French Public Holidays in 2016

When to Watch Out for Closures and Limited Opening Times

Bastille Day 2012 Fireworks on Bastille Day
••• Bastille Day 2012 Fireworks on Bastille Day. Berthold Trenkel/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Public and bank holidays in France mark either national state celebrations (such as Bastille Day; Armistice Day) or religious (and primarily Catholic) occasions. Below is a full list of legal French public holidays in 2016 (excluding holidays like Ramadan, Hanukkah, Passover, Valentine's Day, etc., which are not celebrated as public holidays.)

Please take note: In Paris, the city's major museums and monuments generally close on Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

 On many of the other holidays listed below, numerous businesses, restaurants, and government-operated sites, museums and monuments are closed to the public. Others hold limited and specific hours on bank holidays, closing and re-opening at unusual and sometimes inconvenient times. To avoid disappointment and frustration, I strongly recommend checking official websites and/or calling ahead to find out whether your desired destination will be open on a given day. 

French Bank Holidays in 2016: 

  • January 1: New Year’s Day
  • March 28th: Easter Monday
  • May 1: Labor Day
  • May 8: 1945 Victory
  • May 5th: Ascension
  • May 16th: Whit Monday (Pentecost)
  • July 14: Bastille Day (La Fete Nationale)
  • August 15: Assumption Day
  • November 1: All Saints Day
  • November 11: Armistice 1918
  • December 25: Christmas Day

What's Open for Christmas and the Winter Holiday Season? 

You may be wondering what's open during the festive holiday season in Paris, and luckily, we've got the answers (or most of them, anyway.

See 6 fantastic ways to celebrate Christmas in Paris for ideas on what to do, and details on what's open around town. Meanwhile, if you're lucky enough to be in town for New Year's Eve in Paris, our complete guide to bringing in the "nouvel an" in the city of light will ensure you've got all the info on where to head for a sparkling and memorable evening.

 

What About Closures During the Summer Months? 

Aside from Bastille Day, France's national holiday, the summer doesn't have many official bank holidays. However, because so many Parisians go out of town for long vacations in the south of France or abroad, it can feel incredibly quiet around town, and many restaurants, bakeries, and other businesses close up for summer vacation.

Luckily for tourists, most museums and monuments remain open, since the summer is peak tourist season. See our complete guide to visiting Paris in the summer for more details and complete seasonal advice on what to see and do while the locals are out of town.

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