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If you’re encouraged by what you’ve read on this page and would like to take up or develop your ability in French, German or English (for non-native speakers) please get in touch.   As well as immersion courses (for French and English) I offer flexible personalised online language lessons at very affordable prices. Please contact me for more information, Marjorie on +44 (0)14 13 32 85 07 or by email to mclifton@languagegateway.co.uk

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La Rentrée – more than just “Back to School”

Well before the end of the summer holidays, the signs were there, weren’t they? Pervading every aisle of every supermarket or department store – “Back to School”. Now, the more wistfully nostalgic amongst us may have greeted these signs with a sense of excitement, as we remembered our own optimism at starting over in a new academic year, transported back in time by the waft of brand new books and perfumed stationery - unless of course “harassed parent mode” was switched on, in which case the excitement may have been more akin to euphoria! And that’s just talking about the adults amongst us. Children’s reactions too will have varied, from the wilful denial of most teenagers to the excited anticipation of infants about to enter “Big School”.

Whatever our response, these “Back to School” messages are generally acknowledged to refer solely to children going back into another year of education, with all that that entails. However, in France the message is more than just that. It’s “La Rentrée”, meaning a much more general “return” - back to school but also back to work, back to normality or fresh challenges or whatever the new academic year is going to bring for everyone, not just school kids.

Nowhere is this more evident that at the countless “Forum des associations” or “Societies’ Fairs” which takes places all over France at the start of the new year. I went with my daughters last Saturday to a couple of these, near our house in Dinan. It was quite an experience – it felt like everyone was there and indeed it was quite a social occasion, with food and drink for sale and hundreds of stands to visit. The parallel in the UK would be Fresher’s Week at University, but this event is for everyone – for school children signing up for their sports, music, drama etc and also for adults looking for clubs of interest to them.

So, as I wish you all a “Bonne rentrée”, please think of the lovely associated message that life’s journey, educational or otherwise, doesn’t end when school/college/university does, but rather continues onwards. There are always new challenges to be met, new adventures to be had, new things to learn. So, how about those French lessons you’ve been promising yourself for some time???


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