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09 Aug, Tuesday
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Montreal Families

Guided Tour: Le Salon du Livre

The Salon du Livre 2010 kicks off today, running through the weekend. Although the event sounds like an intellectuals-only affair with a required reading list (seriously, parents, when was the last time you got to read anything other than Curious George Goes to the Toy Store?), it’s a very family-friendly event.

Books, activities and surprises for kids
Held at Place Bonaventure, the Salon du Livre is a gathering of authors, illustrators and publishing houses, each with areas set up to exhibit and sell their books. Some of them are children’s book publishers, and there are lots of activities based on book characters or related to reading in general. Many of the booths sell educational books, games and tools. Note that although these are all French books, language won’t be an issue for young children who don’t read yet. Simply looking at the pictures with mom and dad can be lots of fun.

When we went a few years ago, our two-year-old was happy to meet Caillou and get a signed poster. Santa also happened to be passing through, visiting one of the exhibitor’s booths and taking pictures with the kids. One of the guests this year is Marie-Louise Gay, illustrator of the “Stella” series. Between browsing books, educational toys, participating in one of the scheduled activities and grabbing lunch, it’s a full morning. The Salon du Livre can get very crowded, so it’s a good idea to get there early.

Family-friendly services
Event organizers offer several services to make the Salon du Livre child friendly. There are quite a few sets of stairs in Place Bonaventure, but there are prominent signs showing where people with strollers can find elevator access. There is a drop-in day care service with play area for children ages 2 to 6 – the range of games and activities is excellent. There is also a “halte-poussette” with changing tables and microwaves, and a “boîte à lunch” area for having a bite to eat (you can buy prepared sandwiches on site). There are other lunch options in a food court below the main Salon du Livre exhibition area.

Highlights of weekend activities
There is a full list of children’s activities for each day of the event, with lots planned for Saturday and Sunday.

The Salon du Livre also provides an opportunity to donate a children’s book to charity with its Lecture en Cadeau program. You can bring a new children’s book to a specific kiosk at the event, or to a participating book store.

For more information, here’s a Montreal Gazette article on this year’s Salon du Livre.

Age range: 18 months and up
Schedule: Wed., Nov. 17 to Monday, Nov. 22, 2010
Hours: Wed. 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Thurs. 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fri. 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sun. 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Mon. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Location: Place Bonaventure, 800 de la Gauchetière W., Montreal.
Cost: Adults $8 (or $6 if you buy tickets online), age 0 to 12, free, students, $6.
Parking: There is metered parking on the streets around Place Bonaventure, as well as underground parking, which costs $12 to $14 per day.
Website: http://www.salondulivredemontreal.com/

Editor’s note: Photo gallery is from the 2009 Salon du Livre. This post has been updated from 2009.

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