|French public and school holiday dates 2024
Here’s to a happy and healthy New Year to you all.
January is the perfect time to start planning your French travel adventures and to make the most of them, it’s always useful to know when the public and school holidays fall.
The school holiday dates in France 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 is my guide to all the French public holidays, school holidays and other notable dates, plus how they are celebrated here in France, for 2024.
Public Holidays in France 2024
1st January, New Year’s Day, jour de l’an
31st March, Easter Sunday, Pâques
1st 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
9th May, Ascension Day, Ascension (note schools will have an extra day off on Friday 9th May for the bridge (pont see below))
20th May, Pentecost Monday, lundi de Pentecôte
14th July, Fête Nationale (a Sunday this year)
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 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.
|French school holiday zones
Here are the dates for 2024:
The winter holiday is from 10th February to 10th March.
Zone C gets the first two weeks, Zone A the middle two and Zone B the last two.
The spring holiday is from 6th April to 5th May.
Zone C gets the first two weeks, Zone A the middle two and Zone B the last two weeks.
Thanks to Ascension Day falling on 9th May, everyone is off for a five-day long weekend from Wednesday 8th May (Victory in Europe Day) to Sunday 12th May, with Friday being a bridge day.
The summer holiday for all zones is from 6th July until 1st September.
The October holiday for all zones is from 19th October to 3rd November.
The Christmas holiday for all zones is from 22nd December to 6th January 2025.
Other dates to note and celebrate
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 will run from 10th January to 6th February
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, or beignets (similar to doughnuts) are eaten.
24th March, Palm Sunday, Rameaux a day where our local boulangeries bake something different (see here)
31st March, clocks spring forward an hour to Central European Summer Time
1st April, Poisson d’avril celebrated in France with sticky fish (see here)
26th May, Mother’s Day, fêtes des mères
27th May, National Resistance Day, journée nationale de la Résistance
31st May, Neighbours’ Day, fêtes des voisins often celebrated in France with shared meals
16th 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
26th June, summer sales begin, soldes d’été, and will run until 16th July
29th June to 1st July, Le Tour de France, with a planned depart in Florence, Italy, and a finish in Nice, NOT on the Champs-Elysées in Paris because of preparations for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games
26th July to 11th August, Paris 2024 Olympic Games with the Opening Ceremony on 26th July
12th to 18th August, Le Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, begins in Rotterdam and finishes in Alpe d’Huez, in the Alps
21st and 22nd September, European Heritage weekend, Journées Européennes du Patrimoine, many museums and other cultural sites will be open to the public, often organising special events, and with free or reduced price entry
27th October, clocks go back an hour to Central European Time and Christmas will be with us before we know it
Free museum entry on the First Sundays of the month
Did you know many national museums in France open for free on the first Sunday of the month? Whilst not exclusive, as there are often restrictions in July and August, and some museums will close for some of the winter months, this is certainly a secret worth knowing and we’ve had some interesting visits over the years, all for free. Note: not all museums are national and without the financial support from the government, locally or independently run places will not have the ability to offer free entries. If you fancy a cultural city break, it would be worthwhile checking the museum websites to see if they are taking part and plan your visit accordingly.
I hope you’ve found this useful and that wherever in France 2024 takes you, you have a wonderful time. I’d love to hear about your adventures and new discoveries.