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Is the "lunch hour" dead?

Forget the fact that she comes from a country where a leisurely lunch is considered a cultural birthright. These days, when Marianne Fabre-Lanvin, a native of France now living in New York, heads out for her midday “meal,” she’s more likely thinking in terms of a haircut, facial or manicure — or better yet, all three — than steak frites and a glass of Bordeaux.

“I have so little time for myself to do the things that are necessary,” says Fabre-Lanvin, executive director of the U.S. office of Sud de France, a trade group that promotes the southern France region.

And sure enough, Fabre-Lanvin is a regular at New York’s Julien Farel Restore Salon & Spa, a high-end house of beauty that specializes in “Power Hour” lunchtime sessions (starting at $155) that combine multiple services, all with the busy executive in mind. If time is really of the essence, the Farel salon will also see to providing a quick lunch during the appointment: After all, salon customers still need to eat, the Farel staff notes.

Or do they? America has become a country that has turned lunchtime into errand or work time — and a rushed one at that. 

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