Pancakes, French school holidays: key February dates for your diary

Dates of interest in France to put on the calendar next month

Crepes, school holidays, Mardi Gras and an extra day all feature this February

February 1

The Pôle emploi (jobseeker service in France) will change its name to France Travail.

The name change puts an emphasis on getting back into work.

Unemployment benefit recipients must prove they are actively seeking work or on a training course that could lead to a job.

Read more: French jobseeker rebrand aims to inspire ‘active’ take on employment

The beginning of the month will also see electricity prices for most people rise by 9.8%, or 8.6% if on a regulated tariff.

The changes are due to the return of a certain tax on electricity (the Taxe intérieure de consommation finale sur l’électricité, or TICFE).

Read more: SEE: Most French electricity bills to rise by 9.8% in February

Finally, motorway tolls (péage) across the country are set to go up, by an average of 2.93%.

February 2

Known as Candlemas in English, La Chandeleur is a religious celebration held on the 40th day of the Christmas-Epiphany season and is the traditional day on which to eat crepes in France.

Read more: Five regional variations of French crêpes to discover on La Chandeleur

The Six Nations rugby tournament kicks off on February 2. The first match sees France take on Ireland at the Orange Velodrome.

February 10

Start of half-term holidays for Zone C (until February 26).

Chinese New Year (until February 15) is celebrated across France. Festivities begin with the rising of the second new moon after the winter solstice which falls on February 10 this year. Expect to see fireworks, lanterns and dancing dragons.

February 13

The last day of the carnival season and an opportunity to indulge in a meal of rich or gras (fatty) foods before the start of Lent.

Read more: Mardi Gras: 12 traditional carnival sweet treats to try in France

February 14

La Saint-Valentin is a celebration of love. It is usually celebrated with presents, bouquets of roses and romantic dinners with your partner.

It has become increasingly popular to celebrate platonic love with friends.

Read more: The French village that celebrates Saint Valentine every day

February 17

Start of half-term holidays for Zone A (until March 4).

February 21

World War Two Resistance hero Missak Manouchian will be reburied in the Panthéon.

February 24

Start of Paris International Agricultural Show (until March 3). The show is an important feature in the French political calendar and is often visited by high ranking government officials.

It is also the start of half-term holidays for Zone B (until March 11).

February 26

Start of Paris Fashion Week (until March 5) for the women’s winter/autumn 2024-25 collection.

February 29

2024 is a leap year, or an année bissextile, meaning that there will be an extra day in February (on a Thursday).

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