Famous Bank Holidays in France in May

Posted by Adam on 6th May 2016 in the blog in the french culture category

Les jours fériés en Mai en France

We have an expression in France which is 'faire le pont'. This expression literally means 'to do the bridge' but actually mean to bridge the gap between two non-working days, in order to have an extra long weekend break.

So when a bank holiday falls on a Friday or Monday, the principle is the same as anywhere else, we have a 3-day weekend. But if the bank holiday occurs on a Tuesday or a Thursday, people can have the Monday or Friday off to bridge the gap between the two non-working days and make it an extra long weekend. So they end up having a 4-day break. Nice!

In France, the month of May is particularly known for its ponts (bridges), as there are several jours fériés (bank holidays).

1st of May - Le premier mai

Le premier mai ou 'la fête du travail/fête des travailleurs(labour day).  

Well, it is ironic as you don't work on the 1st of May. The only drawback is that when the 1st of May falls on a Sunday, French people do not have a day off (jour férié) unlike their neighbours in Britain! The lucky buggers have a bank holiday even if the day falls on a week-end (that seems fair, right?). 

Labour day in France is also a way for French workers to organise marches and demonstrations and campaign for workers' rights and other social issues. The first of May also represents la fête du Muguet (lily of the Valley day).


8th of May - le 8 mai

Le 8 mai c'est 'la fête de la victoire' the celebration of the end of WWII. 


The Ascension and the Pentecost - l'ascension et la pentecôte

These are religious celebrations and are still 'de rigueur' in France.

L'ascension (on a Thursday and marks 39 days after Easter) 
Le lundi de la Pentecôte (whit Monday) marks the Monday after the Pentecost, the 50th day after Easter. It is now known in England as the Spring Bank Holiday.  


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