How Do You Say “Holiday” In French?

As a language enthusiast, there’s nothing more exciting than learning a new language. Every language has its own unique charm, and French is no exception. It’s a beautiful language that’s spoken by millions of people around the world. Whether you’re planning a trip to a French-speaking country or just want to learn a new language, French is a great choice. In this article, we’ll explore how to say “holiday” in French.

The French translation of “holiday” is “vacances”. It’s a word that’s commonly used in France and other French-speaking countries. If you’re planning a trip to France, it’s important to know this word so that you can communicate effectively with the locals.

How Do You Pronounce The French Word For “Holiday”?

Learning to properly pronounce words in a foreign language can be a challenging task, but it is an essential part of effective communication. If you’re looking to expand your French vocabulary, one of the most basic words you’ll want to know is “holiday.” In French, this word is spelled “vacances” and is pronounced as “vah-kahns.”

Phonetic Breakdown

Breaking down the word “vacances” into its individual sounds can help you better understand how to pronounce it correctly. Here is a phonetic breakdown of the French word for “holiday”:

Phonetic Symbol Sound
/v/ voiced labiodental fricative
/a/ unrounded open front vowel
/k/ voiceless velar stop
/ɑ̃/ nasalized open back vowel
/s/ voiceless alveolar fricative

As you can see, “vacances” is made up of five sounds, including a nasalized vowel sound that can be tricky for English speakers to master. However, with a little practice, you can learn to pronounce it like a native French speaker.

Tips For Pronunciation

To improve your pronunciation of the French word for “holiday,” try the following tips:

  • Practice saying each sound in the word “vacances” slowly and separately before putting them together.
  • Pay attention to the nasalized “ɑ̃” sound, which is unique to French and can be challenging for English speakers to master.
  • Listen to native French speakers say the word and try to mimic their pronunciation.
  • Use online resources, such as pronunciation guides and audio recordings, to help you practice.

With a little effort and some helpful tips, you can learn to pronounce the French word for “holiday” like a pro. So why not start practicing today?

Proper Grammatical Use Of The French Word For “Holiday”

Understanding the proper grammatical use of the French word for “holiday” is crucial for effective communication in the French language. In this section, we will discuss the key aspects of grammatical usage when it comes to using the French word for holiday.

Placement Of The French Word For Holiday In Sentences

The French word for “holiday” is “vacances”. It is important to note that in French, the noun generally comes after the adjective. This means that when using “vacances” in a sentence, it typically follows any adjectives that are used to describe the holiday. For example:

  • “Je vais passer mes grandes vacances à la plage.”
  • Translation: “I am going to spend my summer holidays at the beach.”

In this example, “grandes” is the adjective that describes the type of holiday, and “vacances” comes after it in the sentence.

Verb Conjugations Or Tenses

When discussing holidays in French, it is important to use the correct verb tense or conjugation. This will depend on the context of the sentence and whether the holiday is in the past, present, or future. For example:

  • “Je suis allé en vacances à Paris l’été dernier.”
  • Translation: “I went on holiday to Paris last summer.”

In this example, the past tense “suis allé” is used to describe the fact that the holiday has already happened.

Agreement With Gender And Number

In French, adjectives and nouns must agree in both gender and number. This means that if you are referring to a masculine holiday, you must use masculine adjectives and pronouns to describe it. Similarly, if you are referring to a plural holiday, you must use plural adjectives and pronouns. For example:

  • “Je vais passer mes vacances en France.”
  • Translation: “I am going to spend my holidays in France.”

In this example, “vacances” is a feminine plural noun, so the adjective “mes” (my) is also feminine and plural to match.

Common Exceptions

As with any language, there are some common exceptions to the rules when it comes to using the French word for holiday. For example, when referring to public holidays or bank holidays, the word “férié” is often used instead of “vacances”. Additionally, when discussing specific types of holidays, such as Christmas or Easter, different words may be used instead of “vacances”. It is important to familiarize yourself with these exceptions in order to use the correct terminology in the appropriate context.

Examples Of Phrases Using The French Word For “Holiday”

French is a beautiful language that is widely spoken across the world. If you are planning a holiday to France, it is essential to learn some basic French phrases to make your trip more enjoyable. In this article, we will explore some common phrases that include the French word for holiday.

Examples And Explanation Of Usage

Here are some phrases that use “holiday” in French:

  • “Je vais en vacances” – I am going on vacation
  • “Je suis en vacances” – I am on vacation
  • “Passez de bonnes vacances” – Have a good vacation
  • “Les vacances d’été” – Summer vacation
  • “Les vacances de Noël” – Christmas vacation
  • “Les vacances de Pâques” – Easter vacation
  • “Les vacances scolaires” – School vacation

These phrases are commonly used in French speaking countries and can be used in various settings. For instance, if you are planning a trip to France and someone asks you if you are going on vacation, you can respond by saying “Je vais en vacances.” If you want to wish someone a good vacation, you can say “Passez de bonnes vacances.”

Example French Dialogue

Here is an example dialogue in French that includes the word for holiday:

French English Translation
Julie: Bonjour, comment ça va? Julie: Hello, how are you?
Luc: Ça va bien, merci. Et toi? Luc: I’m doing well, thank you. And you?
Julie: Je vais bien aussi. Je pars en vacances la semaine prochaine. Julie: I’m doing well too. I’m going on vacation next week.
Luc: Oh, c’est génial! Où vas-tu? Luc: Oh, that’s great! Where are you going?
Julie: Je vais en France pour une semaine. Julie: I’m going to France for a week.
Luc: Profitez de vos vacances! Luc: Enjoy your vacation!

This dialogue is a great example of how to use the French word for holiday in a conversation. By learning these phrases, you can easily communicate with locals and make the most of your trip to France.

More Contextual Uses Of The French Word For “Holiday”

In addition to its primary meaning, “holiday” has a variety of contextual uses in the French language. Understanding these various uses can help learners of French better communicate with native speakers and gain a deeper appreciation for the language’s nuances.

Formal Usage

Formal usage of the French word for “holiday” typically refers to official holidays recognized by the government or religious institutions. These holidays are often marked by closures of businesses and government offices. Examples of formal holidays in France include:

  • Jour de l’An (New Year’s Day)
  • Pâques (Easter)
  • Fête du Travail (Labor Day)
  • Fête Nationale (Bastille Day)
  • Noël (Christmas)

Informal Usage

Informal usage of the French word for “holiday” can vary widely depending on the speaker and context. In general, informal usage refers to any period of time when the speaker is not working or attending school. This can include weekends, vacations, and other personal time off. Some examples of informal usage include:

  • Je suis en vacances (I am on vacation)
  • Je prends un jour de congé (I am taking a day off)
  • Je vais partir en week-end (I am going away for the weekend)

Other Contexts

Beyond formal and informal usage, the French word for “holiday” can also appear in a variety of slang, idiomatic, or cultural/historical contexts. Some examples of these uses include:

  • Prendre des vacances (to take a break)
  • Les grandes vacances (summer break)
  • Le pont (a long weekend)
  • Les fêtes de fin d’année (end-of-year celebrations)

Popular Cultural Usage

In addition to its more traditional uses, the French word for “holiday” can also appear in popular cultural contexts. For example, the phrase “Joyeux Noël” (Merry Christmas) is a common greeting during the holiday season. Similarly, the French film “Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot” (Mr. Hulot’s Holiday) is a classic comedy that takes place during a summer vacation.

Regional Variations Of The French Word For “Holiday”

French is a beautiful language with a rich history and culture. However, the French language is not uniform throughout the world. Different regions and countries have their own variations and dialects. This is also true for the French word for “holiday.”

How The French Word For Holiday Is Used In Different French-speaking Countries

French is spoken in many countries around the world, including France, Canada, Belgium, Switzerland, and several African nations. Each of these countries has its own unique variation of the French language, and this includes the word for “holiday.”

In France, the most commonly used word for “holiday” is “vacances.” This word is used to refer to both a vacation and a public holiday. In Canada, the French word for “holiday” is “congé.” This word is used to refer to a day off work or school. In Belgium, the word for “holiday” is “vacances” like in France.

Switzerland also uses the word “vacances” to refer to holidays, but they also use the word “ferié” to refer to public holidays. In African countries such as Senegal and Ivory Coast, the word for “holiday” is “vacances” like in France.

Regional Pronunciations

While the word for “holiday” may be the same in different French-speaking countries, the pronunciation can vary. For example, in Canada, the word “congé” is pronounced with a hard “g” sound, while in France, “vacances” is pronounced with a silent “s” sound at the end.

Similarly, in Switzerland, the word “vacances” is pronounced with a slight emphasis on the second syllable, while in African countries, the pronunciation is influenced by local dialects and accents.

Overall, it’s important to remember that the French language is diverse and varied, with different regional variations and dialects. Understanding these differences can help you communicate more effectively with French speakers from around the world.

Other Uses Of The French Word For “Holiday” In Speaking & Writing

While the French word for holiday, “vacances,” typically refers to a period of time away from work or school, it can also have different meanings depending on context. It is important to understand these various uses to avoid confusion and miscommunication.

1. Vacation Homes

In certain contexts, “vacances” can refer to vacation homes or rental properties. This usage is more common in France than in other French-speaking countries. For example, you might hear someone refer to “ma maison de vacances” (my vacation home) or “une location de vacances” (a vacation rental).

2. Public Holidays

In addition to referring to personal vacations, “vacances” can also be used to describe public holidays. These are days when businesses and schools are closed, such as Christmas Day or Bastille Day. In this context, “vacances” is often used in the plural form, “les vacances.”

3. Time Off

Finally, “vacances” can simply refer to time off from work or school, without necessarily implying travel or a specific destination. This usage is similar to the English word “holiday,” which can refer to both a specific trip and a general break from routine.

To distinguish between these various uses of “vacances,” pay attention to the context in which the word is used. If someone is talking about a specific location or rental property, they are likely using “vacances” to refer to a vacation home. If they are discussing a specific date or period of time, they may be referring to a public holiday. And if there is no specific destination or time frame mentioned, “vacances” is likely being used to describe a general break from routine.

Common Words And Phrases Similar To The French Word For “Holiday”

When it comes to discussing holidays in French, there are several words and phrases that can be used to convey the same meaning. Here are some of the most common:


The most straightforward word for “holiday” in French is “vacances.” This term is used to refer to a period of time when someone is away from work or school and is taking time off to relax or travel. It can also refer to a specific vacation or trip that someone is taking.

Jour Férié

Another term that is often used in French to refer to holidays is “jour férié.” This phrase refers specifically to public holidays and days of observance, such as Christmas Day or Bastille Day.

Temps Libre

“Temps libre” is a phrase that translates to “free time” in English. While it doesn’t necessarily refer to a holiday in the traditional sense, it can be used to talk about a period of time when someone is not working or studying and has time to pursue leisure activities.


When discussing holidays in French, it’s also worth noting some antonyms or words that are used to convey the opposite meaning. These might include:

  • Travail (work)
  • Étude (study)
  • Responsabilité (responsibility)

While these words are not synonyms for “holiday,” they can be useful to know when discussing the concept of taking time off from work or school.

Mistakes To Avoid When Using The French Word For “Holiday”

When it comes to using the French word for “holiday,” non-native speakers often make mistakes that can lead to miscommunication and confusion. One of the most common errors is using the word “vacances” to refer to a single day off work or school. In French, “vacances” actually refers to a longer period of time, like summer vacation or winter break. Another mistake is using the word “fête” to refer to a holiday, when it actually means “party” or “celebration.”


In conclusion, we have explored the various ways to say holiday in French. From the formal “vacances” to the more casual “congé,” we have learned that the French language has a rich vocabulary to describe the concept of taking time off work or school.

It is important to note that the context in which you use these words can vary depending on the region or situation. For example, “vacances” may be more commonly used in France, while “congé” may be preferred in Canada.

Overall, learning how to say holiday in French can be a valuable addition to your language skills. It allows you to better communicate with French-speaking individuals and can enhance your cultural understanding of the language.

We encourage you to practice using these words in real-life conversations and to continue exploring the nuances of the French language.

Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority and He’s a seasoned innovator, harnessing the power of technology to connect cultures through language. His worse translation though is when he refers to “pancakes” as “flat waffles”.