How Very French

The country that brought you the five-week vacation and the 35-hour workweek has embraced another concept to make life more pleasant: the Bureau des Temps, or Time Bureau, being set up by cities across the country with the aim of reducing urban stress by synchronizing public and private services with the hectic lifestyles of today's city dwellers. To many outside France this may sound like bureaucratic folly. But the French are turning to government to tinker with bus and train times, work schedules, child-care hours, even "happy hour" opera performances. "The way we organize our time affects our jobs and our...

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