I’m in Paris for just one week, the first week in September. It’s a great time to be here, for two reasons: The weather is perfect. And, it’s La Rentrée.
La Rentrée means The Return – literally la rentrée scolaire, when students and teachers go back to school. But because many businesses close in August and much of the population takes vacation, La Rentrée is also associated with a general restart of activity. There are expositions, performances, advertising promotions, sports events and theater offerings: “La Rentrée Cinéma” “Spectacles de la Rentrée” “Rentrée Yoga” – even a Rentrée special on galvanized nails. There’s also a general air of anticipation – what will the new year bring?
Nicolsen, my favorite chocolatier on the rue Mouffetard, created a chocolate palette for La Rentrée. Nicolsen has four small shops and manufactures in a workshop north of Paris. Its chocolates don’t show up in gourmet Top Ten lists, but they are yummy, and the locals shop here.
A young student is rewarded with ice cream from Nicolsen after her first day of school.
While their father shops at Fournil de Mouffetard, his daughters tightrope along the narrow bakery platform. The metal floor and pastry cases are unfolded every morning; immediately a long line forms. Right after this picture, I bought a grain-encrusted baguette hot from the oven. Mmmmm.
A friend took me to this newly-opened park on the rue des Rosiers. It’s tucked behind buildings; its entry is through the twelfth-century Philippe Auguste city wall.
The park, in the old Jewish quarter, is named for Joseph Migneret. To me, that feels like a poignant choice. He rescued children during the Deportation.
For the adults, it’s clean-up-fix-up time. This workman posed beside his newly-whitewashed wall in the Passages des Patriarches.
This guy leaning out of a second-floor window is installing flag holders for Young and Happy, a youth hostel.
Maison Gregoire, around the corner from my apartment, has hung a new purple awning and set out multicolored tables and chairs. Today a lovely lady in a purple suit adds a decorative touch.
There is plenty of room for performers and pets on the Place Contrescarpe. Usually the square is crowded, but this week the tourists are gone. So it’s easy to find a seat in the cafés, and you can hear the notes and the splashing of the fountain.
André Marie Constant Dumécil, zoologist, looks down from the wall of the Museum of Comparative Anatomy and Zoology and seems pleased with La Rentrée. So am I.