Sundays, public holidays
and other closing times in France
SERVICE IS SUSPENDED......... don't be caught out.
holidays in France, when most things are closed
The following days are public holidays ("jours
fériés") in France,
when most shops tend to be shut. Many tourist attractions
remain open during Spring and Summer public holidays
Unlike in the UK, when a public holiday falls during a weekend in
is no extra compensating holiday on the following Monday. However, "le
pont" - the bridge - is a popular French institution, and when a public
holiday falls on a Tuesday or a Thursday, many workplaces remain closed
for the Monday or Friday too, meaning that certain services will be
closed for four days. However, shops and banks and post offices tend to
open normally when there is a "pont".
Monday (in 2016
: March 28th) (though not Good Friday
except in Alsace),
- La fête du travail, labour day
- Armistice day, World War II
Thursday (in 2016 5th May)
(Lundi de Pentecôte) (in 2016 16th May),
14th, French national holiday, Bastille day
15th, Summer holiday day - Assumption day.
1st, Toussaint, All souls' day
11th, Remembrance Day, Armistice of World War I
(though not Boxing Day, December 26th)
Note also that most public
museums are closed on TUESDAYS - but this is not always
in France, when most shops are closed
Don't expect to find shops open in France on Sundays. Sunday in France
is still for most people a day of rest, and most shops are not allowed
to open, except in specific locations at at certain times of year.
Sunday is a day for window shopping in French towns, for most of the
year. Large shops are only allowed to open on Sundays in tourist
resorts in the holiday period; elsewhere, in the cities, Sunday opening
is only allowed on a limited number of Sundays in the run-up to
Nonetheless, small corner shops and essential services (such as
boulangeries) can open on Sundays if they want to, and indeed Sunday is
the busiest days of the week for many patisseries. So in any town, it
is usually possible to buy fresh bread and groceries on a Sunday,
particularly on Sunday morning. More information on the Shopping in France
In recent years, French shops and shoppers have been
demanding more freedom to open on Sundays, and several shops in and
around Paris have flouted the law to do so. Main
French trade unions
are opposed, but a new law to allow more sunday opening is currently
(2015) going through Parliament.
Sunday opening in tourist locations
The rules are more relaxed in tourist
defined as places where tourism is a major activity - during their
tourist season; which means that nowadays, in seaside resorts, Paris,
and even in small country towns,
essential supermarkets, shops that cater largely for tourists,
and and some other shops now open on Sundays in July
and August and in the runup to Christmas. Sunday opening however is
often just Sunday morning, so it is best not to plan a shopping trip
anywhere in France on a Sunday afternoon, except in the busiest tourist
train services operate more or less as normal on Sundays; suburban and
urban transport operators, including the Paris Metro, run a lighter
service, particularly on Sunday mornings.
Particularly in small provincial towns, many shops are closed on Monday
morning - so don't plan a big shopping trip on a Monday morning if you
are on holiday in rural France. A lot of French provincial museums and
monuments are also closed on Mondays. However supermarkets tend to be
open as normal on Mondays, even in small towns.
This is the day on which a lot of museums
and national monuments are
closed. It is particularly the case with national monuments and
museums, such as the Louvre and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
Many businesses, administrations and shops will actually shut down
completely for a week or two in Late July or early August, though shops
are unlikely to close during this period in tourist areas. The closure
of public administrations during August can be particularly frustrating.
disruptions to normal service
and barricades France has the reputation of being a
country prone to strikes. In actual fact, it is not a country where
strikes are particularly commonplace; it is just that they tend to
occur in high-profile sectors, in places where they are very visible
and affect the lives of millions of ordinary men and women; i.e. in
public services and in the transport sector.
Public transport is a sector frequently affected by strikes,
bring rail services or airports to a halt nationally or regionally; and
all kinds of workers in France have a habit of blocking roads, ports
and railway lines in defence of their objective. Such events are
strongly mediatized, but actually relatively rare. Foreign
find it hard to understand why blockades are not quickly dispersed by
the police; but this is part of the French way of life, a legacy of the
Revolution and the spirit of the "barricades". Increasingly, police are
brought in to disperse blockades, but generally not until after the
striking workers or students have had time to make their point.
jams and congestion:
For information about travelling in France, and avoiding problems and
traffic jams, see the Driving in
France page. Roads are also particularly busy on weekends
that mark the start of end of school
holidays, particularly school holidays for the Paris region.
send an email to info "at" about-france.com