National cheese day, clocks: March dates to note in France

Dates of interest to put on the calendar this month

A clock change, cheese, St Patrick's Day and spring all feature this March

March 1

  • Shopping laws and discounts set to change
  • Another tobacco price hike
  • New driving test rules for automatic vehicle drivers
  • Pension contribution changes
  • Jobseekers’ ‘work-for-benefits’ trial expands

For more information, see our article about changes for residents of France occurring in March 2024. Below you will also find additional dates to note in your diary.

March 3

Annual Grandmothers’ Day.

Grandmothers' Day in France is celebrated on the first Sunday in March. It was started in 1987 as a commercial act.

March 4

End of half-term for Zone A (Besançon, Bordeaux, Clermont-Ferrand, Dijon, Grenoble, Limoges, Lyon and Poitiers).

Read more: Check: When do school holidays fall in my part of France?

Read more: When are the 2024-2025 school holidays in France?

March 8

International Women’s Day.

Started by the UN in 1975 to commemorate the fight for women’s rights in the 20th century, especially in the US and Europe.

Read more: International Women’s Day: Snapchat’s homage to France’s female icons

Read more: A French perspective on sexism to mark International Women’s Day

March 10

Start of Ramadan (until April 9).

The date was confirmed by La Grande Mosquée de Paris on February 28. It will officially begin at 18:00.

March 11

End of half-term for Zone B (Aix-Marseille, Amiens, Caen, Lille, Nancy-Metz, Nantes, Nice, Orléans-Tours, Reims, Rennes, Rouen and Strasbourg).

March 17

St Patrick’s Day.

The Irish holiday is celebrated in France, where people dress in green and drink beer – especially in Irish pubs.

You can also look forward to music concerts and shows for la fête de la Saint-Patrick.

March 20

Start of spring.

March 26

Major art exhibition

The art exhibition 'Paris 1874: Inventing impressionism' opens at Musée d'Orsay in Paris. It runs until July 14 before beginning tours in France and moving to the US.

Read more: France and the US to host major impressionist art tour

March 27

National Cheese Day.

Promotes traditional cheese-making skills and expertise in various regions.

Read also: Crustless camembert? French cheese threatened by rind mould extinction

Read also: The best cheese in the world is French - but who are the judges?

March 31

  • Clocks go forward by one hour as France changes to summer time.

Read also: Why clock changes are controversial in France

  • Easter - a tradition to celebrate en famille with a gigot d’agneau (leg of lamb).

Easter eggs and chocolate are also popular in France, although the Easter Bunny is replaced by les cloches de Pâques (flying church bells).

Read more: How Easter is different in France and 10 related sayings

  • Reminder

The franchise médicale, a non-refundable cost paid for prescribed medicines and some treatments, will rise from 50c to €1.

Read more: Medicines in France will cost patients more from spring

Energy cheques (Chèque énergie) sent in 2023 to more than five million homes in France must be used before this date.

Read more: How can I use my French chèque énergie gas or electricity vouchers?

Read more: New energy cheque in France: you may need to apply this year