En mai, fais ce qu’il te plaît

“In May, do as you please.”

Of all the weather-related French proverbs, this one is my favourite. It is perfectly aligned with the beginning of the month that kicks off the holiday season. What I love most about May is that it starts the way it intends to continue.

May 1st is a public holiday in France. as we celebrate Labour Day by doing…

Nothing. What better way to honour work than by avoiding it? Seriously, since I first posted my critique about May day or the ‘Fête du Travail’ (faites du travail!), my sentiments have changed somewhat. Now I gratefully accept every holiday on offer and enjoy every minute of it.

So I’m going to do as I please today. Mostly.

It is still a little cool to be out on the lake with my paddle, but in just a few short weeks the weather should be warm enough to dip our toes in.

Today will start with a yoga class with friends and then we’ll head down to our favourite restaurant by the water and – hopefully – sit in the sun on the terrace as we eat the season’s first ‘filets de perches’ from Lake Geneva.

Then I’ll come back home and do a bit of work as, sadly, my clients on the Swiss side are too industrious to celebrate Labour Day.

Do you celebrate the first of May? What’s your preferred way to spend it?

23 thoughts on “En mai, fais ce qu’il te plaît

  1. You only wrote the second half . I like the complete balance : “En avril ne te découvre pas d’un fil, en mai fais ce qu’il te plaît .” Til April’s dead …
    Surprising you didn’t mention the nice custom of offering a sprig of lily of the valley everywhere in France for the first of May . You must see some if you go out (and your husband should make the act for you🙂).

  2. I left school in May 68 and went hitch hiking across Europe with my 6th form school friend Irek, a very talented boy who was an artist and musician . We arrived in Paris and the weather was warm so we slept out in a small park by the seine. There were little groups of people in the park playing music all through the night and a tom tom drum kept a constant background beat. They were doing as they pleased .and so were we. The next day we went to get breakfast and sat down outside a cafe and ordered croissant and coffee instead the waiter came and removed the table and chairs without a word. He pointed down the street and slowly moving up was a wall of leather coated riot police with helmets. We looked the other way and there was a mob busy digging up the cobble stones which began flying in our direction. We got up and ran for it. But there was no escape we hid in a doorway. A riot policeman came towards us with a truncheon and we said “English tourists” fortunately he left us alone. . We had arrived in the French spring and the they were doing as they pleased.

      1. Actually I loved every moment of it. Unforgettable memories. We were heading to Bulgaria but ended up in Switzerland !

      1. indeed it was an iconic road trip 6o’s adventure and there’s much more to it. !. We were two kids who had just left school

  3. Yes. Two schoolboys with 50 francs in our pocket and a guitar on our back, I remember the rich welcomed us like long lost brothers

    1. Yes Dude, the idea of going to Bulgaria in that early time was indeed out of the beaten path ! You guys were truly original .
      But I can’t help but laughing when I think you ended this glorious month where all the panicking briefcases bearers sought shelter . It was an actual movement, it was shown in several movies later . Did you get a lift in a Rolls ?

      1. – Yes we had some weird lifts but no Rolls, A man drove us from Paris to Troyes with one hand on his head the whole journey. I always puzzled why he did this.`but he was very kind he stopped off and bought us both a meal.`I am now never surprised at the kindness of the French as I have had more than one extraordinary instance There was a music festival happening in Bulgaria and we arranged to meet two friends there but never made it. Our back packs were too heavy.,we took too much along and the weather was too hot .

      2. Yes we always take too much stuff for our first trip ha ha . A music festival under Brezhnev ? and during the Prague spring ? I din’t even know it was possible . Anyway you and your friend were worthy members of the extraordinary youth of the time ! I miss this hith-hiking time, so beautiful encounters in both ways, when we gave back to somebody what someone else had given us, including a bed and food (and weed) .

  4. I hope your first day of May was as relaxing as it sounded. I still work full-time and live in the States, so alas there is no rest for this gal on May Day. But there IS a trip in the works for later in the month, which will hopefully involve at least one lazy day on the banks of the Seine. (And maybe some yoga too, if no one is watching, ha ha.)

    1. Ha, I have to work at relaxing to enjoy it but yes, it was fun! I do hope you make it over for your trip later in May. Lounging by the Seine sounds lovely, with or without yoga (and I certainly hope no one is watching me bend and stretch…😬) Beware the busy tourism on our inner routes in the last week — it is the Ascension holiday weekend!

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