France May Ease Century-Old Ban on Sunday Shopping

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 18, 2009 3:18 PM CDT
The Paris Vuitton store has been at the center of an open-on-Sunday battle since 2005.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – France's Senate next week is expected to overturn a century-old law prohibiting most businesses in the country from opening on Sundays, CNN reports. The 1906 measure was intended to ensure a day of rest for the populace, and parties on the left and the right have been vocal in their opposition. That forced President Sarkozy to water it down a bit to ensure passage.

The measure passed the National Assembly last week, and a bit more than 50% of French support it. Currently, only stores in large cities and designated “tourist areas” can open on Sundays, though some businesses break the law when possible profits outweigh the fine. The new regulation would expand “exceptional commercial” zones around major cities and add more “tourist areas.” The left opposes the law for fear of a 7-day workweek, while the right rues the loss of family and church time.