Confused about Summer Opening hours in France ?
For Brits visiting France, business opening hours can cause confusion and downright frustration. Not only do we have to contend with 2 hour lunch breaks, but whole weeks of closure for the holidays. The idea of 24/7 shopping and getting whatever you want, anytime, still hasn’t reached some people in France.
And some of us living in France wishing to book appointments, employ a builder or even in some places, buy a baguette, will be disappointed. The tradition of taking the whole of the summer month of August off, is very much alive and well in certain areas. Traditionally French, our sawmill and oak supplier is no exception.
Les Grandes Vacances – July & August in France
The idea that summer is for play, not work is very much ingrained in French culture. And it is particularly true for some businesses especially those in the manufacturing sector. Our wood yard included. When we first started our oak furniture making business this shut down seemed totally incomprehensible. Shutting at lunchtime was hard enough to get used to let alone a whole month of inactivity. What were they thinking! But after 15 years of living here, we have totally come round to the idea of this chilled out attitude.
The Summer Shutdown
The history of this habit throughout Europe gives a clue as to why it has been so long upheld. During the industrial revolution, whole factories would migrate with their families to the seaside. Even as late as the 1980’s trains were hired to take thousands of workers from a German car plant in Wolfsburg back to their homes in Italy. The German town was rendered completely deserted. A very good reason to do this would have been that a work force does not function well without its’ full complement of workers. So it would make sense to all take time off at the same time. And this time could be used to carry out much needed maintenance of machines. Though pity the poor people left behind to do this whilst everyone had fun at the beach!
Not everyone is a fan of the idea, however. Brad Pitt was allegedly disgruntled when his builders downed tools for a few summer weeks leaving the renovation of his Chateau in the Var in the lurch. I am sure the Gallic shrug they left behind will not have been much consolation.
Furniture Makers in France : Open for Business !
We are now well used to the August shutdown at our wood yard. We announce the closure well in advance on the Ordering & Delivery page of our website. And our customers are fully aware of the looming deadline before they close and the slight lengthening of our lead time come September. Our bespoke furniture business is long established and like us now living here, our customers are very accepting. And because everything we make is bespoke and not off the shelf, our clients don’t expect to get something yesterday. Good things come to those who wait.
Sorry, We’re Not Closed !
So whilst our wood yard may have taken the month of August off, it is business as usual in the Makers workshop. The heat may slow us down a little, but we have a stock of oak that will last us through the summer until September and ‘La rentree’. And having a workshop next door to the house means that we are never far away if you enquire.
We have a range of dining & garden furniture in standard sizes, but we also love to take on commissions for something totally bespoke. Call us on +33 (0)2 43 09 63 70 or email us at email@example.com. We will be delighted to hear from you.