Vive la Rentrée! Paris Comes Back to Life
Bonjour, my Francophile friends! After a lovely summer holiday, we're back in Paris and ready once again to embrace la vie en rose. La rentree -- the post-vacation period in early September when the French go back to school, back to work, and back to normal life -- is in full swing and the energy on the streets is palpable.
How to know when la rentrée has arrived? (Aside from the date on the calendar, of course.) Overly tanned and smiling Parisians fill the streets, cafes and shops; streets that were eerily quiet just days ago now buzz with scooters and the bleating horns of French drivers. Tourists are no longer quite so ubiquitous and those that remain are a tad older and wiser. (September may be the very best month to visit.) Our little ones went back to school this morning, full of excitement to see the pals they've missed since July. As I walked Adele into la maternelle (grande section, her final year of preschool), I couldn't help remembering their first days of French school and how nervous we all were. (Perhaps moi, more than anyone else). Speaking not a word of French, Cole and Adele braved those early days more easily than I ever could have imagined and taught me a thing or two about resilience in the process. Of course, we had our share of tears and plenty of cultural adjustment (no daily preschool "sharing sheets?" No quarterly "parent-teacher conferences?"). But within a matter of weeks, my two Boston babies were quickly becoming a little bit French. What a difference a year and a half makes! Here they were this morning on our way to l'ecole. Au Pied de Fouet, where we celebrated la rentrée à deux over roast chicken and tarte aux fraises. Yum.