Rentrée, Nom féminin : Reprise des activités après des vacances
This can be loosely translated as the ‘going back’ after the summer holidays. Yet the concept doesn’t exist in the same way in Anglo-Saxon countries. The equivalent of ‘back to school’ is far more limited. La rentrée encompasses a way of life and a way of dividing the French year.
Its importance is perhaps largely due to the traditionally long summer holidays. After several months of inactivity it takes a big bang to get everyone back in action.
Yet, it is not just the end of the summer.
It is also a new beginning which requires good resolutions.
All this is preceded, however, by months of marketing for school uniforms, new agendas and stationary. This starts in July, right about the time you’re lying on the beach somewhere trying to think of anything except the rentrée.
Come September, companies, restaurants and bars swing back into activity. Kids and teenagers alike go back to class. Workers slowly get back to the grindstone until at least half-term. This is also a bit of a culture blast when books are published and new tv programmes revealed. And, finally, slinking in at the rear, the politicians get conferencing and reappear on our screens with golden tans and bright smiles. This bounce doesn’t usually last long. Nor does the vibrant anything-is-possible attitude. But what does?