Sunday, December 17, 2006

Are you doing Sunday Christmas shopping?

Noël is fast approaching, and with French school holidays starting on Saturday the 23rd, everybody I talk to is in a rush. Fortunately most shops are open today and will also be open on Sunday the 24th. This is controversial, though, as is the subject of Sunday shopping in general.

Legally, only small food shops can do business on Sundays, and just in the morning. Other shops can open a certain number of Sundays per year -- I think this depends on the département. Sundays before Christmas are of course among the most popular choices.

Some retailers flaunt the law and open on more Sundays than allowed, then pay the fine. And superstores such as IKEA are dying to get permission to open on Sundays, yet employees and their unions resist. Despite France's low rate of church attendance, Sunday remains sacred as far as shopping is concerned.

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