Paris on May 8, 9 2013, both national holidays (V-E day and Ascension

We will be in Paris from May 6th until May 11, 2013. Both of these national holidays occur during our stay. Are there any festivals, parades, etc that happen on either of these 2 days in Paris? Conversely, what is likely to be closed? Finally, I've read elsewhere that when these holidays fall close to a weekend, the crowds are generally larger because many people choose to travel to Paris over the long weekend. Do you think that these 2 holidays falling on a Wed/Thurs will likely have the same impact? We are going on a trip earned by my husband through his work, so there are several chunks of time that are booked with events the tour company/his company has arranged. May 8th/9th are our most open days so I want to maximize them. Thanks!

Posted by Kim
Paris
544 posts

Hi Lisa you're lucky that you're not here on May 1, when many many things will be closed (for example, the bookstore where I used to work closed only 3 days a year: Christmas Day, New Year's Day, and May 1). Yes, some things will be closed on May 8 and 9, and yes, there will be crowds of people taking advantage of the "pont" ( the "bridge" between the holidays and the weekend). However, the places that will be closed are mainly places you won't care about government offices, the post office, etc. some small shops will close, or stay open for fewer hours, but the big places will be open (check hours for anything you're interested in). Likewise, smaller museums may modify their hours, but the big ones should operate on a normal schedule (again, consult the website of the Louvre, d'Orsay, etc, if you're really set on one for one of those days). transit will be on a reduced schedule, but it's hardly noticeable, just a few more minutes between each metro train or bus. And it's fun to notice all the buses being decked out with European and French flags for the occasion. In short: the holidays shouldn't affect you too much at all, but yes, expect there to be lots of people here enjoying the holidays!!

Posted by Lisa
Bellingham, WA, USA
13 posts

Bumping this back up because I read some things elsewhere on the net about a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe for the unknown soldier, and maybe some kind of a parade in years past. Does anyone else know anything about VE Day in Paris this year? Thanks!

Posted by Bob
Manchester, CT, USA
87 posts

We were in Paris at the same time last year, and did not run into any problems with crowds, closures, etc.

Posted by Lisa
Bellingham, WA, USA
13 posts

Bob, thanks for your input. When I originally posted this I was more concerned about closures, mainly because a restaurant we really want to try (Verjus) will be closed that day. I think that they are also closing because one of their cooks/waitstaff is getting married, but it got me thinking about what else might be closed. Now, I'm more curious about events commemorating VE Day. I realized after my original post that my father's brother was killed in France during WWII, so it seems a nice way to honor his memory... Thanks!

Posted by Bev
Decorah, Iowa, USA
250 posts

May 1, French Labor Day. May 8, V-E Day. Plus the Ascention days as holidays. Lots of May holidays. We have been caught up in ALL of them. The first time, we were amazed plus a little irritated that we couldn't see something. The next time, we had learned a little...either make reservations or do more driving. The third time, GET reservations where ever possible! Fourth time, make adjustments to schedule and GET reservations. Also, if you are there on May 1, give and receive lilies of the valley. All over, there are little sidewalk shops or regular flower shops selling lilies of the valley. Kids sell them along the streets. Have fun but be prepared to make changes to your plans.

Posted by Lisa
Bellingham, WA, USA
13 posts

BG and Bev,
Thanks for the input. Bev, you mention getting reservations. For restaurants, I'm assuming? Were there any special commemorations of VE Day that you can remember? Thx.

Posted by Bev
Decorah, Iowa, USA
250 posts

Lisa, I have just sent you a PM. However, if any other posters have information about special events for V-E Day, closures or anything thing else, I would also appreciate the information. Thanks!

Posted by Swan
Napa, CA
2858 posts

I will be in Paris on those dates. Any responses, please make them to the Helpline so we all can learn. I didn't realize there were holidays on those dates. I'll do some research and see what I find. I could use a good parade, maybe a fly-over. On the Fodor's website a writer reports that on VE Day "schools, offices, and banks will be closed." Otherwise, everything is as usual.

Posted by BG
Albany, CA, USA
1410 posts

I lived in France last year. I was not aware of the Ascension Day holiday, and when I left my apartment in Paris that weekday morning, it seemed like a ghost town. All the markets were closed, as well as many restaurants and stores -- so you may want to be aware of this.

Posted by Bev
Decorah, Iowa, USA
250 posts

No, I meant hotel reservations. We usually don't bother with restaurant reservations because we know we can just walk farther down the street to another restaurant. So far, we really haven't been to any restaurant for which we would have to make reservations. Does that sound cheap? :) Now, I will add to that a bit...if we are staying at a Logis hotel, they are smaller and have limited tables so we will make a reservation since we know we will eat at the hotel. We do that so we can have some wine and not drive, just walk back to our rooms. I don't know of anything special, like parades, etc. for V-E Day in Paris. One year, we did see a small group of musicians on the Ile St. Louis. There was a piano player and singer who sang a lot of WWII songs. There was a crowd watching and singing along to the songs. If any other poster knows of specific activities in Paris, please share.