Thanks To Changes In 2015 French Bakers Can Now?
Answer: Vacation Freely
When most people think of France they think of iconic elements of French culture: the Eiffel Tower, Parisian fashion sensibilities, and, of course, the crisp-crusted French baguette. The baguette is such a staple of French life, both in popular imagination and in practice, that there were even strict laws in place to ensure the streets of Paris would always flow with the ubiquitous bread.
Back in 1790 the French government passed rules mandating how the bakers in Paris could take their holidays to ensure that every neighborhood would have continuous access to fresh bread. Under the law, the bakers had to stagger their vacation times such that half of all of the 1100+ bakeries in the city were open at all times (especially during the months of July and August) and in such a fashion that each neighborhood was never left with a glut of closed bakeries and insufficient fresh bread. The law remained on the books, was obeyed, and was even updated in 1995.
In the summer of 2015, however, the law was finally struck from the books. Curiously, while you think the bakers would rejoice over the relaxation of the rules, many reported they were unhappy with the change. In reaction to the sudden freedom, many bakeries closed and the remaining bakers who toughed out the summer holiday were dismayed by the high demand, the long waits their customers had to endure, and the stress on their staff as they raced to keep up with demand.
While the law shows no signs of returning, hopefully the bakers themselves can do a better job coordinating future holidays to ensure the demand of bread-hungry Parisians doesn’t fall on the shoulders of a handful of bakers.
Image courtesy of Monica Arellano-Ongpin.