This year anyway, April in Paris has lived up to all the songs and movies about it. The weather has finally gotten warmer and gentler, after a freezing cold winter, and it has been absolutely wonderful to be here. All this week it’s been sunny and beautiful, the kind of weather that makes you fall in love with Paris all over again, as you sit having lunch or dinner on the terrace of a restaurant, or an outdoor cafe, watching people stroll by. Definitely a slice of Heaven.
May on the other hand is ‘hell month’ in France, or at least I think so, from a work/business standpoint, and others agree. From a work standpoint, it’s hard to get anything done in France in May, not just because of the enticing weather that makes people slow down, but there are 4 long 4 day weekends in May. People call them ‘bridges’ here, wherever the holiday falls, they make a ‘bridge’ to the weekend, and take 4 days off. For French Labor Day on May 1st, Armistice Day on May 8th, and 2 religious holidays, which means 4 lonnngggg weekends in the month of May. And French schools get more frequent and longer vacations than in the States, so although there is a 2 week school holiday in April, there is another 2 week vacation in May. So people with school age kids take off, and it’s so hard to get anything done, that businesses and even some/many restaurants close too. I defy you to get anything done in France in May. No one will come to do repairs, you can’t find people in their office, deadlines are delayed, and work is generally slowed down. Even people who don’t have kids often take a break, because you can’t get anything done anyway, with everyone else on vacation. It’s extremely frustrating to try and get anything done in France in May. Things will pick up again in June, and then slow down again in July and August, when the entire country goes on vacation. By law, workers get 5 weeks off, and most take their vacations in July or August. It adds to the quality of life here, people are much less stressed when they get that much time off, and have a whole month’s vacation to look forward to, and a month of holidays before that, but it’s hard to get much work done at this time of year.
I’m currently working hard on finishing the album of 10 songs, that 3 composers and I have been working on for 2 years. We are doing the final ‘mixing and mastering’ now, a final polishing process, and the songs should be on the internet at the end of May. I’ll give you the details closer to the time, of how to find them on the Internet. It’s exciting for me to see the project come to fruition, finally, and to have learned something new. I wrote the lyrics and the composers wrote the music. Each song tells a story, the way my books do. Six of the songs are in English, and four in French. The album will be called “Love Notes by Danielle Steel”. And I really hope you love the songs!!!
May is also a tender moment for me, as the month begins. May 1st is Labor Day in France, but it is also my late son Nick’s birthday. I give a dinner for close friends on that date every year. It is a sweet reminder of a day that was a happy one in my life, and Nick loved his birthday. And in France, people give each other little sprigs or bouquets of Lily of the Valley on that day, for good luck. Lily of the Valley, and its delicious smell always reminds me of Nick…..so Happy Birthday, Nicky…..and happy May Day to you.