French entrepreneurs push esprit de corps across NZ

By Liz Wylie

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TRES BIEN: French guests Faustine Tillard and Samuel Loussouarn talking to visitors at Paige's Book Gallery on Saturday.PHOTO/ BEVAN CONLEY
TRES BIEN: French guests Faustine Tillard and Samuel Loussouarn talking to visitors at Paige's Book Gallery on Saturday.PHOTO/ BEVAN CONLEY

Visitors to Paige's Book Gallery in Guyton St last week were treated to a taste of French language and culture when they met the occupants of My Little French Book Van.

Promoting French literature, culture and language in New Zealand, French travellers Faustine Tillard and Samuel Loussouarn are on a mission to build a cultural bridge.

"Faustine works as a publisher of children's books and I am a translator of children's books, so we had this passion to share stories in different languages and we wanted to take French books to other countries," said Mr Loussouarn.

Having spent time in New Zealand when he was event manager for the 2013 Organic River Festival in Levin, he knew it was the right-sized country and Paige's Book Gallery would be an ideal venue to introduce themselves in Whanganui.

"We thought about taking the idea to the United States, but the distances between places are too big and we thought in New Zealand we could reach more people over shorter distances."

The travellers say the aim is to get New Zealand students aged 10-12 who will be learning French language next year in touch with reading, as well as French language and culture.

"We do not intend to provide courses, rather to join forces with the teachers to bring cultural awareness and develop curiosity among pupils."

Paige's owner, Lesley Stead, said the group of nine children and their French teachers who attended on Saturday really enjoyed the session which served as a taster for sessions that will be held in Whanganui schools when the bus returns in April.

"We are going to the South Island before we return in April and we are already booked with some Whanganui schools," said Mr Loussouarn.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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