Yesterday, all the teachers in France went back to school to prepare for the first day, today or tomorrow. Last week, the last stragglers came back to Paris. It's the rentrée!
Americans don't understand how thoroughly the French vacation. In August, which is when a horrendous number of my friends choose to visit Paris, the city is empty of Parisians and in our neighborhood, it's not even easy to buy stuff because naturally enough, the shopkeepers take their holidays at the same time as everyone else. And woe unto you if you get sick or have a baby in August! I have lived in France so long that when I moved to L.A. for a couple of years, it never stopped surprising me that August was just a normal work month there. Even important people were still around.
Not here. And so it's nice when everyone trickles back to the city and the restaurants and cafes and sidewalks fill up again. School does start tomorrow... but unlike the U.S., France has nice long vacations in the middle of the school year too, at sensible times like October or April when the weather is nice in most places. So the children can already look forward to Toussaint [All Saints], when they will have two whole weeks off.