The lunch hour is a firmly protected tradition in France. If you stay long in the French countryside you learn to not expect anything other than the restaurants to be open at lunch. The prohibition of work during lunch often applies to the waterways; automated or manned, the locks frequently close for lunchtime.
At first the noontime lock closures seemed like an annoyance but now we’ve come to realize that a mandated lunch hour on the waterways is not a bad thing. It forces us to stop and relax. Sometimes we tie up on the layby near the lock. Other times the keeper invites us into lock chamber where we secure to a bollard, take lunch, and put our feet up until the keeper comes back to operate the lock. The French protect their lunch hours vigorously. We’re happy to share the benefits.