Funny that coming from a country with an unemployment rate of almost 10%, as compared to the US with about 1/2 that. http://www.globalcareernews.com/publish/article_6.shtml
Could that be based on the strength of the economy, perhaps? Basic economics say that if you're paying people to do less work (35 hour work weeks, plus naps, plus excessive (IMO) paid time off), the company will not make enough of a profit to hire additional workers and increase productivity overall.
Do we as Americans work TOO much? Yes, I would agree that this is the trend. It is almost expected that you will work more than 40 hours/week, especially if you are salaried and get benefits. The work week has increased for most people. The biggest problem, though, that I see is the idea that one should work even when ill, and this is encouraged by employers.
My brain all but shuts down when I'm sick and people coming in and spreading the illness to everyone else isn't going to help matters of productivity! I'm very thankful that the company I work for understands this and gives us 40 hours of sick leave in addition to 2 weeks vacation to *start* with.
But I also don't think that going to the other extreme, like France, is the way to keep our economy going. If it works for you and you can support yourself on less than 40 hours a week - good for you! But it doesn't work that way for most people. I don't think that damaging the economy as a whole in order to make people feel better about working is the answer.
BTW, I do work to live, not live to work.