Wednesday, January 10, 2018

French school and public holiday dates 2018

French school and public holiday dates 2018 French Village Diaries
Pays Basque, one of my favourite French holiday destinations

Happy New Year. January is here once more and as I’ve just posted the deposit cheque for a self-catering holiday in the Basque area of France later in the year, I thought it the perfect time to remind you of the public holidays, school holidays and other notable dates (and how they are celebrated) in France this year.

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 blog useful. 

Please feel free to share this post with your French loving friends and family.

Public Holidays in France 2018
1st January, New Years Day, jour de l’an
1st April, Easter Sunday, Pâques look out for flying bells (see here)
2nd April, Easter Monday, lundi de Pâques (note there is no Good Friday holiday in France unless you live in Alsace or Moselle areas)
1st May, Fête du Travail
8th May, Victory in Europe Day, Victoire 1945
10th May, Ascension Day, Ascension (note in 2018 the schools will not have an extra day off on Friday 11th May for the bridge pont)
21st May, Pentecost Monday, lundi de Pentecôte
14th July, Fête Nationale (a Saturday this year)
15th August, Assumption Day, Assomption
1st November, AllSaint's Day, Toussaint
11th November, Armistice Day, Armistice 1918 (a Sunday this year)
25th December, Christmas Day, Jour de Noël (note there is no Boxing Day holiday in France on 26th unless you live in Alsace or Moselle areas)

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 and All Saint’s Day) or a Tuesday  (this year: 1st May, 8th May and Christmas Day), by taking off the Friday or Monday giving themselves a four-day weekend. This will be part of their annual holiday entitlement, or the hours need to be made up, 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:
6th January, Epiphany, celebrated in France with a Galette des Rois (see here)
10th January, winter sales begin, soldes d’hiver, sales are regulated in France and the winter sales run from 10th January to 12th February 2018
2nd February Candlemas day, Chandeleur, celebrated in France with pancakes (see here)
13th February, Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras when carnival time begins in France and pancakes and beignets (similar to doughnuts) are eaten.
25th March, clocks spring forward an hour to Central European Summertime
25th March, Palm Sunday, Rameaux a day where our local boulangeries bake something different (see here)
25th May, Neighbours' Day, fêtes des voisins (in 2017 9 million French celebrated, including our village see here)
27th May, Mother’s Day, fêtes des mères
17th June, Father’s Day, fêtes des pères
21st June, fête de la musique, world music day, celebrated here with free concerts in towns and villages all over France
27th June, summer sales begin, Soldes d’été, and will run until 14th August 2018
7th to 29th July, Le Tour de France starts in La Roche-sur-Yon, Vendee and finishes in Paris three weeks later
28th October, clocks go back an hour to Central European Time

French school and public holiday dates 2018 French Village Diaries
School holiday zones in France

School Holidays
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.

Here are the dates for 2018:
The winter holiday is from 10th February to 11th March.
Zone A gets the first two weeks, Zone C the middle two and Zone B the last two.

The spring holiday is from 7th April to 13th May.
Zone A gets the first two weeks, Zone C 14th to 30th April, part of Zone B 21st April to 7th May and the remaining departments of Zone B (Caen, Nantes, Orléans-Tours, Rennes and Rouen) the last two weeks.

The summer holiday for all zones is from 7th July until 3rd September.

The October holiday for all zones is from 20th October to 4th November.

The Christmas holiday for all zones is from 22nd December to 6th January 2019.

Wherever you visit in France this year, I hope you have a great holiday. 

You can also read more about French Holidays and Traditions in the great book by Margo Lestz.