French Favorites

French mothers wrap their babies in what they call a ‘gigoteuse’ (‘gigoter’ means to wriggle or squirm). Ingenious! Parents don’t have to worry about their safely bundled babies pulling blankets over their faces, losing blankets and getting cold, or climbing out of the cribs. My children wore these until they were nearly three (once toilet-training happens, it’s no longer such a good idea!).

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All French children have a ‘tablier’, which translates as ‘apron’ (but is much more cosy-sounding). In fact, most have two: one at school (for keeping clean during art class), and another one at home (for cooking with maman et papa, bien sur!). I swore off aprons years ago (frumpy!), but seeing them in France changed my mind….These lovely tabliers are from French company Bakalao.

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French parents love stickers. Sticker activity books, math and reading sticker workbooks, stickers for long car rides or plane rides, home decor stickers, artfully displayed on the walls of children’s rooms (even older ones).

Here’s the Poem Tree from Djeco, one of my favorite French toy companies (the tree is over 4 feet tall).

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French singer Zaz’s first album (released in 2010) has already gone double platinum. Think of Amy Winehouse meets Edith Piaf, with a bit of gypsy jazz thrown in…My favorites are ‘Je Veux’ and the adorable ‘La Fee’ (which was a home movie that a Zaz fan took of his two kids singing this song: he posted it on YouTube, and she loved it so much that she chose it as the song’s official video!).

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OK, this one isn’t really French…but Sarah Jane Wright is a wonderful artist (including the illustrations on this site), and creator of many gorgeous things, many of them French-inspired, for parents and children alike. Check out her studio at Sarah Jane Studios, and her lovely new book: A Christmas Goodnight.

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