What Is a French Weekend and How Do You Say It?

Weekend in French
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The expression weekend is definitely an English word. We borrowed it in French, and use it a lot in France.

Le Week-end, Le Weekend, La Fin de Semaine

In France, two spellings are acceptable: “le week-end” or “le weekend”. A lot of books will tell you the French word for it is “la fin de semaine”. I’ve never heard it used around me, nor have I used it myself. It may be the French official word for “weekend”, but in France, it’s not very used at all.

- Qu’est-ce que tu vas faire ce weekend? What are you going to do this weekend?
Ce weekend, je vais chez des amis en Bretagne. This weekend, I’m visiting some friends in Brittany.

What Days Are the Weekend in France? 

In France, the weekend usually refers to Saturday (samedi) and Sunday (dimanche) being off. But it’s not always the case. For example, high school students often have classes on Saturday morning. So, their weekend is shorter: Saturday afternoon and Sunday.

Many shops and businesses (such as banks) are open on Saturday, closed on Sunday, and they often are closed on Monday to keep a two-day weekend. This is not so much the case in bigger cities or with shops with employees that can take turn, but it’s very common in smaller towns and villages. 

Traditionally almost everything was closed on Sunday. This French law was to protect the French lifestyle and the traditional Sunday lunch with family.

But things are changing, and more and more businesses are open on Sundays nowadays. 

Les Départs en Weekend

On Friday after work, French people migrate. They take their car, and leave the city to go to... a friend's house, a romantic getaway, but quite often also their countryside house: "la maison de campagne", which maybe in the countryside, by sea, or in the mountain, but the expression refers to a weekend / vacation house outside of the city.

They come back on Sunday, usually late afternoon. So, you can expect big(ger) traffic jams on these days and times.

Ouvert tous les jours = Open every day... or not!

Be very careful when you see that sign… For the French, it means open every day… of the working week! And the shop will still be closed on Sundays. There will usually be a sign with the actual opening hours and days, so always check it.

Quels sont vos jours et horaires d'ouverture ?
What days and at what time are you open?

Faire le Pont = To have a four day weekend

Learn more details about this very French expression and concept.