BBC: Christine Lagarde, the country's first female minister for finance and the economy, says it is time for French people to "roll up their sleeves" and stop thinking about holidays.
The former international lawyer, impressed by the work ethic during her time in the US, is intent on instilling the same spirit in her countrymen and women.
Her approach is calm and conciliatory, bearing little resemblance to the fire and brimstone of her boss, Nicolas Sarkozy.
Yet Christine Lagarde shares the president's convictions when it comes to the French and the world of work.
Until three years ago she was chairman of the law firm Baker and McKenzie, whose main offices are in Chicago.
Her entry into French politics was sudden.
Called up by the former government of Dominique de Villepin, she left the US on a Tuesday afternoon and was at her desk as trade minister the following morning. Getting the French to Work >>> By Alasdair Sandford, Paris | June 22, 2008
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