Memories of My French Childhood


Join Céline on her trip down memory lane. Céline grew up in Lille, northern France, before moving to London in her twenties. Here she recalls her end-of-year kermesse at school, such amazing memories!

Do your expatriate children attend a local French school? Will they cherish similar recollections of their time here?


Remember watching Grease, and the last day of school when the pupils storm out throwing their notes and books in the air? It’s almost like that in France, just that school books aren’t needed during the last week of the year.

If only the whole school year was like that special last week, I used to think as a child. Getting up in the morning without the anxiety of a reading competition or of being put in the limelight during a maths exercise.

During the last week of school, pupils are allowed to do nothing but enjoy the friends they have made and celebrate a year of hard work by joining in super-interesting activities. Teachers put together a programme of favourite games, movie screenings, and  fun rehearsals  for the end of year show. And no, no more ‘proper’ lessons ! Just and only fun for a whole week.

Parents lend a hand to organise the ‘kermesse’ (school fair). It usually means eating a wide choice of homemade cakes, watching siblings performing, playing games like ‘fishing’ (trying to hook something wrapped in newspaper with a wooden stick), or archery where one can win a live chick. Mine all died after a few days but my brother managed to breed one in our garden, until the neighbour’s dog got it.

So much fun and no worries, the school looking like a giant playground as the teachers have completed their curriculum and use this time to seal unforgettable relashionships.

A bonding week before the long summer holidays where postcards will replace notebooks.




photo credit and copyright C.A. 2012

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