May 1 = National Holiday: Plan around it!

May 1st, 2013

In France, May 1st is Labor Day (la fête du travail), celebrated by giving lily of the valley and, of course, not working – which means that most everything is closed in France today!  Many bakeries will however be open (bread is essential after all to the French), along with movie theaters and a few museums.  And of course parks (if only the sun would come out).  In addition, there are usually several parades organized by the unions, at least in the major cities (which of course makes travel by car, taxi or bus challenging but often fun to experience on foot).

In addition, last Saturday was the start of spring break for Paris schools.  That, coupled with people leaving on Monday/Tuesday to take advantage of the May 1st holiday, made anything travel-related crowded and very busy (airport buses, the metro, all the train stations, etc.).  Think traveling at Thanksgiving or Christmas – almost.  It can’t always be avoided but it’s easier if you know what to expect!

So, if your visit to Paris includes a national holiday, you need to plan your itinerary accordingly to avoid disappointments and minimize stress.  And the month of May is chocked full of holidays!  At the same time, May in France can be lovely.  Let me help you make the most of it!

But back to May 1st – lily of the valley has long been associated with this holiday as a good-luck charm.  So on May 1 you’ll find little stands all over selling them.  Shown here – a photo from the 40s in the 14th arrondissement of Paris. two stands from today and an old postcard.  Enjoy!

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