France's incumbent President and the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) candidate Nicolas Sarkozy, delivers a speech during a campaign rally at Trocadero square in Paris, France, May 1, 2012 - Photo by Xinhua/Gao Jing
Labor Day or Non-Labor Day? Glorious, Either Way!
Your taste of life in Paris and France Wednesday May 2, 2012 • Paris, France
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I do hope you were lucky enough to have been in Paris yesterday. Never has there been as glorious a day. When the morning started out gray, there was concern that the planned picnic on the lawns of Place des Vosges would be held instead under the canopy of the vaulted arcade...but the powers that be must have been smiling down on us. The clouds shifted and the sun shone brightly all afternoon and into the evening.
We weren't the only ones with such a bright idea, but there was plenty of space on the grass as the blankets were spread, unearthing the packaged goodies and uncorking the wine. Then, without even realizing it as we ate, drank, talked and laughed, our bodies absorbed the healing rays of the sun giving energy to our minds, our bodies and our spirits. The gloom of a long Paris winter seemed OVER...at least for that one day, and it lasted all day long. Hurrah!
About one-third of the number of days in Paris life is spent under rainy skies, according to the statistics,* with only 1750 hours of sunshine all year long -- or not quite 20%. Compare this with Los Angeles where there are 3,255 hours every year in sunshine -- 37%! And only 23 days a year with rainfall -- 6%!
Maybe that's why Parisians are well known for their surly nature (café waiters are particularly prone). It's called "Seasonal Affective Disorder" or "SAD." (Isn't that clever?) They have it and don't even know it. Symptoms include feeling sad, grumpy, moody, or anxious, wanting to eat more and craving carbohydrates, such as baguettes and patisseries.
They didn't have it yesterday, however. There simply has never been more smiling faces on the streets of Paris than there were yesterday. Besides the sun to make the people dance with glee, they had the day off, too, and you know how Parisians love to NOT WORK. It was "Labor Day" (shouldn't it be called "Non-Labor Day?") and while only a handful were doing much of anything other than pointing their faces to the sun, the presidential candidates were rallying for support just one last time before Sunday's final round of voting.
'Work' was at the heart of Nicolas Sarkozy's message using May 1st as the perfect example to celebrate "real work" and “people who work hard.”
His opponent, Socialist François Hollande, took the day off (in perfect Socialist spirit) to rest his voice before tonight's big debate and national news channel France24.com reported that for him, "The whole point of having the day off is to celebrate workers’ rights. Going to work – i.e.: giving a speech – would be a sign of disrespect to the country’s workforce."
National Front leader, Marine Le Pen, 'worked hard' at her own rally, but in a different way. Her message was to 'do nothing' -- neither vote for the right nor the left, as in her viewpoint, the candidates are the same. This means her 18% of voters could abstain from voting altogether.
The message is hilariously clear. Work, don't work, or refuse to work. But no matter what, let's do it or not do it in the sun if we can!
P.S.Parler Parlor French-English Conversation group is closed for the holiday on May 8th (Fête la Victoire, Victory Day WWII).
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AIR TIMES: May 10, 2012 at 11:30 p.m. ET/PT May 10, 2012 at 2:30 a.m. ET/PT June 21, 2012 at 12:30 p.m. ET/PT
While spending the summer in Paris as a law student, Mimi Chiang told her daughter she'd one day like to own a piece of this romantic city. But once she arrives with her two kids, property search consultant Adrian Leeds has a message that could threaten 10 years of dreaming. Homes in her $1 million budget are scarce. And most likely, they will need some work, especially if she wants the classic French style. Will she settle for small or spend thousands over her budget to create the vision she's clung to for years?
Find out when House Hunters International walks the romantic streets of Paris, France.
Paris Writer's Workshop
June 24-29, 2012
The 22nd annual Paris Writers' Workshop invites you to be a part of one of the most respected (and fun!) creative writing workshops of its kind. Join us for a week rich in opportunities to fine-tune your writing with our outstanding faculty, work in an intensive and friendly environment, stay current on literary trends (such as self-publishing, eBooks, and the use of blogs and social media), receive step-by-step information on how to get published, meet literary agents, become a member of the PWW community, and enjoy summer in the City of Light!
SPECIAL NOTE: Adrian Leeds (Paris Writers Workshop Faculty) will be participating in a panel discussion "Welcome to the 21st Century: How to Use Blogs and Social Media to Your Advantage" on Thursday, June 28, 2012 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Practice speaking French and English. Make friends, discuss interesting topics, learn about other cultures, progress in understanding and speaking, naturally and easily. Meets three times a week -- come as often as you like!