Before moving to New York Maude Laurent grew up in Carvin, a small town in the north of France.
It’s an actual French town that I visited a few years ago . I didn’t want Maude to grow up in Paris, because everybody’s already heard of Paris and nobody knows Carvin. Hell, I’d never heard of Carvin until I found a short internship there in a tribunal completely by a lucky mistake (that’s a story for another time).
If you must know, I love the north of France and I’m proud to have spent my teenage years over there.
The north of France is known for a couple of things, mainly its bad weather.
I spent my teenage years in Lille and when I moved to Paris for my studies, every time I said I came from Lille people were like ‘oh the town where it’s always raining.” Then I’d tell them I spent my childhood in Miami and they’d be like “Man, it never rains over there! Why’d you come back to France?”
What Parisians say about Lille’s weather is accurate. But Parisians tend to exaggerate the brightness of their weather. Having lived in Paris the last couple of years I can assure you Paris isn’t all sunshiny all the time, but the beauty of the city makes up for the grey weather. I love Lille, but the weather is truly awful. People hibernate during winter and we hardly ever have an actual summer. We haven’t seen a real summer in years!
Lille isn’t far from Carvin, but is actually a very pretty city unlike Carvin, one of the the biggest in France after Paris, Marseille, Lyon. At first, I thought Maude would grow up in Lille, but I didn’t want my hometown to be associated with Maude’s difficult childhood, so I thought of Carvin. And it’s important to know that Lille is just an hour away from Paris when traveling with the TGV, our fastest train. So Paris is Lille’s backyard!
Also, Maude learns to play the piano in her library. I don’t know if that’s done in the USA or elsewhere, but in France you can find pianos in the library and people can practice sometimes with a cask sometimes without.
I thought that was pretty cool so I made Maude learn the piano in the library where she was able to find all the scores her heart desired.
Students are taught musical theory at school from an early age in France, so from there, it’s not too difficult to read a score.
I went to music school during middle school and high school where I learned to play the piano and hated musical theory, but Maude doesn’t seem to dislike it.
Finally, I gave Maude a classical background, because in France, in musical schools, we essentially learn classical music not modern music, at least not right away. Classical music is very important in French music school curricula.
Hope this helped you understand Maude’s world a little better!