Fermeture annuelle

Anyone who has spent time in France is familiar with these words: ‘Fermeture annuelle’ or ‘Congés d’été’. Usually on a scrap of paper stuck behind a closed shop window. Most family-run businesses in France close for an annual month of holidays in July or August, which can leave tourists gasping in astonishment.

The epitome of frustration for me was discovering the August closure of Berthillon, the most famous ice cream place in Paris. When an ice cream vendor closes in the summer, presumably its busiest period, it becomes clear that they are not in it for the money. Or not just for the money. Quality of life and the sacrosanct summer holidays are of at least equal importance.

This takes some getting used to, especially for North Americans. The idea of a shop closing its doors for an entire month is inconceivable to our way of thinking. The loss of business for the owners, the boon for the competition, the complete lack of concern for its customers. None of these things seem to worry the French. The customers will be back in September – meanwhile, the beach beckons.

But, as has been pointed out to me, I have been in France for a very long time. And I’ve discovered that a summer holiday is good for the soul. This year I’ve decided to take a blogging break. I’ll still be around – reading, reblogging and dropping in from time to time, but I’ll give my regular updates a rest for the summer.

In the meantime, let’s hear what you are up to this summer. Ant or grasshopper?


20 thoughts on “Fermeture annuelle

  1. yes. i (almost) hate running into that while I’m there! In fact this year I decided to plan my visit at the end of Aug beginning Sept just because I was so not wanting to see that sign!
    Amusez-vous bien!

    1. Bonne idée! Most places open again by after the ’15 août’ long weekend and you’ll be just in time for the back-to-school rush. Enjoy summer til then!

      1. Oh Portugal sounds nice 😉 Going to Langkawi Island in 2 weeks time – just an hour’s flight from Kuala Lumpur – time for a long weekend chill out for me…

  2. I think a break is a grand idea, good for the soul and to let the muse recharge. Enjoy! (Hard to imagine ones fave ice-cream shop shutting at the height of summer…but good on them for taking a break too. A good indication that they also need to rekindle their ice-cream muse….) ☺️

    1. To be fair it seems they close the shop but still keep the ice cream coming to the other places they supply. We all need some recharging now and then, ice cream or words need to stay fresh! 🙂

  3. I’m glad to hear you are having a break – not, I hasten to add because I won’t miss you but because we all need to refresh ourselves in this life and get that old worky-lifey balance. Enjoy the hol and I’ll be looking out eagerly for your return 🙂 x

    1. Cheers Osyth! Definitely need to refresh and rebalance the work part of the life equation to fit in some other writing projects as well as the stuff the pays the bills. Enjoy the summer!

  4. Lovely to come back and read your blog again. I’ve been away, and now you’re off! Have a lovely break and come back refreshed. I’ll be combining grasshopper and ant – like many other independent workers in France, I can’t afford the luxury of refusing work if my clients need my services. Oh well, I can always print it off and work on the beach 😀

    1. Sounds like a plan, my dear. I had just been thinking of you and wondering when we would be hearing your lovely voice again. Glad to see you back!

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