Award Winning Baker Forced to Close by Arcane French Law Because he Works Too Hard

Brooke Raymond / Flickr
Brooke Raymond / Flickr

The 2014 winner of the coveted ‘best Baguette in France’ award who kept his shop open seven days a week to meet demand has received a visit from government officials who are forcing him to close his shop on Mondays to conform with bakery laws.

Baker Stéphane Cazenave says the move by the government could cost him €250,000 in lost sales, and could lead to him laying off some of his 22 staff. Despite being forced to close, he remains combative and has spoken out against the move, reports “People see me like a thug just because I asked to work. Working shouldn’t be a crime in France”.

While the French government is presently considering plans to allow shops to open on a maximum 12 Sundays a year, it is a far cry from the more liberal British system that allows consumers to buy essentials when they need them, seven days a week, although with restricted hours on Sundays.

The rules, which state any shop which sells bread may not open on seven consecutive days without a 24-hour break is just one of a number of laws still on the statute books in many European nations, throwbacks from the days when governments closely controlled the supply of basic every day essentials.

Britain had strict laws governing the precise weight of bread sold which had existed in one form or another since the reign of Edward the first, in 1266. These rules were abolished in 2008, allowing bakers to sell loaves in sizes more appropriate to the average modern family.