Date and time notation in France

France most commonly records the date using the day-month-year format with a stroke as the separator with numerical values. The 24-hour clock is used to express time, using the letter h as the separator in between hours and minutes.


In France, the all-numeric form for dates is in the order "day month year", using a stroke as the separator. Example: 31/12/1992 or 31/12/92. Years can be written with two or four digits, and numbers may be written with or without leading zero. When three-lettered months are used, juin (June) and juillet (July) are abbreviated as JUN and JUL respectively.

The expanded form is "22 décembre 2010", optionally with the day of the week: "mercredi 22 décembre 2010".

The first day of the week in France is Monday.


The 24-hour notation is used in writing with an h as a separator (h for heure, meaning hour). Example: 14 h 05 (1405 [14:05] hours or 2:05 pm). Though the correct form includes spaces on both sides of the h, it is common to see them omitted: 14h05. The minutes are usually written with two digits; the hour numbers can be written with or without leading zero.

Generally speaking, French speakers also use the 24-hour clock when they speak. Sometimes the 12-hour clock is used orally, but only in informal circumstances. Since there is no one-to-one equivalent of "am" and "pm" in French, context must be relied on to figure out which one is meant. To clarify, people may use some sentences like "9 heures du matin" (literally "9 o'clock in the morning") or "9 heures du soir" (literally "9 o'clock in the evening)... but most French speakers would still find using the 24-hour clock a more convenient way of expressing time clearly.

See also

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