Category Archives: Kids

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

Day Trips from Paris

Because there are so many great travel Web sites out there, we’ve shied away from giving advice on travel from Paris.   Recently, however, a number of folks have expressed interest in learning more about day trips from Paris.   Just what constitutes a day trip is open to interpretation, depending upon your means of transportation and how far you’re willing to travel.   Several of these destinations could easily become weekend visits.   That being said, here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

Auvers sur Oise:  Van Gogh’s final resting place and site of many of his famous paintings.  In addition to paying homage at his grave site, you can visit the inn where he lived and the home of Dr. Gachet, one of his patrons.  There is also a museum dedicated to the work of French artist Charles-François Daubigny and the Musee de l’Absinthe.  If the weather is nice, you may enjoy a self-guided walk through the town; along the route, there are placards of paintings you will recognize, placed at the very vantage point of the works themselves.  Auvers sur Oise is accessible by SNCF train from Gare du Nord.  Check with the tourist office for opening and closure information; many sites are closed during the winter months.

Chantilly:  There’s plenty to do here besides eating whipped cream (although when in Rome….).  The chateau has an incredible art collection and the grounds have recently been renovated to include special activities of interest to kids such as a maze and a kangaroo farm.  Then there’s the horse museum which is a bit dated but still fun.  Call ahead for information on dressage demonstrations and the equestrian spectacle.  And you can always go to the races.  It’s a quick train ride from Paris; you can easily walk from the station into town.  If not, take the free city bus.

Chartres: This town, just 100 kilometers southwest of Paris, is best known for its Gothic cathedral dedicated by King Louis IX in the 13th century.   It is one of the few religious sites in France that was not substantially damaged during the French Revolution.   The stone floor is marked with a labryinth which pilgrims still walk.  In addition to the church, there is also a small museum of stained glass.   Trains run regularly between Gare Montparnasse and Chartres.

Euro Disney:   After initial grumbling, France and the rest of Europe seemed to have embraced Euro Disney with open arms.  Much smaller than its American counterparts, you can probably do it in one day although this depends upon the number of other visitors.   Heather Stimmler-Hall, author of the Secrets of Paris blog, has put up a post in two parts with great tips on making the most of your Disney experience.  You can get started at How To Survive Disneyland Paris Part 1.  Euro Disney is easily accessible by the RER A.

Fontainebleau:  Home of French kings for centuries, Fontainebleau grew in a fashion one can only describe as higgledy-piggeldy and thus there’s something here for everyone from the grand Renaissance to Napoleon’s library.   The park is vast and the nearby forest is a great place to explore and climb on the rocks.  The SNCF train from Gare de Lyon stops in Fontainbleau-Avon; from there, you can take a city bus to the chateau.  (It is a very long walk otherwise.)  If you have a car, plan on also visiting the nearby village of  Barbizon which was an artist’s colony in the early 19th century.  

Giverny:  The main attraction at this tiny town in Normandy is Claude Monet’s home and garden, the setting for many of his famous paintings of water lilies.  You won’t find any original Monets in the house but it is charming all the same.  The garden is spectacular in spring, summer, and fall.  There is also a small art museum dedicated to the work of the Impressionists just down the lane.   If you don’t have a car, take a train from Gare St. Lazare to Vernon where you can either take a bus or rent a bike to travel the remaining 5 kilometers to Giverny.  The buses are well-timed with arrivals and departures from Paris. 

Provins:  This fortified medieval town on the eastern edge of Ile de France is on UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites.  The old town is perched on a hill above the new town where the train comes in.  You can walk the ramparts, climb the Tour César and visit a number of other historic buildings, and stroll to the sweet town square where you’ll want to get a bite to eat or linger over a drink.   Two different spectacles will delight your kids:  one featuring falcons and the other horses. 

Reims:  The cathedral in Reims is where the kings of France were crowned and is well worth the quick 45 minute ride on a TGV from Gare de l’Est and it’s not that much further by car.  Visit the Bishop’s Palace to learn more about the construction and restoration of the cathedral.  Reims is also the heart of Champagne and you can visit some of the big houses in town on foot including Veuve Cliquot, Charles de Cazanove, and Pommery.  For the others, you will need a car to get out into the countryside.  There’s also an automobile museum and a small exhibit at the site where Eisenhower as chief of the Allied Forces in World War II accepted the German surrender.  

Versailles:  There’s the grand chateau itself, the park, the Grand and Petit Trianon, and Marie Antoinette’s hamlet.  Take the RER C to the Rive Gauche station or the SNCF train to Rive Droite and make a day of it.  Picnicking is permitted on the grounds although not necessarily on the lawns.   During the summer and into the fall, the fountains are synchronized with music on Tuesdays.

Tourist Information Offices

Auvers sur Oise

Chantilly

Chartres

Giverny

Fontainebleau

Provins

Reims

Versailles

Other Resources

Great Day Trips from Paris (from Bonjour Paris)

Paris to Provins (from Budget Travel)

Paris Day Trips: Chartres (from Why Go Paris)

Where Can I Find……

Don’t pull out your hair.  We’ll keep a running list of those things you may be searching for but just can’t seem to find.  This list will be updated regularly, adding items previously featured on the top right hand side of the site.

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 tortillas freeze well.

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. Le Figaro did an article on this awhile back but it’s been so long, you now have to pay to retrieve it from the archives. So take a look at blogger David Lebovitz’s post: Where to Find a Great Hamburger in Paris.

A place to rent a tuxedo:   Two good sources are: www.jjloc.fr and www.lesdeuxorsons.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:  Joel Villard at 16, rue de Saint-Simon in the 7th arrrondissement (Metro: Rue de Bac) is the only licensed Aveda salon in France.  Its 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.  Click on the text “toutes les infos” on the right hand side for a detailed listing of the offerings.

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.

Clothing Your Kids Without Breaking the Bank

The French really know how to do children’s clothes.   The cuts, the fabrics, the craftsmanship:  it’s all incredible.  But pretty quick ly you will realize, as darling as your little girl might look in that Bonpoint coat, there’s no way that you can afford to pay that much and still have cash left over for groceries.    So where do you shop for decent quality children’s clothes at a reasonable price?  Moms in the know suggest the following:

C&A:  This large department store reminds me of J.C. Penney’s.  Rock bottom prices but not much selection or style.  Still you can get lucky, especially if you are in the market for basics like t-shirts, leggings, and pajamas.  Multiple locations in Paris and the suburbs.

Du Pareil au Meme:  Fun fabrics, European styling, and great prices make this French chain a winner.  They even carry shoes.   There are dozens of locations in Ile de France so there’s probably one near you.  A few of the stores are for babies only; most offer cute clothes for boys and girls up to age 12 or 14.

H&M:  This Swedish department store has made its name by offering trendy clothes at bargain basement prices.  The merchandise changes frequently but you can pretty much always find a good range of jeans, shirts, sweaters, skirts, and basics like underwear and socks.  Plan ahead:  not every H&M outlet has a kids’ section.  In the city of Paris, kids’ clothes can be found only at the rue de Rivoli, rue Lafayette, and Les Halles locations.  Suburban locations include La Defense, Issy Les Moulineaux, Vélizy, and Le Kremlin Bicentre.

Monoprix:  Not every Monoprix carries clothes.  But if the one near you does, take a look at the kids’ department the next time you are doing your grocery shopping and you’ll find great prices, sweet styling, and probably some darling baby clothes you’ll want to send back home for shower gifts.  You never quite know what you’ll find at Monoprix (in other words, don’t go looking for something as specific as a navy blue t-shirt) as the stock is small and rotates frequently.   But you’re going there anyway, right?

Okaidi:  Another chain with super cute clothes for ages 0-14 at prices you’ll like (including shoes.)   You tweens will particularly appreciate that the larger sizes don’t look too babyish.  There are at least a dozen locations in the city of Paris and more than that throughout Ile de France.

Petit Bateau:  With dozens of outlets in Ile de France, Petit Bateau offers beautiful knit basics:  tops, bottoms, pajamas, underwear, plus seasonal items like sweaters and sundresses.  The regular prices are a bit steep (although not by Paris standards) but there are frequent promotions, even outside the twice yearly sales.

And if Grandma’s in town and you want to spring for something extra special, head on over to the Web site, Babyccino Kids, for recommendations on Paris boutiques for children.

Getting Ready for School

Who doesn’t love fresh clean notebooks, sharpened pencils, and a brand new set of crayons? And what could be more baffling than the list of required school supplies from your child’s school? Here’s a quick guide to the school supply vocabulary, including an explanation of some of the items that may be new to you.  These lists tend to be very specific in terms of the size, style, and color of the items.  Double check what you’ve got before you head to the register.

Writing implements

Stylo: Pen.  It comes in several varieties:  le stylo à bille (ballpoint), stylo à plume (a fountain pen).

Crayon: Aack! The word crayon is a faux ami because it’s not from Crayola.  It’s simply what we Anglophones call a pencil.  The designation H.B. is roughly akin to the American designation No. 2.

Crayons de couleur:  Colored pencils

Surligneur:  Highlighter

Porte mine:  Mechanical pencil

Stylo correcteur : correction fluid in a pen

Pochette de 12 feutres de couleur :  A package of magic markers.  Your list may specify lavable (washable), pointe fine (small point) or pointe large (larger sized point).

Feutre d’ardoise:  White board marker

Effaceur:  Eraser.   Available in the same shape as a pen or pencil to fit neatly in your trousse (see below)

Gomme:  The classic eraser

Cartouches d’encre : ink cartridges (On the supply list, this would mean cartridges for a pen but the same word is used for your computer.)

Other tools

Agrafeuse:  stapler

Ardoise:  Traditionally a chalkboard but now it’s also used to describe an erasable white board.  With this, you need feutres d’ardoise (see above) and a chiffon (a rag).

Taille-crayons:  Pencil sharpener.  If it says avec reservoir, that means it has a piece to capture the shavings.

Règle plate: a ruler.  These come in 20 and 30 centimeter sizes

Rapporteur: protractor

Équerre: triangle

Compas: compass

Art supplies

Ciseaux: scissors.  If your child is young, you probably need to get those with the rounded tips (bout rond).

Baton de colle:  glue stick

Scotch:  Yes!  It’s tape.

Rouleau de ruban adhésif sans dévidoir:  Tape without a dispenser

Tubes de gouache:  watercolors that come in tubes

Pinceaux de tailles différentes:  paintbrushes in different sizes

Gobelet en plastique, sans couvercle :  a plastic cup without a cover

Paper

Cahier:  a notebook, usually bound and stapled, rather than spiral.  And don’t go looking for one that’s lined.  Instead there are two formats:  grand carreaux, which has large squares with horizontal lines for normal writing and petits carreaux, which has 5mm squares for technical drawing and geometry.  Cahiers come in various sizes, both in terms of the size of the paper and the number of pages.  Make sure you check the list carefully!

The grand is the same size as a piece of A4 paper, which is the standard paper you would use in your printer or copier in France (slightly larger than an American 8 ½  x 11 sheet).  There are also specialized cahiers such as the cahier de musique, cahier de texte, and cahier de travaux pratiques.

Pochette de papier dessin :  drawing paper

Feuillets mobiles perforés :  looseleaf paper for a binder (see below)

Copies doubles perforées :  small sized paper (equivalent to an A3 sheet folded in half)

Oeillets: reinforcements for your looseleaf paper

Organization

Porte-documents:  A plasticized folder with plastic sleeves for papers.  You can buy these in a variety of sizes: 40, 60, 80 or 100 vues.

Chemise rabats à élastiques:  A cardboard folder with elastic bands that keep everything secure.

Classeur:  a loose leaf binder.  It can be souple (made of a flexible plastic) or rigide (made of a stiff cardboard).

Pochettes:  Usually used to describe plasticized sleeves for documents.  These can be perforated to fit in a looseleaf binder

Intercalaires:  Subject dividers for use with your classeur.

Bags

Trousse:  A pencil case and no proper French student (no matter what age) would be caught dead without one.

Cartable:  a school bag.  Traditionally, it was a satchel with a handle and maybe a shoulder strap.  But it’s also now used to refer to backpacks (sacs à dos) as well.

Other

Protège-cahiers :  See through plastic covers for your cahiers.  These come in different sizes and colors.

Rouleau de plastique pour couvrir les livres :  plastic that can be used to cover textbooks.

General notes:  Sometimes the supply list will note the desired brand (marque).