Paris in September

I've always loved Paris in September. It's truly magic. The weather is still warm, but the evening air is cool, and as the leaves begin to change shade there is a wistfulness to the city as Parisians sigh over the inevitable end of summer, pull on their cardigans and trenchcoats, and head resignedly into autumn. 

Many of the bars, bistros, grassy knolls and café terraces are jammed with people at once embracing and mourning the lingering sun. In fact, it's not uncommon in September for Parisians to take the afternoon off, if the day is lovely, in order to sit somewhere and reflect upon life for that contemplative period between brunch and l’apéro. It is summer’s end, and, as happens every year in Paris, the city doesn’t know whether to be satisfied or sad.

This time of year is known as la rentrée. A particular Parisian syndrome (and a fabulously onomatopoetic description if ever I’ve heard one), it refers to the time of year when Parisians return to town after their summer sojourns and the city stretches, sighs and repositions itself, in an urban version of yoga, to mentally and physically ready itself for the months ahead. People unpack their suitcases and empty the beach sand from their coloured Bensimmons, children return to school, and the rest reacquaint themselves with their boulanger, fishmonger, neighbours and friends to catch up on the summer gossip (otherwise known as being branchée, or plugged in). In essence, la rentrée is when routine resumes with a quiet new solemnity. Even though much of the city is stressée (stressed) and pressée (in a hurry).

As the city slowly returns to normality after the ebbs and flows of summer, thoughts turn to deadlines, to diaries and social functions, and – as Fashion Week approaches – even to new season’s wardrobes.

Life in Paris is moving into another gear. A new year has begun.

{All photos © copyright Janelle McCulloch 2012}

No comments:

Post a Comment