When do the French take their summer holiday?

Written by on July 26, 2020 in Guest Blogs

Bright red cocktail on a white sandy beach against a sunny sky and gentle sea lapping the beach

The prime summer vacation months in France are July and August, when school is out and the weather is beautiful. Which raises a question: when should a French person go on vacation? The french even have nicknames for those who take a holiday in the summer!

Traditionally, most people went in August, when factories closed and the country pretty much shut down. But as the French economy has evolved and manufacturing has declined, people can now choose which month to go on vacation. And they usually go at the same time every year, which has divided the country into two groups. They even have special names: the juilletistes, who vacation in July (July is juillet in French) and the aoûtiens (for août, or August.)

These two tribes have different characteristics and each views the other with a kind of suspicion, bordering on disdain. Some sociologists claim that the most important social division in France isn’t based on race, gender, religion, or even political affiliation, but by when you take your summer vacation!

Let’s take a look at each tribe.

The Juilletistes

The juilletistes consider themselves the smarter ones. A majority of people still vacation in August so those who choose July find lower prices and smaller crowds. “Why go in August when you have to pay more and fight for a spot on the beach?” they ask. The juilletistes enjoy sipping their wine in uncrowded cafés. And they especially love to flaunt their tans when they get back to the office, showing off to aoûtien colleagues who they tease as being “as white as aspirin.”

As a bonus, the juilletistes get a kind of double vacation because they return in August when the country slows down and there’s not much work to do. Clever!

How do the juilletistes view the aoûtiens? As conformist, profligate (or rich, which is even worse in France), and not very clever. A bunch of grinds.

The Aoûtiens

This tribe considers itself the responsible one. There is work to be done and they are not leaving until it’s finished! The aoûtiens think of themselves as the backbone of France, the upholders of civic duty. Why, even the president of France waits until August to take vacation!

Yes, prices may be a bit higher in August but the weather is guaranteed to be hot (not always true in July.) And aoûtien kids go back to school with glowing fresh tans, not faded July ones.

How do the aoûtiens view the juilletistes? As lazy, the kind who slink out of the office before the work is done, and vaguely unpatriotic. A bunch of shirkers.

And You?

So, which are you, a clever juilletiste or a responsible aoûtien? Smart with money or upholder of tradition? The choice is yours!

Keith Van Sickle splits his time between Silicon Valley and Provence.  He is the author of One Sip at a Time: Learning to Live in Provence and Are We French Yet? Keith & Val’s Adventures in ProvenceRead more at Life in Provence.

Related Articles

Life in a farmhouse in the Auvergne, France

Our farmhouse, La Creuserie, lies almost exactly in the centre of France, in what is known as the Bourbonnais. It’s an historic area in the department of Allier in Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes. It had been a small farm for beef cattle, was tenanted for 165 years and passed out of farming in 2003. It then consisted of […]

Continue Reading

Visiting Paris with a teen

Visiting Paris with a teen

Written by on October 19, 2020 in Guest Blogs

Although I live in America, I’m a hardcore Francophile. I listen to French podcasts, sip French wine, and have seen every episode of House Hunters International that’s set in France like a dozen times. And while there are many things to love about my native land such as the great customer service and ample freezer […]

Continue Reading

Freewheeling gastronomic adventure in Montreuil-sur-Mer

Sarah Daly hops on an electric bike and works up an appetite for a dining experience with a difference. As a resident of Montreuil-sur-Mer in Pas de Calais, I am a regular visitor to Le Touquet, just 10 miles away on the Opal coast. I love its bustling atmosphere, clean sandy beach, colourful beach huts […]

Continue Reading

Paris lover’s guide to the city…

Paris lover’s guide to the city…

Written by on September 16, 2020 in Guest Blogs

We talk to chef and author Lisa Baker Morgan who splits her life between Los Angeles and Paris. As a Paris local with a love of food, culture and history, she shares some of her top tips for visitors the the city of light… What draws you to Paris – the things that make you […]

Continue Reading

Walks in the French Riviera

Walks in the French Riviera

Written by on September 15, 2020 in Guest Blogs

Visitors to the French Riviera between Nice and the Italian border can experience many heavenly hikes. Signposted walks take you alongside the glorious blue Mediterranean sea, past some of the richest real estate in the world and through gorgeous villages. Australian Susan McDonald has enjoyed many walks in the South of France and shares some […]

Continue Reading

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.

Top