Veiled women in a shopping centre in southern France. Photo: AFP
If you're a woman and it's a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Friday, you're not welcome at the De L'Orient à L'Occidental grocery store in Bordeaux.
Similarly, if you're a man and it's a weekend, you're going to have to go somewhere else if you want to do your shopping there.
At least, this had been the case until Tuesday morning when the store's owners, who are newly converted to Islam, had put up a sign with these outlines in a bid to ensure the two sexes didn't meet.
The move left authorities unimpressed, reported French newspaper Sud Ouest.
Bordeaux Mayor Alain Juppé called out on Twitter for “an end to such a discriminatory practice”.
Naima Charai, the head of French equality group ACSE, tweeted her disdain too, saying that gendered opening hours are “unimaginable and unacceptable”.
“Respect for the republic should be seven days a week,” she wrote.
Marik Fetouh, the deputy mayor of Bordeaux tasked with equality, told French newspaper 20 Minutes that the shop was not in line with typical practices for Muslims in the region.
“This is the first time we've seen something like this in Bordeaux,” he said,
“It's problematic because it creates a bad image for the Muslim community, who actually abide by 99 percent of the laws of France.”
He added that it was important that the relevant authorities acted immediately, noting that if “educational activities” needed to be introduced then the matter would be considered.
It remains unclear exactly which law the shopkeepers are breaching, the paper reported, but Fetouh said that discrimination cases can see penalties of up to five years in prison and fines of up to €75,000.