May has arrived, and so did the warm sunny weather for the bank holiday.
In the big cities May 1st is Labour Day, a day of trade union parades and protests. This year there is the added interest of the presidential election which finishes on Sunday. It was an opportunity for the finalists, M. Sarkozy and M. Hollande, to woo the six million people who voted for Marine Le Pen in the first round.
M. Sarkozy addressed a rally of 200,000 workers in Paris appealing for national unity for his Gaullist vision of France “I tell the unions, put down the red flag and serve France!” Meanwhile M. Hollande sympathised with the unions regarding the effects of high inflation.
But here in Deepest France it is Lily of the Valley Day. The tradition is you go into the woods and pick wild lily of the valley, enjoy the spring weather and have a nice walk. You then give a sprig to the people you love. If you get a sprig with 13 bells you are assured of good fortune.
I went down to the woods this afternoon and found swathes of lily of the valley beneath the trees. I felt like a six year old, a little guilty about picking them, walking back up to the village with a bunch of wilting flowers clutched in a hot sticky hand.
May has a succession of bank holidays where people faire le pont to make a long weekend. We look forward to a holiday on May 8th (Victory in WWII), and May 17th (Ascension Day).
Yes, I know that life for us is one long holiday. So roll on those hot sunny summer days!