Traditions – General Info

Public Holidays France – Dates and Origins

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Public Holidays in France

There are 11 official French public holidays.

They include 3 National Days or Fêtes Nationales (May 8, July 14 and November 11) , one international day (Labour Day on May 1st), the others are religious celebrations.

Some public holidays are observed at fixed dates, the others (based on the lunar calendar) are celebrated at a movable date.

Be aware that on public holidays post offices and banks.

So are some restaurants and cafes and most businesses and stores (unless located in a tourist area).

Airlines operate and most public transport services (bus, underground and trains) run.

However, they may have different or reduced schedules, so it is advised to check prior to traveling.

Check the French School Holidays by zone

Fixed Public Holidays

Movable Public Holidays Dates

    • Vendredi Saint – Good Friday  10 April 2020 – 2 April 2021
      Good Friday is the Friday before Easter; it is not a public holiday in France the celebration is observed only in Alsace and Lorraine.
    • Pâques – Easter Sunday  12 April 2020 – 4 April 2021
      Easter is one of the most important Christian celebrations as it commemorates the Resurrection of Christ; it is always celebrated on a Sunday between March 22 and April 25.
    • Lundi de Pâques – Easter Monday 13 April 2020 – 5 April 2021
      It is a religious feast that was celebrated over the entire week until the French Revolution when it was limited to the Monday following Easter Sunday.
    • Ascension – Ascension Thursday  21 May 2020 – 13 May 2021
      It is a religious celebration that takes place of the Thursday 40 days after Easter.
      It commemorates the Ascension of Jesus to Heaven following His crucifixion and resurrection.
    • Pentecôte – Pentecost Sunday  31 May 2020 – 23 May 2021
      It is a religious celebration that takes place 50 days after Easter Sunday and commemorates the coming of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus’ Apostles.
    • Lundi de Pentecôte – Whit Monday 1 June 2020 – 24 May 2021
      It is the Monday following Pentecost Sunday.

Special and Liturgical Celebrations that are not public holidays

    • January 6 – Epiphanie -Epiphany is celebrated on the 12th day after Christmas; it commemorates the journey of the Wise Men who went to present Newborn Jesus with presents.
    • February 2 – Chandeleur – Candlemas is a liturgical feast that celebrates the anniversary of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple.
      It is celebrated 40 days after Christmas.
    • February 14 – Saint-Valentin – Valentine’s Day is widely observed in France as it celebrates Love!
    • Mercredi des Cendres – Ash Wednesday  17 February 2021
      This a movable celebration is the first day of Lent, the season of preparation for the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday
    • Mardi Gras – Fat/Shrove Tuesday  16 February 2021
      It is a lunar celebration, but it always occurs on the Tuesday preceding Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.
    • Dimanche des Rameaux – Palm Sunday 5 April 2020 – 28 March 2021 is the last Sunday and the start of the Holy Week.
    • Jeudi Saint – Holy Thursday  9 April 2020 – 1 April 2021 is the celebration of Jesus’ Last Supper.
    • Fête des Mères – Mother’s Day 7 June 2020 – 30 May 2021
      On May 24, 1950 Mother’s Day was officially decreed by law and fixed to the last Sunday in May.
    • Fête des Pères – Father’s Day 21 June 2020 –  20 June 2021
      Father’s Day became official in 1952, two years after Mother’s Day; It has never been formalized, even if it is celebrated each year on the third Sunday in June.

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