A blog by Patrick Crozier

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May 04, 2004

Continental Bank Holidays are different

I discovered this during my trip to Alsace. Like us Brits, the French also have a May Day public holiday. The difference is that while we take it on the nearest Monday to May 1 they take it on May 1. Every year. Regardless of the day it falls on. And when they do, just about everything shuts down. So, on Saturday, the shops were shut though in other respects it was difficult to tell the difference.

I seem to remember something similar when I was in Italy.

The corollary is that when someone tells you that the Continentals have more public holidays than us that does not necessarily mean they get more time off.

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Comments

Was it not like this in England when you were a child? In Australia in the 1970s pretty much everything was shut on public holidays. (Also, shops were not allowed to open on Sundays, and were required to close at noon on Saturdays). Nowadays most things are open. I have always pretty much assumed that the same trend had been occurring here, but I don't really know.

Posted by Michael Jennings on May 23, 2004