Since my last post was a bit disgruntled –a rant on the always fickle wifi service–I promised that my next one would be all sunshine and flowers and that sort of thing. Désolé, but today, I got caught in the rain walking back from the Super U . . . with an empty shopping bag and I’m feeling disgruntled again.
It was only May 1–a little more than a week ago–that I wrote about Fete du Travail. I was quite enchanted with the idea of toute la France taking the day off to either demonstrate against social injustice, or descend on the woods to gather lily-of-the-valley. Even though it meant that the Super U was closed and I had to make my wine last an extra day, I really didn’t mind.
Less than a week later, May 7, actually, and the shelves at the Super U were empty of baguettes. I assumed that this was because I was shopping late: 4 p.m. My assumption was wrong. Apparently they’d sold out because the next day, May 8, was a jour férié and the Super U would be closed. A bit close to the last jour férié, I thought, but since this one was to honor the dead of WW2 (Victory in Europe) it would seem a bit surly to complain about going without a fresh baguette, or to worry that the wine supply was perilously low. Really, no problem. I’d stock up the next day.
This morning, May 9, I amble down to the Super U, shopping bag in hand. Quelle horreur! Super U is shuttered. Fermé. Another jour férié? Bien sur. Ascension Day.
There is a site–actually there are a number of such sites, this one is called Survive France–in which ex-pats, mostly British, post comments about the vagaries of living in France and the weird, but often, wonderful ways of the French. Today’s topic, French holidays, created a lively discussion. “Should May 8 be scrapped as a public holiday in France?” someone asked. “Do you want the shops to be open on public holidays?” someone else wanted to know. The responses were mixed. Honor the dead, but open the shops. No-one needs 24 hour shopping. Shopkeepers need holidays too. People with kids need to shop when they can. That sort of thing.
Moi. I have the next jour férié marked on my calendar. May 20. Lundi de Pentecote. Note to myself. Check the baguette and wine supply the day before. Double check to make sure May 19 isn’t also a jour férié.