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With 11 national holidays (jours feriés) and five weeks of paid vacation, the French have their share of repose. In May there's a holiday nearly every week, so be prepared for stores, banks, and museums to shut their doors for days at a time. If a holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, many businesses font le pont (make the bridge) and close on that Monday or Friday as well. Some exchange booths in tourist areas, small grocery stores, restaurants, cafés, and bakeries usually remain open. Bastille Day (July 14) is observed in true French form. Celebrations begin on the evening of the 13th, when city fire fighters open the doors to their stations, often classed as historical monuments, to host their much-acclaimed all-night balls and finish the next day with the annual military parade and air show.
Note that these dates are for the calendar year 2013: January 1 (New Year's Day); March 31-April 1 (Easter Sunday-Monday); May 1 (Labor Day); May 8 (VE Day); May 19 (Pentecost Sunday); May 9 (Ascension); July 14 (Bastille Day); August 15 (Assumption); November 1 (All Saints' Day); November 11 (Armistice); December 25 (Christmas).
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