Cheating: what do you risk?


Following last year’s fiasco when a bac question was leaked onto the internet, French authorities are beefing up anti-cheating measures this year.
New exam disciplinary procedures come into force this month along with a new Academic Discipline Commission to oversee them.

Dr Ruth: revision stress


My daughter has always been studious, worked hard and done well at school. She is due to sit her bac this month and has suddenly become really stressed about it. She locks herself away in her room, studying late every night and is bad tempered with everyone. She’s never been like this before and I don’t know how to help. 

the Pregnancy Diaries (3)



Tall oaks from little acorns grow.”   Jean de la Fontaine

The other day, a girlfriend I know in Paris told me that she’s expecting her third child. This surprises me. We knew each other at film school in Los Angeles and she was not the type of woman you’d imagine with a child, let alone three (she was so single-mindedly ambitious and talented). 
Then, oddly enough, another girlfriend here in Chamonix told me over coffee the other day that she had “finally” convinced her husband to have a third child. 
I mentioned these bits of news to my husband at breakfast and to my surprise, he suggested we try for three, also! READ MORE

Victoria Jensen-Jelinek: the Pregnancy Diaries (3)






“Tall oaks from little acorns grow.”   Jean de la Fontaine

The other day, a girlfriend in Paris told me that she’s expecting her third child. This surprises me. We knew each other at film school in Los Angeles and she was not the type of woman you’d imagine with a child, let alone three (she was so single-mindedly ambitious and talented).
Then, oddly enough, another girlfriend here in Chamonix told me over coffee the other day that she had “finally” convinced her husband to have a third child.
I mentioned these bits of news to my husband at breakfast and to my surprise, he suggested we try for three, also!

Cannabis in your school?


Cannabis is not only common in lycées but in collège as well - ask your kids and they will probably know of somebody who is dealing in their school, even if they have no intention of trying it themselves.

Smoking cannabis is on the rise among schoolchildren in France with 38% of 15-16 year olds admitting having tried it and a hefty 47% of seventeen year olds, according to the latest government figures (2011).

Bilingualism keeps dementia at bay

While most children can learn more than one language easily, it’s never too late to become bilingual. Studies have shown that even learning and constantly using a second language in later life can have its benefits.

Summer volunteering


Paid work is great, of course, but what about spending the summer holidays helping to dredge and river or renovate a historic building, for example? There are numerous rewards from volunteering – helping others, making new friends and boosting your cv, for example.

Victoria Jelinek-Jensen: the Pregnancy Diaries (2)




“Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet.” Colette



My doctor doesn’t think that anything I’ve done to date will harm this baby – not even smoking. However, he is concerned about the fact that I’ve acquired a kitten. Apparently toxoplasmosis is common in France – ‘because we eat a lot of raw meat and are dirty,’ he told me. I thought it was something one got from tampons, but apparently not. I’m pleased it gets me out of kitty litter duty, but my doctor is not amused. As a result, I shall be tested for toxoplasmosis weekly for the first three months, then monthly.

SOS: online tools for kids


AS well as learning how to stay safe online, children may need online support too – especially if they do encounter problems like cyber-bullying of feel uncomfortable with something they have encountered on the internet. While a listening parent may be a huge support, sometimes it is easier to seek anonymous support or chat to people who find themselves in the same predicament. 

Online safety: child-friendly info


Security systems for blocking children's access to undesirable sites are all very well but, apart from the fact that a lot of children are more internet savvy than their parents, danger can also come from sites that you are perfectly happy for them to use so it's worth talking through some basic common sense guidelines with your children









Don't forget that this coming Saturday, 19 May, is European Nuit des Musées when museums around France stay open late or overnight and are free.
To find out what is on in your area go to http://nuitdesmusees.culture.fr/rechercher-un-programme/ fill in the name of your nearest town and click on 'Rechercher votre programme par villes'.
Or you can search by museum.

Bilingual baby brain power!


Bilingual baby wearing a cap studded with electrodes


American researchers have been investigating the brain mechanisms that make babies such a whizz at learning languages in the hope of finding a way to boost adult language learning skills.

Victoria Jelinek-Jensen: the Pregnancy Diaries




‘He does not weep who does not see’ (Victor Hugo)



When my doctor confirmed that I was pregnant I burst into tears. I’d just returned from a week’s holiday with friends and had drunk my bodyweight in alcohol.

But it’s also the realisation that there is, once again, the possibility of the life-changing reality of a baby.

Did I think this through all those times in which my husband and I had been having ovulation sex?


Dr Ruth: Sleepwalking


My 11 year old son has recently started sleepwalking. On two occasions I’ve found him coming downstairs and once he was by the door. I’m worried he might harm himself. He is due to go to Italy on an exchange with his college next year and has started saying he doesn’t want to go in case he sleepwalks when he’s staying with a strange family. What should I do?
Somnambulism, or sleepwalking as it is commonly known, can occur at any age but is particularly common amongst adolescent boys. 


Our bilingual kids - who do they think they are?

They didn’t ask to come here.  Left at the gates of  French schools in the nineties and early noughties with assurances that they would learn French “in no time” and have lots of fun, the British children now coming of age in France are products of their parents’ French adventure. But who do they think they are? 
We asked them: are you French or British?

Driving lessons: cutting the cost


Learning to drive in France is generally said to cost around 1,000€. In fact, it is more like 1,500 – 2,000€. And that's if you pass first time!

But when looking around for the cheapest option, make sure you know exactly what the price involves. For example, some driving schools offer the first (compulsory) twenty hours for, say, 35€ an hour but go on to charge a fortune, up to 60€, for supplementary the lessons.
To make a true comparison, work on the assumption that you will pay for 30 lessons.

Desperately Seeking Childcare


What's available and how do I find it?

Read our low-down on the different types of childcare offered and how to find out what is available near to your home.