The French schools have been finished for the summer since the last week of June or first week of July and will start again the first week of September. La Rentrée is the return to school and it’s quite a big deal.
In the meantime we have to buy the stationery. This may sound simple but it is an annual nightmare where parents – French ones too – stand before supermarket shelves crammed with so many different exercise books, files, folders, pens, paper and other paraphernalia that it makes your head spin. We stand there, clutching our lists, which are always in teeny tiny print, and try to match up the requirements on the list with what’s on offer on the shelves. It doesn’t help that different teachers might call the same item by a different name and the supermarket might call it yet another. The French students use squared paper but, of course, it’s not that simple. There are small squares, large squares, double size sheets, single size sheets, small squared paper with margins, or without, large squared paper with margins or without , A4 size or 24x 32. Don’t get me started on all the different types of files and folders. If you don’t buy the stationery in the period of time that the supermarkets have allocated 2 aisles to all these different items – you are lost. Because, after that, there will only be the bare minimum for sale and you will have to pay over the odds by going to an actual Papeterie where these things are on sale all year round but will be more expensive.
I’m sure there is a business opportunity for somebody to compile La Rentrée Packs where all the shopping and amassing of items is already done for you. I, for one, would definitely pay for a service like that.