How to Travel in France - Summer Edition

France is officially on vacation.   

You have likely heard this before.  I had.....and I quickly dismissed it as being an overstatement.

It's not.  

Having come from NY where the number of hours worked in a week is an art form all until to itself, I could barely wrap my head around being gone for 5 days.  3 weeks was unheard of.

French employees receive a mandatory 5 weeks of vacation, 3 of which can be taken during the summer holiday period....consecutively. 
To cope with the lack of employees during the month, many companies close in August.  Production of goods at Chanel and Hermes cease for the month.  Boulangeries, shops and even restaurants close for 2-3 weeks.  

As much of France heads away for the month, when you travel has to be considered.  

French vacation rentals run Saturday to Saturday, which means traffic on the major toll roads and freeways is especially horrific on these days.  If you plan on traveling in France and can avoid being on the major roads on a Saturday you should absolutely do so.

I have been asked when those in the US 'take their holidays'. My answer is that most employees only have 1 week of vacation, possibly 2 (for the entire year), and the look that follows is always one of surprise.  
This is almost always followed by being questioned as to when families spend time together....

....and therein lies the difference between life in many European countries and what I was used to.

For those staying home, the up side is that a calm settles in....even in the cities.  Week day traffic is gone, parking is plentiful and you can drive in a relatively stress free manner. 
Gone are the endless sounds of motorcycles, cars and loud conversations.

The windows are open.  A light breeze is coming in and all is calm.
Welcome to summer holidays in France.  


Sources : 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6

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Brocante Road Trip - Shades of Pale

A few scenes from the brocanting road trip.....

As much as I love the hunt, I'm happy to be heading home.

Now the real work begins......

....the unloading and cleaning.


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