We travelled with my husband's mum, who, delighted to be returning to her homeland with her little entourage of wide-eyed Kiwi family, took us on a whirlwind trip to all her very favourite places.
One of those places was Giverny, the little town in Normandy that was once home to Monet.
In preparation for our trip, I purchased two children's books for the girls, about a little American girl Charlotte who goes to live in Giverny with her parents at the time when Monet and his many disciples are painting 'en pleine aire'.
The first book, Charlotte in Giverny, brings Giverny to life, and gives context to many of the famous paintings of that era. My girls loved Charlotte, and spent many hours poring over the books, with their delightful illustrations and collaged pages. The trip to Giverny was made all the richer by having a story, and a character, to link it to.
In the second book, Charlotte in Paris, Charlotte's visit to Paris to see an impressionist exhibition is tied in with her adventures in some of the city's most celebrated spots. The book has colour reproductions of many famous impressionist paintings, as well as biographical information about the artists. Our trip to Musee d'Orsay could have been quite painful, to be honest, if it wasn't for the fact that the girls recognised some of the paintings from Charlotte's 'scrapbook'.
I've just noticed that there are other books in the Charlotte series (it looks like she holidays in London and NY too!), and I thoroughly recommend them to anyone who is planning a trip to one of these cities with children....or for that matter, anyone who wants a lovely book for their children full of historical information and culture, with a sweet storyline to boot!
x Library Girl