Today is September 1st (already?!). To those of us in the U.S., it is part of Labor Day weekend. However, the beginning of September has a different significance in France as it marks la rentrée. La rentrée literally means to re-enter and it refers to a very special time in the year when the French come home from their summer holidays and go back to school and work.
It’s much like “back to school” here, but it differs in that it’s a fresh start for adults as well. Like New Year’s. Favorite restaurants and boulangeries reopen their doors to sunkissed locals refreshed and excited to be back home. In the spirit of a new year, new books are often published on September 1st in France. If you’ve spent time with a French person on their holiday, they often talk about goals they have for the year ahead when they get back. La rentrée is the perfect time to show off that new haircut, revamp your style, and put your best foot forward.
Imagine. You’ve been away in Spain for the month of August. You arrive back in Paris to a buzz of excitement as your neighbors are coming home, too. You stop at your favorite shops and markets and see the friendly and reliable faces you haven’t seen in months. You eagerly make plans to see friends and family to catch up. Everyone at the office water cooler is refreshed and ready to work. There is a new energy in town.
While summer for me in California will still be going strong through the month, I love any excuse to embrace a fresh start, goal setting, and getting back into a routine.
September is a wonderfully transitional month. While we enjoy our last moments of the season attending a summer concert, savoring a charcuterie board and glass of rosé, dining al fresco, and sunbathing at the pool or beach, we welcome the fall and a crisp new beginning.
For me, I’ll be returning to my workout routine and healthy eating. And I have some personal and professional goals I want to meet by the end of the calendar year.
What are some things you’re looking forward to for your personal rentrée?
Photos by Living Frenchly.