My name is Mark Antony’s tribute to Julius Caesar and means ‘the month of Julius’. I symbolise the beginning of the big school holiday, long journeys south, suntan oil, parasols, the beach and lounging around. I am associated with a national holiday and the Tour de France cycle race. Who am I? I am, of course, the month of July. Around this time, those who prefer to take a break in July head off on holiday, while those who opt for August must patiently wait another month.
Did you know that the duration of school holidays varies a lot from country to country? In Germany, holidays generally last six weeks, while in France, Belgium and Slovakia, nine weeks is the norm. But these are not the most generous countries: in Russia, Italy, Greece and Portugal, for example, the summer holiday is three months long! So Russian students start booking French lessons as early as the end of May, while German students are more likely to plan their language holidays to France in August. July is also the month when exam results come out. Baccalaureate candidates will learn whether they have obtained their much coveted diploma on 5 July. Relief at last for those who have passed and can head off on holiday with peace of mind.
July also marks the beginning of well-known festivals such as the Nice Jazz Festival, the Festival d’Avignon and the Eurockéennes rock festival in Belfort. Not forgetting, of course, the famous Juan-les-Pins Jazz Festival (Jazz à Juan), which will take place from 15 to 23 July. And so, to conclude, how would you like to learn a saying? Juillet ensoleillé remplit cave et grenier (“A sunny July fills the wine cellar and the granary”). A rainy July is not good for harvests: the sun has to shine to ensure bountiful crops and a good vintage. But keep an eye on that thermometer: when it’s too hot for a long time, that’s when we have a heatwave!