School & Public Bank Holiday Dates in France

Originally posted on & updated on 14th November, 2023

As the summer draws to a close, families and professionals are starting to prepare to return to school and work. This usually means one thing, it's time to start planning the next holiday or holidays, particularly if you had a miserable British summer.

French schools have five holidays during the year: All Saints 'autumn' break, Christmas, winter break, spring holiday (Easter), and the summer holiday. The breaks are usually two weeks except for summer holidays which last eight weeks.

What is a Jour Férié in France?

Jours fériés are the equivalent of bank holidays in the UK, they start with le Nouvel An (New Years Day) on January 1st with the last one at the end of the year, Christmas Day or Jour de Nöel, naturally on December 25th.

Labor Day, celebrated on May 1st, is the only mandatory non-working day for all employees in France. Work is scheduled for that day only in certain establishments and services, such as hospitals and public transport, where work cannot be interrupted due to the nature of their activity. This day is reserved for rest and relaxation for most workers, and only those in critical industries continue to work. Professionals and employees are entitled Bank Holiday pay after one month’s employment.

Most companies and shops are shut on Bank holidays, if you are travelling or planning to eat out, plan carefully, especially if you have younger / older relatives with you. Check the traffic routes and note bank holidays are often used to create extended three or sometimes, four-day breaks. The French call it Le Pont, or bridge, are the masters at creating extended weekends, it's a national sport!

Official French Bank Holidays

There are eleven official Bank Holidays most of which are celebrated across the country, here's the list of all the French 'jours fériés':

  • New Year's Day - January 1st
  • Easter Monday
  • Labor Day - May 1st
  • Victory 1945 May 8th
  • Ascension
  • Pentecost Monday
  • National Day - July 14th
  • Assumption - August 15th
  • All Saints' Day - November 1st
  • Armistice 1918 - November 11th
  • Christmas - December 25th
  • There’s no Boxing Day

French School Holiday Dates

After the summer holidays (typically eight weeks), children return to the classrooms the first week of September (Monday 4/9 in 2023). The next break is the 'autumn break' called All Saints, for 2 weeks, from end of October to the start of November (21/10 to 6/11 in 2023). Followed by the 'vacances de Noel', or Christmas holidays with schools shutting on 23rd December 2023, to reopen in the New Year on 8th Jan 2024.

Things get a little complicated for the next two holidays, the winter holidays (in February) and easter break (usually April), both for two weeks. To accommodate holiday makers in the cold months, and encourage access to the mountains and winter sports, the country gets split into three zones, to stagger the dates and help with road traffic.

School Holiday Zones in France

They are divided into Zone A, Zone B and Zone C, and cover the following academic areas.

ZONE A : Lyon, Bordeaux, Besançon, Clermont-Ferrand, Dijon, Grenoble, Limoges and Poitiers. In 2024, the winter holidays are 17th February until 4th March and the Easter holidays are from 13th until the 29th April.
ZONE B : Aix-Marseille, Lille, Nantes, Rennes, Strasbourg, Amiens, Normandie, Nancy-Metz, Nice, Orléans-Tours and Reims. In 2024, the winter holidays are 24th February until 11th March and the Easter holidays are from 20th April until the 6th May.
ZONE C : Paris, Créteil, Versailles, Montpellier and Toulouse. In 2024, the winter holidays are 10th until 26th February and the Easter holidays are from 6th until the 22nd April.

For more information visit the service public website with a detailed graphic, and dates for the next three years, up to end of 2026.

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