French President Emmanuel Macron was the first to depart Paris for the vacation, and has been photographed this week kayaking in the seas off the French Riviera.
He’s at the Presidential hideaway at Fort de Brégançon for a three-week stay – although he says it is a pause estival studieuse (summer study break) rather than a holiday. He will take part in commemorations of the Allied invasion of Provence on August 15th.
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In his absence the government continued working, passing the final cost-of-living bill through parliament, but ministers are now free until the next cabinet meeting – in the diary for August 24th.
Ministers must take their breaks at “a destination compatible with the exercise of their responsibilities”, within a two-hour flight from Paris in case their urgent presence is required.
In practice, this largely means staying in France, which anyway is pretty common for most normal French families over the summer.
So where should you go if you want to spot a French minister? Or conversely, where will you be able to avoid bumping into a member of government?
If you’re allergic to politicians, we would suggest avoiding the Mediterranean coast
Prime minister Elisabeth Borne will head to the Var département, in the south east, for her holiday.
Also along south coast will be Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin and Transport Minister Clément Beaune, who are both expected to spend their vacation time in Bouches-du-Rhône (although there’s no suggestion that they will be holidaying together).
Meanwhile Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti will head for Alpes-Maritimes (Nice and the surrounding area) and Minister for Territorial Organisation and Health Professions minister Agnès Firmin Le Bodo will holiday in Vaucluse.
Just over the sea is the island of Corsica, which is also popular with government ministers.
Franck Riester, burdened with the title Minister Delegate for Relations with Parliament and Democratic Life, will be heading there, along with his colleagues Catherine Colonna (Europe Minister) and Public Accounts Minister Gabriel Attal.
Again, we should point out that these are separate holidays on the same island, there’s no suggestion that the three will be sharing a villa and rubbing suncream onto each other’s backs.
France’s northern coastline of Brittany and Normandy has long been popular with holidaymakers and government ministers are no exception.
Education Minister Pap Ndiaye and Armed Forces Minister Sébastien Lecornu will both head for Normandy for their vacations.
Culture Minister Rima Abdul Malak is heading in the same direction – and will spend a few days Saint-Brieuc, Côtes-d’Armor, before heading for the Chartreuse massif, in the south-east of the country.
Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire is expected to start his holiday period with a week in Brittany, before heading down to the Basque Country in the far south-west of France. He owns a second-home in the Basque Country, which was recently targeted by protesters worried about the effect that the large numbers of maisons secondaires are having on the local economy.
And finally there are those ministers who quit Paris and head back to the regions where they grew up.
Minister for People with Disabilities Geneviève Darrieussecq will head home to the Landes département in south west France.
Health Minister François Braun will holiday in the Alps, while Environment Minister Christophe Béchu will head back to his roots in Maine-et-Loire. Agriculture Minister Marc Fesneau, too, is holidaying at home in Loir-et-Cher.
Because of the unusually late session in August, Parliament is not scheduled to return until October 3rd.
However, ministers will be back in Paris by August 24th for their next cabinet meeting and the month of September will be spent drafting and consulting on some major pieces of legislation – including a bill on immigration and a far-reaching energy bill that aims to cut the entire country’s energy use by 10 percent.