Today is a bank holiday in Alsace, and in many other French Departments, because today is ‘All Saints day’ or Toussaint as it’s known here.

While in the UK the passing of a major festival is usually celebrated on the nearest Monday, in France they take the day off in question.

There are pros and cons to this of course. The French are well educated as to the significance of Armistice day, VE day, Bastille Day and the religious festivals like All Saints. Should the festival in question fall on a weekend, then it’s back to work as normal on Monday morning, but should it fall during the week they can take what are known as ‘bridge days’ to turn the period into a proper vacation from work.

The religious festivals are a bit of a misnomer in a country that is supposed to be secular – but then no-one complains about getting a day off of work.