, rue de Passy
75016 Paris
Phone: 01 42 24 88 51

Jean Luc Pruvost
98, avenue Kleber
75016 Paris
Phone: 01 45 53 84 84

Eric Serfaty
20, avenue Kleber
75116 Paris
Phone:  01 45 00 50 00