Earlier this week, there was a bank holiday in France… and no matter how many times they come around, I am never expecting one mid-week! In the UK, all our bank holidays are on Mondays – bank holiday Tuesday, or Wednesday, Thursday, etc. just don’t exist.
Of course one benefit of being able to move our bank holidays each year, so that they always fall on a Monday, means that we rarely miss out on any. When they fall on a Saturday or Sunday in France though, no-one gets to take the Monday off instead!
However, the benefit of having bank holidays mid-week is that it creates an excellent opportunity to take off the day – or days – in between and really make the most of it. So, when a bank holiday falls on a Tuesday, many workers will book the Monday off and enjoy an epic four-day weekend! Faire le pont is how it’s referred to in French, which roughly translates to ‘bridging’ in English.
If you’re working in France, it’s a good idea to go through the calendar at the start of the year to work out how you can make the most of any mid-week bank holidays. That way, you can get in quick by booking your leave at the earliest opportunity and making any travel arrangements before prices reach their peak.
It’s also well worth keeping an eye on French bank holidays if you’re just planning to travel to France. Bank holidays might be treated like Sundays in the UK in terms of how they affect timetables and opening hours, but Sundays in France aren’t like Sundays in the UK (where life pretty much carries on as usual). Even in Paris, you’ll still find lots of shops and attractions closed on Sundays, so you might be disappointed to discover that the same is true of bank holidays – don’t get caught out.
Brittany Ferries has helpfully listed the French bank holidays in 2017 on its website – bonnes vacances!