Needing closure

France, it has been said, shuts up shop for the month of August to take a holiday en masse

The remainder of the year it (mainly) closes every Sunday for a rest, and for two solid hours on weekdays from 12 noon to 14.00 (the mandatory ‘entre midi et deux’) so that everyone can have a proper sit-down lunch. It can be infuriating when you want to buy a loaf at any of these times but the best advice is to go with local flow; have a holiday, day off or long lunch and enjoy a siesta yourself.

The workaholic modern world is steadily eating into this pattern but long may the French teach more hyperactive nations that life is a rhythm not a rush. There is a time for everything, even doing nothing. No one should be a slave to work or the timetabled whims of everyone else.

When one shopkeeper in a local town was asked, “Why don’t you open over lunchtime, you’d take all the customers from your competitor?” she replied, “If I do that, my competitor will open her shop too and neither of us will get to eat lunch.” Business is business but everyone needs a break. 

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