Conflict & Justice

How French President Francois Hollande Spent his Summer 'Staycation'

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The hands of French President Francois Hollande are seen as he listens to Ahmad Jarba, head of the opposition Syrian National Coalition, in the courtyard of the Elysee Palace in Paris, August 29, 2013. The opposition Syrian National Coalition urged Western powers to launch a punitive strike against Bashar al-Assad's government quickly and offer real military and political support to stop people being "exterminated". REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen (FRANCE - Tags: POLITICS) - RTX12ZXL

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REUTERS

It's Labor Day in the United States and Canada.

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This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

France is a country well known for vacation days. French workers are guaranteed at least five weeks vacation and a dozen holidays. But French President Francois Hollande allowed his ministers just two weeks off this summer. And he only took one week and didn't go anywhere.

Host Marco Werman spoke with The Economist Magazine's Paris correspondent Sophie Pedder about Mr. Hollande's "staycation."

"Given that France is in recession, that times are tough, unemployment is very high, he (Hollande) didn't want to be seen idling by the beach," said Pedder.

She said Hollande's vacation has also been met with quite a bit of confusion.

"The French really cherish their holidays, and in particular, the Socialists and the left have been very much associated in the past with the fight to the right to holidays," said Pedder. "So holidays are not just a right, they should be taken."