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French school holidays

Updated: Mar 22

French Schools

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction

  2. Free Time for French Students

  3. Dates of French School Vacations in 2020 and 2021

  4. Dates of French School Vacations for 2021 and 2022

  5. Additional Holidays and Days Off

  6. Childcare During French School Holidays

For the academic years 2020 and 2021, this page details the many French school holidays that will be observed. As such, it is meant to help ex-pat parents plan for time off and child care during those critical years.

To plan for your trip or your children's childcare needs, French parents should note the school holiday dates as soon as feasible. France's schools close for several weeks yearly to mark the holidays and seasonal events important to the country's culture. Some holidays have different beginning and ending dates depending on where you live.

Free Time for French Students

The Ministère de l'Education Nationale (Menu English: "Ministry of National Education") of France is in charge of establishing the dates for school breaks. Five separate holidays are observed during the school year in France: All Saints' Day, Christmas Day, Winter Holiday, Spring Holiday, and Summer Holiday. Each break lasts roughly a week, except summer break, which lasts for around eight weeks (from early July to early September). 

France's educational system is divided into three zones, each with its own set of schools. The winter and spring vacation dates differ across the three time zones. The zones are described as follows.

Zone A consists of the following cities: Besancon, Bordeaux, Clermont-Ferrand, Dijon, Grenoble, Limoges, Lyon, and Poitiers. 

Zone B includes the cities of Aix-Marseille, Amiens, Caen, Lille, Nancy-Metz, Nantes, Nice, Orleans-Tours, Reins, Rennes, Rouen, and Strasbourg. 

Zone C includes the areas of Creteil, Montpellier, Paris, Toulouse, and Versailles. 

International schools in France typically follow the exact holiday schedules of French schools in general; however, there may be minor variations. All information should be double-checked with your child's school to prevent misunderstandings. 

When their children are out of school, many French families celebrate holidays like Christmas, travel or enjoy day trips inside France, or plan fun activities for their kids. Further French events, such as Bastille Day, might occur during summer when students are not in school. 

Dates of French School Vacations in 2020 and 2021

 ● All Saints' Holidays (Vacances de la Toussaint): 17 October – 2 November 2020

● Christmas Holidays (Vacances de Noël): 19 December 2020 – 4 January 2021

Dates of French School Vacations for 2021 and 2022

● Winter Holidays (Vacances driver): 6–22 February 2021 (Zone A); 20 February – 8 March 2021 (Zone B); 13 February – 1 March 2021 (Zone C)

● Spring Holidays (Vacances de Printemps): 10–26 April 2021 (Zone A); 24 April – 10 May 2021 (Zone B); 17 April – 3 May 2021 (Zone C)

● Summer break (Vacances d’été): 6 July – 1 September 2021

Dates of French school vacations for 2021 and 2022

● All Saints' Holidays: 23 October – 8 November 2021

● Christmas Holidays: 18 December 2021 – 3 January 2022

● Winter Holidays: 12 February – 28 February 2022 (Zone A); 5 February – 21 February 2022 (Zone B); 19 February – 7 March 2022 (Zone C)

● Spring Holidays: 16 April – 2 May 2022 (Zone A); 9 April – 25 April 2022 (Zone B); 23 April – 9 May 2022 (Zone C)

● Summer break: 7 July – 1 September 2022

The Ministry of National Education's website has a thorough calendar.

Additional Holidays and Days Off

There are 11 national holidays in France, and several falls around the country's traditional school breaks... To learn more about the national holidays observed around France, check out our comprehensive guide

Childcare during French school holidays

In France, working parents may use a robust childcare provisioning system tailored to their specific requirements. Here are a few of the options for keeping kids busy throughout the summer months in France:

Centers de vacances, or "holiday centers," are state-run facilities that provide after-school programs for children of working parents. Accommodations may be found at these hubs as well. On top of that, there are centers de loisirs (French for "leisure and entertainment centers") that provide childcare.

Private Vacation Camp However, private summer camps may be an excellent place for kids to learn French and make friends worldwide while being more rigorous than state-run options. One of the service providers is Jeunes Diplomates, which runs summer and winter language programs in the French Alps.

Professional childminders (also known as assistants maternelles), au pairs, and babysitters may offer care for your children at home or on the caregiver's property.

Costs vary by facility and vicinity, but low-income families might qualify for discounts. If you want to know everything about what is available where you live, when it is available, and how much it costs, you should contact the local education department or a nearby school.



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