France Is On Holidays

photo: l'enchanson, bar a vins

Closed for August, or just closed for the afternoon?

Is the Water Safe?

Paris:- Sunday, 6. August 2000:- Basically what the French want to do on holidays is nothing. This is why there is a great popularity of the 'all-inclusive' vacation.

For a flat price, everything is included. If this is not the case, the French tend to spend 40 percent of their vacation budget on eating. This compares to 28 percent put out for shelter. Activities take 12 percent and the travel itself costs nine percent.

Each time either eating or activities come up, the cash or plastic has to come out. Better to forget all this weary trouble, and buy the whole caboodle in advance.

After all the idea of a holiday is to take a rest. Never mind that all the advertisements show everybody running, jumping, flying, hitting balls, climbing, walking, running, surfing, cycling; moving - like crazy.

Meanwhile, 31 percent of the French do not take 'all-inclusive' package vacations at all. They go to their parents or relatives or friends' places. Some do a combination of two weeks here and two weeks there.

Others who go camping, don't do so to save money - 'camping industrial' is not cheap. But with all the time spent on the campsite, there is plenty left over to watch the kids do their summer homework.

Camping even offers more time to sit around eating, which is what French men like most. Their wives like it too and this is why they prefer the 'all-inclusive' packages - so somebody else makes the beds and does the dishes.

Nobody ever polls the kids to find out whether they appreciate having to do summer homework, while the rest of the family sits around the table, getting stuffed to the eyeballs.

As far as this goes, I have never actually seen any kids doing summer homework, but some parentsphoto: ile de la cite, square henri iv swear by it, according to newspaper stories. 'They'll forget everything,' is the theory I think.

Here is a choice: sit on Samaritaine's roof or sit down by the Seine.

Pollsters don't know what to do with the 23-odd million French who do not go on holidays or have vacations. These are probably considered to be miserable misers. More likely is they can't afford a subscription of 1500 francs for five days of golf lessons.

Meanwhile, another class of the French are buying their holidays in the form of second residences in the mountains, on the coasts and even in the interior. They are doing this in record numbers.

In 1999, about 31,000 agricultural properties were converted into civil use - but mainly for primary residences by people fleeing the cities - looking for permanent vacations?

But Is the Water Safe To Drink?

In the past 11 years, the percentage of French who drink tapwater has dropped from 72 to 58 percent. According to the ever-present polls, many think tapwater tastes horrible.

Actually a lot of the water in France is 'hard,' it has too much chalk in it. If you ever see what this does to the inside of your dishwasher, you'd think twice about drinking it too.

Even though an enormous number of water fanciers think the piped water is polluted or 'dirty' in one way or another, they only drank five more litres of bottled water between 1998 and 1999, for a total of 89 litres.

I think doctors say we should all drink a litre of water every day, so some of us are either shorting ourselves or we are drinking something else.

School for Private Dicks

The University at Melun is the only one in France with a course of preparation for becoming a private detective. For the diploma of private investigator, 25 students are looking at the course for clues.

After the success of its first cycle, the university is thinking of preparing a course for 'diectors' of private detectives.

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