Postcard from... Paris
There was a time when Paris closed down on the first day of August. The Parisians abandoned their city and left it to a skeleton staff of waiters and a handful of bakeries and restaurants to look after the tourists.
Most Parisians headed for the beaches in the south or the west. Or they set off to a crumbling ancestral home in the countryside, where they would take up traditional August pursuits, such as quarrelling with their siblings or cousins.
But something strange has been happening in recent years and especially this summer. The recession and changing social patterns mean that the French, including the Parisians, no longer go on holiday en masse. Around 40 per cent will not go away on holiday at all this year.
Hence a new French verb: “staycationner”. What are you doing this August? “Je staycationne.” I am staying at home and making trips to the countryside or the park, or beach.
One group of people who could afford to go away are reluctantly joining the “staycation” movement. President François Hollande has noted that ministerial holidays provide a constant source of silly season stories for the French press. He has urged his troops to stay close to home to be available to firefight crises and not to anger the staycationing voters.
And Mr Hollande? He has let it be known that he will travel only as far as La Lanterne, the “French Chequers”, a giant bungalow in the grounds of the Palais de Versailles.
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...