|French public and school holidays 2023|
Here’s to a happy and healthy New Year to you all.
As has become a tradition for 1st January, here is my annual post with all the French public holidays, school holidays and other notable dates, plus how they are celebrated here in France, for 2023.
Public Holidays in France 2023
1st January, New Year’s Day, jour de l’an (a Sunday this year)
9th April, Easter Sunday, Pâques
10th 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
18th May, Ascension Day, Ascension (note schools will have an extra day off on Friday 19th May for the bridge (pont))
29th May, 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, Jour de Noël (note there is no Boxing Day holiday in France on 26th unless you live in Alsace or Moselle areas)
Faire le pont
Except for 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, by taking off the Friday or Monday to give themselves a four-day weekend. This leave 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 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 and celebrate
6th January, Epiphany, celebrated in France with a Galette des Rois (see here)
11th January, winter sales begin, soldes d’hiver, sales are regulated in France and the winter sales will run from 11th January to 7th February
2nd February Candlemas day, Chandeleur, celebrated in France with pancakes (see here)
21st February, Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras when carnival time begins in France and pancakes, or beignets (similar to doughnuts) are eaten.
26th March, clocks spring forward an hour to Central European Summer Time
1st April, Poisson d’avril celebrated in France with sticky fish (see here)
2nd April, Palm Sunday, Rameaux a day where our local boulangeries bake something different (see here)
27th May, National Resistance Day, journée nationale de la Résistance
2nd June, Neighbours’ Day, fêtes des voisins, often celebrated in France with shared meals
4th June, Mother’s Day, fêtes des mères
18th June, Father’s Day, fêtes des pères
21st June, world music day, fête de la musique, celebrated with free concerts in towns and villages all over France
28th June, summer sales begin, soldes d’été, and will run until 25th July
1st July to 23rd July, Le Tour de France, with a planned depart in Bilbao, Spain, and a finish on the Champs-Elysées in Paris
23rd July to 30th July, Le Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, begins in Clermont-Ferrand and finishes in Pau
29th October, clocks go back an hour to Central European Time (although the future of this is 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.
Here are the dates for 2023:
The winter holiday is from 3rd February to 6th March.
Zone A gets the first two weeks, Zone B the middle two and Zone C the last two.
The spring holiday is from 7th April to 9th May.
Zone A gets the first two weeks, Zone B the middle two and Zone C the last two weeks.
The summer holiday for all zones is from 7th July until 4th September.
The October holiday for all zones is from 20th October to 6th November.
The Christmas holiday for all zones is from 22nd December to 7th January 2024.
Covid-19 has evolved from something that stopped the world to something we all need to live with. As I write this, overseas travel is pretty much back to normal, although we are still much happier wearing our masks when using public transport. Here is to lots of safe travel adventures in France this year and I hope you find this useful for planning your trip in the quieter weeks outside of the French school holidays.