Official holidays in France are called “Les jours fériés.” On those days, pretty much everything in France is closed (banks, the post office, many stores and restaurants, etc.), so watch out for them or they’ll create chaos in your well planned vacation!
French holidays to watch out for
So here is the list of the treacherous “jours fériés” – a mixture of civil and religious holidays, when many establishments will be closed:
- January 1st , “le Jour de l’An” or “ Le Nouvel An” – a day off to start the year peacefully and happily!
- April (variable date): Easter Monday, a day after Easter. Chocolate time, yeah!
- May 1st : “la Fête du Travail” – Labor Day. Celebrate work! Do nothing!
- May 8th : Victory Day celebrating the end of World War II hostilities (May 8th, 1945)
- May/June (variable date): Jeudi de l’Ascencion – Ascenscion Thursday, 39 days after Easter
- End of May/June (variable date): Whit Monday (50 days after Easter). Now established as a day of solidarity towards older people.
- July 14th : National French Holiday, commemorating the Storming of the Bastille (July 14th, 1789). Don’t miss the fireworks, and if in Paris, the famous ‘défilé militaire’, the military parade on the Champs Elysées (may be difficult to access though…)
- August 15th: l’Assomption – Assumption Day, religious celebration of the assumption of Mary.
- November 1st: All Saints’ Day (la Toussaint) – the French Halloween if you’d like, costumes are not on though! It’s a day for people to flower the tombs of their loved ones, generally with chrysanthemums.
- November 11th : Veterans’ Day/Remembrance Day, commemorating the end of World War I (Armistice of November 11th, 1918)
- November 25th: Noël. Originally a pagan holiday to celebrate the winter solstice. Now you know what it’s become… Family, presents and yummy food!
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