La Rentrée: What is it? When is it…?

pens_padIn case you’ve ever wondered what it’s all about…

Why wait ‘til New Year to make a fresh start or bring about some changes in your life? The time is NOW, it’s la rentrée (and clearly it’s gotten to me too in making this my first ever post on a site that is finally live – so. much. stalling).

On both sides of the Channel, September signifies the start of a new academic year. Right at this moment, there are students all over the world headed to France for their year abroad – an incredible opportunity. My own experience living and working in Nice for nine months was easily as good as being paid to party at Paris Fashion Week, a real job that came up two or three years later.

However, la rentrée also coincides with the time when France goes back to work, most workers having taken the entirety of August off on holiday. This French tradition known as congés annuels doesn’t really exist in the UK, where most of us would be expected back au bureau within the space of a week or two at most. So in France at least, the idea of starting over in September is actually pretty widespread.

But it’s also about embracing the start of a new season and all that autumn holds in store. One of the things I love about France is the emphasis on seasonal produce and the return of so many of my favourite foods to market stalls and menus du jour.

With so much to look forward to, it’s a shame that autumn seems to have been overlooked in Angleterre, where thoughts have already turned to Christmas. We’ve had mince pies in the shops since 1st September. Perhaps if mince pies were a thing in France then things might be different – just kidding! Talk has already officially turned to plans for the office Xmas party.

So in an effort to live a life more French, I’ll be trying my hardest to focus attention this season on the here and now. Do you have any feelings on la rentrée?

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