Shopping for food in France is a delight. The French take food far more seriously than the British, but they also seem to take far more occasional holidays. Smaller shops and even some supermarkets keep to traditional hours and close for two hours at lunch time, but stay open later into the evening. Many close from lunchtime on Saturdays. Those that stay open are usually closed on Mondays instead. The larger supermarkets are now opening for at least a couple of hours on Sundays.

Banking hours are similar with some banks closing on Mondays and opening on Saturdays, while rural banks may only be open for a couple of days a week. Street markets usually finish by lunchtime.

Shops and sometimes restaurants are closed on Saints Days and public holidays and banks sometimes close for three days at these times.

The principal holidays are:

  • 1st January, New Year’s Day.
  • Easter Monday,
  • Ascension Day,
  • Whit Monday,
  • 1st May, Labour Day,
  • 8th May, VE Day,
  • 14th July, Bastille Day,
  • 15th August, Assumption,
  • 1st November, All Saints’ Day,
  • 11th November, Armistice Day,
  • 25th December, Christmas Day.

It is not a good idea to be in a hurry in French shops, particularly in smaller towns and villages, as you may find the assistant is having an interesting chat with the person in front of you and will not attend to you until the conversation is over. In Britain we would think this rude, but in France every customer is treated the same friendliness and you may be the next person to whom the assistant will chat.

Most museums and monuments also close on either Monday or Tuesday.

return to top of page