French Armistice Day – November 11, 2021

Armistice Day is a public holiday on November 11 in France, commemorating the signing of the armistice between Germany and the Allies that led to the ceasefire and finally put an end to World War I in 1918. It is a time of happiness that commemorates the end of the war but, at the same time, the day is observed in honor of the veterans who lost their lives for their country. Known as ‘Jour d’armistice’ in French, a one-minute silence in remembrance of the fallen is held at 11 A.M. with military parades organized across the country for the rest of the day.

When is French Armistice Day 2021?

Armistice Day is celebrated in France on November 11.

History of French Armistice Day

November 11 is a national holiday in France and other Allied nations. It is known as Veterans Day in the United States and as Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth of Nations.

The armistice was signed at Compiègne in France at 5.45 A.M in 1918, but came into effect at 11 o’clock in the morning. The odd recurring insistence of the figure 11 on this day led to the famous saying highlighting the armistice — “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.”

Although the treaty resulted in a ceasefire for France on the Western Front, hostilities in other regions, such as in parts of the former Russian Empire, continued for a short time. As a result, the armistice expired only after 36 days and had to be extended several times to remain in effect. With the Treaty of Versailles that was signed in June the following year, in 1919, it was only then that World War I came to an absolute end.

Armistice Day is observed with reverence in France and Allied countries. The main focus of the day is the remembrance of fallen soldiers. The French president traditionally lays down a wreath of the Unknown Soldier at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, preceded by a grand parade with more than 60 heads of states and government gathered to pay their respects. Citizens, mostly dressed in black, gather to watch the ceremony surrounded by a solemn atmosphere.

French Armistice Day timeline

June 28, 1914
Start of World War I

Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria is assassinated by a Bosnian-Serb nationalist, sparking a conflict that kicks off the First World War in history.

November 11, 1918
Signing of the Armistice

At 5.45 A.M., the armistice between Germany and the Allies is signed, taking effect at 11 A.M.

June 28, 1919
Treaty of Versailles

Even after the signing of the armistice, the Treaty of Versailles ultimately brings the war to an end.

October 24, 1922
The Armistice Day

The law that marks November 11 as a national holiday in France is approved.

French Armistice Day FAQs

Why is it called Armistice Day?

Armistice is a convention signed by opposing sides in a war to agree to stop fighting for a certain time. Armistice Day commemorates the armistice agreement that ended World War I.

What is the difference between Remembrance Day and Armistice Day?

Other countries have different days for mourning. Armistice Day is on November 11 and is also known as Remembrance Day. November 11 is known as Veterans Day in the United States. 

What happened on Armistice Day in 1918?

World War I came to a complete end on November 11, 1918, when the armistice was signed at Le Francport near Compiègne between the Allies and their last remaining opponent, Germany.

How to Observe French Armistice Day

  1. Revisit history

    It’s another day to go back in history and remember the losses of WWI and WWII. From the loss of soldiers to broken families and conflicted nations, each day commemorating the fallen in war is a time to reflect that only peace prevails.

  2. Watch the parades

    Stream the parades live on YouTube or TV occurring across France on this day. Countries remembering their soldiers is always a patriotic sight to see!

  3. Wear French military colors

    Honor Armistice Day by wearing the French military colors on this day — red, white, and blue.

5 Facts About France That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. France has the most time zones in the world

    Beating the U.S. and Russia, France has 12 different time zones.

  2. It’s living in wartime

    Geographically, France should have the same time zone as London but, in WWII, the German government decided that it will follow the German time, which is still the case today.

  3. It has traveling pigeons as part of the army

    The French army has 150 traveling pigeons.

  4. Trash and ashtrays are considered weapons

    According to French law, a trash can and an ashtray are deadly weapons!

  5. French fries are not French!

    The common belief that French fries are attributed to France is absolutely wrong — they are actually Belgian!

Why French Armistice Day is Important

  1. It commemorates the end of the war

    The day does not celebrate victory but remembers the end of the war. War must not be the solution to any problem and Armistice Day, characterized by its austere ceremonies across France, is a potent reminder of this fact.

  2. It honors the veterans

    Soldiers are one-of-a-kind — brave, fearless, and selfless. Armistice Day is dedicated to remembering the fallen soldiers who deserve to be honored over and over again.

  3. France suffered the heaviest losses

    World War I inflicted heavy losses on France, traumatizing the nation and killing more than 1.4 million people (the top third country in casualties). This day, marking the end of the bloody war, is truly theirs.

French Armistice Day dates

YearDateDay
2021November 11Thursday
2022November 11Friday
2023November 11Saturday
2024November 11Monday
2025November 11Tuesday

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