Enticingly romantic and alluring in its charm, it is no wonder that the pretty expanses of the nation of France conjures up a world of boundless love in its every mention. Home to the Eiffel Tower that despite its rather remarkable historical status enjoys more popularity as a symbol of love and hoisting its capital at Paris, one of the world’s most loveliest cities, the French people and their motherland are steeped in a different kind of aura. But it isn’t just the physicality of the beauty that France embodies that makes this nation steeped in the magic of its existence an exuberant identity to chance upon. The appeal of the French enigma dwells as much in its explorations of the realms of the cultural as it does in its abundant profusion of aesthetic beckonings.
A global power in fashion that has forever set lofty standards of style, an explosion of artistic brilliance that is reflected in the beauty of its cities and towns and a veritable presence in the ambit of world cuisine, France’s unparalleled dominance in commanding global popularity is a long continuing lineage of its existence. Deviating from this rosy reality of the sublime however is also the French distinction as a nation of complaining people, and such other elements of amusing eccentricity widely rooted in its culture. One such remarkable notion of the French existence that is deeply ingrained in its identity, deriving from its influence as a global culinary superpower, is a way of life emerging out of the cultural that is very welcoming an exploration of human living anywhere in the world. So flamboyant is the understanding of the lunch break in the context of the everyday life of the French that a leisurely recourse to a full fledged midday meal is a liberty conforming to every single soul in this nation of a lot many mavericks. The sophistication in expression that the French language affords, something as essential and routine as even a lunch break encompasses a vibe of charming prejudice in its mere mention. Indeed, the la pause déjeuner is a very sacrosanct facet of the French existence, prevailing since the good old times and carefully worked into the exerting realms of the modern world so much so that a particular law in the country even considers it illegal for employees to be partaking of their lunch at their desks! With such a dignified legacy asserting the more than sacred nature of the globally famous French tradition of dining to one’s heart’s content as being at the center of the life entity, it is only expected that the hearty French appetite for all things gastronomically excellent would translate essentially into such avenues of being that would make the nation one among the ‘revolutionary’ explorers of the world of good food.
While this idea of the lunch being a proper full fledged meal is indeed an ode to the immensely exemplary gastronomic abilities of the French and the rituals and traditions through which it finds expression, recognised by the UNESCO through its inclusion into its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity back in 2010, it also is an expression of the French legacy residing in the ideals of all things grand and enjoyable, not necessarily in lavish spreads but at least in the ease and comfort of the awareness in which food needs to be savoured. Beyond the personal fore i.e. as regards the continuity of what is indeed a social tradition well within the contemporary realms of the corporate and the incessant work culture, it is quite remarkable an exploration of life that the French have managed to allow themselves the luxury of. But within the notions of this ‘righteous’ lunch adhered to properly by devising laws and rules as a part of the sprawling labour code, the la pause dejeuner have also come to encompass ethics of the work space, evolving therefore as a cultural continuity in tradition that has managed to recognise the needs of the present. In allowing themselves access to a bliss of both physiological and psychological nature, the French have been working their way in continuously improving the quality of life, both in manner of its living and in terms of work, striking therefore a balance between the two that has held them in good stead on dual grounds once again i.e. both personally and professionally.
As one of the world’s more productive nations despite a comparatively lower stint at work in terms of hours, this Gallic efficiency in the matters of the professional rests indeed on a number of factors and one of which is this particular adherence to the leisure of a meal well enjoyed. As a window in between work hours where nourishment of the body and the cravings of the soul were met so that all Frenchmen and women would replenish their drained out energy through a pursuit they as a nation are known to be extremely fond of, the lunch break is only but necessary. But in also being an opportunity at unwinding and relaxing, of bonding and coping, the la pause dejeuner is in fact an effective alternative through which the French people rediscover their commitment and zeal to cradle in the laps of perfection in whatever they do, in characteristic French style.
As a daily ritual that can well extend to a couple of hours to incorporate the three course indulgence that the French entitle themselves to, complete only of course with some dessert and wine, the everyday lunch break itself is no less than a sweet reward a whole nation of people gratify themselves with every single day. Despite its refusal to slip into oblivion anytime soon, only understandable of an age old practice that will command more lovers than haters, the famed lunching length of the French way of life is experiencing a gradual constriction in its extent. Attributable to the cultural influences of a more fast paced American way of existence as well as the whims of a world increasingly favoring work over anything else and more recently the topsy turvy turn induced by the coronavirus pandemic, this growing void into which the la pause dejeuner is slipping into might however mean more than a loss of traditions and customs and rituals very unique in the experience of them. At stake would be the health and well being of a people who have forever unearthed happiness every time they gather around an inviting table of luncheon delights ranging from starters and entrees to elaborate main courses and desserts and drinks and caffeine, impacting therefore substantially their ability and also their desire at productivity, setting into motion perhaps then a differently unwanted account of a certain mediocrity the French have been manifesting as another passage of their eccentricity.