Until Christmas holidays, all pupils across the country are on vacation at the same time. From February though, the dates will vary depending on the mainland area you live in. (This is mainly to extend winter holidays and stimulate tourism as well as winter sports on a longer period.)
France is therefore divided in three zones: A, B and C.
Zone A (The authorities of Besançon, Bordeaux, Clermont-Ferrand, Dijon, Grenoble, Limoges, Lyon, Poitiers)
Zone B (Aix-Marseille, Amiens, Caen, Lille, Nancy-Metz, Lille, Nantes, Nice, Orléans-Tours, Reims, Rennes, Rouen, Strasbourg)
Zone C (Créteil, Montpellier, Paris, Toulouse, Versailles)
School holiday dates:
Return to school: Monday, September 2nd
Vacances de Toussaint (autumn holidays): From Saturday, October 19th to Sunday November 3th. Return to school: Monday November 4th
Vacances de Noël (Christmas holidays): From Saturday, December 21nd to Sunday January 5th. Return: Monday January 6th
Vacances d'hiver (winter holidays)
Zone A – From Saturday February 22th to Sunday March 8th. Return: Monday March 9th
Zone B: From Saturday February 15th to Sunday March 1st. Return: Monday March 2nd
Zone C: From Saturday February 8th to Sunday February 23rd. Return: Monday February 24th
Vacances de printemps (spring holidays)
Zone A: From Saturday April 18th to Sunday May 3rd. Return: Monday May 4th
Zone B: From Saturday April 11th to Sunday April 26th. Return: Tuesday April 27th
Zone C: From Saturday April 4th to Sunday April 19th. Return: Monday April 20th
Summer holidays 2019: July 4th to Monday, August 31st
This year, many bank holidays will allow you long and well-deserved weekends of relaxation.
French bank holidays generally fall on the day of the actual festival, rather than the closest Monday as is the case in the UK. That means that holiday days can vary significantly depending on the year, as any public holiday that falls on a weekend results in no extra day off.
The 2019/20 year is a good one, with just one holiday being lost to a weekend.
There are also a lot of public holidays that fall on a Friday or a Monday, meaning fewer opportunities to faire le pont, but more nice long weekends.
All Saints Day: Friday, November 1st
Armistice Day: Monday, November 11th
Christmas: Wednesday, December 25th
New Year: Wednesday, January 1st
Easter Monday: Monday, April 13th, during zone B vacations.
Labor Day: Friday, May 1st
Victory in Europe Day: Friday, May 8th
Ascension Day: Thursday, May 21st. There will be no school on Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd and you will be able to bridge away.
Pentecost Monday: Monday, June 1st. Pupils have no school on this day. Some companies also give this day off to their employees but it is not mandatory.
National Day: Tuesday, July 14th. This one will also allow you take an extra long weekend if you bridge it.
Assumption Day: Saturday, August 15th, sorry, no extra day off work here.
You can download the school holiday calendar here.