When we arrived in France it was the beginning of the school holidays, but every supermarket was advertising ‘fournitures scolaires’ – school supplies. We saw mothers with supermarket trolleys full of crayons, exercise books, pencil cases and new backpacks. We wondered if we needed to buy all these supplies for our daughter. What was wrong with her old pencil case and crayons? Apparently, it is a custom for French parents to buy everything new for each academic year and some schools ask parents to supply exercise books. We spent an anxious summer wondering if we should do the same until we received ‘La Liste’ from her school, which told us what we needed to supply. Fortunately, there was hardly anything on it so off she went with her old pencil case.
Many school textbooks are lent to pupils by external associations, and the books must be returned in a good state. Special book covers are sold so that books won’t get damaged. Protège-cahiers = book covers.