The pentultimate French vacation period of the year is behind us, which in France means it’s time to start looking at the next year. We’ve got this Friday, November 11, as a holiday, and then the end of the year and the Christmas break is going to approach quickly. Especially since France has no “buffer” holidays between the Rentrée and Christmas, so stores tend to start putting out their holiday decorations around late September. The pending new year also means, for most French people, a jump start on holiday plans and maximizing vacation time, so I want to let you in on how it works. Every salaried employee in France gets at least 25 vacation days, so of course, with schools going on vacation at the same times, it’s la course contre la montre (a race against the clock) to work out holiday time with your colleagues. Plus, some people get more vacation days for seniority, RTT days to compensate for overtime worked, and about 12 jours fériés per year. But that’s not even the best part. Some conventions collectives (collective bargaining agreement that applies to a particular industry or job) allow you to get additional vacation time if you take at least 2 weeks outside of the May – to – September tourist season at the request of your employer. Other convention collectives give you extra vacation days for seniority, or having children, or just about anything. And that’s not including the fact that sick time isn’t considered vacation, and children’s sick days are counted differently, too. And French newspapers often publish an article towards the end of the year telling you exactly when to poser tes jours (request vacation time) to maximize your number of long weekends, ponts, and relax the most possible. So if you plan on embracing the French way of life, you better get used to relaxing.