Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Vacances d'Hiver

Although the forsythia is in bud and a few stray daffodils, planted in protected spots, are showing their sunny faces, it is still resolutely February in Paris.   And while the queues at tourist sites are short or nonexistent, visitors to town may be surprised to find that their favorite restaurant, the neighborhood boulangerie, and the corner pharmacie are all closed.  What gives?  It's the two-week February break for school children in the Paris region, a time when those who have the resources flee to the Alps to ski and those that don't just take a little family time.  Unlike in the U.S., where school systems are run by counties and municipalities with the result being multiple vacation schedules, even within a metropolitan area, in France, it's strictly a national business.  The country is neatly divided into three zones with overlapping vacations.  The school holidays run this week and last in Zone A (which includes Paris) but this week and the week after for schools in Zone B, and the first two weeks of March in Zone C.  (If you're planning a trip and want the details, you can find them here.)

But no need to worry if you're a tourist as long as you're willing to be a bit flexible.  It's nothing like August when Paris really empties out and some streets are nothing but shuttered windows.  All the museums are still open, the theaters are busy, and there's still plenty of good food to be had.   And if you have to walk a bit further for your croissant in the morning, take a deep breath and enjoy.


Starman said...

Too bad Paris doesn't have places that deliver the morning croissant.

Anne said...

Starman: And that's what Picard is for. I don't care what David Lebovitz says about it -- it's nice to have that piping hot smell and taste without getting out of your pajamas!

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

I was there one August/September ..it was brilliant .. I never had a shortage of anything .. so what if I had to walk a little bit further .. I did not mind ..:-)

Related Posts with Thumbnails