Tuesday 20 March 2018

The Punt: Monsieur Hollande makes a bags of baguettes with his new law

Francois Hollande
Francois Hollande

France's attempts to cut red tape and make doing business in the country more efficient may be about to claim its first high profile victim - the beloved baguette. While many Irish holidaymakers will venture to the French capital in August, many Parisiens flee it in favour of the beaches of the south, or the Atlantic coast.

Up to now, historic laws had insisted that bakers declare their summer holiday plans to ensure that there is enough fresh bread in the city and other parts of the country. Those that did close were forced to post on their windows the closest alternative.

But now, those laws have been scrapped in a bid to cut red tape, and bakers are allowed to shut up shop for as long as they wish. The move has sparked fears that locals may be unable to get their fresh bread.

Baked goods shortages are taken so seriously in Paris that last year its town hall published an online guide to the whereabouts of the windling number of open bakeries.

The so-called "simplification blitz" announced by President Francois Hollande was part of his pledge to cut wage charges on French companies by €30bn during his mandate. The last time the Parisiens faced a bread shortage, Marie Antoinette reputedly said, "let them eat cake!" And we all know how that panned out...

Irish Independent

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