France Holidays, Events, Climate and Sightseeing

France: Holidays and Events

Public holidays

There are a number of public holidays that do not have a fixed date, but are based on the location of Easter. Easter takes place on the first Sunday that follows the first full moon after the beginning of spring. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, which ends on Holy Saturday, is 46 days before Holy Saturday.

The date for Pentecost is then 50 days after Easter. The Corpus Christi festival is celebrated on the 2nd Thursday after Pentecost. All Saints’ Day is celebrated for Orthodox Christians on the 1st Sunday after Pentecost, but for Catholic Christians the date is fixed on November 1st.

On October 31, Protestants celebrate Reformation Day. The Halloween festival also takes place on this day.

Date Holiday
January 1 New Year
March April Easter Monday
1st of May May Day
8th of May Armistice Day 1945
April May Ascension of Christ
April May Whit Monday
July 14 National holiday
15th of August Assumption Day
November 1 All Saints Day
November 11 Armistice Day 1918
25 December 1st Christmas Holiday

Source: Countryaah – France Holidays

Cultural events

In France there are over 400 noteworthy events every year. The French Tourist Office provides information about the festivals and events. Here are some dates:

February

  • In St-Trojan-les-Bains the Mimosa Festival takes place every year with a colorful parade.
  • The citrus fruit festival is celebrated in Menton.
  • The Nice Carnival is celebrated for 12 days in late February to early March.

March

  • A crime film festival is being held in Cognac.
  • Good Friday procession in Perpignan

April

  • Catamaran competition in Carnac.
  • In Orleans on April 29th and May 7th and 8th, Joan of Arc and the end of the British occupation will be commemorated.

May

  • Fetes des Gardians in Arles. At the festival in the Camargue, horses are blessed and bullfights are held.
  • Cannes Film Festival.
  • International sailing week in La Rochelle.
  • On May 24th and 25th, Sint and Roma from all over the world will meet in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer and celebrate their patron saint, Saint Sarah.
  • Feria de Nimes with bullfighting, theater, folklore and music.

June

  • Festival of Tarasque in Tarascon. A four day celebration with traditions and customs from Provence.

July

  • Festival d’Avignon from early July to early August with theater, music and art.
  • Aix-en-Provence hosts the Festival of Poetry and Music throughout July.
  • The national holiday on July 14th is celebrated with a large parade in Paris and many parades across the country.
  • The Festival de Cornouaille in Quimper is a great Celtic folk festival.
  • Jazz Festival in Salon-de-Provence.
  • During the festival in Beaucaire from July 21st to 28th, 100 bulls chase through the whole village.

August

  • An exhibition of old sailing ships takes place in Douarnenez in Brittany.
  • Mule race in Seyne-les-Alpes.
  • Folk festivals and parades take place on Assumption Day on August 15th

September

  • American Film Festival in Deauville.

October

  • Jazz Festival in Toulouse.

November

  • Military ceremony on November 11th on the anniversary of the 1918 armistice at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
  • “Les Trois Glorieuses” wine festival in Burgundy.

December

  • From the end of November to December 31st there is a market for nativity figuresin Marseille.

Sporting events

The Tour de France is the most important cycling race in the world and lasts three weeks. It has been driven in France since 1903 and ends in the capital Paris. The race leads in 20-23 stages over 3,500 to 4,000 km. The winner of the individual classification wears the yellow jersey, the fastest sprinter wears the green and the winner of the mountain classification wears a white jersey with red dots.

In the south of France bullfighting takes place in a bloodless form. The goal is not to kill the bull, but to tear paper flowers attached between its horns from it.

The Paris-Dakar auto rally starts annually in Paris in January.

The bicycle world cup race from Paris to Roubaix takes place annually in April. In October the race goes from Paris to Tours.

The Grand Tournoi, the five-nation rugby tournament, takes place in Paris in June.

The Marathon de Paris takes place at the end of April.

In October in Paris the winner of the most important horse race in the world will be crowned with the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

The French Open is a world-famous tennis tournament and is held annually in Paris.

Climate

General

The climate in France varies greatly depending on the region.

In the north there is generally a temperate climate, with the north-west being more oceanic and the north-east having a continental climate. There is frequent rainfall and summers are often cool and humid, while winters are more moderate.

Climate table

The following table shows a range of climate data for the country. Because of the very different climate zones and the fact that the values are averaged over years, only very limited statements about the weather to be expected can of course be made.

Month Average number of rainy days Mean maximum temperatures in (°C) Mean minimum temperatures in (°C)
January 16 05 at 0
February 14 07 at 0
March 12 12 04
April 12 16 06
May 12 22 10
June 12 28 10
July 12 30 16
August 12 30 14
September 12 24 13
October 14 15 08
November 16 10 04
December 16 05 01

National customs

In France, people kiss each other on the cheeks to greet them and to say goodbye. It can vary from region to region from two kisses to four kisses. This is now also common in Germany. Otherwise, behavior in France hardly differs from that in Germany.

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