Major French Public Holidays - Les Jours Fériés en France

French Public Holidays
Pete Barr-Watson / Getty Images.

The French have the reputation to always be on vacation. There are however only 11 public holidays, so holidays during which most public sector employees have the day off. Schools are closed. The large majority of shops and businesses are closed as well. Public transportation may offer only a reduced service.

Public Holidays are called "les jours fériés"

Since the French "font le pont" - which means they get four day weekends if the holiday is on a Monday (then they don't work Tuesday) - or Thursday (then they don't work Friday), planning a trip around these holidays can be tricky - especially in May, when there are up to four holidays, so 4 possible four day weekends!


Le Jour de l'AnNew Year's Day1 January 
Le Lundi de PâquesEaster Mondayvaries 
La Fête du TravailLabor Day1 May 
Le 8 mai 1945End of WW2 in Europe8 May 
Le Jeudi de l'AscensionAscension Thursdayvaries 
Le Lundi de PentecôtePentecostvaries 
La Fête NationaleBastille Day14 July 
L'Assomption de MarieAssumption of Mary15 August 
La ToussaintAll Saints' Day1 November 
L'Armistice de 1918Armistice of WW111 November 
NoëlChristmas25 December 


Note that La Saint-Sylvestre, New Year's Eve, so the 31st,  is not a public holiday in France, although most of the time everything will be closed - or would close really early. 

Of course, we have other holidays, such as Mother's day, La Saint Valentin, Mardi Gras, La Fête de la Musique or even La Fête de la Musique! But they are not official public holidays in France.

Some regions have a special day off - such as La Saint Etienne in Alsace and Moselle. Depending on the local traditions, this day may be off, or half off, even if it's not listed in this official list.

Oh, and finally, when you see a sign on French stores saying "ouvert tous les jours" - open every day, it means it's open... 6 days a week. It's closed on Sunday - so obvious for the French!

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Chevalier-Karfis, Camille. "Major French Public Holidays - Les Jours Fériés en France." ThoughtCo, May. 3, 2016, Chevalier-Karfis, Camille. (2016, May 3). Major French Public Holidays - Les Jours Fériés en France. Retrieved from Chevalier-Karfis, Camille. "Major French Public Holidays - Les Jours Fériés en France." ThoughtCo. (accessed October 24, 2017).