Public holidays in France

French etching from 1789 depicting the storming of the Bastille, commemorated as Bastille Day

There are 11 official public holidays in France.[1] The Alsace region and the Moselle department observe 2 additional days.[2] Contrary to most countries, these holidays do not shift when they fall during a week-end,[3] which means that the average number of observed public holidays falling on weekdays is 8.7 and ranges from 7 to 10.[4] Most Asian countries and all North American countries observe between 2 and 10 more public holidays per year on weekdays.[5]

Public holidays in France are:

Date English name Local name Remarks
1 January New Year's Day Nouvel an / Jour de l'an / Premier de l'an
moveable Good Friday Vendredi saint Friday before Easter Sunday (observed only in Alsace and Moselle)
moveable Easter Monday Lundi de Pâques Monday after Easter Sunday (one day after Easter Sunday)
1 May May Day/Labour Day Fête du Travail / Fête des Travailleurs
8 May Victory in Europe Day Fête de la Victoire End of hostilities in Europe in World War II
moveable Ascension Day Ascension Thursday, 39 days after Easter Sunday
moveable Whit Monday Lundi de Pentecôte Monday after Pentecost (50 days after Easter), observed only in some businesses, see notes
14 July Bastille Day Fête nationale French National Day, commemorates the Feast of the Federation
15 August Assumption of Mary to Heaven Assomption
1 November All Saints' Day Toussaint
11 November Armistice Day Armistice de 1918 End of World War I
25 December Christmas Day Noël
26 December St. Stephen's Day Saint-Étienne Observed only in Alsace and Moselle


See Fêtes et jours fériés en France (Wikipedia page in French), to have all the dates (French Overseas Departments (DOM) added).

Note: French law dictates that work should stop, but be paid, only for the Fête du Travail (May Day, 1 May),[6] except in industries where it is infeasible to stop working.[7] The rest of the public holidays are listed in statute law,[8] but law does not dictate that work should stop; however a leave from work may be granted by the employer or by convention collective (agreement between employers' and employees’ unions).

In 2005, French prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin removed Whit Monday's status as a public holiday. The decision was eventually overruled by French courts in 2008. Employers are free to decide whether to make Whit Monday a day off or not.[9]


  1. French labor law, L3133-3
  2. French labor law, IDCC 1686
  3. . French labor law, IDCC 1686
  4. French wikipédia
  5. Employee holiday entitlement around the world, Mercer
  6. Code du Travail, L3133-4
  7. Code du Travail, L3133-6
  8. Code du Travail, L3133-1
  9. LOI n° 2008-351
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