Much to my surprise, I absolutely fell in love with the French sense or order. It is evident everywhere! Certainly in the shop windows, but also in every village, along narrow country roads as well as along the super slabs. In ancient cities or great cities like Paris which is both old and new. The French love beauty too, in all it's forms. The French expression of order combined with their love, respect and attention to all things beautiful made my heart strum. Seriously, I am not sure I had a coherent conversation the whole time I was there. The absorption of all things French commanded my attention.
In no way was the French passion for order more prevalent that at mid-day. A respite from 12:30 until 2:00 is sacred. Shops, banks, offices all close for lunch. Lunch is served most particularly within the assigned hours. Not before and certainly not after. Foolish Americans who cannot understand this importance or manage their time suitably, go hungry. Literally. If you fail to make it to a restaurant, a cafe, a sidewalk bistro within that time frame, you will not be served. The French are quite charming in telling you this.
Some starched, beautifully groomed individual will give you a horrified look before coming to your side to announce themselves , "Desolate Madame. Desolate. We are complete"
I was "desolate" a lot in France. Which is fine because a very simple lunch often cost $30, or more. I was thinking if I had made it to lunch more often I would have had to wash some china. What was remarkable to me, besides how loud my stomach could grumble, was the differences in how food business is organized there, as compared to here. I've never worked in the food industry so my understanding of how things are done here is from the viewpoint of a consumer or as a project designer for a restaurant or cafe. In France, often the places will have a posted menu but equally often what they have is a hand lettered chalkboard with a listing of the days offerings. If for instance, lunch for a Tuesday is planned to provide 40 servings of a fine pork cassoulet, a salade vert and an entire baguette then that is what there is. When the servings have all been served, lunch is "complete". In restaurants where the larders are larger, they might not serve all their portions but at 2pm, I assure you, lunch is also "complete". It's okay though, the views everywhere fill your soul.