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Public holidays in France

By Jean
Reading Time: 3 minutes
national holidays in france

National holidays in France beautifully encapsulate the rich history, culture, and traditions of the country. Each holiday, with its unique significance and customs, contributes to the vibrant tapestry of French life.

Here’s an overview of all the national holidays in France in 2024:

1. New Year’s Day (Jour de l’An) – January 1

Celebrating the onset of the new year, Jour de l’An is marked with festivities, fireworks, and family gatherings. It’s a day of renewal, where people exchange wishes, resolutions, and sometimes gifts, welcoming the year ahead with optimism and joy.

More info here:

2. Easter Monday (Lundi de Pâques) – April 1

Following Easter Sunday, Lundi de Pâques is a day for family gatherings and outdoor activities. In addition to religious observances, it’s common for children to participate in Easter egg hunts and enjoy traditional dishes.

More info here:

3. Labour Day (Fête du Travail) – May 1

A day to honor workers’ rights and achievements, Fête du Travail sees various labor-related demonstrations and parades. It’s also a day for gifting lily-of-the-valley flowers, a tradition symbolizing good luck and the arrival of spring.

More info here:

4. Victory in Europe Day (Victoire 1945) – May 8

Commemorating the end of WWII in Europe, this holiday is observed with ceremonies and remembrance events, particularly at war memorials. It’s a reminder of peace and the sacrifices made for it.

More info here:

5. Ascension Day (Ascension) – May 9

Occurring 40 days after Easter, Ascension Day is a Christian national holiday marking the ascension of Jesus into heaven. It’s often a day for family outings and, in some regions, traditional religious processions.

More info here:

6. Pentecost (Pentecôte) – May 20

The day after Pentecost, which is 50 days after Easter, this holiday has both religious and secular significance. While some attend church services, others use the day for rest and leisure activities.

More info here:

7. Bastille Day (Fête Nationale) – July 14

The most iconic one of all French national holidays, Bastille Day celebrates the French Revolution’s start with the storming of the Bastille prison. It’s a day of national pride, marked with fireworks, parades, and public festivities.

More info here:

8. Assumption of Mary (Assomption) – August 15

This Christian national holiday commemorates the assumption of the Virgin Mary into heaven. It is observed with religious services and, in some areas, processions and local festivals.

More info here:

9. All Saints’ Day (Toussaint) – November 1

A national holiday to honor saints and deceased loved ones, Toussaint sees people visiting cemeteries to clean graves and leave flowers, especially chrysanthemums, as a sign of respect and remembrance.

More info here:

10. Armistice Day – November 11

Marking the end of World War I, this solemn day is dedicated to remembering the fallen soldiers. The main ceremony takes place at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Paris, with a moment of silence observed nationwide.

More info here:

11. Christmas Day (Jour de Noël) – December 25

Celebrated with great enthusiasm, Jour de Noël involves festive meals, family gatherings, and, of course, the exchange of gifts. The season is characterized by Christmas markets, nativity scenes, and unique regional traditions.

More info here:

national holidays in france

The Concept of “Faire le Pont” in French Culture

An interesting aspect of French national holidays, and one that’s quite unique to the country’s work culture, is the concept of “faire le pont,” literally meaning “to make the bridge.” This phrase describes a practice commonly adopted by French workers and companies alike.

“Faire le pont” occurs when national holidays fall on a Tuesday or Thursday. Many people take the opportunity to “bridge” the gap by taking off the intervening Monday or Friday, thus creating a long weekend. This practice is especially popular because it allows for an extended period o

Get ready for national holidays in France

National holidays in France offer a rich array of cultural experiences, from solemn remembrances to joyful celebrations. Each holiday holds a special place in the hearts of the French people and reflects the diverse facets of France’s heritage and values.

As a language student in France, you need to know these dates as your language school might be closed during them.

If you’re eager to learn more, or if you need personalized assistance in mastering the French language and its nuances, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help guide you on your linguistic voyage

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