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CHAPTER III HOLIDAY-MAKING A FRENCHMAN'S notion of holiday is to
see as much as possible of his relations, and to gather his own
peaches. When the long vacation comes, with its burning skies,
valetudinarians betake themselves to ContrexeVille,
Pougues-les-Bains, or equally favourite spas; family parties
animate the Breton and Norman coasts; cyclists by the thousand
invade the once solitary fastnesses of Fontainebleau; a few, a very
few, adventuresome spirits start for the Swiss mountains, Scotch
rivers, or Norwegian fiords. By far the greater number merely
change one home for another, the town flat for the country house,
villa, or cottage. The result of the French Revolution has been a
material levelling up. Whilst in England the possession of a town
and country residence implies wealth and social position, in France
the case is quite otherwise. Just as all but the very poor and the
dec/ass/s sit under the shadow of their own vine and fig-tree, so
the well-to-do middle classes, like the noblesse, now own a rural
retreat in which to pass the ville"giature. The houseless or
rent-paying in France, indeed, form a mere remnant, a handful. In
an official work on this subject (" L'Habitation en France," par A.
de Foville: Paris, 1894), we find that whilst in many departments
seventy and even eighty per cent, of the inhabitants occupy houses
belonging to them, the average of the entire eighty-six departments
is sixty-four! These figures, of course, hold good with regard to
communes only. In towns folks live mostly in flats, several
families occupying a block. Parisians have their country houses
within easy distance of the capital; provincial lawyers, advocates,
professors and men of business do not care to go far afield in
search of refreshment and recreation. They migr...
|Country of origin:
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||Paperback - Trade
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