Home Education Children's Education School holidays in France
Last update on September 01, 2021
Written by Gary Buswell

Here is a list of school holidays in France in 2020 and 2021 to help expat parents make the necessary arrangements for holiday and childcare.

If you are a parent living in France, you’ll need to get the school holiday dates in the diary as soon as possible so that you can make your holiday plans or childcare arrangements. School holidays in France spread across the seasonal and festival periods, with the exact date for some determined by what regional zone you live in.

This guide will tell you all you need to know about:

School holidays in France

The French Ministry of National Education (Ministere de l’Education Nationale in French) sets the dates for the school holidays in France. French schools have five holidays throughout the year: All Saints’ holiday, Christmas holiday, winter holiday, spring holiday, and summer holiday. The breaks are usually around two weeks each, apart from the summer holidays, which last about eight weeks from early July to early September.

France splits schools into three different regional zones. Dates for the winter and spring holidays vary across the three zones. The zones are as follows:

  • Besancon, Bordeaux, Clermont-Ferrand, Dijon, Grenoble, Limoges, Lyon, and Poitiers are in Zone A.
  • Aix-Marseille, Amiens, Caen, Lille, Nancy-Metz, Nantes, Nice, Orleans-Tours, Reins, Rennes, Rouen, and Strasbourg are in Zone B.
  • Creteil, Montpellier, Paris, Toulouse, and Versailles are in Zone C.

International schools in France generally follow the same holiday dates as other schools, although there may be some variation within individual schools. To be sure, check with your child’s school for full details.

School holidays in France are used as an occasion for families to get together for festivities such as Christmas in France, to take a vacation or enjoy day trips within France, or to plan fun activities for kids. Other French festivities such as Bastille Day may also occur during the school holidays.

French school holiday dates 2020–21

  • All Saints’ break (Vacances de la Toussaint): 17 October – 2 November 2020
  • Christmas break (Vacances de Noël): 19 December 2020 – 4 January 2021
  • Winter break (Vacances d’hiver): 6–22 February 2021 (Zone A); 20 February – 8 March 2021 (Zone B); 13 February – 1 March 2021 (Zone C)
  • Spring break (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

French school holiday dates 2021-22

  • All Saints’ break: 23 October – 8 November 2021
  • Christmas break: 18 December 2021 – 3 January 2022
  • Winter break: 12 February – 28 February 2022 (Zone A); 5 February – 21 February 2022 (Zone B); 19 February – 7 March 2022 (Zone C)
  • Spring break: 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

A full calendar can be found via the Ministry of National Education.

Additional holidays and days off

France has 11 public holidays during the year, some of which fall within school holidays. Labor Day (1 May) is the only statutory paid holiday in France. For other public holidays that fall on school days, you will need to check with your school to see whether or not this is treated as a holiday. There may also be additional school-specific days off throughout the year; these can include staff training, development days, or pupil book days. Again, check with your school so that you can plan ahead for these. You can also look on your school’s website as many publish yearly calendars. For general public holiday information, see our guide to public holidays in France.

Childcare during French school holidays

There is a robust system of childcare provision in France available to working parents. Here are some of the options for the childcare during the French holidays:

  • Holiday centers (centres de vacances): For working parents of school-age children, there are state-supervised recreational holiday facilities available with accommodation offered. There are also leisure/recreation centers (centre de loisirs in French) that offer day care.
  • Private holiday camp: Private camps are more expensive than state provision, but can be a good place for kids to meet other children from various countries as well as learn/improve their French. Providers include Jeunes Diplomates, which runs summer and winter language camps in the French Alps.
  • Professional childminders (assistantes maternelles), au pairs, and babysitters: childcare either in your home or on their own premises. See our guide to childcare in France for details on options available.

Costs vary between regions and centers, although discounts are available for those on low incomes. Check with your local school or regional educational department for full details of what is available in your area, when and for how much.