I love reading. I love everything about it. The smell of the book. The heft of the novel in my hand. Curling up on the couch all day with my book, magazine, travel guide, novel, whatever has words printed on it.
Oh wait, I never actually get to do that. Somehow real life conspires to prevent that particular event from happing. But I’d like to do that. I’d really like to.
Trip planning, though, does allow me a bit of a (somewhat) valid excuse to sit around and read. After all, when we are spending a lot of time and money on a trip, we had better be prepared.
When we made the decision to take the girls to France this summer I immediately put together a reading list of books that we would read together prior to our travels. The list is an eclectic and diverse collection of story books, short chapter books and novels that has helped to paint the picture of both historical and modern day Paris.
I’ll share it below with commentary in the hopes that you might find it helpful, too.
The Madeline series by Ludwig Bemelmans is a classic and a must read, even for older children. We enjoyed the stories and picking out the Paris monuments depicted in the illustrations.
Eloise in Paris by Kay Thompson is an entertaining, laugh out loud journey through Paris with the inimitable Eloise. A must read!
Anatole by Eve Titus tells the story of an entertaining mouse on the loose in Paris.
Adele and Simon by Barbara McClintock is a lovely simple storybook that takes readers on a child’s eye view tour of the streets of Paris.
Kiki and Coco in Paris by Nina Gruener tells the story of a girl and her doll in Paris.
Short Chapter Books:
Les Miserables by Hugo and Monica Kulling is a children’s version of the classic story. It depicts historical Paris and France but some of the topics (death, illness, orphans) were a bit much for my children, aged 8 and 10.
Hunchback of Notre Dame again depicts historical Paris and is an enjoyable read for mid elementary aged children.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick is set inside the iconic Gare du Nord train station and includes beautiful drawings that are every bit as compelling as the story that is told.
Paris City Trails from Lonely Plant Kids describes 19 kid friendly trails through Paris with loads of fun facts about sights along the way. Because this book has fun tips and pictures, my plan is to read this ahead of time with the girls but not bring it on the trip. We will incorporate most of the sights into our itinerary in one way or another.
Paris With Kids from Fodor’s describes 68 diverse experiences that will appeal to kids of all ages. I read it from cover to cover, made notes of and researched the activities that looked appealing and then incorporated them into our plans. Some of the listings I hadn’t seen anywhere else and am excited to try. What I anticipate will be a very useful part of the book is the little side bar, Eats for Kids, on each page. This lists a handful of cafes, brasseries, crepe stands, etc. near each attraction that are kid friendly. Notes of these have gone in my Bullet Journal (more about that later).
Mission Paris: A Scavenger Hunt Adventure by Catherine Aragon is a thin, lightweight book outlining a city wide scavenger hunt. My children love scavenger hunts and I’m hoping this book will help them stay engaged during what might otherwise be boring museums and gardens. Because it is so lightweight, I feel like I can bring it along without creating excessive weight in the luggage.
As usual, there are too many books to be read and too little time. There are a number of books I intended to read before our travels but….we were thwarted by time. Included in the to be read list:
Paris in the Spring with Picasso
The Lacemaker and the Princess
The Little Prince
Onward….to more good books!