Bank and public holidays in France: 2017-2018 guide

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France celebrates a number of bank and public holidays and they even vary based on what region of the country you’re in. While only one of France’s holidays is a statutory paid holiday — for the rest, it’s up to employers whether workers get the day off.There are 11 days when you can expect banks in France to be closed across the entire country, and several more that only apply to certain regions. If a public holiday falls on a Sunday, you can expect to see banks closed on the following Monday, but if a public holiday falls on a Saturday, no weekday time off is commonly given. Several of France’s public holidays have different dates each year, so it’s important to be aware of the country’s holiday calendar so you don’t get caught needing a bank when they’re all closed.

National holidays in France

There are 13 national holidays in France each year.

  • French public holidays: 13
  • French bank holidays: 13

Celebrating Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in France

Mother’s Day in France, which is held on the last Sunday in May, is very similar to Mother’s Day in other English-speaking countries. Typically, small children will give their mothers poems or handmade crafts. Families often celebrate with a brunch or dinner together, and older children may give their mothers champagne or wine as a gift. It’s common for families to have a cake to celebrate.

Father’s Day in France, which is held on the third Sunday in June, is less formal. The holiday was first introduced for commercial reasons by lighter manufacturer Flaminaire, and children were encouraged to buy lighters for their fathers as gifts. Now, young children will often make paper ties or other crafts for their fathers, and older children will sometimes buy gifts. White roses are often used on Father’s Day to decorate the graves of fathers who have died.

In France, neither Mother’s Day nor Father’s Day is an official public holiday, though they are both widely celebrated throughout the country.

The most important holidays and dates in France

The most commonly celebrated holidays in France are Bastille Day on July 14 and All Saints Day on Nov. 1.

Bastille Day commemorates the storming of the Bastille in 1789, and is celebrated with fireworks, flag flying and community meals of mussels and fries, often held at town halls.

All Saints Day is a more private holiday. Families generally place flowers on the graves of their loved ones, and then enjoy a large, homemade lunch together, usually spending hours talking over food and wine.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are also very widely celebrated French holidays. Although, in some parts of the country, children receive gifts on St. Nicholas’ Day, which is on Dec. 6, instead of on Christmas.

April Fool’s Day, known in France as Poisson d'Avril, is held on April 1. It isn’t a recognized public holiday, but it is still a traditionally celebrated day in the country. On April Fool’s Day, children will make and decorate paper fish, sometimes even as school projects, and then try to stick them to adults’ backs without being noticed.

List of public holidays in France for 2017

HolidayName of holiday in French2017 DateBank holiday?
New Year’s DayNouvel an, Jour de l'an or Premier de l'an1 January, 2017Yes
Good FridayVendredi saint14 April, 2017Yes, but only in Alsace and Moselle regions
Easter MondayLundi de Pâques17 April, 2017Yes
May Day or Labour DayFête du Travail or* Fête des Travailleurs*1 May, 2017Yes
Victory in Europe DayFête de la Victoire8 May, 2017Yes
Ascension DayAscension25 May, 2017Yes
Whit Monday or Pentecost MondayLundi de Pentecôte5 June, 2017Yes
Bastille DayFête nationale14 July, 2017Yes
Assumption of Mary to HeavenAssomption15 August, 2017Yes
All Saints DayToussaint1 November, 2017Yes
Armistice DayArmistice de 191811 November, 2017Yes
Christmas DayNoël25 December, 2017Yes
St. Stephen’s DaySaint-Étienne26 December, 2017Yes, but only in Alsace and Moselle regions

List of public holidays in France for 2018

HolidayName of holiday in French2018 DateBank holiday?
New Year’s DayNouvel an, Jour de l'an or Premier de l'an1 January, 2018Yes
Good FridayVendredi saint30 March, 2018Yes, but only in Alsace and Moselle regions
Easter MondayLundi de Pâques2 April, 2018Yes
May Day or Labour DayFête du Travail or* Fête des Travailleurs*1 May, 2018Yes
Victory in Europe DayFête de la Victoire8 May, 2018Yes
Ascension DayAscension10 May, 2018Yes
Whit Monday or Pentecost MondayLundi de Pentecôte21 May, 2018Yes
Bastille DayFête nationale14 July, 2018Yes
Assumption of Mary to HeavenAssomption15 August, 2018Yes
All Saints DayToussaint1 November, 2018Yes
Armistice DayArmistice de 191811 November, 2018Yes
Christmas DayNoël25 December, 2018Yes
St. Stephen’s DaySaint-Étienne26 December, 2018Yes, but only in Alsace and Moselle regions

List of public holidays in France for 2019

HolidayName of holiday in French2019 DateBank holiday?
New Year’s DayNouvel an, Jour de l'an or Premier de l'an1 January, 2019Yes
Good FridayVendredi saint19 April, 2019Yes, but only in Alsace and Moselle regions
Easter MondayLundi de Pâques22 April, 2019Yes
May Day or Labour DayFête du Travail or* Fête des Travailleurs*1 May, 2019Yes
Victory in Europe DayFête de la Victoire8 May, 2019Yes
Ascension DayAscension30 May, 2019Yes
Whit Monday or Pentecost MondayLundi de Pentecôte10 June, 2019Yes
Bastille DayFête nationale14 July, 2019Yes
Assumption of Mary to HeavenAssomption15 August, 2019Yes
All Saints DayToussaint1 November, 2019Yes
Armistice DayArmistice de 191811 November, 2019Yes
Christmas DayNoël25 December, 2019Yes
St. Stephen’s DaySaint-Étienne26 December, 2019Yes, but only in Alsace and Moselle regions

Sending money home for the holidays in France?

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Now that you know France’s public and bank holidays, you’re ready for a low-stress celebration without and surprise visits to a closed bank. Happy holidays!


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