You know summer is well and truly in full swing when the country's politicians pack up their bags and head off on their hols.
This year the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has given government ministers a three-week break.
Set aside the weather, disregard perhaps that it's the silly season for television and in particular for news, with so-called lighter stories dominating the bulletins.
Don't even think about the traffic chaos predicted for this weekend as juilletists (those who traditionally take their break in July) pack their bags and head home to be replaced by aoutiens (August holidaymakers) searching for sun: the two clogging motorway lanes, filling the airports to bursting point and battling for position at the major railway stations in the annual "crossover".
No, the real point of interest is how the country will manage for a couple of weeks as government ministers go on vacation.
Have no fears, this isn't a list of ALL 39 ministers and their chosen destinations. Instead it's a brief and less-than-serious look at where some of them are planning to spend the next few weeks, remembering all the time that a reported 51 per cent of French cannot afford to go away on holiday this year.
First up (of course) is the one person who isn't strictly speaking a minister; Sarkozy.
After his recent "malaise" - or "nerve attack" as it was first reported by some media outlets - he'll probably find it a little easier than might otherwise have been the case to follow doctors' advice and scale down his activities.
He'll be spending a quiet couple of weeks with his wife, Carla, at his parents-in-law's little pad in Cap Nègre in the south of France.
Not among his list of visitors presumably will be Jacques Laisné, the former prefect of the department of Var, where the Bruni-Tedeschi house is located.
Laisné lost his job a couple of months ago in the "septic tank" affair, in which he reportedly reneged on a promise to Sarkozy sort out a dispute over whether to replace the existing system of septic tanks with mains drainage and sewage system.
You can read more about that here.
Perhaps the minister who faces the toughest job come September when there'll be La Rentrée (the time when everyone gets back to work and schools reopen after the summer break) is the health minister, Roselyne Bachelot.
Without specifying exactly where she'll be passing her time, Bachelot has promised to remain "a maximum of one hour" from her ministry, ready to tackle any threat there might be from the expected H1N1 outbreak.
Another couple of government members for whom you could well spare a thought perhaps are the minister of finance, Christine Lagarde, and the minister of employment, Xavier Darcos.
They'll both be reportedly taking along work with them.
Ah such is the life for those in office.
And then there's the minister of industry, Christian Estrosi, who has recently faced a number of ongoing disputes, most notably the threat of of workers at the bankrupt New Fabris car factory in Chatellerault, southwest of Paris, to blow up the factory.
He says he'll only be taking long weekends because anything else would "be unreasonable".
Some though can apparently afford time for a proper holiday, and a couple of them could even bump into each other.
Both Eric Woerth, minister of budget, and the newly-appointed junior minister of housing, Benoist Apparu, will both be spending their time in the same place; Corsica in the Mediterranean.
And if they're very lucky they could enjoy a tête-à-tête-à-tete with the general secretary of their party ( Union pour un Mouvement Populaire, Union for a Popular Movement,UMP), Xavier Bertrand, who is also scheduled to be staying on “L'île de Beauté” or the island of beauty.
Sarkozy, along with many of his ministers look set to be following the French habit of tending not to travel abroad (90 per cent of them holiday in France). But there is an exception.
The prime minister, François Fillon, will once again travel south to Tuscany in Italy.
Oh well, there's always one, isn't there?
Japanese Frog - [image: Japanese Frog] Isn’t this frog the cutest? I found it one summer day on the railing of the stairs outside my apartment. I guess it was hiding...