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.
- 1 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 2 Mother of newborn Baby No 59 trapped in sewer pipe told Chinese police she 'heard crying' when she raised alarm
- 4 Tennis fan suing Australian Open organisers for 'failing to shade spectators' during Murray match
- 5 This crazy skiing video will leave you feeling queasy
Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
AirAsia QZ8501: Black box reveals warning alarms 'screamed' before crash, as more bodies recovered from near fuselage of jet
Rob Lowe hits out at White House decision not to meet Israeli leader
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...
Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...
£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...