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Why 2018 is a great year in France for public holidays

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Why 2018 is a great year in France for public holidays
People sunbathe and swim on the Porticcio Beach in Corsica. Photo: AFP
13:33 CET+01:00
France can look forward to a great year for public holidays in 2018. Although not all of them will bring a day off.
The key to making the most of 2018's public holidays in France is by using that nifty little system called "doing the bridge" (faire le pont). 
 
With five holidays falling on a Tuesday or Thursday, you could potentially have five four-day weekends in 2018 by booking off the Monday or Friday too. 
 
But be sure to get in their quickly because your French colleagues will no doubt be planning on the same strategy. 
 
"Four-day weekends" are a joy not just to workers but to the tourism industry as many in France will go away for a short break. One these weekends Paris could feel like it does in mid-August when are the locals are at the beach.
 
The UK and the US miss out on the chances for these extra long weekends because all their holidays fall on a Monday or Friday. 
 
But, as with all good things, there are downsides to this magical-sounding "pont" system.
 
While the days off usually provide a boon for retailers and the tourism industry, they cut hard into France's economy, with one report claiming that they cost the country around €2 billion a year. 
 
On top of the ponts opportunities three of France's public holidays in 2018 fall on a Monday meaning that there are three long weekends to look forward to without even trying.
 
And check out the month of May. All four public holidays fall on weekdays this year meaning plenty of short working weeks.
 
Although the downside is July 14th - France's National Day or Bastille Day as we call it, falls on a Saturday, so we won't get a day off this year. And in more bad news for workers November 11th when France remembers Armistice Day, falls on a Sunday.
 
New Year's Day: Monday January 1st
Easter Monday: Monday April 2nd 
Labour Day: Tuesday May 1st
Victory in Europe Day (end of WWII): Tuesday May 8th
Ascension: Thursday May 10th
Pentecost: Monday May 21st 
National Day: Saturday July 14th
Assumption Day: Wednesday August 15th
All Saints' Day: Thursday November 1st
Remembrance Day: Sunday November 11th
Christmas Day: Tuesday December 25th
 
And if you're looking for the best way to spend all that free time, why not check out this list of the ten must-visit French villages you've never heard of.
 
Saint-Amand-de-Coly
 
Or pack a bag and head into the French countryside to one of the ten stunning places to go camping in France.
 
Ten stunning places to go camping in France
Dune du Pyla. www.twin-loc.fr/Flickr
 
Alternatively, browse this list of the one place you absolutely have to visit in each department of France for inspiration. 
 
The one place you absolutely have to visit in each department of France
The stunning Saint Michel d'Aiguilhe in central France. Photo: Bivouacker/WikiCommons
 
And if you're on a tight budget, don't despair. Here's a list of the best FREE thing to do in each Paris arrondissement.
 
The best FREE thing to do in each Paris arrondissement
Photo: AFP
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