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Meet French mom Marie Berte living in Paris

Monday, 12 July 2010 by Irene Hoofs

We are living in Paris (14e). We are typically Parisians. Living here since 2 generations. We have two children : Hercule (2,5 years old : « deuzanmi moi » like he says) and Colette (9 months). I’m a free lance stylist and I have set up the brand marieBerte  since 2005. marieBerte is a bags and accessories brand, and since few months accessories for children (cushions, doudous…). For the little story this new part of my work started when I manufactured a lovely heart (little cushion) for my daughter, it became immediately « Colette’s doudou », I was really touched because she have so many doudous and stuffed animals, and she choose the little heart. marieBerte is diffused in multi-brands shops in France, Europe, Japan.


What kind of house do you live in, are you and the kids happy here or is there anything you all terribly miss …?

We are living in an old flat, fifth floor without elevator (grrrrr). I fall in love with this place (even if it was really dirt, when we visit it) because it was really shiny and because of the big dressing room. (a girl’s dream). Nothing in this apartment is straight, it’s funny.  May be one day we would have a garden… Anyway, in our area there are a lot of beautiful public gardens.


Do you like to spend time on decorating your home and the children’s room?

Yes, my husband is a fine handyman. We have the chance of choosing everything for our home because there was everything to do : paintings, floors…(we are living here since February so we still have many things to do).

Where do you look for interior inspiration, favorite magazines, websites, blogs?
For magazines : AD, Milk. We really love design, so everywhere : in friends house, in websites, in blogs, (yes : Bloesem is really a beautiful blog for ideas, design, decoration…) we antique a lot (bric a brac trade, flea market). Vintage design.


What are your children’s favorite items in your house?

I think the favorite items of my son are his father’s tools, and everything that he can transformed to become a motorcycle, and for my daughter her little cushion heart and balloons.


What places in your new neighborhood do you like to go to for shopping?

We are living very closed from the Vanves flea market. It can be a great walk during the week-end. We are also living near a street with a lot of stock shops of famous brands (Cacharel, Sonia Rykiel…)


What's it like to raise a child in your town?

We have the chance to share a studio at ten minutes from home, with my husband and two other artists. And the children’s nurse work just the flat above our studio. Then we don’t loose time in subway like other Parisians, so we have much time for our family, it’s very important for us.

As I said, we have the chance to live nearby several gardens. It is very pleasant in summer and every children needs to run. In winter it is more difficult because the night come very early.
In Paris it’s very difficult for a woman to work and be at home for the family. There are very few nurses, and state or private day nursery. So we are very lucky to work near home and have a nurse. I am at home at 6:30 which is very early for Paris, and my husband try to do it as much as he can. (he is film director).


What is your idea of a perfect day with your children?

To go away for the week-end : my mother have a little countryside house, at 70 kms from Paris.

And if we are in Paris, going to the museum with kids (Centre Georges Pompidou, Galerie de l’évolution du jardin des plantes, cité des sciences…)

Can you tell us a funny story, quote or remark one of your children recently made or happened?


Are their any books you can recommend for parents and how to raise your children?

Two books which present the baby, and the child like a machine, very funny! Mode d'emploi de mon bébé by Louis Borgenicht and Joé Borgeniche and the other one by the smae authors; Mode d'emploi de mon enfant.


What kind of DIY projects do you like to do with your children?

- I think my son is very happy when we are builting huts (yes sure at home !) with everything : cushions, cardboard, blanket…
- « gomettes » i don’t know the name in English. And if possible my son prefer to stick them everywhere except on a paper… he is young but he started to draw and paint a little.
- to plant seeds on our balcony (French beans, radish, carots)

Any tips for keeping the house clean when crafting?
DEFINITELY NO TIPS ! after a week-end at home, it looks like after a storm.


Are you a crafter or DIY person?

Yes. My husband and me have met in ECOLE DES ARTS DECORATIFS DE PARIS (the state school of design in Paris), I sew, I draw, I paint, but my husband is very better than me ! I prefer inventing stories and songs.
- something I have manufactured and that I really love for the children’s room : two little “mobile” in wood, metallic wire and cotton canvas : H (with an heart), C (with an heart), for Hercule and Colette. (see photos);


Books, websites, local shops you can recommend to get tips and ideas for kids crafting?

Le 104 in Pantin and La galerie des enfants in Beaubourg Museum


How do you like to celebrate birthdays and other special days in your house?

For now there are too young.


What are favorite games in your home?

For my son, playing with his little vintage house (little people) from Fisher Price.


Are there musical instruments in your house?

Yes : maracas, one tambourrine, whistles, and a sort of… making so much ugly noise like storm or thunder (from Indonesia : a good friend offer it to my son, grrrrrr)


What are all time favorite books for the children?

The books from the French edition : l’école des loisirs

What movies do your children like to watch, is there one from your childhood you would love to show them too?


We don’t have TV so our son watch DVDs : old classical Walt Disney films (le livre de la jungle is the preferred), but barbapapa is really loved…

Are you a ‘cook’ or ‘food’ lover or both?

Cook (a little) and « food » lover ! so both. (thank you to my grand mother. My husband is cooking very often, I prefer cooking desserts.


What kind of place do you like to go to on vacation with and or without the children?

Every years we are going on a French island in Brittany with no cars… provide us a pleasant change of scenery, as much as traveling very far…

Do you keep some sort of travel journal with the children?

Not for now because there are too young, but we have done it a lot before.


How do you prepare for a trip, any useful tips?

« Two bags not more » (for 4 persons) ! everywhere you are going all over the world you would find some places to wash… One of the best travel memory is the smell of our clean clothes drying in front of our room in a guest house in the north of Thailand…


What place do your children love to go to?

Tips for traveling with a plane or a long-time trip on the road with children?


Have you any advises because we are going to make a long travel by car this summer, and Hercule hate long travels!

(we have a fake plastic wheel which can be attached to the children auto-seat, so Hercule can drive the car…, after ten minutes this game is often over!)

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