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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.

Member comments

  1. We have 3 boulangeries in our village. The single handed one closes one day a week, but the others are open, one opening 365 days a year. He has apprentices, which I assumed allowed him to do it as all the bakers have a day off.

  2. Only in France. One’s in business to make money, as long as the staff are on a rota what the hell difference does it make? Next they will be demanding to close at lunchtime, whatever next.

    1. One doubts that it is only in France, as I know Italy has several similar laws to ensure that the entirety of the system works for the benefit of the community(ies) (instead of the sole benefit of one person at the detriment of others.)

      Your 2nd sentence is also wrong. One is in business to provide a service, to do something for self and others. That it is remunerative helps. But when one requests permission to create a business, with all the benefits that a business receives, the reasons given are not to make money, nor is your making money what the society is set up for.

      1. One is in business to make money full stop. It doesn’t matter how small or how large it is the sole purpose is to make money. You may think you are offering a service but you are also making money which is the reason for being in business.

        My advice to people like you is to go and live in somewhere like Cuba and you may be in for a shock. Many of my Cuban friends are now making a good living in Miami because hey, they are making profits.

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PROTEST

Why the French prime minister is being sent ladies’ underwear

It might be all in a day's work for rock musicians and movie stars, but now France's prime minister is also being sent women's knickers in the post.

Why the French prime minister is being sent ladies' underwear
French prime minister Jean Castex is getting an unusual postbag. Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP

But it’s not just the charms of 55-year-old PM Jean Castex that have prompted the daily deliveries of lingerie – this is a particular form of protest.

Lingerie shops in France are currently classed as non-essential so are closed during the country’s ‘partial lockdown’ – even though hairdressers, book stores and music shops have all been classed as essential so stayed open.

A group of shop owners have hit on this particular form of protest, and are sending a steady stream of culottes to Castex, in the hope of catching his attention.

The protest, named Action Culottée, began with a video posted on TikTok in which a shop owner calls for others to join her, saying: “No, putting on underwear every morning is not something to be relegated to the background, we have every right to be open.”

@mmetoutlemonde21

Action Culottée ! 💪🏼💪🏼💪🏼 ##pourtoi ##pourtapage ##actionculottee ##matignon ##castex ##bisous

♬ son original – Mme Toutlemonde

She is particularly angry that supermarkets are allowed to keep selling underwear, creating an unfair situation for the lingerie shops.

In a press release, the organisers say small independent stores present a lower risk of the virus spreading.

“Studies show that it is not in independent shops that the risk of transmission is the highest. Our small stores allow us to regulate the flow of visitors in a precise manner.

“The big stores are open, welcome the public often without respecting the fixed distances and do not always enforce the measures of social distancing.”

The French government is expected to publish over the next two weeks a plan for reopening. No details are yet available, but ministers have suggested that the reopening will begin in mid May with the reopening of non-essential stores and bar and café terraces.

READ ALSO Schools, shops, bars and cafés – France’s timetable for reopening

Castex has so far not commented on his unusual postbag.

Vocab

Une culotte – knickers/panties (singular in French, as with trousers and jeans)

Sous-vêtements – underwear

Commerçant/commerçante – business owner

Une petite entreprise – a small business

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