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Relaxing Sunday opening hours

In March we wrote about Sunday trading laws in France and asked for your views. We publish a sample of the many replies.

The content of the Attali Commission report will keep people talking for months if not years.

Surely one of the most controversial proposals is that of Sunday opening. I expect that shop workers will not be found among the young unemployed or older people who may want to supplement their pensions but rather, as in the UK, from the ranks of wives and mothers.

This will inevitably lead to pressure on the family and their quality time together and, in turn, to a rise in social problems as has happened in the UK.

You do not have to be religious to realise that one of the qualities which the Brits lost some time ago, but the French still have, is the strength of the family which generates social respect and responsibility.

Having seen the negative effect of this idea in action across the Channel one can only wonder where the members of this committee have been for the last decade.

One of Mr Sarkozy’s recent statements has been that he wants to protect the quality of life in France, therefore, as with the proposal to scrap the departments, maybe he will see sense and back down on this worrying idea.
By email

Should shops open on Sundays in France? Absolutely not. Surely the tranquil and relaxed way of life in France, exemplified by the fact that most shops don't open on Sundays, is one of the reasons so many of us chose to live here.

We've just returned from a weekend in the UK near Reading. We were horrified by the fact that at 10.00 on Sunday the local ASDA store was heaving with a queue of cars twice round the car park and a crowd of hundreds of people flocking the aisles inside.

It looked like panic buying on Christmas Eve. In the UK, Sunday is no different from any other day of the week; a hell of traffic, crowds, fumes, noise and frenetic activity.

In France we can stroll quietly through almost empty streets, drive on almost deserted country roads, wander peacefully through the forest and enjoy life as it should be.

Long may it remain so.

I feel this would ruin France, it could soon become like Britain.

I remember about 15 years ago our vicar and some others standing outside a large Tesco store protesting about Sunday openings.

They were ridiculed by the press and the public.

These blind people seemed to think that all they wanted was for people to go to church on Sunday.

It was much deeper than that, it was a concern for family life. Now we see the result - families have no time together as every day of the week is the same.

Sundays are spent working or browsing round endless garden centres, DIY stores or shopping malls.

The people doing this do not look happy. In France the large dining tables that are sold are, to me, a symbol of a better way of life, a time for families to talk and listen to one another and just enjoy a meal together.

Well done France - you said ‘no’. Do not let what has happened in Britain happen to you.

Your values, your culture and family life are an example to the world.
UK but moving to France next year

Most of us Brits came to France to live because it was very much like life in the UK 50 years ago.

Since Britain has become Americanised with 24-hour opening etc, we have seen a dramatic change in lifestyle for the worse.

The pressure on UK shoppers is oppressive. France does not need Sunday opening, let us all give it a resounding “no.”
St Paul du Bois

I shall probably be a lone voice in support of Sunday trading. I can almost hear the wailing and gnashing of dentures as the preconceived opinions and knee-jerk reactions come flooding in.

I spent 17 years with B&Q before retiring to France in 1996.

As senior management I was actively involved in my company's fight to secure the right to open on a Sunday. We had to overcome many obstacles and misinformation put out by the anti- lobby.

Here are some examples: "Sunday opening is un-Christian and will dramatically reduce church attendance."

I'm Scottish by birth and we have had Sunday trading since 1948. Per capita I'll wager more people attend church in Scotland than in England and even France. The Scots will then visit their local DIY/garden centre - it's their choice to do so.

"Sunday opening will destroy family life at the weekends and parents and children will chose to spend their time apart."

By far the largest tranche of customers on a Sunday in B&Q stores is the family group.

"It's unfair on management and staff to work weekends and it will destroy their family life."

Management did have to be encouraged to work but with increased salaries and a good rota system they could see the benefits to both themselves and to the success of the company.
We have never had difficulty staffing stores on a Sunday.
By email

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