The summer heat wave, known as la canicule in French, is here (note: I am not complaining; winter lasts too long in Boston!). If we’re lucky, many of us have the opportunity to escape on vacation during this time and the French are no exception. If there is one thing the French are known for, besides wine and water lilies, it’s vacation. Ah, that beloved time off. If you have visited or lived in France during the month of August you know that the country seems to shut down for four weeks and your favorite boulangerie might not be able to treat you until September. 

There is a period of time in France where the juilletistes (those who vacation in July) and the aoûtiens (those that vacation in August) cross each other on the roads from coming/going on vacation. It is known as the “chassé-croisé” (chased-crossed), and it causes much traffic and congestion and is tracked on websites such as Bison Futé.   Liligo, a search engine specializing in travel found several differences in those who vacation in July versus those who vacation in August. ¹ Those who vacation in July tend to spend 15 days on vacation while those in August spend 11 days travelling.  The juilletistes also tend to travel farther while the aoûtiens stay in France or close by.The phenomenon of chassé-croisé is not reserved for just the summer.  Instead, high traffic to and from popular vacation destinations can happen any period of French vacation, such as the winter break in February, Toussaint in October/November, or Christmas, and generally coincides with school vacations.

According to travel agency Protourismeٰ, 31 million French people will go on vacation this summer, which is much higher (by about 1 million!) than last summer.²  And where will they go?  60% will stay in France and 30% will go outside of France, while 10% are still undecided.  Popular destinations in France include the coasts, especially the South, but more French people are finding the Northern coasts of Brittany and Normandy attractive.  These regions have seen a remarkable jump in expected visitors from last year. For example, 90% of the rentals in the coastal Breton region of Finistère are reserved for the month of August! And with France’s high temperatures this June, experts are predicting more of the country will go to the Northern parts of France instead of the South.  Furthermore, fewer people are expected to retreat to urban centers and amusement parks than years before.

Et ailleurs ?  According to the article Tourisme: les destinations préférées des Français pour cet été from figaro.fr from this May, here are the top 10 destinations French people are expected to visit this summer outside of France: ³

“Short” Distance Trips
  1. Spain
  2. Greece
  3. Italy
  4. Tunisia
  5. Portugal
  6. Morocco
  7. Turkey
  8. Egypt
  9. Croatia
  10. Russia

“Long” Distance Trips
  1. U.S.
  2. Canada
  3. Dominican Republic
  4. Mauritius
  5. Thailand
  6. Indonesia
  7. China
  8. Mexico
  9. Vietnam
  10. Tanzania


Do any of these destinations surprise you?  Are you a juilletiste or an aoûtien?




Sources:
¹ “Où partent ceux qui voyagent en avion ? Et quelles différences entre les "juilletistes" et les "aoûtiens" ?”, europe1.fr, published July 5, 2019
²“Cet été, 31 millions de Français vont partir en vacances et on connaît leurs destinations préférées”, Nicematin.com, published June 28, 2019
³”Tourisme: les destinations préférées des Français pour cet été” leFigaro.fr, published May 21, 2019

Natalie Collet

Membership Manager

From the Midwest, Natalie is a Francophile at heart. Her interest in French started when studying ballet and​ the language and culture entranced her through her student years.​ She became involved with the - Alliance - in the suburbs of Chicago after she spent an unforgettable year teaching English in a French high school near Bordeaux. She is happy to join the team in Boston and work with the members to provide them with unique opportunities​, ​quality programming​, and a community through French!

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