Public Holidays, or Bank Holidays, in France are fixed dates that are held every year regardless of the day of the week they fall on except those which are associated with Easter which are changeable dates every year. It’s worth noting that if a public holiday occurs on a Tuesday, many workers in smaller businesses will take the Monday off too, and if it falls on a Thursday its common for people to take Friday off to make for a nice long weekend (“faire le pont”).
Fixed Public holidays France 2012
|1 January||New Year’s Day (Jour de l’an)|
|1 May||Labor Day (Fête du premier mai)|
|8 May||WWII Victory Day (Fête de la Victoire 1945; Fête du huitième mai)|
|14 July||Bastille Day (Fête nationale)|
|15 August||Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Assomption)|
|1 November||All Saints Day (La Toussaint)|
|11 November||Armistice Day (Jour d’armistice)|
|25 December||Christmas Day (Noël)|
Changeable public holidays in France 2012
|8 April||Easter Sunday (Pâques)|
|9 April||Easter Monday|
|17 May||Ascension Day (held 40 days after Easter Sunday and always on a Thursday)|
|27 May||Pentacost/Whit Sunday (7th Sunday after Easter)|
|28 May||Monday following Pentacost/Whit Monday|
Regional holidays in France
You may well ask what is a regional holiday in France? The official regional holidays in France actually only apply to Alsace-Moselle (including Strasbourg – the seat of the European Parliament). The additional two days of regional holidays were granted in 1832 when the region was under German rule. When the region was returned to France at the end of World War I the additional days were retained and remain in force today.
Alsace-Moselle Regional Holidays 2012
|6 April (Moveable)||Good Friday|
|26 December||Saint Stephen’s Day|
Employee holiday leave in France
Under French law everyone is entitled to five weeks holiday per year. Most of them seem to take much of their time off in July and August when the children are on holiday from school. At this time you’ll find that roads, trains, ferries and airports are incredibly busy with the influx of foreign holiday makers plus a high proportion of French citizens on the move for their annual summer break.
Shops and businesses will close on public holidays and surprisingly so will some restaurants so if you’re in France on a public holiday, prepare ahead and book restaurants in advance to make sure they’re open or buy supplies from shops the day before.