Saturday, September 5, 2009

Phrases & Expressions: La Rentrée

La Rentrée. The Return.

Return to what?
You might ask. Well, to work, school, meetings, classes, all of it. For August in France is a month of rest, while September brings back "normal" life once again.

Most French are on the move en famille (as a family) in August, spending the month at their second home, or at rented accommodations in the south, or visiting international destinations. Both governmental and economic sectors slow or stop in the month of August. But even if you are a business that stays open or you elect to remain the month at work, August is peaceful and restful and quiet whether in the major cities or in les provinces (the provinces).

Throughout the month of July, as folks begin to disperse for les vacances (the vacation) you can hear the tune of, “A La Rentrée”, ringing through the streets. A La Rentrée means, “Until the Return” or for us Anglophones, “See you in September”.

And like clockwork, in the 48-hour period coinciding with the last weekend in August, the highways and streets are clogged once again and tanned families are lined up in queues at the newly re-opened libraries (book stores) and papeteries (stationary stores) to buy the books and supplies required by their kids' schools, classes, and grades.

This year, even the weather seemed to know when La Rentrée had arrived. The last week in August 2009 was balmy and blue. On the 1st of September it rained all day, and since then the chill of autumn has been in the air. For the first time in months, our apartment windows are closed, both to keep out the cold as well as the non-stop buzz of motorized traffic. Aux prochaines vacances (until the next vacation)!

on the autoroute by Osvaldo Gago, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Traffic jam courtesy of

1 comment:

  1. I'm sending a friend to your blog - she's planning a visit to Paris in October. Yours is a wonderful one for those of us who've already seen the major sites, now need to know about the more obscure.
    I've wondered what this year's La Rentree was like. Now I know.
    None of the pleasure of new notebooks for me & my family. We're all done with school. Sigh. Although I'm still enrolled at the Alliance Francaise of Westchester, struggling on with the glorious French language.
    Fran Greenberg