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The 8th May in France

8th May  1945

 

The 8th May is a bank holiday in France to celebrate Victory Day, which marks the formal acceptance by the Allies of Nazi Germany‘s surrender in 1945, consequently ending World War II in Europe. The first act was signed in Reims, France, on the 7th May and the final act on the 8th May in Berlin. When Charles de Gaulle, the head of the interim government, made the announcement on May 8th 1945 all the bells of France began ringing to celebrate and spread the news.

This, however, did not mark the end of German military presence throughout France. The areas of Dunkirk, Lorient and Saint-Nazaire only fell in the days that followed. In Bouvron, near Blain, there is a monument to remember that this pocket in the Loire Atlantique was the last to be occupied and the War officially ended in the region on the 11th May 1945.

For many decades, Victory Day was abolished and reintroduced as a national holiday. It was President Mitterand who restored the commemoration of the victory of 1945 and reinstated this day as a bank holiday on 2nd October 1981. In 1982, the 8th May became an official national holiday. Nowadays, there is a parade held along the Champs Elysées as well as many other commemorative ceremonies across France.