A note to any of you looking to travel to France in July and August: be prepared to face some disappointment if you had your sights set on sampling la vie quotidienne!
Here’s the deal.The average French citizen has 5 weeks of paid vacation. Crazy, right? This vacation is taken in the summer, usually starting the third week of July. The average French citizen includes your butcher, baker, cheese-monger, shop owner, waiter, waitress, café owner, etc etc etc. Almost everyone picks up and leaves town. Streets are deserted and eerily quiet. And this goes on for WEEKS.
Welcome to our new reality – Summer in France…
Too bad…your favourite boulangerie decided to close up shop and pull down all the walls. And it’s not just your favourite boulangerie, it’s ALL THE BOULANGERIES.
Unfortunately for you, your fromager closed up shop for and skipped town. He’s soaking up the sun on the Riviera in a speedo, drinking a fine rosé. À trés bientôt, pffft. Confiance et fidélité, mes fesses!
Fat chance! Bonnes vacances? But I’m not going anywhere!
Want peace and quiet?
Then get out of town like everyone else. I guess the annual vacation policy does not extend to construction workers. Les pauvres!
While it completely goes against everything I am accustomed to in Canada, I do agree with the idea of vacation time for the “peuple”. It’s an essential part of the french lifestyle. French citizens work really hard for about 10.5 months out of the year. Summer is when they slow down, enjoy life, spend time with their families, eat, drink, and bien profiter de la belle vie. Which I get. Really I do.
But, come on, does it have to be like this?!
We were warned about August being a complete dead zone in Lyon. Mille fois we were warned. But nothing could have prepared us for the realities of scrounging for bread, a decent cup of coffee, or hunk of cheese. It will be frozen pizzas and cheap beer for the next few weeks.
On the upside, we have the place to ourselves.