French Language Blog

French Culture – Back to School Posted by on Sep 3, 2019 in Culture, Vocabulary

Et oui, c’est encore la rentrée (des classes). (And yes, it’s back to school time!). This year, les élèves français (French students) across the country returned to leurs études (their studies) le lundi, 2 septembre (Monday, September 2).

Mais avantBut first (before)

Back to school (la rentrée) means back to school shopping. Chaque année, les parents reçoivent une liste de fournitures scolaires à acheter pour leurs enfants (Each year, parents get a list of supplies to buy for their kids). In addition to les crayons à papiers (pencils), les stylos (pens), and les feutres (markers) (not to mention la trousse/the pencil case to put them all in), parents will need to buy un cartable (book bag/satchel) et les livres pour chaque matière (and the books for each subject). 

While expenses for the little ones have gone down, according to this report, parents of older children (les collegiensmiddle-school kids) can expect to pay as much as 361 €.

Video Tip: News reports presented on are accompanied by helpful summaries that include much of the key vocabulary from the video. Try watching the video first, then read the recap, then watch the video again.

Une rentrée moins gaie / A less happy ‘rentrée’

In some parts of France, towns without enough élèves (students) have been forced to close their schools and combine classes with other rural towns with few students. It’s difficult both for the towns and for the parents, some of whom have their kids going off to different towns during the day. For those responsible though, combining classes is a way to save jobs and to keep up the quality of local schools.

Qu’en pensent les Français? / What do the French think?

A recent poll conducted by Ifop for Sud Radio (Radio South) of 1,010 Français revealed leur opinion (their opinion) of the current (and former) ministres de l’Education nationale (ministers of Education). Selon l’étude (according to the study), the French are divided over their current ministreJean-Michel Blanquer (41% pour, 51% contre / 41% for, 51% against), mostly along party lines.

Of all the former ministers, Jack Lang (2000 – 2002) is the most popular with 57% of those interviewed having de bonnes opinions sur son action (favorable opinions of his actions).

For more on school in France, check out these previous posts.
Useful vocabulary about les fournitures scolaires.
An overview of the French grade levels.
What to call your French teacher depends on your age.

Photo from [CC0].

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About the Author: Tim Hildreth

Since my first trip to France at 16, I have been a passionate francophile. I love the language, food, music, art, people, and more that make France and la Francophonie in general such an amazing part of our global community. Having lived in France and studied the language and culture for over 35 years, it is my great pleasure to be able to share a little bit of my deep love with you through this blog.