Souriez, c’est la rentrée!

Frenchie smiles

It’s that time of year again. Drum roll, please…

C’est la rentrée!

Time to get back: back to school, back to business, back to the grind that is French life. Although you might think this would mean long faces, around here it seems that getting back to work gives us a lot of reasons to smile.

I’ve posted before about how this is my favourite time of year. And it’s not just for the school kids. Although I still have one (mostly) mature student under my roof, la rentrée is the start of a whole new year on many different levels.

First, there’s la rentrée des vacances. The French are back from vacation and they are smiling, at least for the first week. We did not go away anywhere this summer. Instead, we took shorter breaks in the spring, then lounged around all summer while everyone else took off. Although we live in an area that is a draw for tourists, we still feel the deadness of the summer season. Shops close, streets are oddly empty, anything administrative gets lost in an overflowing inbox. We began feeling the first signs of life again last week. Traffic reports went from green to red, tanned faces appeared in the shops and long line-ups sprouted in the grocery store.

Then, there is la rentrée politique. This means that the brief lull in rhetoric is over. My ears had barely stopped ringing from all the noise over Brexit and Trump’s latest antics. And with presidential elections in the offing next spring, French politicians are back with a bang. Nicolas Sarkozy broke the silence by officially announcing his run for a spot on the ticket in 2017. Since he declared his Republican candidacy with a proposed France-wide burkini ban, he will not be getting my vote.

Today is la rentrée des classes. It’s back to school for the kids, which means we will see a lot of freshly scrubbed faces and bright new backpacks on the street. It’s been awhile since my kids were small, even longer since I went back to school myself, yet that buzz of newness and energy still gets me.

The teachers have been back for a week already, having completed la rentrée des professeurs ahead of time to get things ready for a new crop of students. This means new security measures in schools, although I doubt they will be enough to reassure everyone after so many terrifying incidents in the past two years.

I have been enjoying the rentrée audiovisuelle this week. My favourite French access-to-prime-time talk show, C’est à Vous on France 5, is back. Next week will kick off a new season of Le Grand Journal on Canal Plus. And I’ve just learned that Les Guignols, those political puppets extraordinaire, who were banished from the show last year having crossed some sort of line, will be back.

In a week or two it will be time to sign up for activities: yoga, zumba, choir…I’m still debating what to make time for but have decided there will be at least one thing that gets me out each week!

It seems there are lots of reasons to smile. The summer sun is still with us, yet there’s a chill in the morning air that heralds the change of season in a few weeks’ time. I love the fall, and I feel energized at the thought of getting back down to work again.

What’s your favourite thing about la rentrée?


  1. davidprosser · September 1, 2016

    The Mother’s Mafia will now be out of the corner shop by 9.15am having brought their precious children to school early. It means no more waiting in a queue while they chatter at any time of the morning as they do during school breaks.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    • MELewis · September 1, 2016

      Glad to hear your humorous snippets of daily life in comments, David, although they remind me that I miss your blog! Hope you are enjoying life and staying well. Bises for a healthy autumn! xo

  2. Mél@nie · September 1, 2016

    @”The French are back from vacation and they are smiling, at least for the first week.” – right! 🙂 wait and see la sinistrose générale et la parano “galvaudée” des “burkini”, des attentats, etc… tu sais qu’en France, tout devient anxiogène, meanwhile have a fine September & vivent les empêcheurs de tourner en rond! 🙂
    * * *
    N.B. I like your brand-new WP-résidence… 🙂

    • MELewis · September 1, 2016

      Merci, Melanie dear….time to spruce up for my back-to-blogging look! I love that you always teach me new French words – sinistrose 😉

  3. francetaste · September 1, 2016

    I am not in a hurry for summer to end, but I also am happy to get back into our routines. The last summer houseguest leaves Saturday, which means dinners will revert to an earlier hour for those who have to get up early. I just can’t sleep after a dinner at 9 or 10 p.m. I don’t know how the Spanish do it.

    • MELewis · September 1, 2016

      Oh, I do agree! Dinner at 8 is late enough for this early bird. Now that the heat wave is past, I can start getting to bed early and up at my usual 5:30. Let’s enjoy the remains of the summer but vive l’automne!

  4. Only it is not la rentrée here on the other side of the world. With winter over, it feels like the march towards the end of the school year and summer holidays is officially on. A turning point of sorts for us too.

    • MELewis · September 1, 2016

      Oh, right…somehow I get confused by your blog title! Hope the slide into spring will be pleasant and that you will enjoy a nice, warm Christmas! (Is that right?)

      • Yes. Sorry about the confusing title! We were in France for several years and are now back in Australia, with back-and-forth visits to France when schedule and money(!) allow. And this year, Christmas will be in France – more confused? Our local bilingual school (French-English) here in Sydney has a big influx of new French students at this time of year. For many it is la rentrée!

      • MELewis · September 2, 2016

        Okay, so definitely a mashup of cultures at this time of year for you. I admire the frequent back-and-forth’s between France and Oz….I’m still working up the courage to make the long trip one of these days!

  5. doodletllc · September 1, 2016

    Lovely Post – We too are excited for Fall…enough of Hot Weather…Bring on the Chill in the Air and Hot Air Balloons Flying Everywhere. 🙂

    • MELewis · September 1, 2016

      Hot air balloons – how I miss them! We used to get tons when we lived near Lyon. Now we have wonderful mountains near by but probably too dangerous for les Montgolfiere around here.

  6. Osyth · September 1, 2016

    I have always loved Autumn most of all the seasons I love the most. I put it down to being born on the Autumnal Equinox. Fanciful probably but it works for me. It’s just a lovely time of year – the colours, the light and for a little while before the days draw in the post-holiday people who are less long-faced than normal. As for politics. I think I need a vacation!!

    • MELewis · September 1, 2016

      Every season around here has its magic but I must agree with you – autumn is a special favourite! Although we’re not there yet – it still feels like summer (and it’s bliss!) – we know that it won’t be long now so somehow we need to savour the remains of the day. Is it too early to wish you a glorious Equinox birthday? (It won’t make up for the politics, I know, but…I fear there is no break on the horizon!)

      • Osyth · September 1, 2016

        Thank you – never too early nor to late to get lovely wishes!

    • Mél@nie · September 5, 2016

      same here, Osyth dear… 🙂 yeah, I do recall your b’day, as Joan Jett & our son were born the same day… 😉

  7. George Lewis · September 1, 2016

    No crowds of kids and parents on beaches and in stores .

  8. awtytravels · September 1, 2016

    Best bit of la rentrée? The fact that I’m off on holidays this and next week! Ha! However, when I was a schoolkid in Italy – whose system is really similar to France’s – I used to love September. School just begun, the air is fresh in the morning and you could bounce off any sort of commitment from professors – tests, exams, interrogations – with the classic “but we’ve just started!”

    Too bad that by the third week of September it’d be back to normal…

  9. wanderingcows · September 2, 2016

    Next week is the first full week of September and I’m gradually building up to the full energy levels needed for “regular life” after the summer holidays. It’s proving to be a bit more of a challenge than usual as I’ve been out of the office rather a lot in August. I’ll need to pop some vitamins!

  10. acflory · September 6, 2016

    I love the autumn too. The cooler weather makes me want to do things out in the garden, and I seem to get more energy the colder it gets [not that southeastern Australia gets all that cold but still].

    The main thing, for me, is the end of fire season [late March/early April]. That’s when I can relax and stop jumping every time some emergency notification goes off on my phone. It’s also the time when work ramps up. Most of the time, though, I don’t mind; I quite enjoy meeting a newcrop of older students wanting to learn how to use a computer. Go Baby Boomers!

    • MELewis · September 6, 2016

      Sounds like you’ve got a full plate in every season. Like you, I love the energy of autumn – until we get to the dark days of November, when I get a wee bit sad. It’s still summer here for now, though, but we can feel the cool air creeping closer. Hallelujah!

      • acflory · September 6, 2016

        lol – we’re just starting to move out of our grey days. Roll on Christmas. 😀

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