|On holiday in Blaye, France|
Welcome to January, the perfect time to think about your holidays in France. For a holiday destination I think it is superb and offers mountains, rolling Atlantic breakers, chic Mediterranean beaches, rural charm, Roman cities, fantastic architecture and stunning chateaux. Not to mention quiet back roads through quaint villages, perfect for road trips by car or bike.
As my holiday dates blog has been popular and well received for the past three years, here are your all-important dates for 2017. Whether you are new to life in France, or just wanting to plan your holiday here in the quiet weeks outside of the French school holidays, I hope you find this useful.
Public Holidays in France 2017
1st January jour de l’an (a Sunday this year)
16th April, Easter Sunday, Pâques
17th April, Easter Monday, lundi de Pâques, (note there is no Good Friday holiday in France)
1st May, Fête du Travail
8th May, Victory in Europe Day Victoire 1945
25th May, Ascension Day, Ascension
5th June, Pentecost Monday, lundi de Pentecôte
14th July, Fête Nationale
15th August, Assumption Day, Assomption
1st November, All Saint's Day, Toussaint
11th November, Armistice Day, Armistice 1918 (a Saturday this year)
25th December, Christmas Day, Noël (note there is no Boxing Day holiday in France on 26th)
With the exception of the holidays linked to Easter: Easter Monday, Ascension Day and Pentecost Monday, the above dates are the same every year and the holiday is always observed on the actual date rather than being 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 (Ascension Day) or a Tuesday (Assumption Day), by taking off the Friday or Monday giving themselves a four day weekend. This will be part of their annual holiday entitlement, so while most businesses will be open on bridge days, some staff shortages can be expected. It is worth noting that in many areas of rural France, although some opening hours is becoming more common, most shops are likely to be either closed or only open in the mornings on public holidays.
Other dates to note
26th March, clocks spring forward an hour to Central European Summertime
9th April, Palm Sunday, Rameaux a day where our local boulangeries bake something different (see here)
28th May, Mother’s Day, fêtes des mères
18th June, Father’s Day, fêtes des pères
29th October, clocks go back an hour to Central European Time
In France the schools are split into three zones and most of the holidays are staggered so not everyone is trying to hit the ski slopes or beaches at the same time, although be prepared for extra traffic on the roads on all Saturdays during the school holidays, or better still avoid driving on these days.
|French School Holiday Zones|
Here are the dates for 2017:
The winter holiday is from 4th February to 5th March. Zone C gets the first two weeks, Zone B the middle two and Zone A the last two.
The spring holiday is from 1st April to 1st May. Zone C gets the first two weeks, B the middle two and A the last two.
The summer holiday for all zones is from 8th July until 3rd September.
The October holiday for all zones is from 21st October to 5th November.
The Christmas holiday for all zones is from 23rd December to 7th January 2018.
Please do share amongst your friends and family and wherever you visit in France this year, I hope you have a great holiday.