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Bonne année ! France’s 2017 public holidays, time changes

Bonne année and Happy New Year! Best wishes to you all for 2017. I’ll be posting a lot more this year.

Expatica has a good page dedicated to France’s public holidays in 2017.

As you may know, the French tend to look forward to May every year, particularly if those holidays fall close to weekends so they can “faire le pont” (bridge the weekend); i.e., if the holiday is on a Thursday, take the Friday off and make it a 4-day weekend. It is indeed glorious.

You can see a brief review here below.

French national holidays

January 1: New Year’s Day (Jour de l’an)

April 14: Good Friday – applicable only to Alsace and Moselle/Lorraine.

April 17: Easter Monday (Lundi de Pâques)

May 1: Labour Day (Fête du premier mai)

May 8: WWII Victory Day (Fête du huitième mai or Jour de la Victoire 45)

May 25: Ascension Day (Jour de l’Ascension, 40 days after Easter)

June 5: Whit Monday – also known as Pentecost Monday (Lundi de Pentecôte).

July 14: Bastille Day (Fête nationale)

August 15: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Assomption)

November 1: All Saints Day (La Toussaint)

November 11: Armistice Day (Jour d’armistice)

December 25: Christmas Day (Noël)

December 26: Boxing Day/St Stephen’s Day (Deuxième jour de Noël): applicable only to Alsace and Moselle/Lorraine.


Important French holidays

March 26: Clocks go forward one hour as daylight saving time (DST) starts.

April 1: April Fool’s Day (Poisson d’Avril)

May 28: Mother’s day (last Sunday in May)

June 18: Father’s day (third Sunday in June)

October 29: Clocks go back one hour (DST ends).


French school holidays

School dates vary according to which ‘zone’ you’re in. The French Ministry of Education maintains a comprehensive list of school holidays in France.

Could the U.S. ever adopt the paid holiday systems of Europe?

September 1st, 2010 7 comments

Sorry for the long absence, I’m back. This BBC post by Michael Goldfarb reflects on the cultural differences in holidays and vacation time between the two sides of the Atlantic: Europe vs. the US. I know as an American in France, one of the things I appreciate (with fellow expats here) is the generous paid vacation time. 5 weeks per year is the legal minimum, not surprisingly put in place by Mitterand’s Socialist presidency nearly 30 years ago. Hard to reform the system and take away perks once people take those advantages for granted.

I think everyone loves vacation but that in the US, it’s an environment of peer pressure to work the hardest and longest hours. People love stating “I haven’t taken vacation in (insert long period of time)”, as if it’s a proof of dedication. The French workforce is one of the most productive and efficient, so I think the US could learn a thing or two and adopt a healthier work/life balance. This way of life is one of the things that attracts Americans to living in France. Your thoughts?

Excerpts from article below.

“…The figures in a 2007 report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) are stark. It looked at 21 of the richest countries in the world, and found that only one, the US, does not impose a legal mandate on employers to provide time off.

Obviously, people in America do get paid annual leave, but for most wage earners it is subject to so many different calculations based on seniority and how much you earn, it can only be described as miserly. In other words, it is a privilege to be earned rather than a normal part of compensation.

Nine days of annual leave is what the average American accrues during the course of a year. So you have to be at your job for 12 months before you begin to get even that amount….Holidays as part of compensation are one of the small, subtle things that keep a workplace happy. Happy workers are productive workers in ways that can’t be measured statistically.

Whenever citing Americans’ acceptance of the longer hours they work or their lack of paid leave, the cliche is to say it goes back to the country’s Puritan heritage or the Protestant work ethic. I disagree. I think it comes from raw fear. Most Americans are not descended from Puritan stock. The people I have worked with in a variety of jobs – I wasn’t always a journalist – would have liked nothing more than a guarantee of 20 days of paid holiday a year.

But since the heyday of Thatcher and Reagan, they have been increasingly afraid to ask for it directly and way too afraid to come together and demand it as a group. It is easy enough to get fired in the US, and when people have a job they tend not to want to make waves….”

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