Paris is having a lovely Indian summer. The weather stays in the low to mid 70s. The air just feels different, however, than in Spring or Summer. Maybe it’s the leaves turning brown and the sidewalks full of fallen leaves. It does feel like the beginning of Fall.
La Rentrée is over and Paris is in full swing. My swimming pool has opened after four weeks of renovations, adult classes have started. At the American Library where I volunteer, “Evenings with an Author” will be starting up with Richard Russo”. He will be discussing his latest collection of short stories: Trajectory. He is in Paris for Festival-America, a three day gathering of well known authors speaking, dinners, presentations. The focus this year is on Canada and the Festival will be celebrating the life and work of John Irving. https://www.festival-america.com
In other words, Paris is buzzing with energy. The streets and cafes are full at all times of the day. Dog walkers are out by the dozens. Every size of dog imaginable but mostly small dogs that fit comfortably into small apartments. My hydrangea, though still full and sporting green leaves, have brownish flowers that are drooping towards the floor of my terrace. The pinks and blues are just a memory of my wonder of when they actually bloomed in May.
I last wrote about La Rentrée. After reading it, a French friend of this blog wrote to me. This person is not a fan of Les Réseaux Sociaux (social media) and wishes to remain anonymous. Which is why I have taken out some words.
You are right to underline the importance of la rentrée in France. This country is run by the schoolteachers’ unions. The building sector, the car industry , the hotel industry, the traffic jams, the prices of plane tickets, everything depends from the sacro saint summer recess of schools.
I always hated it: as a child, la rentrée was for me the end of the wonderful summer months in ________, back to the drawing board, the nasty teachers , the anxiety of lessons and home work, the tiny apartment in Paris, the chilly days of autumn.
Later as an adult, having to work at my self-employed job, July and August were damned months when the turnover was low, the billed hours at low tide, no money in the bank to pay the bills. I hated having to be in Paris at work in August, when the sun shines, Paris is empty, everybody having fun at sea, mountain or travelling, and you are chained to your desk to make a living.
But now I take my revenge! I am retired! Fuck with la rentrée! I am still in __________. I don’t have to spend hours in the car in traffic jams on the périphérique. Don’t have to take the crowded trains or flights. Can wait until they are all back to work and railway stations, airports and highways are empty to buy the lowest fare and not stress at the counter!
Don’t have to shudder in front of the school mistress because I did not learn my lesson, nor my banker because my billings in August were miserable. Free! I am free of all the hassle of la rentrée!
It is so good september in ___________, when all the ants are back in the cities and you are gently tending to your garden, riding your bike on empty backroads and taking time to go the store…
Vive la non rentrée !
And there you have one French perspective!!!