Why have we chosen the word “rentrée”?
From news sites to adverts, this word is hard to escape at the moment.
In France, “la rentrée”doesn't only refer to a specific time of year, it is also something of a tradition in France and it's possible you'll find yourself overwhelmed by the number of articles instructing you on how to prepare for it as well as the changes that it signals.
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So, what does it mean?
“La rentrée” is the term used to mean the start of the school year or the beginning of term and the return to work after the summer holidays during the first week of September.
But as you'll know if you live in France, it takes on a greater sense of importance than the English translation might suggest.
In France, with many people — especially those with children — taking three weeks off over the summer and with school children on holiday for a whopping two months during July and August, getting back to work after the break is a big deal.
Not to mention the fact that important places such as boulangeries, cafes and restaurants usually take their own long summer holidays, meaning that even if you are working throughout July and August, you often have to make some adjustments to your routine.
So after two months of things quietening down, there is also an excitement about “la rentrée” — parents are quite relieved to send their children back to school and there is the fun of your favourite restaurants re-opening and catching up with friends after their holidays.
It is almost seen as a substitute for New Year and in France “la rentrée” is seen as a fresh beginning, which doesn't only apply to school children.
It also applies to the return to work of France's politicians, as the headline below shows.
La rentrée scolaire aura lieu début septembre.
The start of the school year will take place at the beginning of September.
Les 100 choses à faire à Paris à la rentrée
One hundred things to do in Paris at the beginning of term.
Le coût de la rentrée scolaire de plus en plus cher
The cost of the start of the school year gets more and more expensive.
It's back to school on Monday for 12 million pupils in France. Photo: AFP