France is set for a revolution, or at least a reversal of fortunes the government hopes — by its allowing shops to open on Sundays. In a bid to boost its economy, stores will have the right to do business on a day that has been sacrosanct for family get-togethers for centuries.
All that is about to change. From the end of this month, shops in Paris, Lille and Marseille will be able to open their doors if they pay their staff double and give them a different day off. But workers in popular tourist resorts will not receive any extra benefits, and this has drawn mixed responses. “I think it’s great that the shops are open on Sunday, some at least,” said one Canadian tourist. “I’m rather opposed to it – it’s right for people to relax at the weekend. On Sunday we come out for a stroll, not to shop,” complained a Parisian. “It’s maybe good for the consumer but it can be heavy on the employees and on their family life,” said another. Perhaps having to work at the weekend is a concern shared by thousands of French people it seems — with unions planning industrial action and further protests if the measures are enforced.