Quick Reference Guide to France Public Holidays
Before booking your vacation dates, it’s a good idea to check when the France school and public holidays are. Banks, shops and even some attractions can often close.
It might simply be a case of making sure that you’ve confirmed your accommodation well in advance.
There are approximately 11 public holidays in France.
They include the ones most of us have – New Years Day and Christmas, and Easter Monday. Good Friday and Boxing Day is a public holiday only in Alsace.
In addition to these France public holidays we have:
- 1 May (Labour Day)
- 8 May (Victory Day)
- 14 July (Bastille Day)
- 15 August \\ (Assumption)
- 1 November (All Saints Day)
- 11 November (Remembrance/Veterans/Armistice Day)
Traditionally, the french take their holidays in July and August – so the south coast will be at its busiest. The most celebrated public holiday is probably Bastille Day, which commemorates the storming of the Bastille Prison in Paris during the Revolution.
There’s also Ascension, Pentecost and Whit Monday but these change by the year (they’ll be 40 days after Easter, 7th Sunday after Easter and Monday after Pentecost, respectively).
Keep in mind that most museums, shops and businesses will be closed on France public holidays, and if the day falls on a tuesday or thursday, it might be turned into a four day weekend.
In addition to this, regions will have their own local holidays and festivals.
Certain areas of France can get busy around the school holidays (such as the skiing destinations and the coast).
The school holidays are divided up into different ‘zones’, so the school holiday dates will depend on the location of the school.
As a very general guide, schools have:
- Winter Holiday – mid Feb to early March
- Spring Holiday – mid April to late April
- Summer Holiday – early July to early September
- All Saints Holiday – late Oct to early November
- Christmas Holiday – mid December to early January.
And last but not least…some attractions (such as museums) can be closed on one weekday – often Tuesdays.
It’s a wonder anything gets done, with all these public holidays in France! Wouldn’t it be nice if it was the same back home…