Authentic France Travel Tip #31: Mondays

I found myself in Beaune with my bevy yesterday morning. It was of course a Monday, or lundi as it is better known here in France.

Franck had some tradesmen over working so I figured it was wise to get the girls out from underfoot and enjoy a nice morning in town. We started off with pain au chocolat and chocolat chaud all round in the Café Carnot, then a browse at the Atheneaum on the Place Carnot, and lastly a visit with the ducks and swans at Beaune’s lovely Parc de la Bouzaise.

While we were sitting on the café terrace I noticed several tourists wandering forlornly around with their cameras poised but a bewildered look on their faces. No wonder – the normally bustling Beaune looked like a ghost town, with closed shops and hardly anyone besides my bevy and I out in the streets.

The answer to this is that it was Monday morning, or lundi matin.

Sunday and Monday has always been the traditional “weekend off” for store keepers all over France. As a consequence, for years no French person ever expected to go out and buy anything on those two days of the week.

This phenomenon is currently in a state of flux over here in France. Although for the time being the Sunday closure has remained sacrosanct, you’ll find that most big grocery stores are now open all day on Mondays.

However, the smaller boutiques that you will find in most French towns such as Beaune are still by and large closed on Monday mornings. They used to be closed on Monday afternoons as well, but now the huge majority open around 2:00-2:30pm.

Luckily, the cafés are still open, so in my opinion Monday mornings in France are a great opportunity to have a good lie-in and / or session on a café terrace practicing that venerable French tradition of fainéanter (lazing around doing nothing).