French parents (or at least those that work full time) often express their frustration about the number of school holidays, due to the difficulties in taking time off or finding someone to look after their offspring.
And just days before kids go back to school in France, parents are already expressing their disquiet, not so much over the sheer number of holidays (because they have more or less accepted that now) but over some of the dates.
The most controversial break this year is the annual La Toussaint (All Saints) holiday, which will take place from Wednesday October 19th until pupils return to classes on Thursday November 3rd.
The fact the two-week break begins and ends in the middle of the week has drawn criticism from parents who claim this oddly timed holiday will prove difficult to coordinate.
“The positioning of these holidays right in the middle of the week creates real disruption, notably for boarding school students,” a spokesperson from France’s Parents Federation (Federation des Conseils de Parents d’Elèves) told BFMTV.
Tourist industry chiefs have also expressed frustration because they fear the dates of the break will discourage families from going away.
With holiday rentals typically offered from Saturday to Saturday, there are also worries that the tourist industry may suffer from these inconvenient holiday dates.
Below is the full list of school holidays for the academic year 2016-2017:
Toussaint holidays : Wednesday 19th October to Thursday 3rd November
Christmas holidays: Saturday 17th December – Tuesday 3rd January
-Zone A (Besançon, Bordeaux, Clermont-Ferrand, Dijon, Grenoble, Limoges, Lyon, Poitiers): Saturday 18th February – Monday 6thMarch
-Zone B (Aix-Marseille, Amiens, Caen, Lille, Nancy-Metz, Nantes, Nice, Orléans-Tours, Reims, Rennes, Rouen, Strasbourg): Saturday 11th February – Monday 27th February
-Zone C (Créteil, Montpellier, Paris, Toulouse, Versailles) : Saturday 4th February – Monday 20th February
Spring break :
-Zone A (Besançon, Bordeaux, Clermont-Ferrand, Dijon, Grenoble, Limoges, Lyon, Poitiers): Saturday 15th April – Tuesday 2nd May
-Zone B (Aix-Marseille, Amiens, Caen, Lille, Nancy-Metz, Nantes, Nice, Orléans-Tours, Reims, Rennes, Rouen, Strasbourg) : Saturday 8th April – Monday 24th April
- Zone C (Créteil, Montpellier, Paris, Toulouse, Versailles): Saturday 1st April –Tuesday 18th April
Ascension day: This year, students will not be guaranteed the Friday and Saturday morning off following Ascension Thursday.
Summer holidays: Saturday July 8th to Friday September 1st.
by Fatima Al-Kassab