In August, the capital slows way down as Parisians claim their right to a long vacation.
August here is a phenomenon as French as they come. Employees in France are entitled to five weeks of paid vacation every year, more than in other European nations. Sometimes the French get even longer if they opt to work more than the standard 35 hours a week. This is why — and how — certain French restaurants, shops and small businesses can close for essentially one month of the fiscal year, a reality that never fails to mystify Americans.
But France is not the United States, and here, vacation is not a privilege. It is a right [ . . . ]
The photographs that occupy the header of my Pas De Merde blog are each the work of Pierre Jamet. Jamet (1910-2000) was a singer (the tenor voice in Les Quatre Barbus), active outdoorsman, and above all – the gifted photographer who so brilliantly captured young French people enjoying their country’s hillsides, lakes, and seashore during the 1930s. I especially love the above photo, “Four Pair of Legs.” It beautifully captures the feeling of being on vacation – the clashing sensations of both relaxation and exhilaration that nourish our summer souls. Are the children’s legs dangling from the bridge as they take a rest after their hike? Or are they preparing to jump into the cool, refreshing waters of a stream below? I like to imagine that the children drop from the bridge into the railroad car of a passing train, carrying goose feathers – destination unknown [ . . . ]