Archive for July, 2014
Paris in the summer. The general atmosphere of the city changes a bit, yielding to tourists while bidding intermittent adieus to vacationing city residents. Locals and visitors alike enjoy special events from en masse pique-niques along the Seine to all night music in Le Fête de la Musique.
Rollerbladers still rumble down rue de Rivoli on Friday nights; but the leisurely family blade aficionados choose the slower pace of Sunday afternoons, when the roads along the Seine are closed to auto traffic. Golden light falls over Notre Dame, and Le Tour Eiffel still sparkles in the evening.
As always the many gorgeous Parisian parks are a magnet for everyone. See an outdoor film or watch your child sail boats in the fountains. Read a book. Tango by the Seine. Paris is always a source of entertainment!
There is another very unique difference in Paris in the summer that centers around boulangeries and patisseries – bakeries and pastry shops. If your favorite patisserie closes for his or her holiday, you will see a sign on the door that notes where to find the closes bakery. There’s quite an interesting history to this practice that dates back to the French Revolution, no less!
The French capital’s continuous supply of baguettes and pain au chocolat, croissants and tartines dates to the chaotic days of the French Revolution. Remember that supposed remark by Queen Marie Antoinette – “Let them eat cake” – when told the poor lacked bread? Hunger was but one of many catalysts in the bloody Revolution that ousted the French monarchy.
Since that era, French authorities have made certain to guarantee the availability of the basic staple of bread to all citizens. The summer holidays of city bakers are strictly regulated to assure the city will not be left breadless in the wake of mass bakery closures.
As of 1957 legislation, town halls have the power to regulate Paris bakeries. The establishments are carefully split into two groups that must alternate vacations, with one group making merry in July, the other in August.
Oh for the love of bread in Paris!
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