How to avoid being hungry in France!

French Bank Holidays and supermarket opening – does it affect you?

Just a quick post to advise that most supermarkets in France are still closed on Sundays and those that are open only stay open until Noon.

What’s more if the holiday date is say a Thursday the French have their own option of ‘Faire le pont’… so when a Public Holiday falls on a Tuesday or a Thursday, it is very common to take the Friday or Monday off to create a long weekend (“Faire le pont”). Many businesses, especially the smaller ones may therefore closed for the entire period.

So If you are heading out fishing and planning to buy your food for the week at the local supermarkets after your arrival on the Saturday don’t get caught out. There’s nothing worse than being hungry, and you’ll need your strength for hauling all those carp as any foodie appreciates. So here is some helpful information to keep you aware.

With the exception of those associated with Easter, Public Holidays in France are fixed. In other words, Public Holidays do not move to attach themselves to the nearest weekend as in the UK.

However, French Public Holidays falling on a Sunday are celebrated on the following Monday with the exception of Easter Sunday and Whit Sunday, which always fall on a Sunday. No time off in lieu is granted when a Public Holiday falls on a Saturday as it is in the UK.

The French enjoy 11 national ‘jours feriés’ (holidays) annually, and during the month of May, there is a holiday nearly every week, so be prepared for stores, banks and museums to shut their doors for days at a time. Bakers generally will operate a limited morning service as they do on Sundays. Restaurants can be relied upon to respond to the market demand so opening will depend upon place and season.

Most offices, businesses and shops in France will close for a Public Holiday although the smaller supermarkets in many towns will open for a couple of hours in the morning.

French Bank Holiday dates 2011 & 2012

2011 2012
New Year’s Day 1 Jan 1 Jan
Good Friday 22 Apr 6 Apr
Easter Sunday 24 Apr 8 Apr
Easter Monday 25 Apr 9 Apr
Labour Day 1 May 1 May
WWII Victory Day 8 May 8 May
Ascension Day 2 Jun 17 May
Pentecost 12 Jun 3 Jun
Whit Monday 13 Jun 4 Jun
Bastille Day 14 Jul 14 Jul
Assumption of the Virgin Mary 15 Aug 15 Aug
All Saints’ Day 1 Nov 1 Nov
Armistice Day 11 Nov 11 Nov
Christmas Day 25 Dec 25 Dec
2nd day of Christmas 26 Dec 26 Dec



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