France enjoys special days and national celebrations throughout the year. There are fixed national holidays and changeable national holidays and special days that aren’t holidays but are when traditions are honoured.
Public Holidays in France in 2018
January 1: New Year’s Day
April 2: Easter Monday
May 1: Labor Day / May Day
May 8: WWII Victory Day
May 10: Ascension Day
May 21: Whit Monday
July 14: Bastille Day (which this year falls on a Saturday – a perfect excuse to enjoy a weekend in France and join in the fun!)
August 15: Assumption of Mary
November 1: All Saints’ Day
November 11: Armistice Day
December 25: Christmas Day
Key dates in France in 2018
March 20: March equinox
March 25: Daylight Saving Time starts
March 30: Good Friday – Local holiday in Alsace and Moselle
April 1: Sunday Easter Day
May 20: Whit Sunday
June 21: June Solstice
September 23: September equinox
October 28: Daylight Saving Time ends
December 21: December Solstice
Special celebration Days in France
January 6: Epiphanie: Fête des Rois
It is traditional is to serve a special cake called “une Galette des Rois” which contains a porcelain figurine called a fève. The person who finds the hidden fève in their serving is named king or queen for the day and wears a paper crown sold with the cake. Make one at home with our fabulous Galette des Rois recipe.
February 2: La Chandeleur – Candlemas
A day when traditionally crèpes are eaten, a great excuse for a pancake feast! Here’s the perfect French pancake recipe!
April 1: Poisson d’Avri l – April Fool’s Day
Practical jokes mark this day for the name Poisson d’Avril is that April 1 marks the opening day of fishing season, which was considered a bit of a joke as very few fish were to be caught so early in the season.
May: Nuits des Musées – European Night of Museums
All over France thousands of museums open their doors for one night in an exceptional free opening to the public on the Saturday closest to 18 May. Many of the venues put on music, theatre, games, films and cuisine to tempt the public to venture out in the dead of night and enjoy the collection in a way not normally available.
June 21: Fête de la Musique – Music Festival
A celebration of the longest day of the year (first day of summer). Musicians of all sorts, both professional and amateur, line the streets of Paris and cities, towns and villages all over France to entertain enthusiastic crowds until near dawn with the joyous Fête de la Musique.
Mid-September: Journées Européennes du Patrimoine – European Heritage Days
Hundreds of historical buildings, famous monuments, Government sites and places of interest. Many of these buildings are normally closed to the public but on this day they throw open their doors and welcome in visitors
November: Beaujolais Nouveau – Festival of new wine
The new harvest of Beaujolais wine is celebrated on the third Thursday of November, released at the stroke of midnight and a time to sip the year’s fresh harvest and figure out whether all the fuss about Beaujolais Nouveau Day is overrated or not.