The French lunch

In recent weeks we have talked about this a lot. I am not sure why, but it’s come up often. And then, I realized that I have never really written about it. 

The French weekend lunch. Ahh! When we arrived Saturday and Sunday were the longest days. They were quiet and every minute felt like an eternity. We would be bored and wonder where is everyone? Back yards are empty, no cars driving by and few stores are open. Keith once joked you could lay down on the RT 1 (the main road) and have a nap and never get hit. In Canada our Saturday’s were jam packed with chores, errands, activities  and projects. Here, nothing, zero.

A typical French Saturday starts early, just like a regular day. Up, dressed and ready to roll at 8. It’s chores and errand time aka faire tes courses. You shop, prepare your menu for lunch or supper, maybe a little yard work or wash your car. By 11 o’clock the stores are empty and everyone is home. Now you decide on one of two paths. A) lunch, followed by sieste.  ( this can be done at home or at the beach) or B) three hour lunch followed by a short sieste. Really the choice is yours. We typically do A on Saturday and B on Sunday. The is no making noise in your yard on weekend afternoons or working on projects. It’s the weekend, you are resting and enjoying life. It’s taking some getting used to but after more than 3 years, I am a believer. 

Take a few weekends ago. We were up, and out shopping by 8. We did groceries, went to the wine shop, got a hair cut and home by 11. We BBQed a lunch and everyone was tucked in by 12:30. Back up around 3, prepared for an evening at friends, starting with apero at 5 or 6. The next day, we putted around the yard, did a few little chores and at 11 welcomed friends for lunch. Lunch started with drinks and snacks, followed by the main course, and then more drinks, then desert and coffee and maybe another drink. Lunch lasted from 11-3. Then it was time for a short rest and a light, but late supper. A few weekends ago we had a beachside lunch at the Sheraton, it lasted from 12:30-2:30 and we fell into  about the average in time spent at lunch. It’s not a race, there is no rush. It’s leisurely and relaxed. You let the world around you slow and enjoy.  Faut en profiter!

I’ve come to like this weekend pace. And in a place where most of our husbands work long hours, it’s nice to just enjoy time with your family and relax. I often wonder how we will manage when we return to Canada. I see my Facebook flooded with weekends full of hockey tournaments and hours of activities. It used to be so normal, and now I wonder when do parents get to slow down? When do they just hang out at home with their children, friends or family?  I guess that’s part of experiencing another culture, it allows you to look at your own from a different perspective. In any case, for the next 10 months I plan on having lots of weekend naps and lots of long lunches. After all, C’est le weekend, faut en profiter!

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