Summer is in full swing here in France, and even in the Alps, the temperatures are unusually warm. Everyone has been enjoying the warm weather — whole businesses, in fact.
Last week, I tried calling a doctor, an accountant and a dentist, and all three were on holiday (the doc has a replacement). It’s my fault: I hadn’t noticed that school holidays had started, which is also when France all but closes down. Even in touristy areas such as Annecy and Thônes, where the three businesses I called are located, many businesses close their doors and take holidays. The trend is so popular that there’s even a name for the big return at the end of the school holidays — ‘la rentrée‘ (the return).
Although it’s frustrating for me with my sensitive tooth (and probably for the replacement doctor stuck at work), there’s one big benefit: free entertainment! There’s something free going on most days either in La Clusaz or Annecy or somewhere nearby. I’ve never lived anywhere else that provides so many freebies! Since the start of June, I’ve seen:
- Suzanne Vega and other famous acts for free in Cluses;
- a colour festival in Annecy;
- fireworks in St Jean de Sixt, La Clusaz and Thônes;
- The Minions 2 open air cinema outdoors during the Annecy Animation Festival;
- wandering entertainment in La Clusaz (pictured);
- live music in St Jean de Sixt;
- wandering brass band in Thônes;
- drumming and acrobatics in St Jean de Sixt; and
- an hour-long show involving a crane and a giant man-made squid (see video, below).
There’s so much free entertainment here that I’ve stopped seeking it out. When I move back to Australia one day, I’m sure I’ll miss these freebies, but at least I’ll be able to visit my dentist during summer.