French Public Holidays Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

French Public Holidays

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... or when Not to Go Shopping

The French have between 11 and 15 public holidays in total (depending on whether you count Sundays and whereabouts in France you happen to be). The main difference between British and French public holidays is that while most of the British holidays are pushed around each year to fall on a Friday or Monday, most French holidays are on fixed dates.

Another point to bear in mind is that if a public holiday falls on a Sunday, as far as you are concerned, it is ignored. (There are some strange labour laws involved here, but nothing that need concern a visitor to the country.) All this means is that when a holiday falls on a Thursday or Tuesday, 80% of the working French take the extra day off work to have a long weekend.

Beware, public holidays in France are adhered to fairly strictly, and so you may find it difficult to find a supermarket, chemist or baker's open on such a day.

1 JanuaryNew Year's Day 
Changes AnnuallyGood FridayThis is a Holiday in certain regions only (Departments 57,67,681)
Changes AnnuallyEaster Sunday 
Changes AnnuallyEaster Monday 
1 MayFête du Travail - Workers' Day 
8 MayVE Day 
Changes AnnuallyAscension DaySixth Thursday after Easter
Changes AnnuallyPentecostSeventh Sunday after Easter. Not really a holiday; however, the Monday after is.
Monday of PentecostPentecost 
14 JulyBastille Day 
15 AugustAssumption 
1 NovemberAll Saints' Day 
11 NovemberArmistice Day 
25 DecemberChristmas Day 
26 DecemberBoxing DayThis is a Holiday in certain regions only (Departments 57,67,68)
1For those who really need to know, France is broken down into Departments for administrative purposes: 57 is Moselle on the German/Luxembourg border; 67 is Bas Rhin also on the German border in Alsace; 68 is Haut Rhin, ditto.

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