Monday, September 05, 2005
French Particularities No. 6: La Rentrée
A little while ago I wrote about the institutionalised character of the August holiday here in France. After such a long break, September begins with a kind of flourish called 'La Rentrée' which starts with the children heading back to school, but applies equally in business where Rentrée parties are held to get people back in the mood for work, and to introduce new arrivals and recent recruits to their colleagues.
If you pick up a newspaper or a magazine at this time of year, it will also be full of the 'new wave' of whatever it is that happens to interest you, whether that be new make-up trends, new clothing designs or La Rentrée Littéraire which is the most important moment for pushing out new literary creations and typically finds the front pages of magazines covered with the faces of dashing or pouting scribblers promoting their first novels.
The little photo above was part of a display that we noticed on somebody's windowsill in a village close to where we live. The sills were lined with pages from a child's exercise book showing writing practice and there were little blackboards with messages in chalk and models of teachers and students sitting at their desks. A nice gesture, and a sign of the respect with which people generally treat each other in France that it was simply sitting there in the street, untouched and unmolested.