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Why 2022 is a bad year for public holidays in France

People relax on the beach in the French city of Nice.
People relax on the beach in the French city of Nice. They will not have many mid-week public holidays to do so in 2022. (Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP)
France is generous when it comes to public holidays, with most months having at least one. But 2022 will be a bad year for those hoping for time off work - here's why.

In total there are 11 public holidays every year in France, apart from in Alsace-Lorraine where people get 13 days off for complicated historical reasons to do with wars and Germany – find out more here.

All national holidays are taken on the day they fall on that year, rather than being moved to the nearest Monday as is the case in many other countries – this means that if the festival is on a Saturday or a Sunday, there is no extra day off.

2022 is a bad year for public holidays across France as four of them fall on the weekend – as was also the case in 2021. Ironically, 2020 was a good year for holidays – although we were confined indoors for most of them. 

The complete list of 2022 public holidays is below:

  • Saturday, January 1st: New Year’s Day
  • Monday, April 18th: Easter Monday
  • Sunday, May 1st: May Day
  • Sunday, May 8th: VE Day
  • Thursday, May 26th: Ascension Day
  • Monday, June 6th – Pentecost*
  • Thursday, July 14th – Bastille Day
  • Monday, August 15th – Assumption
  • Tuesday, November 1st – All Saints
  • Friday, November 11th – Armistice Day
  • Sunday, December 25th – Christmas

*Pentecost is a curious holiday which was once a public holiday, then wasn’t and is now a holiday for some people depending on where they work

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See also on The Local:

When to faire le pont

The best way to salvage 2022 from a public holiday perspective is to faire le pont – a French expression used to describe the practice of using up one day of annual leave to form a ‘bridge’ before or after a public holiday to create a four-day weekend.

In 2022, there are only three holidays where it is possible to faire to pont – Ascension on Thursday, May 26th, Thursday July 14th for the Fête nationale (aka Bastille Day) and All Saints Day on Tuesday, November 1st.

There are, however, two holidays that fall on a Friday or a Monday, making it possible to take an extra day and still create a four-day weekend – Assumption on Monday, August 15th and Armistice Day on Friday, November 11th. Easter Monday and Pentecost always fall on a Monday and instead change the dates from year to year.

There are no public holidays falling on a Wednesday in 2022, which means there are no opportunities to faire le viaduc – an expression which means taking two consecutive days of annual leave off either before or after the public holiday to finish with a five-day weekend.

What about school holidays?

The government published 2022/23 school holiday dates back in July. The current Christmas holidays are set to draw to a close on Monday, January 3rd. 

Summer holidays begin on Wednesday, July 6th, 2022, and children will return – as usual – on Thursday, September 1st.

For the whole country, the other holiday dates are as follows:

Toussaint

  • Schools break up at the end of classes: Saturday, October 22nd. 2022;
  • Pupils return to class: Monday, November 7th.

Christmas

  • Schools break up at the end of classes: Saturday, December 17th;
  • Pupils return to class: Tuesday, January 3rd, 2023.

Other school holidays are broken up by geographical zones, as demonstrated on the map below:

Credit: www.service-public.fr

Winter Half term

  • Zone A schools (Besançon, Bordeaux, Clermont-Ferrand, Dijon, Grenoble, Limoges, Lyon, Poitiers)
    Schools break up at the end of classes: Saturday, February 12th, 2022
    Pupils return to class: Monday, February 28th.
  • Zone B schools (Aix-Marseille, Amiens, Caen, Lille, Nancy-Metz, Nantes, Nice, Orléans-Tours, Reims, Rennes, Rouen, Strasbourg)
    Schools break up at the end of classes: Saturday, February 5th;
    Pupils return to class: Monday, February 21st.
  • Zone C schools (Créteil, Montpellier, Paris, Toulouse, Versailles)
    Schools break up at the end of classes: Saturday, February 19th;
    Pupils return to class: Monday, March 7th.

Spring holiday

  • Zone A schools (Besançon, Bordeaux, Clermont-Ferrand, Dijon, Grenoble, Limoges, Lyon, Poitiers)
    Schools break up at the end of classes: Saturday, April 16th;
    Pupils return to class: Monday, May 2nd.
  • Zone B schools (Aix-Marseille, Amiens, Caen, Lille, Nancy-Metz, Nantes, Nice, Orléans-Tours, Reims, Rennes, Rouen, Strasbourg)
    Schools break up at the end of classes: Saturday, April 9th;
    Pupils return to class: Monday, April 25th.
  • Zone C schools (Créteil, Montpellier, Paris, Toulouse, Versailles)
    Schools break up at the end of classes: Saturday, April 23rd;
    Pupils return to class: Monday, May 9th.

Grandes Vacances

  • The summer holidays begin at the end of classes on Thursday, July 7th, 2022.

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