August is the French holiday month. All the most important people go on holiday during this month, and only the least qualified personnel would remain working, if the company doesn’t close altogether. Try not to get sick in France in August. You may find it difficult to find a qualified doctor. In case of serious illness, consider urgent repatriation very seriously, as even hospitals will not be working well, and all the experienced doctors will be on holiday. Everything slows down or grinds to a halt, except tourist activities. Your mail arrives later, and some days you just don’t get any. Public services cannot close down, but that is no guarantee that anybody competent is left.
Americans using British English guides should be aware of the different use of the terms “holidays” and “vacation”. In British English, “holidays” is commonly used for vacation (vacances or congé in French) and “bank holidays” for public and national holidays (jours féries in French). School holidays are les vacances scolaires in French. Other types of absence from work than holidays and vacation are known as congé (leave of absence in general), possibly qualified, such as congé de maternité (maternity leave), congé de paternité (paternity leave), congé de maladie (sick leave). You will find that there is a lot of congé and vacances in France, something that can be a problem if you need someone to do something for you. The common attitude is that no one will bother to cover for the absent ones, so you just have to wait until they are back.
|New Year’s Day||Nouvel an||1 January|
|Easter Monday||Lundi de Pâques||Floating|
|Labour Day||Fête du travail||1 May|
|Victory 1945||Victoire 1945||8 May|
|Whit Monday||Lundi de Pentecôte||Floating 2)|
|National (Bastille) Day||Fête nationale||14 Juillet|
|All Saints Day||Toussaint||1 November|
|Armistice 1918||Armistice 1918||11 November|
|Christmas Day||Noël||25 December|
1) Ascension is the sixth Thursday after Easter
2) Whitsun is the seventh Sunday after Easter