Everyone loves a public holiday. Some time off work or school and the chance to indulge in some celebratory activity, hopefully with a gastronomic feast to round things off. Of course, when travelling it pays to be aware of impending bank holidays, so as to judge better their affect on traffic, queues and availability of shops and banking services.
French holidays apply across the country, though Alsace and Lorraine have managed to retain two extra public days from the time before 1918 when they were German territories.
May Public Holidays
1 May - Labour Day (Fete du premier mai)
8 May - Victory in Europe Day (Fête du huitième mai or Jour de la Victoire 45)
25 May - Ascension Day (Jour de l'Ascension, 40 days after Easter)
Faire le pont
When a holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, employees often take an extra day off to ‘bridge’ the gap and make a long weekend – hence ‘faire le pont’.
What’s Going On?
These are just a few of the events and festivals taking place in or during May. Many local events take place and are well publicised through local shops, hotel receptions and town squares.
Our Provence Prestige en Vélo holiday journeys through the Nimes countryside. Absorb the essence of Provence – sleepy villages, sun soaked vineyards, Roman ruins and the magnificent Pont du Gard. Easy cycling along quiet lanes and canal paths brings you to charming destinations where you are guaranteed a comfortable room and delicious food.
Drinking Champagne in Epernay is like listening to Mozart in Salzburg… Walk through leafy vineyards and lush woodland on this luxurious holiday, where you’ll enjoy charming accommodation and fine cuisine. A tour and tasting at the Mercier Champagne house is included. Our Luxury Sparkling Champagne Walk starts and finishes in Reims.
Explore the undulating plains of a region famous for its bubbly apéritif and majestic cathedrals and châteaux, starting with an evening cruise through Paris, taking in the stunning floodlit Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. Meander your way along the River Marne through the mesmerising Champagne vineyards with a private tour of a renowned Champagne house, including, of course, a sample, finishing with a visit to Reims cathedral, famous for the crowning of French kings. Learn more about our Champagne River Cruise.
There are great churches and great abbeys across the whole of Europe, but Mont St Michel, between Normandy and Brittany, is in a league of its own. Starting from Coutances, followed by the seaside resort of Granville with a possible visit to the “Iles Chausey”, the stages of this itinerary between sea and land follow in part the coastal path “des douaniers” and will lead you to the Mont Saint Michel, jewel of the Western sacred art, listed as a Unesco World Heritage site. With the help of a guide approach the Mont across the bay where it beckons like a 550ft offshore mirage. It stands alone. You will be seduced by this tranquil beauty, the flora, the thousands of birds which nest and transit through the bay. It’s a perfect invigorating break to clear the mind.
The Loire is the perfect region for a family holiday: quiet country lanes and shady woodland routes make for gentle cycling for all ages and abilities. We've allowed plenty of time to visit the suggested family attractions and still make it back to the hotel for a dip in the pool before dinner. Discover our Loire Family Discovery holiday.
Discover the history and architecture of some of the best châteaux South of Paris on our A Royal Ride to Versailles tour. Enjoy an easy cycle through two of the most beautiful forests of France, green lungs at the gates of the capital. Going through gently rolling countryside and picturesque villages, finish the tour in the gardens of Louis XIV’s masterpiece, the Palace of Versailles. If you wish, extend this dazzling ride by a guided bike tour of Paris – by day or night – or by a cycling trip to Giverny to visit Monet’s gardens.
A moderate walk from the regional capital of Tours to the fascinating riverside town of Saumur taking in some of the best loved châteaux and gardens. Visit the Royal Abbey, set in the heart of the beautiful forest of Fontevraud. Find out more about our Châteaux, Gardens & Abbeys holiday.
Main article images:
Cérémonie du jour de la Victoire en Europe le 8 mai 2015 à Paris - By Tiraden - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
Coutances Cathedral - By Aroche - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
Château de Chaumont - By fr:Utilisatuer:Christophe.Finot - French Wikipedia, uploaded there by user Christophe.Finot on 4. Dec. 2005, CC BY-SA 1.0
Main alley of the Orsay Museum in Paris - By Benh - Own work, CC BY 2.5
Town hall and Place Jean Jaurès - By Tango7174 - Own work, GFDL