With Our Backs to the Summer, La Rentrée…Almost!
Every year the same thing happens…like when one rushes to get somewhere, but then ends up waiting, so it is with summer vacations. We work hard in advance to prepare for doing nothing, then we do nothing for a short period of time, and then work hard to make up for having done nothing. Sometimes in hindsight it seems like it wasn’t worth it…but the truth is that there is always benefit in “doing nothing.”
During the times one “does nothing,” it’s still a moment to relax our brains, releasing our thoughts to nothingness, to allow for a free flow of ideas…and from that can come a whole lot of “something.” I’m a black-white, on-off, all or nothing kind of person. Not everyone is like that, but I’m either doing something at full speed or stopped dead, barely idling. It’s like that, too, when summer vacation ends and the European world goes back to “normal life.” When “La Rentrée” strikes, it STRIKES…like lightening. In one day, school starts, work starts, and it seems that an entire month of all those things that didn’t get done while doing nothing must be done the first few days…hardly even the first week. It’s kind of scary, actually.
We’re now less than two weeks from September 2nd — Labor Day in the U.S., La Rentrée in France — and I’m already gearing up for that moment when everyone is back to work, back to school and taking a deep breath for the rest of the year. I could sense that the Europeans are already thinking like I am, because upon our return to Nice last Saturday, everything are less crowded — the restaurants, the beach, the streets. There is a kind of calm in Nice that wasn’t there before we left for Ibiza a week-and-a-half ago. And there’s evidence in the stores, too, like Monoprix, have moved things around to make room for their selection of school supplies…stacks and stacks of paper, notebooks, pens, etc.
Americans don’t have this phenomena, because summer vacation is not handled the same way. First of all, most Americans don’t (or can’t*) take more than two weeks of paid vacation a year. The time is almost always staggered with other workers so that no job ever does not get done…by at least someone. That means August is not a very special holiday month and in fact, most schools and universities like to start off their year sometime around the third week of August. (Read this article in CNN — Back to school: Why August is the new September)
*According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, on the average, a worker gets 10 days of paid vacation after working one year. As tenure increases, so do paid vacation days, but after five years of employment, you might get 15 days and after 20 years, you might get 20 days. And get this? More than half of Americans don’t even use their vacation days!
What is wrong with this picture?
In Europe, the “staggering” happens between July and August, but even so, in August, you can’t expect to accomplish much, so you might as well take it off, too. That’s actually what makes it so enjoyable — EVERYONE is on vacation. I took an extra week from my usual schedule this year to be in Nice, because in the past, when I returned the third week of August, there was no one around and nothing going on in Paris. There was no reason to have left my beachside abode from where I can balance both work and play.
Gearing up for La Rentrée can also be a whole lot of mental gymnastics and fun. To-do lists are made, ideas are formed, plans are put in place and the wheels start to turn. Here’s what’s on the horizon for La Rentrée in Paris:
Our first guest at Après Midi is author, journalist and chef, Susan Herrmann Loomis (of On Rue Tatin) on September 10th. She is an internationally-recognized expert on food and an award-winning journalist/author. She takes a unique approach to her craft by combining training in journalism with a love for food and the people who produce it. Susan believes that learning about cooking and food should involve much more than recipes and techniques. She delights in meeting and introducing the personalities and customs behind the great cuisines of the world. Don’t miss this special event to kick off our “new year!”
September 18th is our annual North American Expat Financial Forum. There are a few details to put in place, but it’s pretty much ready to go. If you haven’t already registered, you should do so now, as our seating is limited and we’ve just about reached the limit. DON’T DELAY!
Be prepared to hear A LOT about House Hunters International, especially about Mediterranean Life. We will be filming several new shows this coming fall, some of which are part of a spin-off series focused on…”Mediterranean Life” — and that means they will take place in Nice! Stay tuned to learn more about each of them.
October 2nd to 8th, my daughter, Erica Simone, will be exhibiting her photography work at the Paris Mairie of the 9th arrondissement, as part of “A FOCUS ON WOMEN’S PHOTOGRAPHY O B J E C T I F FEMMES.” For the past four years “Objectif FEMMES” has been the French photo event exclusively highlighting female photographers. Whether they work on the human body, nature, current events, or capture a more abstract reality through their lenses, each artist has her own personal view of life which is captured in her work, telling us a particular story. Why only women? Because they remain largely underexposed compared to their male counterparts: in 2017, out of 704 photographers with a press card, 610 were men. Out of 3426 photos published, only 911 were signed by women…(source Fisheyes – June 2017). Do women not deserve better? Karine Paoli, herself a photographer and creator of the Objectif FEMMES event, wanted to promote the female approach to photography. She has hence committed herself to bringing to the forefront the audacity and talent of female photographers, and to making them evermore visible to the public eye. With two curators (Valerie Paumelle and Sophie Verdier), she has selected five artists, who will have the great opportunity to be exhibited in Paris. The prestigious event will be showcased in the sumptuous rooms of the City Hall of the 9th district of Paris. With the complicity of the mayor Delphine Bürkli, Karine Paoli has succeeded in her venture: that of staging solely the talent of female artists. Come for the “vernissage” (opening)!…October 2nd from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Mairie of the 9th arrondissement, 6 Rue Drouot, 75009 Paris. (See the location on a map)
Join me October 5th at the American Church in Paris for the 54th annual premier expat orientation seminar, BLOOM WHERE YOU’RE PLANTED. I will be speaking about “Finding Your Perfect Paris Home.” Saturday, October 5, 2019, The American Church in Paris, 65 Quai d’Orsay, 7th Arrondissement. Visit Bloom in Paris to register and for more information.
A la prochaine…
Editor of Parler Nice
(8th Grade school photo)
P.S. For those of you who have watched the growth of “Henri-le-Cactus,” as I have documented his amazing rise to the ceiling, I’d like to introduce “Henriette,” Henri’s new friend who is at this moment the same height Henri was in 2012 when I first took him home to “Le Matisse.” Le Matisse is the name of my jewel of an apartment in Nice, where I only allow friends of Parler Nice, Parler Paris and French Property Insider to stay as I love to share it with those who love it as much as I do. (Email us at [email protected] for more information.)
My motto has always been, that it (Le Matisse) should be missing nothing…but I did find ONE THING it was missing this past week: a splatter screen. Once, a while ago in a one of our Paris rental apartments, a guest complained that the apartment, a beautiful apartment in the 7th arrondissement, was missing this very item, which became a kind of joke among us managers. So, to right that wrong, Le Matisse is now more than< fully equipped!/p>