Organizing the kids over the French school holidays is a major preoccupation for parents and many have been left wondering why half term has started on a Thursday this year. Hoteliers, already hit hard by a series of terrorist attacks in France, are reporting holiday bookings down 30% as the fortnight holiday straddles three weeks, leaving only 1 complete Saturday to Saturday period.
Well it seems that the whole school holiday cycle for 2016/2017 has been arranged around the needs of the ESF and ski resorts not what is best for the kids. Corpulant ESF boss Gilles Chabert is known in political circles as “the most powerful man over 1000 meters”. Even before his election as a Republican party politician this year he had privileged access to the French parliament building and the ear of ministers to lobby for the mountains and by that he didn’t mean “farming and agriculture”.
Winter tourism bosses such as Chabert have long complained to the government about the timing of the easter school holidays at the end of the ski season. They claim that 30,000 jobs were threatened at a time of high unemployment.
The government caved in and moved the spring holiday period but this also meant advancing the dates of other holidays. The first plan was to start the Christmas holidays midweek but there again the ski industry put its foot down, everything in resort is organized around a Saturday to Saturday timetable. Next idea was to restart the autumn term early but teachers unions refused to restart work before September.
So parents and other tourism sectors are left scratching their heads about how to get away over an odd autumn half term vacation and also wondering how kids will cope with an exceptionally long summer term.