Jeff Steiner's Americans in France.
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French HolidaysMay 1st Labor Day (Fête du Travail)

May 1st is Labor Day - Fête du Travail in France and a national bank holiday. Few shops are open and there is no mail service. You'll also find it difficult to buy a newspaper, but restaurants and bakeries should be open.

May 1st has a long-standing activist and political aspect in France with labor marches and other similar demonstrations. The inclination leans left but the protectionist and socially conservative Front national - National Front celebrate May 1st as Jeanne d’Arc day.

May 1st is also the day the French traditionally go out and pick Lily of the Valley - Muguets. This is done for the nice smell Lily of the Valley have and because they are considered to 'porte-bonheur'- bring happiness. You'll also often see people selling Lily of the Valley on the street or along the roadside. This is also tradition and is sometimes done to raise money for a cause or extra pocket money. This is one of the few times the normally strict French government allows anyone to sell in public without authorization. But cities, towns and villages can regulate where Muguets are or aren't sold.

Store closed on May 1st.

Selling Lily of the Valley - Muguets on May 1st.

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