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``Sure it's raining, but it would be the same in Paris and they're on strike over there,'' he says in his Belle Epoque bakery, where everything from the ovens and oak floors to the butter and flour comes from France. ``My savoir faire is very much appreciated here, and the competition is non-existent.''

Like many French citizens, Rousseau says he left home to start his own business without being weighed down by high taxes and restrictive labor laws. Now he sells about 2,200 croissants each weekend, and he has just ordered 100,000 pounds ($197,650) of equipment to meet demand for his baguettes and quiches.

So M. Rousseau left France because of the "high taxes and restrictive labor laws". Or perhaps it was because in a French town he'd be competing against other bakers, while in Hackney "the competition is non-existent" and he shifts 2,200 croissants each weekend. Either way, it's thanks to the EU's single market that he can afford to import all his ingredients and equipment from France.

Perhaps M. Rousseau would like to try his luck in my part of south-west London. We have a branch of Paul and a branch of Maison Blanc (a British "French" patisserie) less than five minutes' walk from each other, along with at least one other French café/patisserie.

by Gag Halfrunt on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 07:29:06 AM EST
On competition, the same occurs to me re Pascal Aussignac of the Club Gascon (surely an excellent chef and an excellent restaurant). He came to London, they say, because he didn't get a loan to open a restaurant in Paris. Presumably because there are a great many top restaurants in Paris and competition is fierce.

It's an unintended side-effect of this article that it appears to be applauding a state of less competition rather than more...

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2008 at 08:16:48 AM EST
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