Every Sunday in Paris, crowds of tourists clamber up the hill of Montmartre towards the gleaming white Sacre Coeur Basilica, pausing by the clothing and gift stores that dot its cobbled streets.
Under France’s Byzantine rules on Sunday trading, those at the top of the hill are in a designated tourist area and so can open, but those at the bottom cannot, and risk a fine of 6,000 euros ($8,000) if they do.
“It’s absurd,” said Sylvie Fourmond, head of a grouping of 180 “off-zone” shops around the Moulin Rouge end of Montmartre that are increasingly defying the law on Sundays.
“To get to the top of the hill tourists don’t come by helicopter with parachutes. They walk up our streets and peer into our windows,” she said.