Vive la rentrée: Check out these awesome vintage photos of France’s end-of-summer tradition

You may have noticed something unexpected if you’ve ever been to Paris in August.

They’re enjoying the warm French summer away from the city. They all return to the city at the end of August. You are ready to go back to school and work.

French tradition is known as “la rentree” at the end of summer holidays. While it is similar to the English ‘back to School’, the French equivalent refers to more than just a September return to school.

The return to work and the return to French parliament after a summer break marks ‘la rentree’, an important part of the French year-round rhythm.

AFP

This period is more than just the end of summer vacations. It’s a chance for French people to get back to their everyday lives and to connect with friends and family.

AFP

If you visit Paris in this season, you will hear local bakers or butchers welcoming their customers with a friendly “Vive la rentree!” As you chat happily with your neighbours,

AFP
A mother drags her reluctant child to school for the first day back to school in Paris
-/AFP or licensors

This unique French tradition can be traced back at Pope Gregory IX, who introduced the idea of a summer vacation in 1231. To limit the absences of students who were unable to assist their parents during summer harvest, he decided to close all universities for one month.

AFP
French schoolboys chat in the street in front of their elementary school on the first day of the new school year in Paris
AFP
French schoolgirls arrive at their elementary school for the first day of the new school year, Paris
AFP

It doesn’t have be a time of sadness at the end of summer holidays. Follow the French example and celebrate a new year.