Schools in France stagger their vacations somewhat so that it eases the holiday crowds. The school calendar is divided into three zones, however there may be some overlap on vacations days. So for example, Zone A schools include schools in the regions of Caen, Clermont-Ferrand, Grenoble, Lyon, Montpellier, Nancy-Metz, Nantes, Rennes and Toulouse; Zone B includes Aix-Marseille, Amiens, Besançon, Dijon, Lille, Limoges, Nice, Orléans-Tours, Poitiers, Reims, Rouen and Strasbourg; and Zone C includes Bordeaux, Créteil, Paris, and Versailles.
In Paris, most schools have the same days off, although it can vary, especially in private schools, and you should make sure with your institution. Below is a summary for the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school years. You can verify exact dates by visiting http://www.education.gouv.fr. Look in the middle of the page, on the right side and click the icon in the shape of France that says Calendrier.
In addition to the vacation schedule below, schools will be closed on national holiday. See Public Holidays for those dates.
- La Rentree, School starts: Monday, August 31, 2015
- Vacances de la Toussaint, a break around All Saints Day: Saturday, October 17, 2015 – Monday, November 2, 2015
- Vacances de Noel, Christmas break: Saturday, December 19, 2015 – Monday, January 4, 2016
- Vacances d’hiver, winter break: Saturday, February 20, 2016 – Monday, March 7, 2016
- Vacances de printemps, spring break: Saturday, April 23, 2016 – Monday, May 9, 2016
- Vacances d’ete, School ends for the summer: Saturday, July 2, 2016
- La Rentree, School starts: Thursday, September 1, 2016
- Vacances de la Toussaint, a break around All Saints Day: Wednesday, October 19, 2016 – Thursday, November 3, 2016
- Vacances de Noel, Christmas break: Saturday, December 17, 2016 – Tuesday, January 3, 2017
- Vacances d’hiver, winter break: Saturday, February 4, 2017 – Monday, February 20, 2017
- Vacances de printemps, spring break: Saturday, April 8, 2017 – Monday, April 24, 2017
- Vacances d’ete, School ends for the summer: Thursday, July 6, 2017
Leisure Time and Vacation
Public schools are usually closed on Wednesday, so it is a popular day for extra-curricular activities and for fun field trips. It is important to know that French life revolves around the vacances scolaires and Paris empties considerably during these periods. Travel is more expensive and accommodation throughout France and Europe becomes difficult to find if you have not planned in advance. Schools are usually flexible about absences in the nursery, or maternelle, sections so it will not necessarily affect you if you choose not to follow the crowds. Remember to make alternative arrangements for childcare if you do stay in Paris during the vacations. Once students enter the elementary (ecoles primares) schools, it is unadvisable to remove your child from school for vacation