Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Thursday, August 28, 2008

As September 1 approaches, we are hearing more and more about "la rentrée". Literally, it means "the come back", but it's so much more than that. It's got its own identity. Its own (huge) cultural significance. It means the end of summer, the return to the city, the start of the school-year. It's a milestone, a way to say, hey, I made it through 3/4th of the year. I guess the closest American equivalent would be Labor Day, but even that doesn't carry the same kind of weight that la rentrée does.

This whole rentrée here in Paris seems so backwards to me. In Bretagne, I couldn't wait for la rentrée to come around - it meant that the thousands of tourists who had descended on the city for the summer would finally go home. It meant no more traffic jams, no more slow drives to the beach and no more hearing snooty Brits at every turn. It meant the return to normal life.

Here in Paris, it's the exact opposite - the rentrée means the city is starting to fill up again, and traffic jams and crowded metros will once again become de rigeur. Though to be honest, I don't drive and with the exception of some of the local shops being closed, I really didn't notice much a difference since I live in the heart of Paris. Others who live farther out though have mentioned their neighborhoods are like ghost towns. Put 2 and 2 together, and I guess who know who was causing traffic jams in V-town now, don't we? I'm telling you, seeing ''75'' license plates caused just as much fear on the road as British ones!

But I guess this rentrée is a special one for me - it's my first in Paris. It marks the end of what was essentially a three month vacation, as well as the start of my new (single) adult life, my new home and my new work contract. Hopefully it will be a good year!



Blogger Milk Jam said...

Yes it will :-)

August 28, 2008 at 10:17 AM  
Blogger Justin said...

No 'Hopefully'... It WILL BE a good year! :-)

August 28, 2008 at 10:49 AM  
Blogger The Late Bloomer said...

Bonne rentrée, Sam! We just returned from Noirmoutier this week, and I'm still struggling to adjust to things with little Emma. She's adorable as always, but also a handful -- so much to learn!!

So glad you chose the studio apt -- that would have been my choice too; I just think I would have preferred being on my own, and it sounds so nice, fully equipped and all! Enjoy moving in, settling into your own place and all -- finally! :-)

Hope we can catch up sometime really soon... Biz, Alice

August 28, 2008 at 1:10 PM  
Blogger Leesa said...

Felicitats pour ta 1re rentrée à Paris!!!! New appart, full-time job, what a great way to start... Take good care and let me know if you need any help with the moving... I can ask Alex to haul over anything that is too heavy for you so no stress... Just wanted to let you know we're avail. on the weekends if you need help with anything... Leese : )

August 28, 2008 at 3:18 PM  
Blogger eastcoastsnob said...

I equate the rentree to "back to school". It's been slightly similar in San Francisco. The trains are full due to students returning to school (all grades to uni). Families have come back from vacations and you see them walking their kids to class. Parents have gone through their new school year purchases. For us the tourists are still here. I guess the low dollar will keep them coming all year long. But I would it say there are less of them. It's not as monumental as it is in France. I mean what other country has a Salon d'Education right before the rentree..only France. But there are definate good things. Businesses are open and operating at regular hours. Yay!! Enjoy!!

August 28, 2008 at 5:04 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

Well good call on the new digs, I'm glad you got your own space. This is my first rentree as well (sorry, I have no accent marks on my QWERTY keyboard or I don't know how to use them). I'm looking forward to having a great year in Lille, and you have one in Paris. Deal?

August 28, 2008 at 6:35 PM  
Blogger Maddy said...

All the best! "Positive in Paris", what a great way to enjoy life

August 28, 2008 at 11:47 PM  
Blogger corine said...

Oui, comme on dit en France, je te souhaite "bonne rentrée". Ici, aux US, il n'y a pas vraiment de grandes vacances, donc pas vraiment de "rentrée", a part pour les ecoliers.

August 29, 2008 at 12:18 AM  
Blogger MISS YURI said...

i mostly equate "back to school" with consumerism. new clothes, new stationery, that sort of thing. la rentrée is so much more, because it doesn't just mean coming back to school; it means coming back to your regular life with a spring in your step and a tan. it means going at things with a fully recharged battery. it also means toussaints is only seven/eight weeks away!!!

August 29, 2008 at 5:06 AM  
Blogger Marie said...

La rentrée is such a big event in France, you're right !
That's because life almost stops in France during Summer least in the big cities. I enjoyed my first August in France since years and it was actually nice, except for that horrible weather in Lille. BTW, Susan (hi, I read your comment and see you were from Lille too!),the French accents can be written with the Alt key and some codes (like Alt+1+3+0 for é, Alt+1+3+8 for è and so on) but it's easier and nicer without accent !

Sam, I wish you the best new "school year 2008-2009" and enjoy your new life (in Paris, it should be great !!)

September 2, 2008 at 12:17 PM  

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