Explainer: who are France’s ‘juilletistes’ and ‘aoûtiens’?

As summer arrives, we look at two words used to describe different French holidaying habit

Are you juilletistes’ or ‘aoûtiens’?
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You may have noticed a recent increase in the use of the words ‘juilletistes’ and ‘aoûtiens’ in the French media or in conversation.

This is no coincidence, as the two terms refer directly to features of France’s summer season.

Both words have come to be used by French people to denote those who take their vacation in July or August and are extensions of the words ‘juillet’ and ‘août’.

Aoûtien’ entered the official Larousse dictionary in 1973, and is defined as “someone who takes vacation in August”.

The term first appeared in 1969, referring to “someone who stayed in Paris or a big city in August”. ‘Juilletiste’ was then added in 1990.

Juilletistes is rather easy to pronounce, the -tiste sound simply being added to the original spelling of ‘juillet’.

Aoûtien should be said in three parts: a - ou - tien (the -t pronounced like the -s in sea).

Who are juilletistes and who are aoûtiens?

Various studies have been published to study the sociology of juilletistes and aoûtiens.

Aoûtiens are historically miners and factory workers, because August normally coincided with the temporary closure of factories.

Juilletistes, meanwhile, were mostly white-collar workers enjoying more flexibility in their holiday schedule.

The Connexion knows several instances of CEOs still closing their company during specific periods to prevent people from taking holiday in busier periods, such as the September rentrée.

This historic division has largely dissolved as a result of the desindustrialisation process, the surge of the service sector and the 35-hour week load. Many French people now include all sorts of personal, familial, geographic and work factors in their decision on when to take holiday.

Some choose July because they felt coming back from holidays after August was more difficult mentally, while aoûtiens often chose that month for its hotter weather.

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