Even though a good chunk of the population doesn’t get July and August off, France is now on holiday mode. School holidays started, exams are over, it’s hot and it’s pretty much understood that for the next couple of months, business will be on hold and things will be slower… unless you are a seasonal worker. Local stores close for a week, weekends or even the entire month of July or August. If the shelves are empty in grocery stores, people shrug and just blame the temporary shortage on “les vacances”, bien sûr.
The holidays serve as an all-purpose excuse. Spending too much money? Bof, c’est la vacances! Drinking too much? Les vacances! Eating out? Mais oui, c’est la vacances! Whatever happens, on verra en septembre.
Ah, these hedonistic French… While American citizens are not legally entitled to paid leave, the average French worker can expect 30 days a year of paid vacation. And they clock off relatively easily as time off is engrained in the culture, unlike in North America where if you take longer than a long weekend, you’re basically seen as a slacker.
French travel a lot within the country in July and August, and many take the train. The extensive network goes just about everywhere, and it’s fast and convenient—although it’s no longer cheap. I walked by Nantes’ train station over the weekend and it was packed with travelers arriving and leaving. Even though train stations are dirty and convenience stores inside are a bit of a rip-off, I kind of like them. There is something comforting about those Relay H where you pick up a cheap magazine and cigarettes, the vending machines that sell bottles of Orangina, the out-of-service photo booths, Paul or other bakery franchises for a quick snack… I spent a lot of time in train stations when I was a student, and I almost miss them now.
You can find all the picture in the France 2015 set.