Who are France’s juilletistes and aoûtiens?

We look at two words used to describe different French summer holiday habits

Are you a 'juilletiste’ or an ‘aoûtien’?
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France is abuzz with talk of holidays, and you may have noticed an increase in the use of the words ‘juilletiste’ and ‘aoûtien’ in the French media or in conversation.

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

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

They quite literally mean 'Julyists' and 'Augustiens'.

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

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

Juilletistes is pronounced by adding  the -tiste sound to the original French word juillet.

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

Read more: Calendar: when to expect traffic jams on French roads this summer

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.

Read more: French communes offer help for low-income residents to go on holiday

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

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.

However, there is often a friendly rivalry - or tinge of jealousy - between the two groups, as one is working while the other lounges about on the beach.