“Les grand vacances” means “the long vacation” in French, and it refers to the month(s)-long holiday the French take in July and August. ‘Vacance’ also means ‘vacancy,’ and if you were to show up to the Languedoc during your own vacation, you would find its towns and villages quite empty, with many shops and restaurants closed for the season.
Many Parisians head to the South of France for a month in summer, spending long days on the beach and savoring a slower pace of life. This may have you wondering where people from Pézenas and Montagnac—who live and work near the Mediterranean Sea—go on their holiday? Within France, they will often travel to the nearby Pyrénées or to the Alps for a change of scenery. Spain and the border is also an easy journey. When seeking a more exotic destination, popular choices include Tunisia, Morocco, or heading overseas to Martinique and Guadeloupe. Regardless of the setting, the long vacation always has this in common: lots of unscheduled time to enjoy wine, food, family and friends.
It’s often hard for Americans to imagine this lifestyle. Americans typically get two weeks of paid vacation per year and taking it is optional. Five weeks of vacation are the law in France and 35 hours is the legal workweek. Instead of paying people to work overtime, French workers who exceed 35 hours take more than five weeks vacation. Americans aren’t given as much time to relax, and studies indicate that many Americans don’t really know how to. A Gallup poll reported that more than half of Americans return from their vacation time feeling tired. In France, people work hard, but they also cherish their down time.
When you open a bottle of Domaines Paul Mas wine, we hope that it opens a little window into what we call Rural Luxury, or Luxe Rural. This is Jean-Claude’s vision as winemaker — an idea of luxury that isn’t about wealth and the things it buys you. It’s about giving yourself the permission to unwind: sharing a delicious home-cooked meal with loved ones, letting your thoughts drift from your work and other time-consuming commitments, or just relishing the simple pleasure of a summer evening. When you open a bottle of Domaines Paul Mas wine, we share from the soils of our home in the Languedoc a taste of the tranquility and refinement that are the essence of our lifestyle, delivered to you.
Heading into the Labor Day Weekend, give yourself a taste of the long vacation lifestyle. Our recommendation? Get a bottle of our Paul Mas Estate 2012 Picpoul de Pinet, bursting with ripe peach aromas and tropical fruit flavor. Sip alongside some Spanish olives or freshly cooked prawns and you’re on your way.