That’s right. In France we get two weeks off in February. We also get two weeks off in April, in October, and in December/January for the holidays. Then we’re off for the summer at the end of June.
For those French people who don’t work for the school system, vacation time is around eight weeks total on average.
That’ s two months paid vacation a year. And they can take it all at once if they see fit.
Which is why, I suppose, the French make such a big deal out of ‘going on vacation’ or ‘Les Vacances!’.
It’s something you have to do- a part of the yearly circle of events.
In the summer, most of the French population gravitates towards the south of France. In the winter, they go to the Swiss Alps for skiing.
Don’t have the money? The Center for Family Allocations will PAY for your family to go spend a couple weeks in the south so that your children can get out of the city for some fresh air. Yes, the French Riviera is a necessity for normal childhood development.
THAT is how important vacation is to the French. It’s downright sacred.
Now, growing up in the U.S., we had plenty of summer vacation time. But that’s a little different than actually going somewhere on vacation.
We didn’t go on vacation, vacation came to us! There were carnivals, fairs, 4th of July barbeques, shopping mall trips, and days at the beach or the lake.
When I tell this to my French peeps they look at me with such pity. ‘Oh you poor thing! You’ve never seen the south of France? We’ll you’ve just never been on vacation!’
In truth, I don’t feel like I missed out. Most of my vacation was spent hanging around my neighborhood, going swimming in our little above ground pool or in the neighbor’s pool, running barefoot through the woods by our house, or going for walks with my best friend across the street and waiting for the ice cream truck.
Yes, the ice cream truck.
If you didn’t ever experience the wonder of the ice cream truck, Eddie Murphy just about sums it up in the skit below. (Oh -If swearing makes you skittish…um, you probably shouldn’t watch.)
Have a great weekend everyone!