Imagine my shock when I read this headline on cnn.com! Here is the full article:
While my blog is in semi-retirement, I thought this issue was something interesting to touch upon. I do believe I mentioned a few times how everything is closed on Sundays in France (and in Spain). If I wanted to go shopping on weekends in Toulouse, Saturday was the day to do it because virtually everything on Sundays was closed. I remember walking around once in the shopping district of Toulouse with Kathryn one Sunday afternoon. Obviously everything was shut down. It was eerily quiet and devoid of people as we made our way around the streets. We had been trying to go to Flowers, our favorite cafe in Toulouse that day but silly me should have remembered it would be closed on Sunday.
While I remain on the fence about Sarkozy, I think this law is a good idea. One evening this week I entered the kitchen to find my father and my cousin (I have a French cousin living with us for 7 months who is supposedly trying to improve his English while doing some kind of IT internship) in a heated debate about this new law. As the French are prone to do when they get passionate about something, Papa practically yelled into his nephew’s face, trying to make him understand the new law wasn’t forcing people to work on Sundays. Rather, it was giving businesses the freedom to open their doors if they chose to do so.
I was raised in a country where it is normal to have supermarkets and pharmacies and malls open on Sundays. Granted, the hours are usually reduced but business districts don’t become ghost towns. I found it very amusing some people were claiming Sunday should be a day reserved for God and prayer. I thought France was a secular country. What about that whole head scarf ban on Muslim women a few years back?
Anyways nobody goes to Mass anymore on Sundays. Most of the French are non practicing Catholics. Every time I go to Mass in France, it seems like I’ve stepped into the wrong building since I am usually surrounded by senior citizens. Most of my French relatives only go to Mass on Christmas Eve. (Side note: If I EVER have to go to that children’s mass in Rouen again, I will seriously cause someone bodily harm. I still don’t understand why the priest brought out test tubes and a poorly made fake tree to illustrate the birth of Christ).
I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few protests over this, the French always need something to protest about. But now I think they just protest for the love of protesting, not because they actually understand what they are protesting about. Or they just misunderstand the intention of new laws? Or like to cling to tradition? Maybe it’s a combination of all three. They have to keep the revolutionary spirit alive somehow.
If this new law does pass, I see it as progress in the right direction. For the French who don’t want to work on Sundays since it might interfere with the Day of the Lord or “les promenades du dimanche”, it’s very simple. Don’t work on Sundays. Everybody is happy.
Of course the concept of happiness is something that can be foreign to some Frenchies. If you feel the need to vocalize your dissent, by all means march and wave your banners.
In the meantime, I will thoroughly enjoy the fact stores are open in the US on Sundays.
Just of curiosity: who are you people from Plano, Texas who keep checking this blog? I don’t know anybody there.
And one more update: Seb and Joelle’s baby was born July 4th! A healthy baby boy whose name is Soan. I’ve seen him via webcam and I can’t wait to see him in person next time I go to France, whenever that may be.