French Maids Return to Help Clean Up Economy

France tries to develop service-based economy, fulfill fantasies in one sweep

By Scott Ross
|  Tuesday, Nov 25, 2008  |  Updated 10:50 AM PDT
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French Maids Return to Help Clean Up Economy

Getty Images/amana images RM

Cleaning up the French economy is exhausting.

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Desperate to salvage a sagging economy hit hard by the loss of manufacturing jobs, the French have turned to one of its most enduring and iconic sex symbols for help: the French maid.

Ever had a desire to have a beautiful woman sashay about your home cleaning, ironing and cooking while wearing a bustier, short skirt, lacy apron, high heels and fishnet stockings? Good news: it's now tax deductible in France.

"We are at the beck and call of our customers," Eliete Gomes Ricardo told The Times of London. "We do whatever they want so they don’t have anything to worry about when they get home."

The French government is hoping to inspire 130,000 in the service industry to find gainful employment thanks to huge tax breaks for their employers. Ricardo's services cost 25 euro an hour, but under the new program, half of that can be written off.

"The English understood a long time ago that we had to move to a service society," said Julien Moineau, the chief executive of Axeo, the firm Ricardo works for. "We've only just realized that in France and that’s why the Government is trying to accelerate the change."

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