A decision by authorities in Lyon to force all bakeries to close for at least one day a week has divided opinion among the city's baguette-makers.

"/> A decision by authorities in Lyon to force all bakeries to close for at least one day a week has divided opinion among the city's baguette-makers.

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OFFBEAT

Bakers at war over forced one day closure

A decision by authorities in Lyon to force all bakeries to close for at least one day a week has divided opinion among the city's baguette-makers.

Bakers at war over forced one day closure
Nic McPhee

The move was prompted after complaints by some of the south-west city’s boulangeries that they were unable to close if other bakeries insisted on working seven days a week as they risked losing business.

An initial order to close once a week in July 2010 has now been upheld by the administrative tribunal of the city.

“A majority of us want to have one day a week when we close to give us a chance to rest without having to worry about competition,” said Eric Machado, quoted by Aujourd’hui newspaper.

Other bakers and bakery chains are strongly opposed to the enforced closure.

“We’ve been opening for seven days a week for two years now,” said Claude Polidori, who owns three bakeries in the city. “It’s working really well and allowed us to employ an extra person.”

“We are for freedom,” said Polidori. “That those who want to work can do so while others close if they want to.”

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BAKERY

French baker given a legal warning after refusing to take a day off

A young baker in a wealthy suburb of Paris has been given a legal warning after he refused to close his boulangerie for one day a week, as is required by French law.

French baker given a legal warning after refusing to take a day off
Bakeries must by law close for one day a week. Photo: Christophe ARCHAMBAULT / AFP

Romaric Demée, the young business owner, admitted he was knowingly breaking the law by keeping his shop in the suburb of Nanterre open seven days a week.

He has been given a month to inform the court of his chosen closing day. If he misses this deadline, he will be given a €1,000 fine per day, as well as for each day the closure is not respected.

“It’s unfair competition,” Tarek Rouin, the owner of a neighbouring boulangerie, told French newspaper Le Parisien.

The neighbourhood’s boulangeries had regular meetings, he said, to agree which days each of them should close. “I take Friday off, another colleague closes on Monday . . . But Romaric has never wanted to get involved.”

Demée told Le Parisien: “Corner shops and petrol stations are allowed to open every day of the week. We must be the only profession which is forced to lose a whole day’s earnings per week.”

READ ALSO: Should French shops stay closed on a Sunday?

The issue of whether shops should stay closed on Sundays has proven quite controversial in France.

In recent years things have been changing, especially in big cities, where you will always find something open on a Sunday.

READ ALSO: Paris department stores finally open on Sundays

In 2017, François Hollande chipped away at France’s laws with the creation of special international tourism zones where shops could operate on Sundays.

Baguette consumption shot up during France’s first lockdown in the spring, leading the labour ministry to approve a special waiver allowing bakeries to remain open seven days a week to keep up with demand.

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