| ||49. "Why do they knock off work for two to three hours every day?"|
They keep their stores open two to three hours later than we do. (They did when there were things to sell; there's no point in keeping a store open if the shelves are bare.)
The long lunch hour is a custom which is not confined to France. It is found in Italy, Spain, the Balkans and many parts of Germany. It is a custom we find annoying because it interferes with our comfort (as tourists) and ours because it differs from our way of doing things.
The average Frenchman maintains that a lunch eaten at leisure is a lot better than a chicken-salad-on-toast gobbled down at a drugstore counter. "We take time to live as well as work," one Frenchman said.
The shortage of food, the high cost of restaurant meals, and the fact that only a few factories run messes makes it necessary ours for the average Frenchman today to go home for his lunch.