Archive for November 2009

Sundays in France: Remember Britain circa 1950? No? Good for you.

November 1, 2009

France is a first world country. The French have a stable economy, a great transport system, a rich political and cultural history, and a great range of landscapes and climates. In essence, they’re doing well for themselves. I am clearly not going to confuse my adopted country with, say, Sudan.

And yet, out here in the provinces, come Sunday, you might think you were living in a much earlier era, when people ate at home and prayed at church, and that was the sum activity of the final day of their weekend. It’s still not Sudan, granted, but here in Orléans the streets are completely deserted. A mournful wind blows rubbish round the statue of Joan of Arc in the main square. The supermarkets, shops, and market stalls are all shut, as well as the majority of bars, cafés and restaurants. My corner shop claims to be open between 9h30 and 12h30 on a Sunday, but as I attempted to forage for food this morning it was ostentatiously closed. Maybe the pretence of the horaires was enough for them, but frankly my stomach disagreed.