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French School holidays, Public Holidays (Fêtes Nationale), festivals, and events in France 2012 and 2013.

French Public holidays, Festivals and Religious holidays

There are eleven public holidays in France. They are; 1st January, the 1st and 8th May, Easter Monday, Ascension day, Whit Monday, the 14th July, the 15th August, the 1st and 11th November and the 25th December.

Unlike in the United Kingdom where Public Holidays generally fall on a Monday or Friday, in France "Jours Fériés" and "Fêtes Nationales" (14th July) are taken strictly on the day on which they fall. Many larger shops now open on Public Holidays, but it is always best to check before you go.

It is worth noting that when Public Holidays in France fall on a Tuesday or Thursday, it is commonplace to take off the Monday or Friday as well. This can mean extra crowds at tourist places although it shouldn't affect the opening of shops. Known as "Faire le pont" (making a bridge).

Whit Monday. Having been abolished in 2005 it was restored in 2008.

Public Holidays

Many shops are closed on Public Holidays in France and Belgium – check our Holiday Shopping page before you go. Police stations and hospitals stay open.

Public Holidays (Fêtes) in France, Belgium and the United Kingdom 2012 (2013)

Shoppers should look at the France, Belgium and Luxembourg columns (YES = Public Holiday in that country).

Key; (red text) Fr – Public Holiday or Religious day (some shops may be closed) in France. Otherwise United Kingdom so may be busy on ferries and Eurotunnel.

There are 12 Public Holidays a year in France.
Date United Kingdom France Belgium Luxembourg
January 1st. Sunday
Dimanche
YES
New Years Day
YES
(1) – Jour de l'an
YES YES
January 2nd. Monday
Lundi
YES NO - -
Luxembourg – February 21st. Tuesday
Mardi
NO NO NO YES – Carnival Day
April 6th. Friday
Vendredi

Easter openings

YES – Good Friday NO NO NO
April 9th. Monday
Lundi
YES – Easter Bank Holiday YES (2) – Lundi de Pâques YES YES
April 23rd. Monday
Lundi
NO – St George's Day NO NO NO
May 1st. Tuesday
Mardi
NO YES (3) – Fête du premier mai YES NO
May 7th. Monday
Lundi
YES – May Day Bank Holiday NO NO NO
May 8th. Tuesday
Mardi
NO YES – Victory Day / Armistice 1945 (4) – Fête de la Victoire 1945 NO NO
May 17th. Thursday
Jeudi
NO – Ascension Day YES (5) – l'Ascencion YES YES
May 27th. Sunday
Dimanche
NO – Whitsun NO FR – la Pentecôte YES NO
May 28th. Monday
Lundi
NO – Whit Monday YES (6) Fr – Lundi de Pentecôte YES YES
June 4th. Monday
Lundi
YES – Spring Bank Holiday NO NO NO
June 5th. Tuesday
Mardi
YES – Diamond Jubilee Holiday NO NO NO
Luxembourg – June 23rd. Saturday
Samedi
NO NO NO YES – National Day
Belgium – July 11th. Wednesday
Mercredi
NO NO Parts – Flemmish Community Holiday NO
July 14th. Saturday
Samedi
NO YES – Bastille Day (7) – Fête national NO NO
Belgium – July 21st. Saturday
Samedi
NO NO YES – National day NO
August 15th. Wednesday
Mercredi
NO YES – Assumption Day (8) – Assomption YES YES
August 27th. Monday
Lundi
YES – Summer Bank Holiday Monday NO NO NO
Luxembourg – September 3rd. Monday
Lundi
NO NO NO YES – City only
Belgium – September 27th. Thursday
Jeudi
NO NO Parts – French Community Holiday NO
November 1st. Thursday
Jeudi
NO YES – All Saints Day (9) – La Toussain YES YES
November 11th. Sunday
Dimanche
No – Remembrance Day YES – Armistice 1918 (10) – Jour d'armistice 1918 YES NO
Belgium – November 15th. Thursday
Jeudi
NO NO YES – King's Birthday (www.monarchie.be) / German Community Holiday NO
December 25th Christmas Day. Tuesday
Mardi

Xmas Shopping

YES YES (11) – Noël YES YES
December 26th Boxing Day Holiday (St Etienne). Wednesday
Mercredi
YES NO Alsace and Lorraine only YES YES
January 1st 2013. Tuesday
Mardi
- YES - -

Movable Feasts (Easter)

2012 Bank Holidays United Kingdom.

January 1st. Sunday – New Years Day. Fr (1) – Jour de l'an

January 2nd. Monday – New Year's Day Public Holiday

April 6th. Friday – Good Friday

April 9th. Monday – Easter Monday. Fr (2) – Lundi de Pâques

April 23rd. Monday – Saint George's Day

May 1st. Tuesday – May Day. Fr (3) – Fête du premier mai

May 7th. Monday. Public holiday in the United Kingdom.

May 17th. Thursday – Ascension. Fr (5) – l'Ascencion

May 27th. Sunday – Whit Sunday. La Pentecôte

May 28th. Monday – Whit Monday. Fr (6) – Lundi de Pentecôte. Restored as a Public holiday in France in 2008

June 4th. Monday – Spring Bank Holiday Monday

June 5th. Tuesday – Diamond Jubilee Holiday

August 15th. Wednesday – Assumption. Fr (8) – Assomption

August 27th. Monday – Summer Bank Holiday

November 1st. Thursday – All Saints Day. Fr (9) – La Toussain

November 11th. Sunday – Armistice Day. Fr (10) – Jour d'armistice

December 25th Christmas Day. Tuesday. Fr (11) – Noël

December 26th Boxing Day Holiday (St Etienne). Wednesday. Fr – Alsace and Lorraine only

January 1st 2013. Tuesday.

2012 Bank Holidays France;

Key; Fr – Public Holiday or Religious day in France (some shops may be closed). There are 10 Public Holidays in France.

January 1st. Sunday / Dimanche – New Years Day. Fr (1) – Jour de l'an

April 9th. Monday / Lundi – Easter Monday. Fr (2) – Lundi de Pâques

May 1st. Tuesday / Mardi – May Day. Fr (3) – Fête du premier mai

May 8th. Tuesday / Mardi – WWII Victory Day. Fr (4) – Fête de la Victoire 1945

May 17th. Thursday / Jeudi – Ascension. Fr (5) – l'Ascencion

May 27th. Sunday / Dimanche – Whit Sunday. La Pentecôte

May 28th. Monday / Lundi – Whit Monday. Fr (6) – Lundi de Pentecôte. Restored as a Public holiday in France in 2008

July 14th. Saturday / Samedi – Bastille Day. Fr (7) – Fête national

August 15th. Wednesday / Mercredi – Assumption. Fr (8) – Assomption

November 1st. Thursday / Jeudi – All Saints Day. Fr (9) – La Toussain

November 11th. Sunday / Dimanche – Armistice Day. Fr (10) – Jour d'armistice

December 25th Christmas Day. Tuesday / Mardi. Fr (11) – Noël

December 26th Boxing Day Holiday (St Etienne). Wednesday / Mercredi. Fr – Alsace and Lorraine only

January 1st 2013. Tuesday / Mardi

Public Holidays (Fêtes) in France, Belgium and the United Kingdom 2013

Shoppers should look at the France, Belgium and Luxembourg columns (YES = Public Holiday in that country).

Key; (red text) Fr – Public Holiday or Religious day (some shops may be closed) in France. Otherwise United Kingdom so may be busy on ferries and Eurotunnel.

There are 12 Public Holidays a year in France. TO BE UPDATED.

Date (2012) United Kingdom France Belgium Luxembourg
January 1st. Sunday / Dimanche YES – New Years Day YES (1) – Jour de l'an YES YES
January 2nd. Monday / Lundi YES – New Year's Day Public Holiday NO - -
February 21st. Tuesday / Mardi NO NO NO YES – Carnival Day
April 6th. Friday / Vendredi

Easter openings

YES – Good Friday NO NO NO
April 9th. Monday / Lundi YES – Easter Monday YES – Fr (2) – Lundi de Pâques YES YES
April 23rd. Monday / Lundi NO – St George's Day NO NO NO
May 1st. Tuesday / Mardi NO – May Day YES (3) – Fête du premier mai YES NO
May 7th. Monday / Lundi YES – May Day Bank Holiday NO NO NO
May 8th. Tuesday / Mardi NO – WWII Victory Day YES – Victory Day / Armistice 1945 (4) – Fête de la Victoire 1945 NO NO
May 17th. Thursday / Jeudi NO – Ascension Day YES (5) – l'Ascencion YES YES
May 27th. Sunday / Dimanche NO – Whitsun NO FR – la Pentecôte YES NO
May 28th. Monday / Lundi NO – Whit Monday YES Fr – Lundi de Pentecôte YES YES
June 4th. Monday / Lundi YES – Spring Bank Holiday NO NO NO
June 5th. Tuesday / Mardi YES – Diamond Jubilee Holiday NO NO NO
June 23rd. Saturday / Samedi NO NO NO YES – National Day
July 11th. Wednesday / Mercredi NO NO Parts – Flemmish Community Holiday NO
July 14th. Saturday / Samedi NO YES – Bastille Day (6) – Fête national NO NO
July 21st. Saturday / Samedi NO NO YES – National day NO
August 15th. Wednesday / Mercredi NO YES – Assumption Day (7) – Assomption YES YES
August 27th. Monday / Lundi YES – Summer Bank Holiday Monday NO NO NO
September 3rd. Monday / Lundi NO NO NO YES – City only
27th September – Thursday / Jeudi NO NO Parts – French Community Holiday NO
November 1st. Thursday / Jeudi NO YES – All Saints Day (8) – La Toussain YES YES
November 11th. Sunday / Dimanche No – Remembrance Day YES – Armistice 1918 (9) – Jour d'armistice 1918 YES NO

15th November – Thursday / Jeudi

NO NO YES – King's Birthday (www.monarchie.be) / German Community Holiday NO

December 25th. Tuesday / Mardi

Xmas Shopping

YES – Christmas Day YES (10) – Noël YES YES
December 26th. Boxing Day Holiday (St Etienne). Wednesday / Mercredi YES NO Alsace and Lorraine only YES YES

January 1st 2013. Tuesday / Mardi

YES – New Year's Day YES - -

Other days of interest

Grandmother's Day (Fête des Grand-mères) – First Sunday in March every year. Sunday 4th March 2012 (2013 3rd March).

Mother's Day – Sunday 18th March 2012 – in France it is on Sunday 3rd June 2012 (26th May 2013).

Father's Day – Sunday 17th June 2012 (16th June 2013).

Halloween – 31st October.

Valentines Day – 14th February.

Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras) – 21st February 2012 (12th February 2013).

Seasons begin

Spring (Printemps) 20th March, Summer (Été) 21st June, Autumn (Automme) 22nd September, Winter (Hiver) 21st December.

Traditionally

New Year's Day – is devoted to visiting parents and older relatives and exchanging gifts (instead of on Christmas Day). Don't forget to tip your concierges as they will expect it.

At Easter – Chocolate eggs, fish and bells can be found in the shops. Church bells do not ring in France from the Thursday before Good Friday till Easter morning. This is because Catholic tradition suggests that all the church bells in France fly off to the Vatican on Good Friday taking with them all the misery and grief of those who mourn the crucifixion. The traditional Easter egg hunts start after the church bells have rung on Easter morning.

May 1 – is a legal holiday in France. A French custom is to present muguets (lilies of the valley) to friends and loved ones to bring them happiness and porte bonheur (good luck). Everyone is entitled to pick wild muguet, found in the forests surrounding Paris. May 1st is the only day of the year that anyone can sell muguet or other flowers without a license. If you find yourself at the Elysées Palace, you might see Les Forts des Halles (porters of the Paris market), dressed in the traditional porters outfits, presenting muguet to the President of France.

Assumption – celebrations such as harvest festivals and the blessing of the sea happen on this day.

All Souls Day – it is the custom in France to visit the graves of relatives on the day before the Jour des Morts or on the day itself. Flowers (usually chrysanthemums) are placed on the graves. Chrysanthemums were the seasonal flowers before greenhouses existed, and are the traditional flowers used on this day. Thursday don't even consider offering chrysanthemums when invited to people's houses for dinner, etc.

Christmas – Midnight Mass, called la Messe de Minuit on Christmas eve is an important part of festivities in many parts of France. Le Réveillon, the main Christmas dinner follows. Traditional holiday foods include; oysters, boudin blanc (white sausage), foie gras, pheasants, saumon fumé, huîtres, and bûches de Noël (yule log-shaped cake), chestnuts and turkey (Burgundy). It's also traditional in France for children to place their shoes in front of the fireplace in the hope that Father Christmas will fill them with small gifts. Tradition dictates that bad children get a visit from Pere Fouettard who delivers spankings.

New Years Eve (Saint-Sylvestre) is celebrated with a feast "le Réveillon de Saint-Sylvestre". Traditional foods include foie gras and champagne.

New Years Day (le Jour de l'An) is when presents and cards are exchanged.

Epiphany on the 6th January, marks the end of the festive season. It is celebrated with a special cake called "la galette des rois" (cake of Kings). Inside is a trinket or fève which brings good luck and fortune for the year ahead. The person who gets the portion containing the trinket is crowned King or Queen for the rest of the day and is honoured by the rest of the family.

Christian holidays – Dates change each year

2012 2013 2014

Good Friday *

6th April 29th March 18th April
Easter (Pâques) 8th April 31st March 20th April
Easter Monday 9th April 1st April 21st April
Ascension (l'Ascencion) 17th May 9th May 29th May
Pentecost (la Pentecôte) 27th May 19th May 8th June
Whit Monday 28th May 20th May 9th June

* In Alsace and Lorraine only.

British School Holidays 2012 / 2013

Spring 2011 Summer 2012 Winter (Xmas) 2012 Spring 2013 Summer 2013 Winter (Xmas) 2013 Spring 2014
Holiday begins / ends. local.direct.gov.uk 31st March to 15th April 2012 21st July to 3rd September 2012 22nd December 2012 to 6th January 2013 29th March to 14th April 2013 25th July to 2nd September 2013 - -
Half Term (begins – ends) 26th May to 3rd June 2012 6th October to 4th November 2012 From 9th or 16th to 24th February 2013 25th May to 2nd June 2013 26th October to 3rd November 2013 - -

Summer 2012 – Summer holidays begin 21st July and ends 2nd September 2012.

Kent. 2011/12 (pdf file)

Kent. 2012/13 (pdf file)

Kent. 2013/14 (pdf file)

Other U.K. school holidays. www.myschoolholidays.com

French School Holidays 2012 / 2013

www.education.gouv.fr (French)

French schoolchildren and teachers have five holidays a year. One week at the end of October, two weeks at Christmas, two more in February, two in spring, and the whole of the summer in July and August.

To avoid chaos on the roads, the French school holidays are staggered by grouping schools into 3 separate zones.

The first day indicates the first day of the holiday, the second the date of return (Rentrée des élèves).

Zones

Areas

Xmas 2011

Noël

Winter 2011

Hiver

Spring 2012

Printemps

Summer 2012

Été

Autumn 2012

Toussaint

Xmas 2012

Noël

Winter 2013

Hiver

Spring 2013

Printemps

ZONE A

(Yellow)

Caen, Clermont-Ferrand, Grenoble, Lyon, Metz, Montpellier, Nancy, Nantes, Rennes, Toulouse.

17th December 2011 to 2nd January 2012 11th to 26th February 2012 7th to 22nd April 2012 5th July to 3rd September 2012

27th October to 7th November 2012

22nd December 2102 to 6th January 2013 23rd February to 10th March 2013 20th April to 5th May 2013

ZONE B

(Blue)

d'Aix-Marseille, Amiens, Besançon, Dijon, Lille, Limoges, Nice, Orléans-Tours, Poitiers, Reims, Rouen, Strasbourg.

25th February to 11th March 2012 21st April to 6th May 2012 16th February to 10th March 2013 13th to 28th April 2013

ZONE C

(Red)

Bordeaux, Creteil, Paris, Versailles

18th February to 4th March 2012 14th to 29th April 2012 2nd to 18th March 2013 27th April to 13th May 2013

map French school holiday zones

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