May is a great month for so many reasons… the sun is out, the birds are chirping, the days are longer and, in France, the weekends tend to be longer too! In the lead up to summer it is a treat that we get so many extra days off to savor the start of the warm weather and explore Paris and France.
There are four major holidays in France in May which are:
May 1st: Fete du Travail (Labour Day). This became an official day off work in 1941. Your country probably has its own Labour day as well.
May 8th: 8 Mai 1945 (VE Day). This day marks the end of World War II and is celebrated throughout Europe.
May 30th: Jour d ’Ascension (Ascension Day). This day occurs 39 days after Easter Sunday to celebrate Jesus Christ’s ascension into heaven.
*June 10th: Pentecote (Whit Monday). Celebrated by Christians to mark the Pentecost- the day the Holy Spirt ascended onto the disciples of Jesus. *This one usually falls in May too!*
There is SO much to do on your days off and long weekends so I have outlined a few suggestions below.
Explore Beautiful Paris!
It is hard to get sick of this city – checkout the many unique vantage points from the Eiffel Tower, Montparnasse tower, or the Sacre Coeur….
….or roam the streets in search for the best crêpe in all of Paris (I recommend La Crêperie Traditionnelle but I’m always searching for better!).
And of course, there are never a shortage of museums in Paris! A few amazing off the beaten path museums are: Musée Jacquemart-André (very much like Versailles but minus the crowds!), Musée Picasso (dedicated to Pablo Picasso), and Musée Rodin (to be visited on a sunny day so that the gardens can be enjoyed).
Or… get OUT of Paris!
Day trips are another great option. May is the perfect time to visit the gorgeous gardens of Giverny. The gardens are in bloom and with any luck won’t be as full of tourists as in the summer months. It is easily accessible by train from Saint Lazare Station.
Chantilly is another amazing town featuring a beautiful château and is only 45 minutes outside of Gare du Nord. Pack a picnic lunch and grab a few friends to spend the afternoon enjoying the town.
And don’t forget to make a visit to Versailles to enjoy the history and the beautiful gardens. If you have energy left, rent a boat and soak up the sun on the Versailles canal!
If you have a three day weekend then you should do as the locals do and head out of the city. Many Parisians head to Normandy to enjoy the first days of summer on the coast. It won’t be swimming weather just yet but it will be warm enough to lay on the beach.
The beautiful Port of Honfleur
If you fancy a swim head south to the Mediterranean Sea. Nice, Marseilles, and Montpellier are popular destinations along the coast.
If the beach isn’t for you, the Loire Valley is located in the center of France and is littered with Châteaux. You can visit the various castles in the valley and enjoy a glass of the worlds finest wine at each one.
What are your May plans?
Rachel, Human Resources at Le Répertoire de Gaspard
Updated 18 April 2019