Baguettes and Vacation: France versus Bakers

The annual Bread Fair (Fête du Pain) Vincent Isore / IP3 / Getty

You've probably heard that France takes its bread seriously -- but did you know France had specific laws governing the lives of bakers? For centuries the country regulated how and when bakers could close or take vacation. Although this may sound amusing now, in the past it was a deadly serious issue. So what happened? What happened to make the French government so frightfully concerned about bakers taking time off?