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Helen
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Posted: May 24 2006 at 12:01pm | IP Logged Quote Helen

This thread is to collect ideas and information about France. Please share with us picture books, good chapter books which communicate the atmosphere of France, information about French saints and their shrines, recipes, drinks, wine, cheese, artists, composers, French language ideas...please don't stop there... whatever you think might be helpful for other families in pursuing this Tour de France Idea.

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Posted: May 24 2006 at 12:41pm | IP Logged Quote Christine

I have visited France a few times. My aunt used to live in Paris. She currently lives on the west coast of France in the region of Bretagne. France is very rich in Catholic history. As I am sure everyone knows, many saints lived in France. Lourdes and Nevers are associated with St. Bernadette. Rue du Bac is where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Catherine Laboure. Cathedrals and churches are numerous and their architecture is incredible, Notre Dame in Paris and Sacre Coeur in Montmartre come to mind initially.

I have a busy weekend ahead, but I will try to post some French saint book recommendations next week. I have heard good things about a schoolmate's book Catholic Shrines of Western Europe: A Pilgrim's Travel Guide. Kevin told me that he actually visited each of the shrines mentioned in his book.

Edited to add: Oops! I can't mention my two oldest daughter's name saints and not my youngest daughter's, St. Therese of Lisieux (also known as the Little Flower).

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Posted: May 24 2006 at 1:35pm | IP Logged Quote JennGM

I have a few ideas on France studies, I had compiled this for Literature Alive! list. I agree with Christine on the saints...it's hard to limit. A few that come to mind:

St. Therese the Little Flower (study their whole family!)
St. Vincent de Paul
St. Louise de Marillac
St. Margaret Mary
Cure d'Ars
Genevieve of Paris
Catherine Laboure
St. Joan of Arc
St. Bernadette
Martin of Tours
St. Germaine

Does anyone want title suggestions for bios?

One book that everyone would enjoy on St. Therese and give a snapshot of her life and history and culture of France at the time is Therese and Lisieux by Descouvemont and Loose. This is a FABULOUS full-color photo book of little places, people and things all through Therese's life, including a picture of her hair, little drawings she made. You will love poring over the illustrations.

The cathedrals...Notre Dame for one. David Macauley's book Cathedral is perfect for this.

Studying the French Revolution: watching a version of Tale of Two Cities, reading about the Martyrs of Compeigne... A book that is more teenage level is Song at the Scaffold by Gertrude von le Fort Available at Neumman Press.

Picture books:
Madeline of course
Babar books
The Little Prince
Stone Soup, a classic French tale.

Impressionist art, such as
Katie and the Impressionists
Philippe in Monet's Garden
A Picnic with Monet

Travel for Kids each page has several book suggestions.

Part of "Folklore of the World" series by Edward and Marguerite Dolch, called Stories from France published by Garrard Publishing Company. There are 19 myths and folktales in this book.

Movies
We love some of the subtitled movies:

I haven't read the book, but the movies
My Mother's Castle and
My Father's Glory are fabulous!

Some religious French movies, some older:
Diary of a Country Priest
Monsieur Vincent
Bernadette
Passion of Bernadette
Therese (these last 3 are from Ignatius Press)

Dh and I really loved the Bernadette movies. Also Ignatius has some movies on Joan of Arc.

If you want to delve in some Middle Ages France, you might try picking up Regine Pernoud books, which give the aspect of French Medieval history. I love her writings. It's adult reading.

Lavender and wine making and perfumes are some interesting areas to study.... I love those pictures of the lavender fields in Frances (not sure what region). I planted 4 varieties of lavender this month in my garden to compare. French Lavender was one kind....

Pick up Jacques Pepin and/or Julia Child's cookbooks for French cooking.

I'll stop now. I'm not even going to be a part of this and I'm all excited about all things French.

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Mary G
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Posted: May 24 2006 at 1:41pm | IP Logged Quote Mary G

Christine wrote:
I have heard good things about a schoolmate's book Catholic Shrines of Western Europe: A Pilgrim's Travel Guide. Kevin told me that he actually visited each of the shrines mentioned in his book.


This is an awesome book! We used it for our Pilgrimage in 2000 and than again when were in Europe for 2001-2003. It's got great saint places in the French section. Don't forget (Jenn why didn't you pipe in with this one ) Our Lady of LaSallete near Grenoble. The race goes right near there mid-July.

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Posted: May 24 2006 at 6:59pm | IP Logged Quote Helen

French cuisine might be too difficult for me. Cheese sounds very reasonable. I would be really excited if I served cheese and crackers at tea time and I knew what region of France produced the cheese.

Cheese Map

Wine Regions



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Posted: May 24 2006 at 8:14pm | IP Logged Quote Kelly

Musketeers! You can't visit France without a nod to our favorite swashbuckling knights of derring-do, the Three Musketeers. If your kids haven't read the Dumas book, then they should, followed by "The Man in the Iron Mask". My kids love, love, love these books. With that, a virtual visit to Versailles is required, as well as developing an acquaintance with Louis XIV, the Sun King. "Story of the World 3" (a book that drives me nuts with some of its subtle and not-too-subtle anti-Catholic bias, BUT has some redeeming qualities as well...)has a good kid-friendly chapter on Louis XIV. Along with Musketeers and Louis, goes a rabbit trail on fencing---if you like fencing movies, the older version of the Three Musketeers (with Oliver Reed and Michael York, I believe) is acceptable, as well as a newish movie called "The Musketeer". Good fun.

On a different tangent, the cathedrals of Notre Dame, Chartre, Sacre Coeur, Saint Germaine and Saint Denis are all meritorious. The cemetary of Pere Lachaise outside Paris is very interesting, lots of famous people buried there.

Don't know the ages of your children, but some more good books for a range of ages are:

younger set:
"This is Paris" by Sasek
"Pancakes, Paris" by Claire Hutchet Bishop, I think, aftermath of WWII/children
"The Orphelines" series by Natalie Savage Carlson, very sweet
"Twenty and Ten" children during WWII, nuns hiding Jewish children

older kids:
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The Count of Monte Cristo
Les Miserables

Films:
"Les Miserables" (musical)
"Phantom of the Opera" (my teens LOVE this new movie with Gerard Butler)
"Monkies Go Home!" (old Disney, chimps picking olives, very funny)
"Mon Oncle" I think it's subtitled, but it's not heavy on conversation in any event, and is very funny

There is SO much to have fun with in France!

Kelly in FL

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Posted: May 24 2006 at 8:16pm | IP Logged Quote Kelly

Oops, did I actually write "MonKIES"???? Brain Fry Mode! That's "MonKEYS Go Home" Yikes. And "Chartres Cathedral", with an "s"

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Posted: May 24 2006 at 8:28pm | IP Logged Quote guitarnan

We visited Mont Saint Michel (a church on a tidal island off the Bretagne/Normandie coast) and it was so amazing.

My ancestry is Alsatian (the famous wine region of Alsace, on the border of Germany and Switzerland) and I've visited there several times. Alsace is still a strongly Catholic area. The cathedral in Strasbourg is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, unique in that it has only one tower instead of the typical two symmetrical towers. It also has a very famous clock inside the cathedral.

Alsace was also famous in the 1800's for its woven fabrics. My ancestor was just one of many weavers who worked at home in small villages to feed the Mulhouse fabric industry. It's a very Catholic area, even today.

Alsatian is an official dialect, as well. It sounds like a cross between French and German. (Don't forget...in Europe, the dogs we call "German Shepherds" are called "Alsatians"!)

I'll try to find some info for you...

Oh, I forgot. We had a lovely exchange student from Angers stay with us ten years ago...my dd was a flower girl at her wedding. If you want info about French weddings, let me know. Angers was one of the chateaux of the Loire river...it's very old, so not very pretty, but has the typical four round towers at the corners with moat and walls that you would expect from the 11th century. The castle is home to some famous tapestries depicting the Apocalypse. You might want to check out some of the other Loire valley rivers.

I'll try to find some links.



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Posted: May 25 2006 at 5:20am | IP Logged Quote Mary G

guitarnan wrote:

My ancestry is Alsatian (the famous wine region of Alsace, on the border of Germany and Switzerland) and I've visited there several times. Alsace is still a strongly Catholic area. The cathedral in Strasbourg is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, unique in that it has only one tower instead of the typical two symmetrical towers. It also has a very famous clock inside the cathedral.

Alsace was also famous in the 1800's for its woven fabrics. My ancestor was just one of many weavers who worked at home in small villages to feed the Mulhouse fabric industry. It's a very Catholic area, even today.

Alsatian is an official dialect, as well. It sounds like a cross between French and German. (Don't forget...in Europe, the dogs we call "German Shepherds" are called "Alsatians"!)


This is so cool -- my dh and I were just talking about this area last night. We have a good friend who teaches with dh whose Dad is from the Alsace region also -- their name sounds very German but in fact is Alsatian. Thierry (the dad) sounds French -- so there is definitely a cross-over!


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Posted: May 25 2006 at 7:59am | IP Logged Quote Kelly

And I was just talking with a German friend of mine who mentioned that his little sister is living in France, but, he added, "it's the RIGHT part of France", in Strasbourg!

Depending on how far afield you want to go on a rabbit trail, you could look at famous Alsatians. Albert Schweizer, the missionary doctor, was from there, I believe.

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JennGM
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Posted: May 25 2006 at 3:05pm | IP Logged Quote JennGM

Mary G wrote:
[QUOTE=Christine] I have heard good things about a Don't forget (Jenn why didn't you pipe in with this one ) Our Lady of LaSallete near Grenoble. The race goes right near there mid-July.


Me? Mary, you're the one that actually visited there!

Mary had a wonderful post on La Salette. I had two posts (first is extremely lengthy, my apologies), but not as informational: La Salette and Sundays and More on La Salette.

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Posted: June 03 2006 at 10:55pm | IP Logged Quote Helen

Is there a book ... like
Heidi in France?

I haven't really found a book to set the French theme. I loved Mark Twain's Joan of Arc. (Lissa had a blog entry about MT Joan of Arc, on the day I came home with it from the library!) I thought I could read at least a few of the first chapters dealing with her childhood in France...but I've experienced serious "drift away"

A title at the library interested me:
Monet's Table.
Apparently, the painter Monet loved to cook. He kept recipes. The book has pictures of his house in Giverny, his notes, and adapted recipes. I was hoping to "hear" more of Monet himself. But, the pictures are nice to look out.

(I'm thinking of highlighting Monet for the month of July.)

I found out from watching Rick Steve's DVD from the library that Normandy is well known for the 4C's
Camembert
Cider
Cream
Calvados (sp?) (apples?)

Sounds like a great teatime/snack apples, camembert and cider. (Isn't Lisieux in Normandy?)

A simple cookbook from the library:
A Taste of France

Ratatouille (Provence)
Cassoulet (Basque)
quiche lorraine

My favorite cookbook from the library:
Regional French from Le Cordon Bleu
This book has organized the meals, with a picture, according to the region (hence the title )

Strasbourg has been more challenging to find information. Tonight I read from the Blue Guide. Now, I have a few leads.



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Posted: June 03 2006 at 11:06pm | IP Logged Quote ladybugs

The Giraffe that Walked to Paris....the giraffe is stuffed and on a display in Western France...

I see Helen mentioned Monet...but we also have Renoir, Degas, Cassatt...and the list goes on...

Jean Lafitte

I remember reading in the Usborne book - True Stories of Pirates that St. Vincent DePaul had been kidnapped by Turkish pirates on a return trip from Marseilles...

Of course, that's the part of France that my family comes from...

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Posted: June 03 2006 at 11:12pm | IP Logged Quote ladybugs

Mary G wrote:
Thierry


Even though way back in my family tree, French was spoken...I can count to 10 and say, "rouge."

How do you say his name!? This has been bugging me for days since I saw this on something recently.

Thank you,

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Posted: June 08 2006 at 11:08am | IP Logged Quote JennGM

Oh, I'm so enjoying all these ideas. I wish I had some older children to work this all in.

The food themes are so dominant and I came across an essay that I thought answered why. I shared it in my post today (didn't want to post a long essay here).

I highly recommend The Children's Kitchen Garden. It seems to be out of print, but my library had a copy. Reading this and Medieval English Gardens I'm trying to figure out a way I can implement a year-round potager. But then I have to remind myself to think small...baby steps!

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Posted: June 12 2006 at 8:50am | IP Logged Quote momwise

ladybugs wrote:
Even though way back in my family tree, French was spoken...I can count to 10 and say, "rouge."


Sorry Maria, I neither know how to count to 10 or say Thierry (but I think I can say rouge).

Archbishop Chaput has written a column about the wonderful missionary character of Clermont, which although is not on the route, it is only a few miles north of stop #19--Issoire. Bishop Machebeuf and Bishop Lamy (both fictionalized in Death Comes for the Archbishop) came from there and were the founding bishops of the Denver and Santa Fe dioceses, respectively.

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Posted: June 12 2006 at 9:53am | IP Logged Quote Christine

Thierry would be pronounced something like this, tee-yeh-REE.
Counting to ten in French: un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six, sept, huit, neuf, dix.

Sorry, I haven't had a chance to list French saint books that we enjoy.

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Posted: June 12 2006 at 4:08pm | IP Logged Quote Dawn

These ideas are all so wonderful! I just printed this thread out to pore over tonight with my hi-lighter. So far I haven't found too much about the region I'm hosting (stage 8: St. Meen Le-Grand to Lorient) though it is on the ocean so I might start there. Apparently the bay was used to park submarines during WW2.

I'll have cherry blossoms and kanji in my head till Wednesday and then we're moving on to France from Japan!

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Posted: June 12 2006 at 4:41pm | IP Logged Quote guitarnan

OK...time to share my favorite French recipe!

The story behind the recipe is that we ate at a tiny restaurant near Omaha Beach (of D-Day fame) one night in Normandie. We were the only people in the restaurant and they treated our children like royalty. It was wonderful! They brought out little ice cream desserts at the end (free!), all decorated with little plastic palm trees. We still have one somewhere. I ate the most fantastic salad for dinner, and have re-created it at home. I've never seen the recipe in a cookbook or online, and I searched for months.

Salade Normande for One Person

Butter/Boston lettuce, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
1 potato, boiled and cooled, with skin removed (or you could use a couple of small potatoes), cut up
2-3 oz. Camembert cheese, rinds trimmed, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/4 c. (approx.) light cream
1/4 c. (approx.) simple vinaigrette dressing - just oil, a light vinegar, salt and pepper whisked together - I like white wine tarragon vinegar. Don't use balsamic or anything like that!

Place lettuce on plate. Top with potato and cheese. Drizzle with dressing first, then with cream, to taste. Add salt and pepper if desired. Enjoy!

This sounds like a very bizarre combination, but it really tastes good on a summer evening!

Bon appétit!
Nancy

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Posted: June 12 2006 at 6:18pm | IP Logged Quote Dawn

guitarnan wrote:
This sounds like a very bizarre combination, but it really tastes good on a summer evening!

Bon appétit!
Nancy


Nancy, I don't think it sounds bizarre at all but quite delicious!!! Perfect summer fare.

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