Написано для англоязычного круга знакомых:
If there is one thing French people love, it surely is the days off and their holidays. If one ever tries to urge them to make some decisions or do anything, anything at all, during this time, it most probably will be a lost cause. They won't do that. And, in the best case scenario, your relationship with those people wouldn't suffer from a huge downfall.
What I am trying to say here is that the French cannot be bothered when they are on holidays. It's sacred. There might be fire in the next building, plane crash, Third World War - while the French are on holidays, it doesn't matter. They earned their rest.
One might inquire where this passion to rest comes from, but I wouldn't be able to give a correct answer. It's not like French people don't have enough holidays during the year. Some might even say that they have too much - to better understand the situation, one has to count all the Catholic holidays, include the Bastille's Day, the celebration of the end of both world wars, First May, several others. The best example is the month of May, when in three weeks they have one extra day off thanks to holidays. And add to this number the fact that it's absolutely normal to make so-called "bridge" ("pont" in French), which is simply not to go to work on Friday whenever there is a day off on Thursday. So they do a link between Thursday to their weekend, making it a four days weekend. There are, of course, official excuses why they can't show up at their work, but no-one, especially their employers, is stupid enough to buy it. However, everyone knows but no-one does anything. It's, I repeat, absolutely normal.
So, it's not the lack of days off that make the French so lazy. Maybe it comes from the fact that French people, on the contrary to other nations, don't see work as something essential in their lives. It's something utterly annoying sometimes for them, as it might seem whenever you enters a post-office... There are lots of places which must be closed at 6 p.m., but that means they will be starting to close around 5 p.m., and if you get there at 5:50, no-one will be working any more.
Recently, I had to decide upon me flying back to Kazakhstan, the country my family lives in, or staying, and that depended on the decision by a teacher from the university, the one who was in charge of the exchange programme for next year, which I'd applied for. I sent a message, explaining my situation and some issues I had to be dealing with, asked if I could deal with the things next year (officially, I could). She replied by email, specifying a few things, I answered her questions and started to wait for her decision. I'm still waiting. After having sent a few more messages, urging her to reply. Nothing. I'm guessing, the sunny beach somewhere in the south of France is much more appealing than dealing with students' problems, even though these students have to pay fine to change their plane tickets. I'm sure, once she gets back from her holidays, she'll be more than happy - yet a little bit annoyed by the fact that I had disturbed her on her rest - to reply. But it will be a bit late for that.