PARIS — On a recent weekday, Clemence Dubreuil had no school because her teachers were on strike, so the 9-year-old begged her mother to take her to a museum to see a new exhibit about sex.
If that all sounds very French, it is: Strikes are as much a part of the national character as frank talk about sex. But as the exhibit and the mild controversy surrounding it are proving, the cliches need some updating.
The exhibit in northeast Paris attempts to respond playfully to the serious questions tweenagers ask about sexuality and romantic feeling. Inspired by a guide to sex by the popular cartoonist Zep and writer Helene Bruller, the exhibit also encourages children and their parents or teachers to shed all modesty and embarrassment about touchy topics and start talking.