I'm often asked for the dates of the French public and school holidays by friends and family in the UK planning their holidays to France, so I thought this would be a useful January post.
21st April, Easter Monday, note there is no Good Friday holiday in France.
1st May, Fete du Travail
8th May, Victory in Europe Day
29th May, Ascension Day
9th June, Pentacost Monday
14th July, Fete National
15th August, Assumption Day
1st November, All Saint's Day
11th November, Armistice Day
25th December, Christmas Day
It is worth noting that in many areas of rural France most shops, supermarkets, petrol stations, garden centres and DIY stores will be either closed or only open in the mornings on pubic holidays. With the exception of the three holidays linked to Easter: Easter Monday, Ascension Day and Pentacost Monday, the above dates are the same every year and the holiday is always observed on the date, never moved to the nearest Monday as the UK would do. Public holidays can therefore fall on weekends. To make up for this it is not uncommon for people to faire le pont (make a bridge) if a holiday falls on a Thursday or a Tuesday and take off the Friday or Monday to give themselves a four day weekend. Shops will generally be open however. May 2014 has three holidays all falling on Thursdays, I therefore predict a month where not much will get done!
In France the schools are split into three zones and the holidays are staggered so not everyone is trying to hit the ski slopes or beaches at the same time. Here are the dates for this year:
Winter holiday from 15th February to 16th March. Zone C gets the first two weeks, B the middle two and A the last two.
Spring holiday from 12th April to 11th May. Zone C gets the first two weeks, B the middle two and A the last two.
Summer holiday all zones off from 5th July until the beginning of September.