|Holidays in France|
Happy New Year. January is here once more and this year it is heralding the start of a new decade. As in previous years, here is my annual reminder of the public holidays, school holidays and other notable dates (and how they are celebrated) in France for 2020.
Public Holidays in France 2020
1st January, New Years Day, jour de l’an
12th April, Easter Sunday, Pâques look out for flying bells (see here).
13th April, Easter Monday, lundi de Pâques (note there is no Good Friday holiday in France unless you live in the Alsace or Moselle areas)
1st May, Fête du Travail
8th May, Victory in Europe Day, Victoire 1945
21st May, Ascension Day, Ascension (note in 2020 the schools will have an extra day off on Friday 22nd May for the bridge pont, giving them a nice long weekend)
1st 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
25th December, Christmas Day, Jour de Noël (note there is no Boxing Day holiday in France on 26th unless you live in the 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 (Assumption Day 2020 is a Saturday and All Saint’s Day a Sunday); 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 (14th July Fête Nationale), 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 opening for some hours on a public holiday is becoming more common, most shops are likely to be either closed or only open in the mornings.
Other dates to note:
6th January, Epiphany, celebrated in France with a Galette des Rois (see here)
8th January, winter sales begin, soldes d’hiver, sales dates are regulated in France and the winter sales this year run from 8th January to 4th February
18th January, Reading Night, Nuit de la lecture (see here)
2nd February Candlemas day, Chandeleur, celebrated in France with pancakes (see here)
25th February, Shrove Tuesday, Mardi-Gras when carnival time begins in France and pancakes and beignets (similar to doughnuts) are eaten.
15th March, round one of the local elections to decide the maire and council for the next six years.
22nd March, round two (and deciding round) of local elections.
29th March, clocks spring forward an hour to Central European Summertime
5th April, Palm Sunday, Rameaux a day where our local boulangeries bake something a little different (see here)
29th May, Neigbours’ Day, fêtes des voisins
7th June, Mother’s Day, fêtes des mères
21st 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
24th June, summer sales begin, Soldes d’été, and will run until 21st July
27th June to 19th July, Le Tour de France. Le Grand Depart for 2020 will be in Nice
25th October, clocks fall back an hour to Central European Time (although this is currently up for debate)
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. Live traffic updates can be found on the Bison-Futé website here.
Here are the dates for 2020:
The winter holiday is from 8th February to 9th March.
Zone C gets the first two weeks, Zone B the middle two and Zone A the last two.
The spring holiday is from 4th April to 4th May.
Zone C gets the first two weeks, Zone B the middle two and Zone A the last two weeks.
The summer holiday for all zones is from 4th July until 1st September.
The October holiday for all zones is from 17th October to 2nd November.
The Christmas holiday for all zones is from 19th December to 4th January 2021.
Whether you are new to life in France, or just wanting to plan your holiday here in the quieter 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.
Wherever you visit in France this year, I hope you have a great holiday. If you are planning on driving, you might like to read my popular post that highlights the do’s and don’ts of driving in France (see here).