21 January 2015
To Take Time
And even though I would say this holds true in France, I do find the idea of "busy equals productive" to be a rather peculiar concept here. This is not to say people do not work hard here or lead busy lives. They do. But there is an idea that being too busy is really just a bad idea in general. "It's not good for your health!" I hear often. "One must take the time to enjoy life and beauty. To rest and taste and appreciate."
There is a lot of political discussion of late about whether France should allow commerce on Sundays. Of course, everything except the restaurants close at lunch time, no matter what the day. (From noon to two, you should be eating and resting!) But for the most part, everything is closed on Sundays. Grocery stores, shops, pharmacies, libraries, and often, even the restaurants! At first, we would forget, and find ourselves trying to run errands or pop into the grocery on Sunday. Nope! Plan ahead!
It seems the French are in a great debate as to whether to keep this time-old tradition, Sunday as a rest day, intact. Certainly, there are economic implications to having the entire country shut down one full-day a week. And yes, it isn't always convenient. But can I say ... I like it! It keeps our family together and forces us to slooow down. There is no dashing out for milk or hairspray or a part to fix the bathroom drain. We read. Take walks. Tidy up the house. Play games. Talk. And if you do venture out, what do you see? Families! Families out and about together.
In a lot of ways, France can seem as if she exists several decades in the past. But really ... isn't that part of her charm? Isn't that why we are so entranced by her? For me, even in the inconvenience, the answer is a decided, oui!
So how about you? Would you like your little universe to shut down for a day? Would it drive you crazy?
**Isn't this photo of Pops and Jane rather magical? It was taken from inside the Musée d'Orsay, a former train station in Paris that has since been turned into an art museum. It's in a fantastic location, has a stunning collection of impressionist art, and is so much more approachable than the behemoth that is the magnificent Louvre. (Plus, you won't wait in a line all day!)