When planning a trip or a move overseas, knowing when the national holidays in France are is highly important. You don’t want to plan a trip to the Louvre or plan to move on a national holiday because things aren’t going to turn out as you expect! So we’ve created this handy 2023 French calendar with important dates.
Each year in France there are special nationalistic holidays. These are considered public holidays and may result in the closure of attractions while others affect schools, banks, and government offices. You don’t want to run into any money issues on these days!
Other holidays are fun ones such as Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day. On these days, nothing is closed but there are celebrations around the country.
To make things easier for you, we’ve created this go to resource which will help you to know which holidays will directly affect your travel or livelihood in France. This article will teach you how to read dates in French and the important days, public holidays, and festivals for the French people.
Which Calendar Does France Use?
France adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1806 following the use of the French Republican Calendar. This means France’s calendar is the same one you’re probably used to seeing with 12 months starting in January.
How To Read The Date In French
For the full lesson of date and time in French, check out our other ultimate guide. Here is a brief rundown of how to read and say the date in French.
The order of the date goes like so:
- Day of the week – number – month – year
- Monday 23rd April, 2023
- Mardi vingt-trois avril l’année 2023 (deux mille vingt-trois)
Not To Miss Festivals In France: The Top 10
The French calendar doesn’t tend to include local festivities, but these should be on your own personal calendar as events not to be missed! Some festivals are quaint, while others are over-the-top, and there’s an event for everyone’s taste. Make sure to check some of these out!
Berck-Sur-Mer Kite Festival
When: April 15-23, 2023
A local festival at the beach community of Berck-sur-Mer, thousands flock to see giant octopuses, dragons, and cartoon characters filling the sky. As an added bonus, every two years, the International Kite Championships of the World are hosted along this same stretch of beach.
Menton Lemon Festival
When: February 11-26, 2023
Also called Fête du Citron or the Lemon Festival, thousands flock to the small city of Menton to see a parade of floats decorated in oranges and lemons. There will also be musicians and acrobats performing as well.
Cannes Film Festival
When: May 16-27, 2023
The best movie festival in the world, Cannes is the place to go celebrity spotting. Cannes itself is beautiful any time of year, but comes to bustling life during the film festival. Come check it out. You never know who you may bump into!
When: February 10-26, 2023
Comparable to the other largest carnivals in the world; Brazil Carnival, and Mardi Gras in New Orleans, the Nice Carnival has stunning parades, night events, and expect to be covered in flowers and confetti.
Festival Medieval de Sedan
When: May 20-21, 2023
Ever heard of larping? Well, it’s when people get dressed up in full regalia and pretend to be in the middle ages. Held at the largest medieval castle in all of Europe, you can enjoy jousting, sword fighting, banquets and more!
When: July 14, 2023
This is a nationwide holiday in France to celebrate the end of the monarchy. There are fireworks, parades, and a show of military force. The best place to experience this day is in Paris.
La Fête de la Musique
When: June 21, 2023
Basically, this is a music day where all over France people walk the streets playing music. People blast it from their windows and are encouraged to perform. There will be concerts, professional and amateur all over to enjoy. The streets will literally be alive with music.
When: July 2023 exact dates TBA
This is the festival of theater. Taking place in the city of Avignon, ancient theaters come alive again. There will be nearly a hundred shows to see, and it’s fit for all ages. Of course, the performances are in French, so get learning before you go!
When: July 7 to August 6, 2023
This is the oldest festival in France. In the town of Orange, you’ll experience opera and classical music played within an original Roman theatre. Not to be missed!
Festival of Lights, Lyon
When: December 7-10, 2023
Come and see the city of Lyon light up! Everything will be lit, and it’s a wonderful sight to see at night.
National Holidays In 2023
Here are the other important days and national holidays in the 2023 French calendar:
- 1 January – New Year’s Day (jour de l’an) – National holiday
- 20 March – March Equinox Season (Saison de l’équinoxe de mars)
- 26 March – Daylight Saving Time Starts Clock Change (1 hour forward)
- 7 April – Good Friday (le Vendredi Saint) – Local holiday only in Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin, Moselle
- 9 April – Easter Sunday (Dimanche de pâques) Observance
- 10 April – Easter Monday (lundi de pâques) – National holiday
- 1 May – Labor Day (fête du travail) – National holiday
- 8 May – World War II Victory Day (Jour de la victoire de la Seconde Guerre mondiale) – National holiday
- 18 May – Ascension Day (jour de l’ascension) – National holiday
- 28 May – Whit Monday (lundi de pentecôte) – Observance
- 29 May – Whit Monday (lundi de pentecôte) – National holiday
- 4 June – Mother’s Day (Fête des mères) – Observance
- 18 June – Father’s Day (Fête des pères) – Observance
- 14 July – Bastille Day – National holiday
- 15 August – Assumption of Mary (Assomption de Marie) – National holiday
- 29 Oct – Daylight Saving Time Ends Clock Change (1 hour back)
- 1 November – All Saints’ Day (Toussaint) – National holiday
- 11 November – Armistice Day (Jour de l’Armistice) – National holiday
- 24 December – Christmas Eve (réveillon de Noël) – Observance
- 25 December – Christmas Day (le jour de Noël) – National holiday
- 26 December – St Stephen’s Day (Le jour de la Saint-Étienne) – Local Holiday Only in Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin, Moselle
- 31 December – New Year’s Eve (réveillon de Nouvel an) – Observance
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