Never on a Sunday …

With it being Christmas and all that, there is a debate in France over whether Sunday should still be a day of closing. President Sarkozy’s campaign slogan was, “work more, earn more”, so his point is that if anyone wants to work on a Sunday, let him or her do so. This December, as has […]

With it being Christmas and all that, there is a debate in France over whether Sunday should still be a day of closing. President Sarkozy’s campaign slogan was, “work more, earn more”, so his point is that if anyone wants to work on a Sunday, let him or her do so.

This December, as has become the norm these past years, the big stores will be open, but some shops do, in any case, already open on Sundays: the big stores that have sprung up around the big cities, but also the small family-owned food shops which one finds in every city, town and village.

There is actually a law, hardly ever mentioned these days, that there must always be a bakery open in a “quartier” – one must always be within walking distance of one’s “baguette”, so to speak. Even on a Sunday.

Since I’ve moved into this apartment of mine, I’ve become used to being able to buy whatever I wish on a Sunday. This is because there is a street market on my avenue on Sundays and the shops therefore open so as not to lose out on trade. But because the shops are open on Sundays, they are closed on Mondays.

Mondays … Sundays … a tourist can actually have a problem knowing which is which in Paris, even in France.

Many banks, for example, are closed on Mondays. Some museums are too, and so are some hairdressing salons.

Pharmacies are closed too on a Monday, but in the morning only.

Butcheries too are closed on Mondays, except for “horse” butcheries – I mean butcheries that sell only horse meat.

And, yes, the French eat horse meat.

I’ve always liked the story why “horse” butchers are open on Mondays. It is because in the 19th century, horse racing – and these always took place on Saturdays and Sundays – used to be rough so that many horses were injured and had to be shot, which resulted in a large number of dead horses by Sunday night. Therefore, why waste good food? Horse meat is not only low in calories but also in cholesterol and it takes a gourmet to tell it apart from beef. The dead horses were therefore taken to butchers to be cut up and sold. This was before refrigeration, so a butcher could not wait until Tuesday to get rid of his stock of horse meat and opened on Monday.

How can one tell which butcher is a “horse” butcher? The façade of such butcheries are always painted red and adorned with a red-painted sculpture of … yes, you’ve guessed correctly … a horse’s head. There are few of them around these days because the young ecology-conscious French no longer want to eat horse meat. The supermarkets do still stock it, though.

I was going to write something about the 5-day official visit of Libya’s Gaddafi, but it will just be a waste of space … so voila …

I will be away until January 5, so I will take this opportunity to offer you:

Une chaleureuse pensée pour la nouvelle année accompagnée de mille vœux de bonheur et de santé.

Merry Christmas.

Happy 2008.

(Note: Google has changed its “Comment” form which makes it rather problematic for someone who is not a Google blog owner or does not have a Google e-mail account to leave a comment. A way to overcome the problem is to tick the “Nickname” square and to type in your name or your URL and then to click “publish”)

Marilyn Z. Tomlins

5 Responses

12-12-2007 at 09:49:00

Have a wonderful holiday, Marilyn.

I’ll look forward to your blog and postings when you return. I hope you take pictures for us.

Jody

12-12-2007 at 13:56:00

Are you going anywhere special Marilyn, wherever it is, have a great holiday. I am sorry to hear the sales of horsemeat are dwindling. I love the stuff and certainly was unable to tell the difference when I was in France when asked if I had ever eaten it, I said no, and discovered the tender and delicious fillet of beef I had eaten the night before was actually horse. Wrote about it in my blog of November 2.

12-12-2007 at 13:58:00

I meant to say, also, that when we first came to Canada there was no Sunday opening, nowadays everything is open and I imagine they just give their staff days off at different times of the week as some stores never close, not during the day anyway. We don’t get weekend mail, in England we used to get mail on Saturdays, but that’s probably changed now.

12-12-2007 at 21:17:00

Happy trails, Marilyn! It sounds like a fantastic trip and I hope you’ll upload some pics when you get back.

Yup, they still deliver mail on Saturdays in the Old Dart, Jo – or they did when I was there last spring:-)

12-13-2007 at 23:01:00

Have fun Marily, kiss some horses for me. Do Not eat the horse.

I could never eat a horse, I don’t even eat beef.

Randi

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Should you wish to contact me you can do so by email: marilyn@marilynztomlins.com