Public Holidays

Public holidays in France

From Easter to Whitsun to Christmas, most of the holidays are Christian. Despite the dominating Catholic Church, Corpus Christi is not a public holiday. The national holiday is celebrated on July 14.

Good Friday and Boxing Day are special: both are public holidays only in Alsace and Lorraine. However, they are known throughout the country.

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Non-floating holidays

Non-statutory holidays are written in gray.

DateHolidayLocal name
Jan. 1stNew YearJour de l'An
May 1stLabor DayFête du travail
May 8thVictory Day 1945Fête de la Victoire
July 14thFrench National DayFête Nationale de la France
Aug. 15thAssumption DayAssomption
Nov. 1stAll Saints' DayToussaint
Nov. 11thCeasefire of CompiègneArmistice 1918
Dec. 6thSaint NicholasSaint-Nicolas
Dec. 25th1st Christmas HolidayNoël
Dec. 26th2nd Christmas holiday (only Alsace + Lorraine)Lendemain de Noël

Moving Holidays in France

HolidayLocal name20232024202520262027
Good Friday (only Alsace + Lorraine)Vendredi SaintApril 7thMarch 29thApril 18thApril 3rdMarch 26th
Easter SundayJour de PâquesApril 9thMarch 31stApril 20thApril 5thMarch 28th
Easter MondayLundi de PâquesApril 10thApril 1stApril 21stApril 6thMarch 29th
Ascension of ChristAscensionMay 18thMay 9thMay 29thMay 14thMay 6th
Whit SundayPentecôteMay 28thMay 19thJune 8thMay 24thMay 16th
Mother's DayFête des MèresMay 28thMay 26thMay 25thMay 31stMay 30th
Whit MondayLundi de PentecôteMay 29thMay 20thJune 9thMay 25thMay 17th
Corpus ChristiFête-DieuJune 8thMay 30thJune 19thJune 4thMay 27th
Father's DayFête des PèresJune 18thJune 16thJune 15thJune 21stJune 20th

Day of Victory

Public Holidays Like many other countries involved in the Second World War, France has a holiday that dates back to its end. Every year, the "Day of Victory," or "Day of Armistice" commemorates May 8th, 1945, the day on which the German troops capitulated, thus bringing about the end of the war. On this day, the church bells ring all over France. The holiday was introduced in France in 1981.

The fact that some countries celebrate this day on May 8th, while others celebrate on May 9th is quite justified: The surrender was signed on the night of May 9th, shortly after midnight German time. At that time, summer time was in force in Germany, but not in all neighbouring countries, which is why some of them were still one hour behind and had a different date.

Special regulations in Alsace-Lorraine

By far the largest religious community in France is the Roman Catholic Church. In the areas of Alsace and Lorraine, which belonged to the German Reich from 1871 to 1918, some special regulations apply. Unlike in the rest of France, church and state are not separate here, but pastors, priests and rabbis are civil servants. This is why these regions have been able to enforce the retention of public holidays, which do not apply in the rest of the country. As in Germany, these are Good Friday and the second day of Christmas.

French overseas territories

France has dependent overseas territories in the Caribbean (Martinique and Guadeloupe), South America (French Guiana) and the Indian Ocean (Réunion and Mayotte). Although these are now under partial self-government, French customs and French legal requirements are still noticeable. All French public holidays also apply there. In addition, these overseas departments each have their own holiday celebrating the abolition of slavery.
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