Born in Canada, raised in France and married in the United States, Ariane is a tricultural mother. Raising her five years old daughter Mia, two years old Auguste and about to give birth to yet another little boy in Montreal, she gives strong importance to French traditions and values in her children's education.
Very interested in her standpoint, we asked her to tell us more on the special place given to France within her family.
What does France represent for you? Is it linked to specific souvenirs?
I moved to France at the age of five. What a big change for a little girl from Montreal! I was immediately spellbound by the beauty of Paris, its architecture, its window displays and of course its pastries! I remember standing in awe and admiring the Eiffel Tower for the first time, it was such a magical sight. And it was sweet to see my daughter do just the same during our last trip!
All in all I have lived in France for seventeen years which is rather exceptional for a Canadian and I am very grateful for all it has taught me. It was quite a challenge but it is in this country that I met my dearest friends as well as the man who is now my husband. It has truly become my second homeland.
How do you share your love of France to your children whilst living in Canada?
As my husband is French and I was myself raised in France, it comes to us quite naturally. In our daily lives, France is always nearby. We read French classic stories to our children, we show them pictures and often speak about souvenirs there. Our first son is called Auguste which is a very popular French name and our child to be will also have a name with a deep French history.
Having grown up surrounded by the beautiful castles of the Loire, home to the royal families and court, I am indeed mad about French history and have passed on this passion to my daughter! Believe it or not but at the age of five, she already knows the lives of Louis XIV, Marie-Antoinette, Diane de Poitiers and many other famous French characters off by heart. We love reading books on the subject together and dreaming about these astounding castles filled with secrets. Other countries have incredible palaces too but none quite equal to France’s heritage!
We also have the luck of frequently travelling to France and Mia is old enough to compare both cultures. She is very proud of her double nationality and loves to say to all who will hear it “I am French and Canadian”. Having the same language helps too.
What do you and your family like best about the French way of life?
The children, my husband and I, love the French holiday slow life. We say “la vie douce”! Let me explain.
Every time we come back, what we appreciate the most is taking long carefree moments with our loved ones and losing track of time. This is particularly true during meals. We gather around a well-laid table with delicious homemade dishes for lunch and often stay seated until the middle of the afternoon.
This is something very French which I have never seen elsewhere. French families have the longest meals ever, letting it drag on much longer than in other countries yet it is so nice to just laugh and chat for hours on end.
We also delight in another French evening ritual, the “apéritif", which consists in drinks and fancy nibbles eaten before supper.
These are part and parcel of the French culture and we all enjoy taking these habits back each time we visit France.
And one last thing we absolutely relish is French pastries : éclairs, flans, religieuses and of course MACARONS!
You dress your children with a French touch, what guides your choices?
French fashion undeniably influences my choices. I am a lover of timeless classic pieces for children : sober cuts, sweet Peter Pan collars and the such. In French we say BCBG. The literal translation would be “good chic, good style” and basically refers to an elegant upper-class traditional look!
Yet I like to mix with North-American brands and create my own bi-cultural style for my kids! Of course, my priority is for them to feel comfortable and at ease but I have so much fun in creating their sweet timeless looks each morning! I also believe that they will stand the test of time better than the latest fashion trends. I hope that when they look back at childhood pictures, they will be proud and will not blush like I do about my awful 80s kids clothes...
What makes French mothers stand out from your point of view?
I am impressed by their ability to cope and undertake so much at the same time. I know several who have both a demanding career, a large family and home to care for and who take back studies on top of it all! In spite of hectic rhythms and very long days, they seem to juggle from one board to another perfectly! To me French mothers are very modern.
Which Instagram accounts illustrates French motherhood at its best would you say?
A great example of French family life is @familleboheme. Claire, Parisian mother of two, strives to consume French products and to support local brands. She has great DIY educational ideas for her children which I often take inspiration from.