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NEW YEAR

France’s 2017 calendar full of long weekends

2017 promises plenty of long weekends, here's how to make the most of the year.

France's 2017 calendar full of long weekends
Photo: AFP
After a pretty dismal year for long weekends in 2016 (with three public holidays falling on Sundays), 2017 is looking positively brilliant. 
 
In fact, a full five public holidays fall on a Monday. With Bastille Day falling on a Friday, that means the French can look forward to six long weekends.
 
And with Ascension Day on a Thursday and Assumption Day on a Tuesday, many will no doubt take the chance to take off the day in between for a four-day long weekend (“faire le pont”, as the French say).
 
Here's how to make the most of the holidays:
 
New Year's Day: Sunday, January 1st

Easter Monday: Monday, April 17th 

Labor Day: Monday, May 1st

Victory in Europe Day (end of WWII): Monday, May 8th

Ascension Day: Thursday, May 25th

Pentecost: Monday, June 5th

Bastille Day: Friday, July 14th

Assumption Day: Tuesday, August 15th

All Saints' Day: Wednesday, November 1st

Remembrance Day: Saturday, November 11th

Christmas: Monday, December 25th

And if you're looking for travel ideas in France, don't forget that 2016 saw Lyon ranked as the best weekend getaway in Europe, and Bordeaux was ranked by Lonely Planet as the best city in the world for a visit.

Or you could always try one of these ten stunning French villages you've never heard about…

Ten stunning French villages you've never heard of

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NEW YEAR

IN PICS: Paris brings in the 2020s with New Year light show

Close to 250,000 revellers descended on Paris to celebrate the New Year, accompanied by lavish fireworks and a light display projected onto L'arc de Triomphe. Bonne année et bonne santé!

IN PICS: Paris brings in the 2020s with New Year light show
A beam of light shoots into the night sky over L'Arc de Triomphe. Photo: AFP
Fireworks burst out over the famed Champs Elysées avenue bringing a glorious finale to a night when a heavy police presence kept Yellow Vest protesters largely under control. 
 

 

The emergency services began preparing early, setting up an operations centre near the centre of the celebrations. There were more than 100,000 police officers on duty. 

Photo: AFP

The Yellow Vests protestors were also organised. Here is a group below watching President Emmanuel Macron's New Year's address from a tent. 

Photo: AFP

Many revellers arrived early in the city centre to pose for photographs in front of the Eiffel Tower ahead of the festivities.  
 

Photo: AFP

By early evening, crowds were thronging along the Champs-Elysées. Close to 250,000 people came along for the party.  
 

Photo: AFP

In the build-up to the New Year's finale, they were treated to 'Fraternité', a light show projected onto L'Arc de Triomphe. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, signed 70 years ago, was projected onto the building. 

Photo: AFP

The Fraternité display turned the iconic structure into a St Peter's Basilica in the Kremlin, Moscow…
 

Photo: AFP

…and also to the Forbidden City in Beijing.
 

Photo: AFP

There were some small confrontations between police and Yellow Vest protestors, but largely the celebrations were peaceful. 

Photo: AFP

Revellers posed for selfies on a packed Champs-Elysées as the countdown to 2020 began. At 23.20pm, the music of the legendary British rock band Led Zeppelin began booming out.  

Photo: AFP

And that brings an end to the coverage of the festivities. Bonne Année to all!

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