Time out: France v UK Public Holidays 2012

Happy New Year. It may surprise you to know that with Christmas Day 2011 and New Year’s Day 2012 both falling on a Sunday, we didn’t have a Public Holiday in France on Boxing Day or on Monday 2nd January. The vineyard team worked all the way through, with no additional time off.

But France will more than make up for it in 2012, and the following dates may be useful to bear in mind if you’re planning to come to France or do business here.

Unlike the UK, where Bank or Public Holidays are on Mondays (except for Royal occasions), French public holidays are based on the actual date. This can be a double-edged sword.

The French often like to bridge, or faire le pont*, to make a long weekend of it if the official Public Holiday falls on a Tuesday or a Thursday. I’ve included these unofficial days in the table below.

French Public Holidays 2012 UK Public Holidays 2012
No holiday on Good Friday Good Friday, 6th April
Easter Sunday, 8th April (Easter Sunday, 8th April)
Easter Monday, 9th April
Easter Monday, 9th April
Monday, 30th April, unofficial ‘pont’*
Tuesday, 1st May, Fête de Travail/May day
Monday, 7th May, unofficial ‘pont’* Monday, 7th May, May Bank Holiday
Tuesday, 8th May, VE Day
Thursday, 17th May, Ascension
Friday, 18th May, unofficial ‘pont’*
Monday, 28th May, Pentecost
Monday, 4th June, Spring Bank Holiday
Tuesday, 5th June, Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
Saturday, 14th July, Bastille Day
Wednesday, 15th August, Assumption
Monday, 27th August, Summer Holiday
Thursday, 1st November, All Saints
Friday, 2nd November, unofficial ‘pont’*
Sunday, 11th November, Armistice Day
Monday, 24th December, unofficial ‘pont’*
Tuesday, 25th December, Christmas Tuesday, 25th December, Christmas
Wednesday, 26th December, Boxing Day


For us, then, the first half of May is almost a write-off for getting things done. And I reckon the Bordeaux 2011 en primeur campaign will be dramatically impacted, for better or worse. More on this anon.


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