December - 1st January: New Year's Eve - New Year's Day
New Year is celebrated throughout France. The tradition is
to kiss the people you are with when midnight strikes and
to wish them a Happy New Year.
January: Twelfth Night
is a Christian celebration of the visit of the Three Wise
Men to the newborn Jesus. In France it is also called the
"fête des rois": bakers put all their heart
into making almond cakes which allow you to win a king or
queen thanks to the charm hidden inside.
February: St Valentine's Day
called the "Fête des amoureux" (Lover's day).
On this day, all means are used to declare your Love for someone.
Cupid has become its emblem.
Tuesday (Between end February and early March)
is the day before the first day of Lent. Nowadays Shrove Tuesday
in France is a holiday, especially for children, with fancy
dress and pancakes.
Wednesday - Lent
Wednesday is a Catholic feast day. It is the first day of
Lent and the priest marks the foreheads of the faithful with
a pinch of ash to call them to penance. Lent lasts for forty
days, during which Catholics devote themselves to the spiritual
preparation of Easter, observing practices of abstinence and
is an annual Christian feast commemorating the resurrection
of Christ. It is celebrated on the Monday following the forty
days of Lent. The tradition now demands that "bells"
leave chocolates for the children to end the period of fasting.
Sunday in April: recollection of concentration camp prisoners
day is dedicated to people sent to concentration camps during
the Second World War and to remembering them. Sprays of flowers
are placed on the commemorative monuments.
May: Labour Day
Day is a holiday respected throughout France and legally imposed.
May: Anniversary 1945
is also a bank holiday celebrating the end of the German occupation
of France during the Second World War.
celebrates the miraculous ascension of the risen Christ, leaving
Earth and going up to heaven. In France, Ascension Day is
a bank holiday.
May: Mother's Day
date varies. Mothers are honoured on this day. Tradition has
it that children offer their mother a present. This is an
important day instilled into children at school where they
prepare their present.
is a Christian feast celebrating the descent of the Holy Spirit
on the apostles. It is celebrated on the seventh Sunday after
Easter. Whit Monday is a bank holiday.
date varies. It is similar to Mother's Day but for fathers.
June: Fête de la musique (Music Festival)
"fête de la musique" marks the transition
from spring to summer (summer solstice). France lives to the
rhythm of music, in streets, bars and restaurants. Numerous
musicians and groups offer their shows on this occasion.
July: National Holiday
is a bank holiday celebrating the Parisian uprising, the first
of the French Revolution, which led to the storming of the
Bastille. Fireworks followed by local dances can be enjoyed
all over France.
is a public holiday celebrating the ascent into heaven of
the soul and of the body of the Virgin Mary. Processions are
organized to celebrate Mary.
November: All Saints' Day
is a Catholic feast held in honour of all the saints. It is
a bank holiday.
November: All Souls' Day
is a day of contemplation at family tombs.
Armistice, which ended the First World War, is celebrated
on this day in France. Sprays of flowers are placed on commemorative
is a bank holiday. It is the feast of the birth of Jesus Christ.
In France, the symbols of Christmas are decorated Christmas
trees, the meal on Christmas Eve (the 24th in the evening)
after the midnight mass and the giving of presents.