When I told you about the normal working-day lunch in France, I mentioned that it is customary after le dejeuner to take a few moments alone to read, relax on a bench, or to have a quick snooze under a tree. A nap is simply an extension of this idea and is customary after a big meal like a Sunday lunch.I feel more relaxed just reading about this much less actually getting to lie down for a bit. I always loved the story about Winston Churchill who took his apres lunch nap so seriously that he would change into pajamas.
A nap is not actually about sleeping, it is more about resting. It requires privacy. This is my ideal nap situation: When I have cooked and enjoyed a big lunch for my family, I really look forward to a small break. I have a daybed tucked into a cool, dark corner of the family room in our house in France. I take off my shoes, unbutton my collar, loosen my belt, and maybe even undo the top button of my pants. The idea is that I want to have plenty of room to take slow, deep breaths. Sometimes, I put a little cover over my legs, but in no way do I settle in for a long time. A perfect nap is about twenty minutes to half an hour.