It's that time - la rentrée! September means everyone's tanned, relaxed and back from a month long vacance (usually) to school, work and the everyday rhythm of France. While some take their month off in July basically no business gets done from end of May until this week. Kind of a mental vacance.
La rentrée for the children begins today the first day of school.
The famous back to school shopping list for all public school students will be given out the first week of classes, and can contain such specifics as dimension and page number of notebooks, along with the required blue, red, black and green ball point pens.
Students are told precisely where to draw a line on a page and what color pen to use. The French school system emphasises following the model, and not coloring outside the lines.
But these days you'll find a plaque this outside many Paris elementary schools
A LA MEMOIRE DES ELEVES DE CETTE ECOLE
DEPORTES DE 1942 A 1944 PARCE QUE NES JUIFS, VICTIMES INNOCENTES DE LA BARBARIE NAZIE AVEC LA COMPLICITE DU GOVERNMENT VICHY.
ILS FURENT EXTERMINES DANS LES CAMPS DE LA MORT.
140 INFANTS VIVAIENT DANS LE 2EME.
3 Avril 2004
NE LES OUBLIONS JAMAIS
In memory of the students in this school deported from 1942 to 1944 because they were born Jews, innocent victims of Nazi barbarism with the complicity of the Vichy Government. They were exterminated in the death camps. 140 infants lived in the 2nd arrondissement.
April 3, 2004
These plaques - after decades of work navigating Paris officialdom - were organized and paid for by associations of survivors and victims of the Deportation. Not the French government.
But François Hollande's speech at the commemoration of Vel d'Hiv roundup that the plaque reminds us of says more about his thinking and France's responsibility today.
Cara - Tuesday