Come have a glass of bubbly and meet Florence Mars, author of Say Bonjour to the Lady: Parenting from Paris to New York, for a reading and discussion at The French Library (3811 Magazine Street in New Orleans) 5 – 7 p.m.  Thursday, December 7th.

The book is a delightful, illustrated volume that captures, with wit and style, the often amusingly stark contrasts between French and American parenting styles. And 25 percent of the book’s royalties go to the Epic Foundation, a charity founded by Flo’s husband Alexandre Mars.

A French native who’s called New York home for nearly a decade, Florence and her family are making plans to move back to France next year. But she relishes any chance to visit her friends down South.

“People in New Orleans are creative, interesting, welcoming, crazy—everything I’m looking for in people,” says Mars. “I haven’t met this kind of crowd in New York; maybe I’m not looking in the right place!”

Where does she think New Orleanians fit into the parenting paradigm?

“I have the feeling parents here don’t organize their entire lives around their children’s social schedules, but the other way around, which I find super healthy,” she says. “In New York, it’s all about scheduling play dates and sleepovers. In New Orleans, going to a friend’s house to hang there for a few hours with the kids seems to be fine—just like in Paris!”

NYC vs. NOLA

“People here are so welcoming, compared to New York. And the New Orleans way of life seems very French: food, wine and the idea of having a good time—which resonates deeply with me,” says Mars. “I LOVE the fact that people here are not afraid to ‘waste’ some time having a conversation, instead of always networking. In New York, almost all conversations need to have a purpose. This is SO sad.”

MUMS vs. MOMS

“I hope New Orleans moms will recognize themselves somewhere in the middle, between the overly rigid French mums and the some of the over friendly American moms,” says Mars. “The truth is, there is no good mother, no recipe. We are all trying and failing every day. What our children learn from their parents really is: perfection does not exist, and that’s ok.”

Presented by Chandon and The French Library, the event is free and open to the public. For more details, email thegrownups@thefrenchlibrary.com or call 504.267.3707.