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Rentrée: Back to School, Back to Work, and Getting Back in the Groove

04 Sep 2018 12:57 PM | Anonymous member

No matter where you are from, there is just something about September.  I can remember as a little girl how excited I would be during this time.  I would go with my parents to get “back to school” supplies and perhaps even a couple of new outfits to start the new school year on the right foot.  It was always a time of excitement and, for me, feels much more like the “new year” than January 1st. As I have gotten older, I still feel that sense of excitement but also struggle at times with getting back into the groove of things.  After a summer of slower work hours and weekends on the beach, I have found it hard to focus and do all that invariably needs to be done during the month.

This is my first September in Paris.  Having moved here in October of 2017, it marks the completion of my first full year in this beautiful city that has presented its fair share of challenges.  And, it is my first Rentree. Back in the States, this time of year is reserved almost exclusively for kids, students, and parents sending their kids back to school.  I absolutely love that, here in France, there is a recognition that this time of year is a period of adjustment - or readjustment - for everyone. I have heard everyone from children to parents to professionals to businesses say to me and others “Bonne Rentree!,” wishing a smooth easing back into the daily life.  

With this in mind, I thought I would share some thoughts and tips for how to make this just that.

Celebrate the Month - and the Adjustment - as the French Do

As I mentioned, this is my first introduction to the term Rentree, what it means and what it entails. As I was researching what this time of year means to the French, scouring the internet in the wee hours of the morning, as I am wont to do when I can’t sleep, I came upon the website of one of our own AWG members, Jennifer Hamerman. She wrote last year in her blog, Mama Loves Paris, all about this time of year and how to celebrate with the French. Whether this is your first Rentree or 6th (as in her case), make sure to check it out to help you understand a bit more about this time of year.

More than anyway, this is a great time of year to embrace the world around you, to understand it, and to feel like home. We noted some of these in our most recent newsletter, but a couple of events that will help you ease back into understanding the rhythm and life of Paris are:

Jazz a la Villette (August 30-September 9) - Need an unwind after work begins to hit you hard?  This is a nice way to take in some of the best Jazz artists from all over the world (Paris does have a long history in the music after all) and get a refresh / shot of musical energy for the next day.

Paris Design Week (September 6-September 15) - Looking to add something fresh for the “new year” to your home or for inspiration for such?  This is the perfect place to do it, known for identifying trends before they hit the mainstream market.

Les Journees des Patrimoine (September 15-September 16) - For one weekend a year, historically relevant sites all over the country open up their doors, including many that are not open otherwise to the public.  This is an opportunity to begin to understand the history of the country, and its values, that you now call home.

Fete de la Gastronomie (September 21-September 23) - France's gastronomy is classed by UNESCO as an 'intangible cultural heritage of humanity' so it makes sense that this month includes a celebration of it.

Finding Your Pace Again

I don’t know about you but no matter how healthy I am, how good my regime is, it somehow always falls off in August.  I give myself the excuse to take a break, to sleep in, to lounge around. Well, that’s all well and good until I get back home and realize that I may be a little more relaxed, but I am also a little less, well, fit both physically and emotionally to take on the day-to-day.  I personally need exercise - it helps me to clear my head of any frustrations (be they from work or just trying to communicate with my neighbors) and gives me the energy to take on anything that may come. However, after a month (or more, whoops!), I find that every September, I have to sort of start again.  I imagine I am not the only one in this position so here are some tips for getting back at it.

Going from Walking to Running - We live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, so why not take it in and get some exercise at the same time?  I have begun by allocating 30 minutes a day to just take a walk, in the neighborhood, to a local site, in a park. Anywhere really, just to get out. I work from home, as I know many other members of AWG do, so I have found it important to mark off this time to do just this.  Otherwise, I will tell myself I will do it “just after I finish this next thing.” After a couple of weeks of this, I then build up to a slow jog to get my heart rate up. And before you know it, I am back to the full run of 5-7k that I am used to doing.

Exercise Classes - As I said, I have found it important to mark off time for me to work out and get out.  I have always had to do this, even when I was in the States working an office job. Exercise classes have been an integral way of doing this - I mean, I signed up for it and don’t want to lose the investment.  When I first moved here, though, and struggling with the language (ok, I’ll admit it, I still struggle with the language), I needed to find places that offered English classes. I personally found my answer with Dynamo Cycling (4 locations throughout the city in the RIght Bank) and The Dailey Method (location Victor Hugo).  As I built up my confidence with the classes, both physically and linguistically, I began going to the French classes.  It was like taking a language and exercise class all in one! If you have other studios that you like to go to, let us know!

Yoga At Home - I know that studios can get expensive.  When I am feeling the budget pinch, I have turned to the online sessions offered through Daily Om.  This website has been a savior for me, both physically and spiritually, helping me focus many of my efforts.  I am personally doing “14 Days of Strength and Stretching” right now to reperfect my yoga poses (rather than just go through the motions) and ensure that I get the most out of them, but there are a huge range of online classes for you to choose from, depending on your focus.  And the bonus? You pay what you feel is appropriate!

AWG Members - If you are looking for a little more structure in the process, reach out to your fellow AWG members as many of them do this as their profession.  We have listed some of these business under Blogs and Businesses on the website and include links to businesses such as MindBody360 (focused on improving your health).  If you have a health focused business (or any business) that you want us to know about, let us know!

These are just a few tips to help you make this the best Rentree possible and get the “new year” off to a new start. I know sometimes it can be hard to do this yourself, so if you are looking for a buddy - to go to one of the events, an exercise class, or just explore the city - this month, look me up in the registry and shoot me a line!

Your AWG VP Communications, Ryan


  • 08 Sep 2018 2:00 PM | Anonymous member
    I'm doing a 30-day yoga challenge from DoYouYoga -- short snippets every day, very useful.
    Link  •  Reply
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