Monday, August 3, 2009

France is on vacation

Listening to the news this morning, the anchor said that 15 million frenchmen/women took to the roads and rails this weekend to start their summer vacations. They were joining 5-10 million of their fellow countrymen already on vacation, and will be joined by another 5 to 10 million next weekend. All togehter I would say that about half of the population in France will be on vacation this month.

We get alot of vacation in France. The government mandated minimum is 5 weeks, and most people probably get more than that. I get 6 weeks of vacation that I can take whenever I want, plus another 4 weeks of holidays and compensation for working more than 35 hours per week, and this amount of time off is not uncommon in France.

Apparently the French hate August--at least those who do not live in the mountains or on the coast. Everyone is gone. And not just 1-week of vacation gone, gone for the entire month. My inbox at work is full of "I'll be back on August 27th" emails from all the people leaving on vacation this week, and everyone has been asking me when I plan to take my summer vacation. Half of the restaurants near my work are closed (for the month), and even the library and post office is taking time off. I am in desperate need of some new eye glasses, but couldn't get an appointment until mid september (which I made in mid July) because all of the opthomologists are working on their tans.

Except for having to deal with all the closed shops and restos, I think this is a good time to be in Lyon. The sidewalks are less crowded, I'm almost guaranteed a seat on the metro, and if I had a car I am sure I would be happily chatting about the lack of traffic this morning. George and I saw Up in 3D on opening night, in the only theatre in Lyon showing the movie in English, and the theatre, which is normally packed, was 3/4ths empty. Restaurants, the ones that remain open, are less likely to require reservations now. And I was able to sit in the park by my house and read this weekend without getting hit by a rogue soccer ball.

I think I will continue to not take vacation in August.


ErikC said...

Damn frenchies and their lifestyle!

So why aren't you traveling again? End of summer seems like a good time to do so...

michael said...

I'm enjoying being in deserted Lyon, so I'm saving my vacation until later.

Plus, George and I want to go to Italy for our next vacation, and it is hot there in the summer, so we want to wait until Fall.