2024 bank holiday dates in France and how they are celebrated

There are technically 13 statutory holidays in 2024 in France - although some are only celebrated in one area. Here are the dates to note

Did you know that two jours fériés in France are only marked in one part of the country?
Published Last updated

Bank or public holidays are known as jours fériés in France, and they tend to be a mix of Christian festivals and more recent traditions. 

Workers typically have the right to a day off on statutory holiday days in France without being penalised or required to make up the time. Banks, schools, and many other public service centres will be closed.

Other celebrations may also take place to mark certain days, but they may not be considered to be ‘official’ public holiday days so workers and school children may not have a day off. Plus, there are two which are only celebrated in one part of the country.

Here are the dates to note in 2024.

January 1: New Year’s Day (Jour de l’an)

This was a Monday in 2024. Many workers have the day off on this day to celebrate (and perhaps recover from…) the festivities of the new year.

Not everywhere. March 29: Good Friday (Le Vendredi Saint)

This holiday, while well-known in countries including the UK, is only celebrated in France in the north-east region of Alsace and Lorraine (Alsace-Moselle, Grand Est).

April 1: Easter Monday (Lundi de Pâques)

A Christian festival that comes the day after Easter Sunday, which is a day celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ after he was crucified. It has been a jour férié since 1886, but the exact date varies each year. 

This is because it depends on the date of the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. Easter can fall anywhere between March 22 to April 25. In 2025, for example, it will come as late as Monday, April 21.

May 1: ‘Labour Day’ (Fête du Travail, Fête du premier mai)

This holiday is typically celebrated with workers’ union marches, a celebration of patriotism, and the giving of a symbolic flower: the lily of the valley (muguet).

It has been a public holiday since 1947, but workers’ rights associated with the day go back much further.

Giving muguets is said to bring luck and good wishes for the season ahead. The tradition is said to date back to May 1, 1561, when King Charles IX was given a lily of the valley to bring him luck. 

He enjoyed it so much that he decided to make a new tradition in which the women of his court would be given a lily of the valley flower every year on the same day.

The flower later became seen as a sign of love to sweethearts. Now, they are exchanged by both family, lovers, and friends.

Read also: A brief history of the May 1 holiday in France 
Read also: Lily of the valley and workers’ rights: May 1 is special day in France 

May 8: Victory in Europe Day (Fête du huitième mai or Jour de la Victoire 45)

A day to celebrate the European Allies declaring victory in World War Two and the end of the war in Europe. It marks the date of Germany's unconditional surrender of its armed forces on the Eastern Front in Europe.

‘VE Day’ comes before ‘V-J Day’, August 15, which marks the day in 1945 that the then-Japanese Emperor Hirohito broadcast his country’s surrender on Radio Tokyo, in what was later dubbed Victory over Japan Day. It is also sometimes known as Victory in the Pacific Day.

May 9: Ascension Day (Jour de l’Ascension)

This date comes 40 days after Easter, and is a Christian celebration of the belief that Jesus ascended into heaven 40 days after his resurrection, following his crucifixion, and burial in a Roman tomb. Christians will often hold a feast to celebrate the risen and ascended Christ.

May 20: Whit Monday or Pentecost Monday (Lundi de Pentecôte)

A Christian festival that celebrates the descent of the Holy Ghost upon Jesus’ disciples, as described in the New Testament. It comes the day after Whit Sunday.

July 14: France’s national day (Fête Nationale, or le quatorze juillet)

This national day, often referred to as Bastille Day by anglophones, is often marked by street parties and large firework displays. 

As its English name suggests, it is thought to mark the pivotal day when revolutionaries stormed the Bastille on the same date in 1789; a major event in the Revolution - but in fact it marks la Fête de la Fédération, which celebrates the unity of the French people, on the date in 1790.

Read also: La Fête Nationale: 14 facts to know about le quatorze juillet 

August 15: Assumption Day (L’Assomption)

Another Christian festival - particularly celebrated in the Catholic church - to mark the day when Mary, the mother of Christ, is thought to have died, and was then ‘assumed’ into heaven and reunited with her soul.

November 1: All Saints’ Day (La Toussaint)

This is a Catholic day to celebrate people who have passed. It is also sometimes known as All Hallows' Day. It comes one day after Halloween, which is a modern version of this festival. 

It also roughly coincides with the Mexican Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), which is also a day to celebrate the dead and remember much-loved family ancestors.

November 11: Armistice Day (Jour d’armistice)

A day to remember the Armistice between troops during World War One. It is typically marked with a minute of silence at 11:00, because peace negotiations began at 11:00 on November 11, 1918 (11:00 on the 11th day of the 11th month).

The word ‘Armistice’ comes from Latin, and roughly translates as ‘holding weapons still’.

December 25: Christmas Day (Noël)

The official day to celebrate Jesus’ birth, although many say that the ‘real’ baby Jesus was not born on this date. Instead, some believe that this exact date goes back to pagan winter rituals.

December 26: Boxing Day (Deuxième jour de Noël

Known as ‘Boxing Day’ in the UK, this day is not normally considered a bank holiday in France, except - as with Le Vendredi Saint (Good Friday) - in the north-east region of Alsace and Lorraine (Alsace-Moselle, Grand Est).

Other important dates in France for 2024 include:

  • Epiphany (Épiphanie): January 6, the 12th day after Christmas, to mark the arrival of the Three Kings (the Three Wise Men, Les Rois Mages) to Jesus. Not a ‘day off’, but it is marked in France by the tradition of galettes des rois: a certain type of pastry that contains a charm (fève), often sold with a paper king’s crown to celebrate whoever ‘wins’ the king charm.

  • Daylight Savings (passer à l’heure d'été / d’hiver): Clocks go forward on March 31, and back on October 27. A controversial practice that still takes place in most of Europe and the USA as the seasons change. The EU has long debated whether to stop the change, but this has been on pause since the pandemic.

  • Mother’s Day (Fête des Mères): May 26. A day designed to celebrate mothers, and anyone in the role of a mother.

  • Father’s Day (Fête des Pères): June 16. A day designed to celebrate fathers, and anyone in the role of a father.