Thursday, September 23, 2010

La Rentrée - getting back to normal after the summer in France

by Expat Focus columnist, Sharon Revol

La Rentrée is one of the first French phrases I can remember learning and literally means The Return or the start of the new school year. This was of little interest to me until I realized just how much French culture differed to the British culture and what a great impact La Rentrée was to have on my life each year.

You see, those two words actually mean so much more than just the start of a new school year. La Rentrée is very aptly named as it is synonymous with the start of everything in France, almost like the start of a new year except it takes place in September rather than January and you don’t make New Year Resolutions (although I’m sure if I searched hard enough I would find some French people that do!).

It would have been helpful if I had also learned that trying to get anything done during August in France (and sometimes even July) is a complete waste of time. Want to see your Doctor, an accountant or have your hair cut? Forget it, they’re all absent during the summer.

Even our local shops shut down for a month so we are left without being able to buy the very staples of French cuisine which we have come to rely on. No crispy baguettes to accompany the fresh cheese from the cheesemongers or to accompany the fresh vegetables from the greengrocers or tender meat from the butchers. The only option left for us is the local super market and their inferior quality of produce, exactly what we have come to avoid...


No comments: