Obsessed With French Parenting? You Might Dig This Book

Written by Katie Hintz-Zambrano
6:00 pm

Illustrations Courtesy of Say Bonjour to the Lady

According to the mega-success of Bringing Up Bébé and other books like it, the topic of French parenting is of great interest to those in the U.S. Which is why the new book Say Bonjour to the Lady: Parenting From Paris to New York initially caught our eye.

A solid baby shower gift for any Francophile, the illustrated book is filled with spreads that showcase the French response and the American response to over 60 different parenting scenarios, from discipline and kid style to meals, schooling, and more.

Some might say authors Florence Mars (president of French children’s line Bonpoint) and Pauline Lévêque (journalist, illustrator, and Beep Beep book series author) are overly simplistic when it comes to painting two different parenting styles with a broad-stroke brush. Overall, Americans come off as super-involved helicopter parents who could care less about what their kids wear or eat, meanwhile French moms are illustrated as cold, strict, and no-nonsense.

But even if the reality of French and American parenting isn’t as black as white as it appears in Say Bonjour to the Lady, there are still little tidbits about both cultures to be absorbed and perhaps borrowed from—for example, the simplicity of birthday parties in France vs. the U.S., stricter dinnertime rules, and the French focus on self-reliance in children. At the same time, there are a long list of American customs that the French could learn from, as well—the valuing of a child’s opinion, freedom in dress, and parental participation.

Below, a few illustrations from the book. If you like what you see, you can view the rest by scooping up the work here.

Click any image to enter the slideshow

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I’m french and was raised in france, and I can totally relate to the “if you’re bored, use you imagination” thing… even as an only child. But it’s pretty cool, I guess, it’s a way to learn that you don’t need anyone else to have fun.
The part about what childrens wear is pretty much a lie to me. Well, if you grow up in the Beaux Quartiers (where all the rich people live, haha) you sure will find kids dressed by their parents and following strictly these rules, but basically for the rest of the population it’s bullshit. Kids wear kids stuffs, bright colors, disney leggings, blablabla. We’re not in the 1950s anymore… French are so ‘snob’ sometimes, ahah.

well anyways this is an interesting topic. I totally agree with you when you say that we, french, have a lot to learn from you americans.
I don’t have kids yet but will make sure to read plenty amount of parenting book so that I can choose what would work the best for my family :)
I live in the island of corsica, in the mediterranean sea, and I can tell you that we couldn’t be more far from all this parisian lifestyle. So yeah, France doesn’t really sums up to Paris and the bourgeois ;)

love !



Sorry to be nit-picky, but it’s “couldn’t care less”. If you could care less, then you do kinda care. I hear and see this way to often.