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School holidays in France

Updated: Sep 23, 2022

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 down the dates of the school holidays as soon as feasible. France's schools close for several weeks each year to mark the holidays and seasonal events that are so important to the country's culture. Some of these 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. A total of 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 dates of the winter and spring vacations differ somewhat 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 same holiday schedules as French schools in general, however, there may be minor variations. All information should be double-checked with your child's school to prevent misunderstandings.




During the time their children are out from school, many French families gather together to 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 take place over the summer months while 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


● Winter Holidays (Vacances d’hiver): 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 website of the Ministry of National Education has a thorough calendar.


Additional holidays and days off


There are 11 national holidays in France, and several of them fall around the country's traditional school breaks. The first of May is the only national holiday in France, and it is Labor Day. Whether any other federal holidays fall on a school day, you should check with your school administration to see if the day will be designated as a holiday. There might be additional days off throughout the academic year for reasons unique to the institution. A few examples of these include staff development days, days dedicated to reading, and student book days. Again, it is important to inquire with your institution in advance about the prerequisites for these. Many schools now provide their yearly calendars online, so you might also look there. 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 make use of a robust childcare provisioning system that is 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 centres") that provide childcare.


Private Vacation Camp However, private summer camps may be a great place for kids to learn French and make friends from all over the world 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 your home or on the caregiver's property.


Costs will 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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