French Revolutionary Calendar

The Republican calendar year began the day the autumnal equinox occurred in Paris, and had twelve months of 30 days each, which were given new names based on nature, principally having to do with the prevailing weather in and around Paris.

  • Autumn:

    • Vendémiaire in French (from Latin vindemia, "grape harvest"), starting 22, 23 or 24 September

    • Brumaire (from French brume, "fog"), starting 22, 23 or 24 October

    • Frimaire (From French frimas, "frost"), starting 21, 22 or 23 November

  • Winter:

    • Nivôse (from Latin nivosus, "snowy"), starting 21, 22 or 23 December

    • Pluviôse (from Latin pluvius, "rainy"), starting 20, 21 or 22 January

    • Ventôse (from Latin ventosus, "windy"), starting 19, 20 or 21 February

  • Spring:

    • Germinal (from Latin germen, "germination"), starting 20 or 21 March

    • Floréal (from Latin flos, "flower"), starting 20 or 21 April

    • Prairial (from French prairie, "pasture"), starting 20 or 21 May

  • Summer:

    • Messidor (from Latin messis, "harvest"), starting 19 or 20 June

    • Thermidor (or Fervidor) (from Greek thermon, "summer heat"), starting 19 or 20 July

    • Fructidor (from Latin fructus, "fruit"), starting 18 or 19 August

Note: On many printed calendars of Year II (1793–94), the month of Thermidor was named Fervidor.


Each month had 30 days, and there were five intercalary (between month) holidays called "Sansculottides or six in a leap year.


The calendar was devised by Gilbert Romme (1750-1795) and the months were named by the poet Fabre d'Eglantine (1755-1794). It was adopted on 5 October 1793 (bizarrely, it was applied retrospectively from 22 September 1792) and continued in force until 1 January 1806, when Napoleon restored the Gregorian calendar.

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