Am I going to be cheek to jowl with other family vacationers during Vacances de la Toussaint?
October 1, 2012 7:25 AM   Subscribe

FranceFilter: Vacances de la Toussaint (fall midterm holidays) have what effect on traveling? Are trains, family-oriented sights, indoor pools, etc. packed, or is it mostly status quo?

Seems the entire school system of France is off from Sat 27 Oct - Sun 11 Nov for Vacances de la Toussaint. I was thinking about taking my family, including a five year old, to Paris and somewhere in provincial France (Colmar?) during that time. What's it like? I prefer to avoid peak crowds for reasons of comfort and cost (thus why we're going in the fall) but if everything family-oriented is going to be jacked up in price or complet we might consider shifting things later despite the increased risk of bad weather. On the other hand, given that there are also three other two-week holidays in addition to two months in summer, it might not be a big deal. What have your experiences been?
posted by wnissen to Travel & Transportation around France (5 answers total)
Non-summer school vacations always are crazy here, and Toussaint even more so since it's one of the few when all three "school vacation zones" have a holiday at the same time.

That said, for Paris it plays in your favor, since Parisians tend to leave the city as soon as there's a holiday. Colmar is in a less-populated part of the country so it might not be too bad, but it will still be more crowded than at other times of the year.

Transportation, namely trains, will be at peak prices. They have been for a couple of months for the Toussaint period, already.
posted by fraula at 8:33 AM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Everything will be closed (and buses not running etc) on November 1st and potential other closures/ reduced availability on October 31st.
posted by raccoon409 at 9:51 AM on October 1, 2012

Everything will be closed (and buses not running etc) on November 1st

This used to be the case until about a year or two ago. In larger cities, especially Paris, you can now find supermarkets, tourist sites, and some other places open on holidays, although on reduced hours (usually something like 9am to noon or 1pm, for instance). Smaller, privately-owned shops are generally closed.
posted by fraula at 11:45 AM on October 1, 2012

In Rennes, things have been closed on Toussaint within the last year or two. I always thought of it as a larger city but everything is relative!

Paris is more like fraula said: the only thing that's going to be closed on November 1 and I really want is my gym. Travel prices by train and airplane will be peak: people will at least take the 4-day weekend (Friday people will "faire le pont" ie. "make the bridge"), but many are taking off the week before or after that long weekend, depending on their school vacations. For your sanity, avoid leaving or returning to Paris on any day that would be a really obvious travel day if you can.

The point I wanted to add is to double-check the openings of any major monuments you will visit during your stay. Some may be closed (I missed out on the Abbey at Mont St Michel because it was closed on a holiday), and others may be free.
posted by whatzit at 12:54 PM on October 1, 2012

I talked to some colleagues (one originally from Strasbourg), and they likened it to American Thanksgiving. Definitely a family-oriented holiday, so transport is at top prices, but otherwise it's not as big a deal as, say, Christmas or August.
posted by wnissen at 11:14 AM on November 4, 2012

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