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The typical school bag for elementary kids in Toronto. But I found something here that is very popular in Paris: apple sauce in a squeezable sac (to the right of the backpack). I have not seen any child consume this product in my city.

In Toronto, I am gearing up for “Back to School,” which is referred to as “la rentrée” in France. Where we are, the kids in elementary school generally don backpacks. But in Paris, I was very surprised to see the cartable, which is like a briefcase with shoulder straps. It is bulky and looks uncomfortable, if not a bit old-fashioned, which I find ironic, considering the stylish clothing and accessories the children wear at this age (think ads for Ralph Lauren).

Photo taken from www.magicmaman.com

I have seen a few of these cartables with the French word “chipie” on it.  I think it roughly means “cheeky (girl)” or “sassy (girl)” to imply a smarty-pants character to the user.

I wonder what the boys are called?