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Ascension Day in France

Ascension Day (Ascension) marks the day that Jesus ascended to heaven following his crucifixion and resurrection, according to Christian belief. It is the 40th day of Easter and is ten days before Pentecost Sunday. It is a public holiday in France.

Is Ascension Day a Public Holiday?

Ascension Day is a public holiday. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.

Church Service
Some Christians in France attend church services on Ascension Day.
Some Christians in France attend church services on Ascension Day.
©iStockphoto.com/Slobo Mitic

What Do People Do?

Some Christians in France may attend special church services to mark the ascension of Jesus to heaven. For other people, Ascension Day is an opportunity to spend time with family and friends or to enjoy the spring weather. Ascension Day falls on a Thursday so many people take a day of their annual leave on Friday and so enjoy a four-day weekend. They often use the opportunity to take a short vacation.

Public Life

Public life is generally quiet on Ascension Day. Post offices, banks, stores and other businesses are closed. Outside of tourist areas, restaurants and cafes may also be closed. However, bakeries and some stores in Paris, as well as at airports and railway stations and along major highways, are open. Small businesses may also be closed on the Friday and Saturday after Ascension Day, even if they are usually open on these days.

Public transport service schedules vary depending on where one lives and intends to travel. Some villages and small towns hold sporting or cultural events on Ascension Day and during the following weekend. These may cause some local disruption to traffic.

Background and symbols

Ascension Day marks the day that Jesus ascended to heaven following his crucifixion and resurrection. It is celebrated in many countries including in Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and the United States.

About Ascension Day in other countries

Read more about Ascension Day.

Ascension Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2010ThuMay 13Ascension DayNational holiday
2011ThuJun 2Ascension DayNational holiday
2012ThuMay 17Ascension DayNational holiday
2013ThuMay 9Ascension DayNational holiday
2014ThuMay 29Ascension DayNational holiday
2015ThuMay 14Ascension DayNational holiday
2016ThuMay 5Ascension DayNational holiday
2017ThuMay 25Ascension DayNational holiday
2018ThuMay 10Ascension DayNational holiday
2019ThuMay 30Ascension DayNational holiday
2020ThuMay 21Ascension DayNational holiday

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