September in France isn’t just about the kids going back to school. It’s known as, ‘La Rentrée ‘ and signifies the return to normality and routine after a period of holiday.
However, there are lots of things happening in France in September that you may not know about.
It’s also a time for new things: new stock in shops, new book releases, TV programmes. There are also new exhibitions and cultural programmes all over the country. It’s actually the peak season for publishing, known as la rentrée littéraire This is partly related to people coming back to work but is also linked to the fact that many of France’s major literary prizes – including the Prix Goncourt, the Prix Renaudot, and the Grand Prix du roman de l’Académie française – are held in October and November.
This is why Publishers release books that they believe have a chance at a prize in late August or September in the hope that they will be fresh in the judges’ minds.
The grape harvest gets fully underway in France in September, although some wine growers were forced to start in August this year because of the unusually high summer temperatures.
Linked to the wine harvest is the annual wine sale in supermarkets known as the foie aux vins. This is essentially a discounting exercise where wine-sellers make room for the new season’s wines by selling off old stock, and it’s a great place to pick up a few special bottles at bargain prices.
Saturday, September 17th and Sunday, September 18th, mark the Journée du patrimoine – heritage days – when some of France’s most famous venues (including the president’s Elysée palace) open their doors and welcome in visitors. Visits are free but you have to book in advance for most venues – a full schedule is usually released a couple of weeks in advance
So, as you can see, there are quite a lot of good reasons to pay a visit to France this month!