The French know how to vacation the right way. While on our way to Château de Fontainebleau in France last summer, our driver, a frantic French man, pointed to the traffic on the nearby Highway. He emphasized how he was smart to avoid all the Parisians leaving for holiday. Holiday? He explained that, in France, people leave the city in either July or August for vacation. And they’re gone for the entire month. Yes, month.
As an American, this was a novel idea to me. I had never heard of such a thing and had a difficult time imagining what a month long vacation was like. Americans get a lousy two weeks off. Most people view those two weeks as something to brag about. In reality, those two weeks are rushed and hectic. Two weeks of rushed vacation time, trying to hit every landmark before the clock stops ticking. Two weeks of running away from the inevitable return to the mundane 9-to-5. American vacation is work outside of work. Two weeks is not enough.
The Parisian’s know how to vacation right. They take things slow. They slowly roll out of bed at 9am (maybe 10am, there’s no rush) and sip on a hot cup of café au lait. They enjoy a novel. They make love. But, more importantly, they relax. Relaxation during vacation is something that we can all learn how to do better. To do so, all we need to do is look at the experts in the field. The French.