Public Holidays in France

France, a country known for its rich culture, history, and traditions, offers a fascinating array of public holidays that are celebrated with great enthusiasm and joy. These public holidays are not just days off work; they are a vibrant part of French life, reflecting the nation's history, values, and love for festivities. From historical commemorations to religious festivals, each public holiday in France has its unique charm and significance, making them an integral aspect of the French lifestyle.

New Year's Day (Jour de l'An)

New Year's Day, or 'Jour de l'An,' is the first public holiday of the year in France, celebrated on January 1st. It marks the beginning of the new year and is a time for joyous celebrations. Families and friends gather to share meals, exchange gifts, and make resolutions for the year ahead. The Champs-Elysées in Paris becomes a hub of festivities, with spectacular fireworks and public gatherings.

Easter Monday (Lundi de Pâques)

Easter Monday, known as 'Lundi de Pâques,' is a movable feast in the Christian calendar. It is a day for family gatherings and outdoor activities. Traditionally, children participate in Easter egg hunts, and families enjoy special meals featuring lamb and chocolate eggs. Many towns and villages also hold Easter parades and festivals, showcasing the country's rich cultural heritage.

Labour Day (Fête du Travail)

Labour Day, celebrated on May 1st, is a day dedicated to workers' rights and solidarity. It is a public holiday across France, with various events such as parades, demonstrations, and rallies. The tradition of giving lily-of-the-valley flowers to loved ones as a symbol of spring and good luck is a unique aspect of Labour Day in France.

Victory Day (Fête de la Victoire)

Victory Day, observed on May 8th, commemorates the end of World War II in Europe. This day holds great historical significance and is marked by various ceremonies, including laying wreaths at war memorials and military parades. The most prominent celebration takes place at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, where the President of France leads the commemorative activities.

Bastille Day (Fête Nationale)

Bastille Day, celebrated on July 14th, is the French National Day, commemorating the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789, a pivotal event in the French Revolution. The day is marked by the oldest and largest regular military parade in Europe on the Champs-Elysées, attended by the President of France and other dignitaries. Fireworks, public dances, and parties across the country add to the festive atmosphere.

Assumption Day (Assomption)

The Assumption Day, celebrated on August 15th, is a significant day in the Christian calendar, marking the belief in the Virgin Mary's ascension into heaven. It is a public holiday in France, where many attend special church services. In some regions, there are processions and cultural events, blending religious observance with local traditions.

All Saints' Day (Toussaint)

All Saints' Day, observed on November 1st, is a day to honor and remember deceased relatives and friends. People visit cemeteries to place flowers, especially chrysanthemums, on the graves of their loved ones. It is a day of reflection and remembrance, deeply rooted in French cultural traditions.

Armistice Day (Jour de l'Armistice)

Armistice Day, commemorated on November 11th, marks the end of World War I. Ceremonies and moments of silence are observed across France to remember the fallen soldiers. The most significant ceremony takes place at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, where the President lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Christmas Day (Noël)

Christmas Day, celebrated on December 25th, is a time of joy and celebration in France. It is a family-oriented holiday, where people attend midnight mass, exchange gifts, and enjoy festive meals. Traditional French Christmas dishes include roasted meats, seafood, and the famous Bûche de Noël, a yule log-shaped cake.

Boxing Day (Saint Stephen's Day)

Boxing Day, known as Saint Stephen's Day in France, is celebrated on December 26th in some regions like Alsace and Moselle. It is a continuation of the Christmas celebrations, with families spending time together and enjoying the festive spirit.

Upcoming Holidays (next six months)

HolidayDateDayType
Whit Monday May 20 Monday Public Holiday
Bastille Day July 14 Sunday Public Holiday
Assumption Day August 15 Thursday Public Holiday
All Saints' Day November 01 Friday Public Holiday
Armistice Day November 11 Monday Public Holiday

Holidays by Year

Previous Year: 2023
This page was last edited on 30 January 2024 at 07:31 AM (EST).