January 31, 2016

6 Tips for Raising a Bilingual Child

In preparation for the arrival of our first child, my French husband and American self have begun to consider how we are going to successfully teach our native languages to our son.

Up until now, our research included a significant amount of Googling, however, as I enter the final weeks of pregnancy, I’ve buckled down and begun reading Dr. Barbara Zurer Pearson’s book Raising a Bilingual Child.

While a great deal of the book speaks about the benefits of bilingualism, explains language acquisition and presents several case studies, the most interesting (and in my opinion, useful) section focuses on establishing a bilingual environment.

Below, some of the key practices that we plan to incorporate into our household.

Raising a Bilingual Child book cover

1. Establish the minority language

Parents must establish the minority language. The majority language is a given. A positive attitude toward bilingualism and motive for using the minority language must also be established.

Majority language: “The language that the majority of speakers in a community use, often with ‘official’ language status if it is used for government, in education, and in other official or public domains.” (In our case, French)

Minority language: “The language used by a subgroup of a population (or even just by one family), sometimes also called a heritage language.” (In our case, English)

2. Choose a strategy

One Parent-One Language (OPOL): Each parent addresses the child in a different language, typically their native language. This is the preferred method in many countries.

Minority Language at Home (mL@H): Both parents speak only the minority language at home. The majority language is often spoken outside in the community.

“Time and Place” (T&P): Language is used based on time and place, for example in the case of many bilingual school programs where certain classes or periods are instructed in the majority language and others in the minority language.

Mixed Language Policy (MLP): Parents use the language that best relates to the topic or situation at the time of discussion.

3. Aim for early exposure

The earlier a child is exposed to a language, the easier it will be for them to learn it. The quantity of exposure is also a key factor, especially with a second language. Greater language input=greater proficiency=more use.

4. Be consistent

Once you have established a language pattern in your family, stick with it.  If you must make adjustments, do so cautiously.

5. Use media support

Songs are a great way for young children to learn and practice a language. For older children, books are another great addition, as reading leads to greater proficiency and retention.

6. Stay positive

Never ridicule a child who is attempting to speak any language. Should they make a mistake, favor covert correction.

Covert correction: "A technique of responding to errors not by drawing attention to them but by modeling correct usage within the conversation."

Are you bilingual or have experience raising bilingual children? Share your tips and stories below!

January 28, 2016

A Sneak Peek at Ken Thomas' 2016 Oeuf de Pâques

Not long after my last trip to The Westin, I was invited to return for a special evening with their in-house pastry chef, Ken Thomas.  On the agenda? An unveiling and tasting of this year's Oeuf de Pâques "Quetzalcoatl" (chocolate Easter egg).

Held in The Westin's gorgeous courtyard (one of my favorites in Paris), guests admired the exquisite Mexican themed egg while enjoying a sampling. For the occasion each chocolate element was paired with a refreshing non-alcoholic cocktail to complement and enhance its flavor.

Why Mexico you ask? The inspiration comes from the rich Maya culture, as well as the celebration of this year as the "year of Mexico" in France, as declared by the Élysée.

Named "Quetzalcoatl" after the famous half-bird ("Quetzal"), half-serpent ("Coatl") god, Thomas' creation proposes a visual and gourmet voyage, while incorporating ingredients with health benefits.

The beautifully detailed egg is a dark, slightly bitter, Forastero chocolate (66% cacao) from Mexico. Nestled within are three different flavored "cacao beans", each one more original and surprising than the last.

  • Green: infused with jasmine green tea, known for its antioxidant properties
  • Red: habanero chili pepper, rich in vitamin C
  • Yellow: almond praline with goji berries, chock-full of nutrients 

Want to offer this limited edition Easter egg to your friends, family or even yourself? Check out the order details below.

2016 Oeuf de Pâques by Ken Thomas, The Westin Paris-Vendôme
2016 Oeuf de Pâques by Ken Thomas, The Westin Paris-Vendôme
2016 Oeuf de Pâques by Ken Thomas tasting, The Westin Paris-Vendôme
2016 Oeuf de Pâques by Ken Thomas tasting, The Westin Paris-Vendôme
Ken Thomas, Chef pâtissier, The Westin Paris-Vendôme

About the chef
At the young age of 25, Chef pâtissier Ken Thomas has already worked with some of France's top names: Pignol, Pré Catelan and Lenôtre Paris. In 2012, he was named Chef pâtissier at Hôtel Le K2 in Courcheval, and in 2013, joined the kitchens of The Westin Paris-Vendôme, where he showcases his talent today.

Reserve your 2016 Oeuf de Pâques by Ken Thomas
79€, limited edition
Orders by email or telephone 01 44 77 10 20  until March 23, 2016. 
Pick-up at The Westin Paris-Vendôme starting from March 19, 2016.

January 25, 2016

Bringing Up Bébé

Child rearing is probably one of the most touched on topics around the world. There are opinions coming from every which way, and sometimes it's hard to know what's "right". At the end of the day, it's most likely your parental instinct, however, it's still interesting (and probabaly a good idea) to find out what other people are doing, especially if it seems to be working!

Enter one of the hottest parenting books to grace bookshelves in the past few years: Bringing Up Bébé. Written by Pamela Druckerman, an American journalist living in Paris, Bringing Up Bébé offers a foreigner's perspective of French parenting and reveals the secrets to the (generally) well-behaved and well-rounded kids seen on Parisian streets.

Love it or hate it (the reviews seem to be mixed), Bringing Up Bébé is a light, witty and eye-opening memoir, giving moms and dads around the world a few ideas for applying the French touch to their own families.

Bringing Up Bébé book cover

PS Looking for maternity clothes in Paris? Learn more here.

January 23, 2016

Embryolisse Launches New Men's Skincare Line

It's no secret that since moving to France I have become a huge fan of Embryolisse. And as part of their blogger circle, I am lucky enough to receive new skincare products (and even some old favorites) to test out from time to time.

This month's his and hers gift box proved that Embryolisse has really started 2016 off with a bang. Adorably packaged, an "elle" bag included the classic Emulsion Hydra-Mat and Lait-Crème Moussant, and a "lui" bag marked the launch of their first dedicated men's line

Available to the public in February 2016, the new line includes two products: an aftershave balm (11.90€/ 50ml) and an energizing shower gel (9.50€/ 200ml). I offered both to my husband, who was more than happy to test them out. Unlike many men's products, the scent is fresh and light, as opposed to overpowering and musky as seen with other brands. Starting next month, these sweet smelling potions will hit shelves and you can pick them up for all of your favorite men.

Embryolisse his and hers bags
New Embryolisse men's line: shower gel and aftershave balm
Embryolisse Emulsion Hydra-Mat and Lait Crème Moussant

Products compliments of Embryolisse. All opinions are my own.

January 22, 2016

Pre-show Pizza at Papacionu

Looking to grab a quick meal before seeing Enzo l'Insaisissable the other night, my husband and I stumbled upon Papacionu, a homey little Corsican pizzeria just a 5-minute walk from Folies Bergère.

Even on a Wednesday night, the restaurant was bustling and nearly booked up. We were lucky to slip in just as they opened their doors at 7pm.

It turned out to be a perfect pre-show choice. The rustic decor, original menu and gargantuan portion sizes made for a fun and delicious start to the evening. A must if ever in the neighborhood!

Chef pizza, Papacionu, Paris
Papacionu, Paris
Fondant au chocolat, Papacionu, Paris
Papacionu, Paris

7 rue Cadet
75009 Paris 

Reservations highly recommended

January 21, 2016

A Magic Moment with Enzo l'Insaisissable

Normally not a fan of magic shows, I was a bit skeptical when my husband asked to go see Enzo l'Insaisissable for his birthday.

Currently appearing at the famous Folies Bergère theatre in the 9th arrondissement, this young and upcoming magician truly wowed the entire audience (including me!). The show (narrated in French) is beautifully crafted around the story of Enzo, a young boy who discovers magic at only 7 years old and begins his journey toward becoming an expert illusionist.

At the "ripe" age of 26, Enzo brings a creative and modern twist to his tricks, leaving behind all traditional notions of pulling rabbits out of hats magic. The mise en scene is spectacular, with a mix of lights, music and pyrotechnics.

In only 1hr15, Enzo succeeds in taking audience members along on his journey and changing the perception of magic in today's world.

Enzo l'Insaisissable at Folies Bergère, Paris
Folies Bergère, Paris
Folies Bergère, Paris

Ready to be blown away? You can catch Enzo at Folies Bergère until March 13, 2016.

Théâtre des Folies Bergère
32, rue Richer
75009 Paris

January 11, 2016

Winter at the Westin

Each year, the Westin Paris-Vendôme transforms its courtyard into a magical winter terrace where hotel guests and visitors can escape the cold in style.

Last year, we enjoyed an impressive tropical paradise. This year? An intimate and cozy Nordic alcove, the Terråsse Skåndinäve.

Outfitted with sleek white wood, glowing candles and faux fur seat covers, there is no better place to warm up this winter.

Open until April 3, 2016, you can stop by to tickle your taste buds with an authentic hot chocolate, fruity boiling tea or innovative pastry (the chef's special Cake Damier is a must!), among other delights.

Hot chocolate and Cake Damier at the Westin Paris-Vendome, Terråsse Skåndinäve
Westin Paris-Vendome, Terråsse Skåndinäve
Westin Paris-Vendome, Terråsse Skåndinäve menu
Westin Paris-Vendome, Terråsse Skåndinäve
Westin Paris-Vendome, Terråsse Skåndinäve sign

The Westin Paris-Vendôme
3 Rue De Castiglione 
75001 Paris

January 4, 2016

History of Louis Vuitton at Le Grand Palais

Whether you're a die-hard Louis Vuitton fan, generally interested in fashion, or just looking for an interesting way to spend an afternoon, the Louis Vuitton exhibition at the Grand Palais is worth a visit.

On until February 21, 2016, this FREE expo curated by Olivier Saillard leads visitors on an historical adventure of one of the world's most beloved brands.

Divided into 9 themes, discover everything from the first wooden trunks and revolutionary Steamer Bags to today's most coveted fashion accessories.

Louis Vuitton trunk, Grand Palais, Paris 
Louis Vuitton trunks, Grand Palais, Paris
Louis Vuitton trunk and Steamer Bags, Grand Palais, Paris
Louis Vuitton fashion, Grand Palais, Paris
Louis Vuitton music, Grand Palais, Paris
Louis Vuitton plane with bags, Grand Palais, Paris

Le Grand Palais
3, avenue du Général Eisenhower
75008 Paris

January 3, 2016

Macaille, More than a Bistrot

Inaugurated in November 2015, Macaille is the latest restaurant opened by French celebrity chef Norbert Tarayre (a former Top Chef finalist). Located in the suburb of Suresnes, it joins Saperlipopette, Norbert's first restaurant in Puteaux.

Walking up to Macaille, patrons are greeted by an inviting outdoor terrasse. Upon entering the dimly lit restaurant, two words come to mind: chic and cozy. Plush chairs, candlelight and several small dining rooms create an incredibly intimate and homey setting, perfect for enjoying a relaxed, yet upscale, meal.

While the menu remains limited, there are certainly no complaints here. It's apparent that each of the dishes and products have been chosen carefully to provide clients with an outstanding dining experience.

Bread and homemade mayonnaise at Macaille, Suresnes, France
Entrance to Macaille, Suresnes, France
Terrasse at Macaille, Suresnes, France
Dining room at Macaille, Suresnes, France
Dining room at Macaille, Suresnes, France
December 2015 menu at Macaille, Suresnes, France
La betterave, Macaille, Suresnes, France
Le jarret, Macaille, Suresnes, France
La tartelette, Macaille, Suresnes, France

29 quai Gallieni
92150 Suresnes

Note: The menu is set to change each month, so be sure to stop by regularly.