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

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
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.

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.”

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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. 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.

  2. 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.

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