Armistice Day in France in 2024

Armistice Day in France in 2024
The symbol of remembrance in France is the bleuet. Image by Claude Truong-Ngoc , via Wikimedia Commons
  How long until Armistice Day?
Armistice Day
  Dates of Armistice Day in France
2025 France Tue, Nov 11 Public Holiday
2024 France Mon, Nov 11 Public Holiday
2023 France Sat, Nov 11 Public Holiday
2022 France Fri, Nov 11 Public Holiday
2021 France Thu, Nov 11 Public Holiday

Observed on November 11th to recall the end of World War I on that date in 1918 and honor the veterans of both World Wars.

  Local name
Jour d'armistice
  Armistice Day in other countries
Armistice Day internationally

When is Armistice Day?

On November 11th, France commemorates Armistice Day with a national holiday.

Known in French as 'Jour d'armistice', Armistice Day is reserved as a day to commemorate the end of the first world war and honour the veterans of both world wars.

History of Armistice Day

The holiday has its roots in the armistice signed between Germany and the allies in the morning of November 11th 1918, which ended the first world war.

The armistice was signed between the Allies and Germany in a train restaurant carriage, which was parked in the clearing of Rethondes in the forest of Compiègne in the Oise, France. The signing of the armistice marked the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front, which took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning; the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month."

The Armistice

The Armistice was signed in France at 05:45 on November 11, to take effect at 11:00, effectively ending World War One. Marshal Ferdinand Foch signed the document as the supreme commander of the Allied forces, following several days of discussion with Admiral Wemyss of the UK and Matthias Erzberger of Germany. The document was signed between Germany and the ‘Triple Entente’ of France, UK, and US. 

It was a ceasefire that was initially intended to only be provisional, as it did not officially mark the capitulation of Germany. It was set to last 33 days, but was later renewed.

Even though November 11th is used to reflect the end of the war, it specifically marks the ceasefire on the Western Front as hostilities continued in other regions for a short period, especially across the former Russian Empire and in parts of the old Ottoman Empire.It wasn’t until the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919, that the Great War officially ended. 

A law was approved on October 24th 1922, to make November 11th a public holiday in France. The date was chosen because veterans wanted to commemorate the end of the war rather than the victory.  The date is traditionally the saint day of the patron saint of the Francs, Saint Martin.

November 11th 1920 was the first year that the commemoration took place, with France choosing to honour the ‘unknown soldier’ with military honours. The remains of the unidentified soldier were buried under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, and later placed near a remembrance flame. The day was only declared a national holiday in 1922 after this was decided in late November 1921.

The original name of the holiday was 'Armistice de la Première Guerre Mondiale' (Armistice of the First World War), but as in other parts of the world, the holiday was later used to commemorate the fallen in the second world war and other conflicts.

While the end of the war may be seen as a time for happiness and celebration; the unprecedented loss of life in the war means that the day is observed with reverence across France with schools, shops, banks and businesses all closing. A one-minute silence is held at 11 am to remember the fallen.

In observance of this day, there are parades throughout France. Almost every town and village in France has a war memorial listing the men from the local area who died for their country. A grand parade at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris where the French president will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. 

The ‘Remembrance Flame’ was created after an idea by War Minister André Maginot. It is kept alive by a ‘Flame Committee’, and has never gone out since 1922, even during the Occupation.

The symbol of remembrance in France is the bleuet, or cornflower. This is in reference to new soldiers, who during World War One used to wear blue uniforms, and were nicknamed ‘cornflowers (bleuets)’ as a result. The flowers were chosen because cornflowers have traditionally symbolised "pure and delicate" sentiments, while blue is one of the colours of the French flag, and was also the colour of many soldiers' uniforms in the First World War. Like the poppy in the UK and Canada, profits from bleuet sales go to veterans' charities.

Translate this page