Vive les vacances !
A brief history of vacations in France
Les grandes vacances in France were implemented before the Second World War for elementary, middle and high school students and lasted for 10 weeks. Back then, 49% of the population was still rural and parents needed their children’s help to harvest crops in August and September. In 1955, the economic situation in France allowed the government to extend vacation time and many families began to leave on vacation in early July. Thus, today’s summer vacation, which people associate with taking time off to relax and spend time with their families, was in fact created in order to sustain the French agricultural sector.
What do French people do during their summer vacation?
French people like to travel in their own country, et pourquoi pas? France has a very rich cultural heritage and diverse landscapes: three coasts, two mountain chains bordering Switzerland and Spain, expansive farmland, and many historic cities. There is something for everyone! Some families like to spend one or two months camping either in trailers or in tents. Others enjoy spending time at their summer home.
Over the past few years, tourism abroad, especially to nearby European countries like Spain or Italy, has grown since the début of the European Union. For those who cannot afford to go on vacation, French regions and cities have developed activities and sponsored camps for low-income families. A good example is the creation of the Paris Plage, a man-made beach on the Seine, offering the chance for families to enjoy beautiful Parisian weather during the summer months.
Alors, bonne route!
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