Beautiful landscapes, fascinating culture, delicious food, and wine – France undoubtedly has a lot to offer. No wonder thousands of Brits consider relocation to this fascinating country. However, immersing yourself in a foreign culture requires some preparation.
Whether you are planning on living in France or just visiting, you may need some ultimate information and tips on its culture and customs. In order to steady your nerves before the move, we prepared some basic information about French public holidays, car insurance and taxes, and the most popular supermarkets.
Public holidays in France
There are eleven official public holidays in a year observed in France. In the region of Alsace and Moselle, there are two additional holidays. If the fixed public holiday falls on Sunday, it is celebrated on the following Monday. The public holidays in France include:
- 1 January: New Year’s Day (Jour de l’an)
- 19 April: Good Friday – Alsace and Moselle/Lorraine
- 22 April: Easter Monday (Lundi de Pâques)
- 1 May: Labour Day (Fête du premier mai)
- 8 May: World War II Victory Day (Fête du huitième mai or Jour de la Victoire 45)
- 30 May: Ascension Day (Jour de l’Ascension, 40 days after Easter)
- 10 June: Whit Monday – also known as Pentecost Monday (Lundi de Pentecôte)
- 14 July: Bastille Day (Fête nationale)
- 15 August: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Assomption)
- 1 November: All Saints’ Day (La Toussaint)
- 11 November: Armistice Day (Jour d’armistice)
- 25 December: Christmas Day (Noël)
- 26 December: Boxing Day/St Stephen’s Day (Deuxième jour de Noël) – Alsace and Moselle/Lorraine
School holidays in France
French schools observe five holidays throughout the year. Each break lasts around two weeks, except for the summer holidays, which are around eight weeks long. The school holidays in France include:
· All Saints’ break: October – November
· Christmas break: December – January
· Winter break: February – March
· Spring break: April – May
· Summer break: July – September
France is divided into three different regional zones. The winter and spring holidays fall on a different date for each zone. The zones are as follows:
- ZONE A: Besancon, Bordeaux, Clermont-Ferrand, Dijon, Grenoble, Limoges, Lyon, and Poitiers
- ZONE B: Aix-Marseille, Amiens, Caen, Lille, Nancy-Metz, Nantes, Nice, Orleans-Tours, Reins, Rennes, Rouen, and Strasbourg.
- ZONE C: Creteil, Montpellier, Paris, Toulouse, and Versailles.
Car insurance and taxes in France
There is no annual car tax in France. All French- registered vehicles are tax-exempt, apart from vehicles that are over 3.5 tonnes and are used for business. Therefore, if your business includes more than three vehicles, you need to pay tax on the fourth, fifth, and so on. However, if you are wondering if the vignette is required, the answer is no.
Insurance in France covers the vehicle, not the drivers, as it is in many European countries. Therefore, your insurance policy should include the names of regular drivers of the vehicle. Some policies contain restrictions as to who may borrow the car, even temporarily.
Supermarkets in France
In France, the supermarket is called a supermarché, or a hypermarché if it is bigger. Supermarkets are usually located in commercial zones on the outskirts of towns. They are sometimes connected to petrol stations – those stores are usually open for lunch.
The most popular supermarkets in France include:
- Hyper U / Super U
- Carrefour (smaller stores are called Carrefour Market)
- Intermarché (owned by Les Mousquetaires)
- Leader Price
- Franprix (owned by Casino Group)
- Netto (discount supermarket owned by Les Mousquetaires)