Just got back from our hols in France and lovely though it is I do find it weird that everything shuts so often. Every time we went out it seemed to be lunchtime (or Sunday or Monday closing) and nearly everything was shut - even the restaurants and cafes. I guess it was just bad timing and we should have known better - not getting up that early on holiday by the time we were all up and out the shops were shut!
I can't make up my mind whether it's nice and old fashioned or just plain annoying. Being a child of the Seventies brought up in a small town I can remember well all the shops closing at lunch, on Wednesday afternoons and of course they were not allowed to open on Sundays. It was great for the family as you had time together but I guess not so good for visitors, mind you our lunch hours were only an hour, the French still seem to shut for at least three!
The oddest day was a trip to Blois on Sunday where, even though it is quite a large tourist town not only were all the shops shut but so were most restaurants - you would think they would want to feed the tourists (and sell them some tat!). How does their economy work? We work our socks off in Britain and slog all hours 7 days a week and ours is up the proverbial creek so how do they do it?
Guess I'm a bit jealous of the lifestyle but it is frustrating as a visitor as at home in the UK even living in a small rural village I know it is a short drive to shops and eateries that are open 7 days a week (if not 24 hours a day). But maybe we should take a leaf out of their book and we might all be more relaxed if nobody expected service 24/7 and we would get used to it again.