Across France, Pessimism Clouds a Time for Renewal

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The dead city is slowly awakening, but there is still an element of dread in the air. The grand return from the summer holidays — la rentrée — is preoccupying France, but anxiety abounds about what exactly is being re-entered.

La rentrée is a new beginning, as if the new school year provides new chances for everyone here to reform, renew, replenish and re-engage. People make resolutions, as at New Year’s, to be thinner, faster, smarter, better.

But this year, the public mood remains sour, with optimism hard to find and open worries about inflation, purchasing power and the position of France in what seems a suddenly less stable world.

The French are like “eternal children who return to school,” said Alix Girod de l’Ain, a columnist at Elle magazine. “There is a sacralization of vacation,” since nearly everyone takes August off, with la rentrée as “an important moment because we officially change our rhythm and enter a new cycle.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * International News & CommentaryEuropeFrance

Posted August 31, 2008 at 8:37 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]
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