The French school holiday dates you need to get in your diary

Millions of pupils will return to classrooms across France on Monday, but don't fear -- it will soon be the holidays again. Here are the dates for the next school year to get in your diaries (even if you aren't a parent).

The French school holiday dates you need to get in your diary
Photo: Deposit photos

Parents in France who struggle to organise childcare during the holidays might be looking forward to the start of the school year on Monday.

But unfortunately for them it won't be long until the next school holidays – seven weeks to be exact.

As always in France certain school holiday dates depend on where in the country you are, specifically the vacances d'hiver (winter holidays in February and March) and the vacances printemps (spring holidays in April and May).

Education authorities in mainland France are divided into three zones as well as the island of Corsica (see map below).

Zone A (The authorities of Besançon, Bordeaux, Clermont-Ferrand, Dijon, Grenoble, Limoges, Lyon, Poitiers)

Zone B (Aix-Marseille, Amiens, Caen, Lille, Nancy-Metz, Nantes, Nice, Orléans-Tours, Reims, Rennes, Rouen, Strasbourg)

 Zone C (Créteil, Montpellier, Paris, Toulouse, Versailles)


Holiday dates:

Return to school: Monday September 3rd

Vacances de Toussaint (autumn holidays): From Saturday October 20th to Sunday November 4th. Return to school: Monday November 5th

Vacances de Noël (Christmas holidays): From Saturday December 22nd to Sunday January 6th. Return: Monday January 7th

Vacances d'hiver (winter holidays) – Zone A –  From Saturday February 16th to Sunday March 3rd. Return: Monday March 4th

Zone B: From Saturday February 9th to Sunday February 24th. Return: Monday February 25th

Zone C: From Saturday February 23 to Sunday March 10th. Return: Monday March 11th

Vacances de printemps (spring holidays) 

Zone A: From Saturday April 13th to Sunday April 28th. Return: Monday April 29th

Zone B: From Saturday April 6th to Monday April 22nd. Return: Tuesday April 23rd

Zone C: From Saturday April 20th to Sunday May 5th. Return: Monday May 6th

Ascension holiday: Thursday May 30th, Friday May 31st, Saturday June 1st.

Summer holidays 2019: July 6th

Five French words to learn

Une académie – local education authority

Le calandrier scolaire – school calendar/term dates

les vacances – holidays

La rentrée – return to school

l'année scolaire – the school year

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


School closures rise in France as government relaxes rules for parents

The number of school and class closures in France has increased, the education minister reported on Wednesday, but the government has relaxed the rules for parents sending children back to class.

School closures rise in France as government relaxes rules for parents
Children over 11 in France have to wear masks during the school day. Photo: AFP

A total of 81 establishments and 2,100 individual classes have closed after discovering Covid-19 cases on their premises.

The number was a rise on the figures last week when 28 schools and 524 individual classes were closed.

“We have around 1,200 new Covid cases among pupils compared with last week,” Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer told the LCI channel on Wednesday.

“We shut down a class as soon as there are three cases,” he said.

Blanquer noted that the closures represent just a small fraction of the 60,000 schools across France, calling the beginning of the new school year “the best possible given the health crisis.”


French officials have warned nonetheless that new restrictions might be required to stem a worrying increase in coronavirus cases since August.

IN NUMBERS: How fast are France's Covid-19 rates increasing?

No more official sick notes

Despite the surge in cases registered in schools, children with Covid-19 symptoms will no longer need to provide a doctor's sick note (une attestation) to return to class, Blanquer told BFMTV on Tuesday evening.

Instead, parents will need to fill in what in French is called an attestation sur l'honneur, a written document signed by the parent, stating either that the child tested negative for the virus, or a doctor has ruled out that the child has Covid-19.

READ ALSO: The vocabulary you need to fill in French forms (including the coronavirus 'attestation')

This followed a series of complaints from medical establishments across the country that they were overwhelmed with demands for sick notes and that parents were sending children with very light symptoms such as runny noses to get checked up.

According to the new rules, children who are identified as contact cases must get tested for the virus seven days after their last contact with the confirmed case. If the result comes back negative, the child can go back to class provided that a parent has provided a signed written attestation saying that the test came back negative. No proof for the test result will be required. 

A child with Covid-19 symptoms can also return to class if this attestation indicates that a doctor has ruled out the virus as cause for the symptoms, without providing any proof for the medical appointment.

The new health protocol will be updated and published on the education ministry's website shortly.

READ ALSO: The French school vocab parents need

'Chomage partiel'

Parents affected by the school closures can access to the partial unemployment scheme bolstered by the government at the beginning of the lockdown in March to help businesses foot their employees' salaries to prevent mass layoffs.

Those concerned will “benefit from income reimbursement from the first day of their stoppage of work, and at the latest until the end of the period of isolation,” the health ministry said in a statement.

Only one parent per household will be eligible for the help scheme, and only if they can document that their child's school or nursery closed down due to Covid-19, or that their child has been identified as a contact-case.

Higher education 

Late Tuesday, the University of Montpellier in southern France said it had suspended classes at its medical school after some 60 students tested positive after a party.

The University of Rennes in western France also suspended classes for second- and third-year medical students this week after 83 tested positive.

The government has placed 82 of the country's 101 departments on red alert, and officials in Bordeaux and Marseille this week tightened restrictions on public gatherings and retirement home visits after seeing a surge in new Covid-19 cases. 

READ ALSO: Why are Bordeaux and Marseille facing tougher Covid-19 restrictions but not Paris