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Child friendly areas of Paris

(56 Posts)
Turtlepower Mon 18-Oct-10 13:09:52

Help please!! I'm desperate for advice on where to live in Paris (and how to find an apartment!)

DH is finalising a secondment to Paris and we expect to move in December but I haven't been in years and we will only be able to make one or two trips before we move.

I'm American, DH is British and we've got a 4yr old and 18 month old. Ideally looking for somewhere with a lot of families and good schools - not too bothered about being in expat areas as I don't think we can afford the private schools, but wouldn't mind it as my french is pretty bad (10 years since I lived in a francophone country).

MaeMobley Thu 21-Oct-10 11:12:15

I am tempted to push her your way Bonsoir.

I am not however in a strong position re bilingualism as I stopped speaking French to DC1 when he was 6 months old and have refused to consider the French Lycee here in London.

Bonsoir Thu 21-Oct-10 11:13:55

It is not the end of the world if your DN goes to the local maternelle for Petite Section, because PS at EaB is half-days only and won't make all the difference.

The really crucial thing is that your DN goes to a bilingual school from CP onwards.

MaeMobley Thu 21-Oct-10 11:14:00

That was garbled. Meant I am not in a position to influence my sister as I have been rubbish at bringing up my DC bilingually.

OP, sorry for going off at a tangent on your thread.

MaeMobley Thu 21-Oct-10 11:15:00

Bonsoir, I will speak to dear sister and may PM you and Teafortwo.

Bonsoir Thu 21-Oct-10 11:16:12

Your sister will probably work it out for herself!

TBH, lots of children from Franco-Anglo families have joined EaB at CP after having done maternelle in their local French school. Parents have had time to wake up to the reality of seeing their DCs not speak one of their two home languages!

Bonsoir Thu 21-Oct-10 11:17:06

No problem - the more bilingual families at EaB the merrier better the level of English will be, so please get your sister in touch if you think it would help!

MaeMobley Thu 21-Oct-10 11:18:19

I see it already in my niece. She is much more comfortable with French.

Bonsoir Thu 21-Oct-10 11:20:13

My DD is still quite a lot more comfortable with English. Despite living in a Francophone family (only she and I speak English together).

teafortwo Thu 21-Oct-10 17:27:22

MaeMobley - your dn and dsis will love EaB! smile

Turtlepower Thu 21-Oct-10 19:43:39

I'm still catching up on acronyms...what's EaB at CP?

We're in East London so used to a very mixed environment, a lot of parks but very 'up and coming' (not many nice shops or restaurants nearby). As for priorities - schools, playgrounds and local parks/green space are top of our list.

Although I know there are more variables than just the school, I'd love to know if it there is any difference in adjustment time for children in the local maternelle versus bilingual schools.

Have many of you relied on the expat community? When I moved here I didn't contact any expat groups but not knowing much French has me thinking it might be very useful.

natation Thu 21-Oct-10 20:23:58

EaB is Ecole Active Bilingue, there are in fact 2 groups of schools called Ecole Active Bilingue :

CP is the name of the first of 5 school year in primaire, for children 6 years old in the calendar year of the September start. It stands for Cours Préparatoire. Here is a table showing the names of all the school years, from 3 to 18 years.

PS Petite Section
MS Moyenne Setion
GS Grande Section

Primaire / Elémentaire
CP Cours Préparatoire
CE1 Cours Elémentaire 1
CE2 Cours Elémentaire 2
CM1 Cours Moyen 1
CM2 Cours Moyen 2

frakkinstein Fri 22-Oct-10 04:14:51

Be aware EABJM doesn't have a petite section and not much green space either! IMO it's very academic from the word 'go' but an excellent school which produces very good results at 18.

The two schools have differences in the way the structure things but in maternelle that's not a massive issue. If you are staying them it's worth taking into account.

The expat community can be very helpful. Google message Paris for the English speaking parents group which produces a book with lots of useful information. Then you can find groups at WHSmiths or the American library, there are websites like Angloinfo as well.

If you 'go' fir a bilingual school you have a good mix of expats, long term anglophones settled in Paris, mixed nationality families and internationally minded French families

Bonsoir Fri 22-Oct-10 13:34:52

My DD is at EaB and I learned at the AGM of the Parents Association that there are currently 906 children in the combined maternelle and primaire at Parc Monceau, of which 75% have a nationality other than French (that figure includes French dual nationals).

EaB is very (increasingly) keen on streaming its pupils. I am very satisfied with the education my DD is receiving in CP this year - she seems to be moving ahead fast in both languages (she is a true bilingual) and has fabulous teachers - energetic, knowledgeable, kind, glamorous. What's not to like?

frakkinstein Sat 23-Oct-10 11:44:34

Bonsoir - did you find EAB pushy in maternelle? I think that would be my one criticism of EABJM, beyond the green space which I could compensate for out of school. When I helped out in the younger years reading stories etc they seemed extremely focused.

Bonsoir Sat 23-Oct-10 12:47:27

No, I didn't find it pushy at all. Having said that, about 1/3 of the DC (mostly MT French) learned to read in Grande Section. That may reflect the socio-economic background of the children as much as the teaching, however.

EaB has a strong streaming policy, so that DC can proceed at their own pace. It is not a school for strugglers (who get asked to leave), nor for the exceptionally gifted (who are well-served by the Cours Hattemer down the road!).

teafortwo Fri 29-Oct-10 21:51:13

My dd is in Maternelle and 'pushy' is not a word I would use to describe our experiences at all!!!

Ontop of that being in a Paris park makes 'the school run' a complete delight for dd and I. We usually spend at least one hour enjoying different areas of the park with friends after school.

rosietoes Mon 01-Nov-10 21:43:38

Turtlepower, I just did what you are planning to do! And the Mumsnet mafia have been invaluable!! (um, and yes, we are now in 17th with DD at EaB) grin

Where are you in London now? We moved from E11

rosietoes Mon 01-Nov-10 21:52:34

Also lived 5 months in 16th, rue de la Faisanderie, which had a handful of nice shops, boucher, boulangerie, but's in new Houellebecq with reference to those who 'fart money' (can't quite remember exact phrase now) but it was appropriate & funny! I giggled anyway

Turtlepower Tue 02-Nov-10 09:18:12

Rosietoes - we're in E9. How old is your DD?

I've heard a couple of times that the 17e is nice but none of the websites seem to have any apartments in that area.

We're going to Paris in two weeks so I think we'll focus on the 15, 16, and 17 arrondisements as well as Boulogne and Issy. I doubt we'll have time to look at all 5 areas, but it feels nice to have it at least narrowed down.

Bonsoir - what is streaming?

I am a little concerned that there won't be any space for DD if we arrive in January. Do public schools have to find space for new children or are they referred to less 'oversubscribed' schools? Do the private schools have a problem with oversubscription as well?

DD is quite bright but I know she'll be behind because of the language and may get frustrated. We're listening to a French CD at the moment and have enrolled her in a weekly french class for the next few weeks, but I don't know if any of it will really prepare her!

rosietoes Tue 02-Nov-10 21:30:07

DD is 4.5, we were on wait list for EaB, but had a spot at another local maternelle Petit Cour du Rocher which is nice.
There is a French website, (which I can't connect as I'm on my phone tapping this. Computer is broken) that tells you where you live and the local school you are sent to. I'm not sure they are oversubscribed here in 17th, but haven't researched it.

DoubleDegreeStudent Sat 13-Nov-10 12:02:15

I'm in the 13th, right up by the border of the 5th. There are local parks all around Paris, so it is worth going on google maps and doing street view to see how easy it would be to get to if you end up sorting an apartment online. The one by me has a great playground for children (no dogs allowed) as well as benches and grass for sitting on.
I have friends in the 16th, by the river. It's an amazing apartment and you do feel like you are in "proper" Paris but I'm not too keen on the atmosphere. It might just be that I am too young for it though...

milaF Tue 14-Jun-11 13:30:16

Hello All,
We just moved to the 14th. Any mumsnet moms around? We'd love to make friends. Our daughter is 4,5 y.o. I didn't put her in school yet, still looking...and she keeps asking smile

BriocheDoree Wed 15-Jun-11 19:18:29

Hi Mila,
I'm just replying 'cause I saw you posted on Message as well and you're probably getting rather frustrated that no-one is replying to you. Trouble is, you've picked the busiest time of the year to land in Paris: it's a couple of weeks to the end of term, everyone is busy with school fete, end of term shows, you name it. Not to mention trying to fit in birthday parties as well, in my case, as my kids have their birthdays in the summer holidays. To make it worse, France will shut down completely over August.
Anyway, I'm not in the 14th. I used to work there but I live out in W. suburbs. Have you tried looking out some summer activities for your daughter. There are some that run in English (lots of the international schools run summer camps, for example, or roaming schoolhouse or similar). I could also send you details of some activities in English, if that would help? It must be frustrating for your daughter: she will have to wait until September for things to really get going!
Anyway, welcome to Paris. It's lovely, really, just not so great in the summer always smile

BriocheDoree Wed 15-Jun-11 19:19:30

Sorry, really bad grammar in that last post grin

teafortwo Wed 15-Jun-11 21:06:47

MilaF - We are all feeling fed up and stressed! I'll PM a few people I know who have children your dd's age.

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