How to have 16 consecutive days off work in France this May

Taking just a few days of annual leave could see you have an extended holiday

Most people in France will take annual leave to have at least one long weekend in May
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France is one of the most generous countries when it comes to days off for workers, with 25 paid days of annual leave, potentially even more for those who earn RTT.

In addition, there are 11 public holidays (13 for those in Alsace and Moselle), which provided they do not fall on a weekend, are given as paid days off (although not all workers receive Whit Monday as a holiday).

Read more: Five long weekends in France for many workers in 2024

Most holidays fall on set dates, however for Easter and the holidays derived from them, these change each year, meaning the spring time can often see multiple holidays bunched close together.

In 2024, there will be three public holidays in the first nine days of May, none of which fall on a weekend.

These are:

  • Wednesday May 1 (Labour Day)
  • Wednesday May 8 (Victory Day, the end of World War Two in Europe)
  • Thursday May 9 (Ascension, 50 days after Easter)

By combining a few days of annual leave, you can take advantage of this to have 16 consecutive days of holiday, stretching from the end of April to the midpoint of May. Below, we explain how.

Seven days annual leave required

To benefit from this extended break, you will need to take seven days of annual leave, which are:

  • Monday April 29
  • Tuesday April 30
  • Thursday May 2
  • Friday May 3
  • Monday May 6
  • Tuesday May 7
  • Friday May 10

If you take these days off, you will have an uninterrupted holiday stretching from Saturday April 27 to Sunday May 12, equaling 16 days.

If this feels like too much, you could take only those in the second week of May (May 6, 7, 10), which would give you nine days off of work, as well as a day off the week before due to Labour Day, and potentially Whit Monday (if your company allocates it as a paid day).

Read more: Whit Monday: France’s most confusing bank holiday

Be quick to book holidays

Note that many people in France will be taking advantage of these dates to have at least one extended weekend (possibly more), with roads set to be busy and train tickets sold out very quickly.

Companies are also anticipating the break too, and may need to limit how many people can take annual leave at this time to keep open. It might not be possible to take all seven days if you do not get a request in early.

There is one potential snag in the plan – the holiday period in France runs from June 1 - May 31, with holidays being earned from working the previous 12 months.

Many people may have used most, or all of their annual leave by this point, and do not have enough days left before they are replenished in June.

However, some employers allow employees to take the dates ‘in advance’ (par anticipation) from next year’s allocation, especially so close to the turnover.

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