In July or August, large parts of France slow down or close up shop completely. The children are no longer at school, the government head off to their Summer homes and the beaches, and many restaurants and other businesses close down as well. Most French people go on holiday for all or part of either month – the worst times for traffic jams are the ‘grand depart’ at the beginning of July and the beginning of August when the Julyists return home and the Augustians head off on their holiday.
All of which means that la rentrée, in September, is more than just students and teachers going back to school; it’s also everyone else returning home and going back to work, returning to normality. It is nice that rather than the Summer ending quietly and people slipping back to work with just the return of children to school much more of an event is made of the whole thing.
One of the major institutions in Strasbourg is the Council of Europe and last night was their rentrée party. For an organisation that represents 47 countries in Europe, and on its fringes, the theme this year was of course the Antilles. Hence the dancers above who performed twice whilst I was there, and were comprised of people who do the Antilles dancing on Fridays at the Council of Europe.
On arrival there was food, but it was coming to the end of being served, and unfortunately we missed the speeches! We met some friends, failed to partake of the punch (pictured) chosing Cremant as our poison of choice, and chatted before the very good dancing happened, after which people took to the dance floor to shake a leg. Around which time, neither of us having our dancing shoes on, we made our excuses and left.