In a project that’s been planned since earlier this summer, the city of Paris will begin allowing shops in 12 designated International Tourist Zones (known as ZTIs in French) to open on Sundays and stay open until midnight during the weekday. The plan will go into effect later this fall, according to the French news site Thelocal.fr.
The 12 zones are in the following locations: Saint-Germain; Rennes-Saint-Sulpice; Olympiades-Italie; Saint-Emilion-Bibliotheque; Le Marais, including the Haute Marais and Ile-saint-Louis but excluding Place de la Republique; Les Halles; Saint-Honoré-Vendôme; Montmartre; Haussmann; Maillot-Ternes, along with Avenue Wagram; Champs Elysées-Montaigne; and Beaugrenelle, with a part of Rue Saint Charles.
The move will be great for tourists and local leisure shoppers alike. French government officials that believe it’s a necessary move to make Paris, which celebrated its 226th anniversary of independence on July 14, more of a “24-hour city” and better accommodate the people that make it the worlds most visited city, according to CDAnews.com.
Officials also see it as a way to make France “more competitive” around the world.
France’s current regulations are somewhat unique as the vast majority of modern cities around the world allow shops the freedom to stay open late. Yet while most French supermarkets will stay open until noon on Sundays, retail outlets, restaurants, bars, and most other shops close Saturday and don’t reopen until Monday morning, much to the unsuspecting tourist’s chagrin.
The laws in France are similar to “blue laws” in the United States, which date back to the 17th century and once blocked activities like shopping on Sundays. Most large and small businesses in the U.S. stay open throughout the weekend as a chance to make more money, but laws concerning things like liquor sales during certain hours are still on the books in many states.
France, like the U.S., is now hoping to increase business opportunities for proprietors and consumers alike, but unfortunately, not everyone is so excited to buck tradition. Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo has been one of the most outspoken opponents of the new ordinances.
In fact, Hildago has vowed to bring the new rules to France’s highest court in an effort to get rid of them. Union workers against working on Sundays have also voiced their displeasure and are planning an organized strike on October 15.
Even with plenty of local support, it’s doubtful that the changes in motion can be stopped. Money talks and giving businesses the opportunity to make more of it could be hard to talk people out of at this point.