‘la rentrée’ it’s back to work in france

by Sharon Santoni

Clean page for the year ahead

Here in France the last week of August and the first week of September is so much more than just a couple of pages in the diary.

‘La Rentrée’, or ‘The Return’ is originally about the start of the new school year, but here it is also for many working people the return to their desk after their traditional August break; the re-opening of local stores that were closed during August; it is the time of year when TV News channels change their presenters; when national radios juggle their big names and even the new Government seems to be back on the job with new sun-tanned energy.

Do you remember being young at school, and that wonderful beginning of year feeling when your new pencil case was full of sharp pencils and shiny pens; when each exercise book was opened to a fresh new page, and your heart was full of optimism and generous resolutions about writing carefully, and avoiding spoiling the immaculate page with a word crossed through.

And for me, working at my desk in Normandy?   Well I no longer have the stress of a new school year to manage, and I’m certainly not involved in French national media or government – perish the thought! – but in my own quiet way I find this ‘back to work’ atmosphere quite contagious.

For me La Rentrée is all about returning to my desk with pleasure after a family break; it is about catching up with emails; looking forward to the month of September with my brocante tour clients and a big desire to tidy!

My desk is super clean and clear, I have roses from the garden beside my computer and samples of our items for the November Stylish French Box in baskets on the shelves beside me .

I have cleaned out my Inbox, got my paperwork up to date, and dare I say it I even tried to sort the way-too-numerous photos on my computer (that bit didn’t go so well, if anyone has a secret they’d like to share, I am listening!).

So I was wondering how it goes with you?   Wherever you are in the world, is this a moment for a fresh start?  Is September a time for good resolutions, or your own little rituals?  Please let us know, I’d love to hear …..


Mary August 30, 2017 - 4:35 pm

Hi Sharon, I am the lady that suggested sonia have her website in English as well as French – sounds as thought it is already in the works!! Anyway, I am an artist, and so looking forward to returning to my easel – it has been too long with vacations, and many visitors…. I am ALWAYS so inspired by your beautiful photography and beautiful imagery – Many thanks for this lovely blog that uplifts in a world that is too often ugly….

Sharon Santoni August 31, 2017 - 2:33 pm

Thank you Mary 🙂

Stephanie Guillory August 30, 2017 - 4:44 pm

August is also return to old but also new starts. I am a professor at local university. The beginning of the semester is full of anticipation, new students, seeing old colleagues and planning new lessons. By August I am ready to return to the job I love.

Sharon Santoni August 31, 2017 - 2:34 pm

Have to love the change of seasons and the rhythm it gives to our lives Stephanie 🙂

Taste of France August 30, 2017 - 4:57 pm

It is with renewed gusto that my child and I have been attacking the summer bucket list in these final days. Many things were checked off, and now the focus is turning toward which extracurricular activities to choose.
I’m looking forward to the return to a set schedule, which includes my beloved Pilates sessions. No A/C in the south of France, including at the gym, means no Pilates or anything else in July and August.

Caroline August 30, 2017 - 5:08 pm

Sharon. We francophiles hope you will always blog in French! Every little bit helps. ,,, vos photos sont magnifiques! Carol

Sharon Santoni August 31, 2017 - 2:36 pm

C’est très gentil Caroline, mais ce ne fait pas partie de mes projets pour l’instant …. ou alors peut être un petit paragraph par ci et par là? ….. à voir

Bonne journée


Katherine August 30, 2017 - 5:10 pm

I am a busy retired, almost 70 year old, and Late summer brings a new schedule of appointments involving my volunteer work. I also think about planning one more outdoor party…this time a Sunday Brunch on the deck. The garden also needs cleaning up which is a favorite pastime. Travel plans are set for Europe in late September into October, which is my birthday celebration with my husband. All in all, early fall is exciting…my favorite season!

NANCY JAVIER August 30, 2017 - 5:58 pm

I’m on my way to France next week to visit my daughter who lives in Nantes. We’re taking side trips to Morocco and Portugal. Looking forward to visiting France again and seeing my daughter and her husband.

kath August 30, 2017 - 8:50 pm

hello, very nice always but why I can’t have the translation in french? thank you. nice day

Sue Malizia August 30, 2017 - 10:46 pm

Wish I were in France on holiday! Reading your posts help me to “get away”…but here, in the northern central valley of California, it’s harvest time…lots of shaking, sweeping, and picking up of almonds (also a lot of dust…comes with the territoty August – September – October). It’s 100+ degrees and heard this weekend 111! Can’t wait for cooler fall like weather! =)

Tricia August 30, 2017 - 11:20 pm

I always feel so excited when it is ‘la rentree’. Start of a new season and autumn is such a beauty. When I was a child it was both exciting and nervewracking – new shoes (especially – my favourite items then and I can still smell that new leather scent), new stationery, sometimes new classmates and new teachers. When I had children of my own the emotions were the same and when we lived in France we had the long lists from their schools of what to buy – and everything had to be perfectly correct. Thank goodness for a smart local stationery shop where the staff flew around and retrieved the right notebooks, well worth the price upgrade over Prisunic where I risked getting it all wrong by choosing myself.
I still come over all good intentions at this time of year and it’s so much easier to make lists of resolutions now (the usual – diet, exercise, new projects at home and work) than at New Year when I am always exhausted after Christmas and almost incapable of thinking of anything at all.
One thing that always baffled me in Paris was THE DAY during la rentree when everyone appeared in their new autumn clothes. Men and women alike they somehow knew that today, and no other, was the day when the look changed, no matter what the weather forecast said. Never quite cracked that one!

Bronwyn Lee-Coward August 30, 2017 - 11:29 pm

I love reading the various posts received from everyone that are scattered across the globe. We are just coming out of winter here and it is Spring time and my garden is not disappointing me. My Magnolia is in full bloom and the daffodils and jonquils have popped up their little heads in unison. So in saying that it will be a little hard to leave them at home and head off to Bali next week for a holiday. A brisk walk along the beach each morning, followed by breakfast, prepared by, “not” me and then down to the Spa for a massage. But you know it all sounds great but I do think that I would like to be in France visiting castles and wandering through some of the picturesque little villages that have been prominent in the previous posts. Wherever we all are I hope that we can stay safe and happy and enjoy life as it presents itself to us all. Kindest regards from the Blue Mountains Australia.

Vicky from Athens August 31, 2017 - 12:13 am

I love, love, love Fall and la rentree. I’m happy and relieved that a long, hot, humid summer is coming to a close and the nip of Autumn is in the air. I feel revitalized and have lots of energy. It’s a good thing because it seems that once Labor Day weekend arrives it’s a wild roller coaster ride until New Years Day!! Life picks up speed and doesn’t slow down! I live in a large university town so beginning in mid-August as the students come back, 33,000 extra cars roll in to town, crowding the streets. Fall is chock full of our family birthdays, it’s football season, there is a big family beach vacation, a couple of hiking trips, the making of Christmas gifts, getting down to some serious shopping, Thanksgiving, Christmas and then, OMG it’s New Years. Fall is the most beautiful time of the year to me but also the most hectic. Still, I look forward to it and am always glad to see it arrive.

Cheryl August 31, 2017 - 12:49 am

The start of September means the end of the long hot summer in my French home as I head back to work at a primary school in the Cotswold a beautiful part of England.
Even in rural France I can catch up on my school emails via the internet as I sit in the shade under the trees in garden, responding to the admission questions from many new and anxious parents as we count down to the start of the new school year. I hope La Rentrée goes well for all staff and pupils.

Dianne Adams August 31, 2017 - 1:26 am

My “rentree” is all about wrapping up a brand new kitchen remodel, all new flooring throughout the down stairs, newly painted walls & ceilings throughout. You know what they say–“change your house, change your life” so here we go!!

Catherine August 31, 2017 - 2:18 am

Sharon – one thing I do with the thousands! of photos on my computer… I immediately put new downloaded photos in an online album; e.g. “Lake Michigan Summer 2017,” “Johnny 5th grade 2017-2018,” and even “memories with the Smith family” (for those times with dear friends that seem to always result in a good photo or two – I may use these for the ultimate graduation or wedding card in the future). I can add to the albums during the school year and sports season, or some albums may just contain photos from a single download. These albums are kept in chronological order on my Mac. I realize this doesn’t help you with past photos, but if you start with current photos, you’ll get into a routine and will find it easier to archive past memories. I created an album for each of my kids. When I run across a particularly special photo of one of my children, regardless of when it was taken, I drop it in their individual albums. These photos are printed and a physical photo album created when they graduate. I also have a running album for a special place we return to every year. Again, when my last leaves the house in a few years, that will be turned into a large physical photo album. I found I couldn’t move forward with any projects utilizing photos if I didn’t try to organize them. A service I may try is grovebook.com, where you can get a once a month book of prints done using photos directly from your phone. The price seems very reasonable.I, too, am interested in what methods others utilize…. One last thing, I back up my photos to a flash drive regularly and put that in the bank safe deposit box.

Esther George August 31, 2017 - 4:02 am

Hi Sharon, July/August is pruning the roses time, the weather has been a bit confused so my husband is still trying to catch up. September is time to feed the garden and spring cleaning…hah. Your pictures of pen and paper reminded me of these beautiful French placemats I recently bought online from a shop in Melbourne called Jade and Amber who have the most beautiful table linen. The placemat is called Happy Hour – Tromp Loeie of French writing(wish I knew what it means) with an elegant pen and rose petals. I hope you will have a spare moment to have a look. Thank you for sharing beauty. Till next time, regards Esther from Sydney.

Elizabeth Rider August 31, 2017 - 7:19 am

Hi Sharon, I always think that by the end of August the garden looks a bit tatty and the house seems extra dusty and the spiders are starting to come in. So the days are a bit cooler so it is time to have an Autumn clean as my mum used to call it inside and out. I like to sort through draws and cupboards as it’s amazing what stuff i have in there that haven’t worn. I look forward to the crisp Autumn months and to wear snuggly jumpers and get out the warmer throws on the furniture as Autumn starts on Friday,eek where did this year go! Kind regards Elizabeth from Lincolnshire.

holly August 31, 2017 - 2:29 pm

I work for Adidas Golf here in the states so September marks the beginning of the end of our busy season. I get to take a breath and return to a more reasonable work/life schedule. More importantly, my grandson Jack was born yesterday! That handsome little man will be the center of attention for my entire family as we are awash in the abundance of a fuller family.
Thank you for your posts, videos and books (I have both!) I will be carefully re-reading Summer, it is still quite warm here in southern California, and dreaming of cooler weather as I turn pages in the Autumn chapter. Be well….

Sharon Santoni September 2, 2017 - 12:05 pm

Congratulations Holly! and welcome to Jack, such a fine name for a boy 🙂


Ali September 3, 2017 - 6:40 am

Winter in Australia has just finished and I have avoided going out in the cold as much as possible. Now Spring is here and the beautiful blossoms are starting to appear in the gardens and streetscapes of my neighbourhood. It gives me new invigoration to step outside to both work in my garden, that has been very much neglected over Winter, and to enjoy the more frequent sunshine. There is nothing more relaxing than pulling weeds and gently shaping a garden with the beautiful warmth of the golden sun shining on your back. As I move around more and the suns energy increases, I find myself shedding jumpers and long sleeves in order to absorb those beautiful rays and build up my vitamin D. The days are getting longer and my energy seems to increase with it. Spring cleaning my cuppboards and repurposing or donating my clutter becomes an easier and sometimes cathartic ritual.

Stacey Trap September 5, 2017 - 8:45 pm

‘Bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils’ a line describing fall from one of my favorite movies, “You’ve Got Mail”. Yes it’s sad to see summer go but there is always a bit of excitement in the air.
As for cleaning up all those photos we take too many of, I find that editing with a strict and critical eye right away after I’ve taken photos helps quite a bit. It’s hard to do but does help whittle down the file of photos.

Dorka September 19, 2017 - 7:01 pm

It was a long and very hot summer this year in the Great Hungarial Plane. We had not a single drop of rain for 12 weeks, but I had a lot of very kind and interesting guests from all over the globe, coming from Taiwan,Scotland Germany and from different parts of my own country. I enjoyed their company and the vacation season is not yet over now begins the birdwathing saeson till end october.From than silence till Easter. Best regards from dorottyaudvar.co.hu Dorka


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