Busy roads as sun shines on bank holiday
Check our list of the holiday dates where you are
Holiday traffic on Thursday is expected to be dense for the Ascension public holiday and people taking the Friday off to faire le pont – and there have already been traffic jams on the roads this afternoon.
Roads advice agency Bison Futé has classed the long weekend of May 24-28 as ‘red’ so drivers should expect long delays at peak times – although the Rocade ring road in Bordeaux has been jammed since lunch-time.
Everyone is heading for the promised weekend of sunshine but the return trip on Sunday is marked ‘black’ all day on roads returning from the west and north from 12.00 to 21.00. A red warning is in place across the country but Calvados, Eure, Eure-et-Loir, Ille-et-Vilaine, Indre-et-Loire, Loir-et-Cher, Loire-Atlantique, Loiret, Maine-et-Loire, Mayenne, Sarthe and Seine-Maritime are marked black.
France has 11 national holidays with New Year’s Day, Easter Monday, Victory in Europe 1945 Day (May 8), Ascension, Whit Monday (June 5), July 14 Fête Nationale, Assumption (August 15), All Saints (November 1), 1918 Armistice (November 11) and Christmas Day (December 25).
This year’s summer school holidays start on July 8 across the country and the return to school is on September 4, although teachers are back on September 1.
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The Toussaint autumn holidays start on October 21 until November 6 and the Christmas holidays start on December 23 until January 8.
The winter holidays are split into three zones:
A is for education authorities in Besançon, Bordeaux, Clermont-Ferrand, Dijon, Grenoble, Limoges, Lyon, Poitiers
B is for education authorities in Aix-Marseille, Amiens, Caen, Lille, Nancy-Metz, Nantes, Nice, Orléans-Tours, Reims, Rennes, Rouen, Strasbourg
C is for education authorities in Créteil, Montpellier, Paris, Toulouse, Versailles
Zone A heads off on February 10 to return on February 26, Zone B head off on February 24 and return on March 12 while Zone C heads off earlier, on February 17 until March 5.
The spring holiday works similarly with Zone A off from April 7 until April 23, Zone B from April 21 until May 7 and Zone C from April 14 until April 30.
You can find the main school holidays on the education ministry website (and check by your location) but although the list is usually published in advance, the 2018-19 dates are delayed until after the national elections, becoming available mid-June.
Some additional holidays are celebrated more locally with Guadeloupe having a holiday on Monday to mark the abolition of slavery and other overseas territories choose different dates.
Clothing industries have a jour férié on November 25 for Sainte Catherine, metalworkers in Nord and Pas-de-Calais have December 1 off for Saint Eloi and miners have December 4 to honour Sainte Barbe. Alsace-Moselle marks December 26 for Saint-Etienne.