May first brings several French traditions. It’s the Fete du Travail, celebrating workers. Which also means protests over lack of work. They’re expected today at Opera, Bastille and Nation. If you’re a rare person who commutes by car in the city, you may want to give your bagnole the day off. And if you’re French, you may as well take the whole month off. From a past post by Foreign Parts:
La Fête du Travail (Labor Day) on May 1st, Victoire des Alliés (Allied Victory Day) on May 8, Ascension on May 13, Lundi de Pentecôte (Whit Monday) on May 24 — these are official holidays in France, and many French men and women have these days off from work, plus they take the days off around the holidays — if the holiday falls on Monday, you take off Tuesday, too. Or Friday and Tuesday. This is called “making the bridge” — faire le pont .
May first is also May Day, a modern incarnation of the pagan celebrations of spring. Lily-of-the-valley flowers are sold by people on the street. It’s a tradition to present them to loved ones. (It’s a sad sight to see leftover flowers sold on May 2 and 3, sometimes in the rain!)