When is the best time to visit France?

Travel advisory

The information on this page is based on historical averages and may not reflect current conditions. Please check with local authorities for the latest travel advice.

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The best time to visit France is from April to June and September to November. You’ll benefit from fewer crowds and moderate temperatures outside of the sweltering summer period. If it’s skiing you’re after, hit the slopes any time between December and early April.

Exploring France’s varied regions outside its busy holiday periods from mid-July to the end of August is recommended. Although, bear in mind that many businesses shut down during this time and public transport is also affected so do your research well in advance. The Mediterranean climate in the French Riviera offers warm weather for most of the year, whereas winter in Paris lets you explore cultural sights like The Louvre with less queues. For some serious wine tasting, head to regions like Bordeaux and Burgundy between March and May for the best scenery or in October and November to visit during grape harvest season.

Monthly weather and travel tips for France

As cold weather sweeps across most of the country, it’s time to hit the slopes in the north as the snow-covered Alps officially open for ski season. January is the coldest month for many major cities such as Paris, Lyon and Bordeaux, with average temperatures at around 6°C. Even the Côte d'Azur won’t escape the chill, so pack a good jacket and plenty of layers for whichever region you visit.

It’s no secret that France offers some of the most spectacular ski resorts in the world, with Chamonix, Tignes and Val d’Isère among the most popular. Beginners and those with more experience can enjoy some of the best quality snow around this time, as well as top-notch après ski and cosy alpine villages. If skiing isn’t your thing, take advantage of the winter sales with many shops offering discounts of up to 70%. In between, keep warm inside charming cafés, bistros and brasseries and fill up on delicious French food and wine.

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Events in France in January

New Year's Day

1 January 2022

Ski season is in full swing by February, so expect the resorts to be fairly crowded with families taking advantage of the school holidays. As the temperatures in the Alps dip into the minuses, the rest of the country averages out at around 5°C. While many couples make their way to Paris for Valentine's Day, there’s lots more on offer in February.

The sunny south takes advantage of its warmer weather by hosting outdoor entertainment such as Nice Carnival which features flower battles, quirky costumes and an epic parade with fabulous floats. On the border with Italy, the small town of Menton holds the Fête du Citron as a testament to its heyday as Europe’s biggest lemon producer. Expect to see everything from fruit parades to exhibitions of citrus patterns.

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As the first flowers of spring start to bloom, France transforms into a spectacle of colourful countryside. March is also the last busy month for ski season and school holidays are still on until the middle of the month, so expect some crowds if you’re heading to the slopes. Away from the still chilly Alps, average temperatures in the rest of the country tend to hover around the 8–10°C mark, so a good winter coat is still worth packing.

Down south, the party vibes continue with festivals and warmer weather reaching temperatures of up to 15°C. The Irish community in Paris ensure St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t pass by unnoticed on 17th March, as the city’s pubs are filled with traditional Irish folk music and plenty of Guinness. To coincide with the start of the Easter season, why not take a day trip to Flavigny-sur-Ozerain in Burgundy, the setting for the 2000 drama ‘Chocolat’ starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp.

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Events in France in March

March Equinox

20 March 2022

Mild weather in the north and Mediterranean vibes in the south makes April one of the best months to visit France. You can continue to ski on the highest ski resorts like Tignes and Val d'Isere which should still have plenty of snow cover at this time of year. Away from the slopes, you can take scenic hikes amongst pink blossoms and snowcapped peaks. Temperatures in the Alps average out at around 7°C while Paris and the rest of inland France are a comfortable 12°C. Pack some good walking shoes, a sturdy umbrella in case of April showers and layers for the evening.

Easter festivities take centre stage, with a whole host of events organised across the country. Chocolatiers’ window displays are a mouth-watering sight to behold, but take note that easter eggs are delivered by flying bells instead of a bunny in France. In the town of Bessieres in the southwest, dozens of cooks make a giant omelette with 15,000 eggs, while the Chateaux Vaux le Vicomte just outside Paris hosts the largest easter egg hunt in the country.

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Events in France in April

Easter Monday

18 April 2022

Good Friday

15 April 2022

Easter Sunday

17 April 2022

As spring sweeps across the country, so does a host of cultural events and celebrations spurred on by warmer weather. Days can be quite warm but evenings can get chilly, so pack some extra layers to stay snug. Pack an umbrella if you’re heading to the capital, with Paris generally receiving the highest amount of rainfall in May, and Nice receiving the least.

1 May is a public holiday in France, so most businesses will be closed and public transport will also be affected. Expect a party-like atmosphere in the streets and many ‘muguets’ (lilies of the valley) handed around for good luck. Film buffs should head to the world-famous Cannes Film Festival which takes place over 12 days in May. As well as free open-air screenings of films on the beach, you can also spot celebrities on the red carpet. Some of the most notable entries on the sporting calendar also take place in May including the French Open tennis tournament, the Monaco F1 Grand Prix and the MotoGP.

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Events in France in May

Ascension Day

26 May 2022

WWII Victory Day

8 May 2022

Labor Day / May Day

1 May 2022

Mother's Day

29 May 2022

The signs of summer really start to shine through in June, as blue skies and warm weather becomes the norm. However, spring showers and cooler evenings mean it’s still worth squeezing a few extra layers into your suitcase. There’s only a degree or two in difference across the country, with most average temperatures in and around 20°C.

Paris gets particularly busy around this time year, but the good news is there’s plenty of great crowd-free, culture-filled cities outside the capital to explore. Festival season hits its peak around this time, with Fête de la Musique on 21st of the month offering free concerts across the country and the Paris Jazz Festival hosting major players from across the globe. There’s also the four-day fête le vin held in Bordeaux where you can sample some of the best wine and local produce the world has to offer. As school holidays don’t start until the middle of July, this is a perfect time to head to the picturesque coastlines of the French Riviera, with quiet beaches and temperatures averaging around 25°C.

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Events in France in June

Whit Monday

6 June 2022

June Solstice

21 June 2022

Father's Day

19 June 2022

Whit Sunday

5 June 2022

It’s officially summertime across the country but you should beware of heatwaves, particularly in the south where forest fires are also a threat. School is officially out, so expect most cities to be buzzing with crowds of local families and tourists. You can catch some cooler weather in the northern Alps region, which tends to experience temperatures around 17°C. But if it’s searing summer heat you’re after, the central cities and French Riviera beaches are the places to be.

Celebrate the French Revolution as Bastille Day parades and fireworks take place all over the country on 14th July. If you’re in the Alps in July, it’s worth trying to catch some Tour de France action as the top cyclists in the world compete against each other for the coveted yellow jersey. In the mood for music? The Alsace region plays host to the annual Colmar International Festival including 20 concerts over 10 days, while Carcassone in the south features nearly 100 concerts and shows including everything from jazz acts to opera.

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Events in France in July

Bastille Day

14 July 2022

As the French usually take their summer holidays from 14 July (Bastille Day) until the middle of August, you can expect to find some shops and restaurants closed for the first half of the month. Most locals head to the coastal cities of the south to soak up the Mediterranean beach vibes with an average of 25°C. If you’re following suit, pack light cotton clothes and a light extra layer for the evening. If you’re sticking to the northern part of France, save space in your suitcase for a raincoat and a jacket for chilly nights.

Soaring temperatures and big crowds mean one of the best things to do in August is to take advantage of the best festivals on offer. In the western suburbs of Paris, Rock en Seine always delivers a fantastic lineup of the biggest bands around, while Fêtes de Dax in the southwest attracts up to 800,000 revellers with five days of festivities.

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Events in France in August

Assumption of Mary

15 August 2022

September is a wonderful time to visit France, with the last days of summer retaining the warm sunny weather of previous months, albeit with more bearable temperatures of around 20°C during the day. The other good thing about this time of year is that school holidays are over, so you’ll be able to explore the main sights with less crowds.

Now that the intense heat of peak summer has died down and businesses have reopened after the holidays, it’s a good time to explore typically busier cities like Paris, Nice and Lyon. There’s still plenty of events to keep you entertained, including Europe’s largest flea market in Lille on the first weekend of September, and Ravel Festival along the Atlantic coast where you can hear lots of traditional Basque music. As the annual grape harvest is in full swing this month, it’s also a perfect time to take a French wine tour in main regions like Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne.

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Events in France in September

September Equinox

23 September 2022

As the beautiful red and gold shades of autumn sweep across the country, days become shorter and noticeably cooler. Most days are sunny but the weather is generally hard to predict, unless you’re in the warmer south region towards the start of the month. Bring a jacket and an umbrella to deal with the likely probability of showers.

The first weekend of October is when Paris holds its annual Nuit Blanche (White Night), when many museums, galleries and other cultural centres offer free entry all night. While Halloween isn’t a big deal in France, Disneyland Paris promises plenty of happy hauntings in both parks, alongside the usual Disney magic. Lyon pays homage to its heritage as the birthplace of cinema by hosting the Lumière Film Festival, offering over 400 screenings across the city.

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As far as temperatures are concerned, double digits are pretty hard to come by in November unless you’re in the consistently warmer south which averages out at 13°C. Be sure to pack a few layers and some waterproof clothing to cope with the wet and windy weather which eclipses most of the country.

Expect some closures and a knock-on effect to public transport on Toussaint (All Saints' Day) on the first day of the month, and Armistice Day on 11th, which are both public holidays. Budding sommeliers should plan their trip around the Beaujolais Nouveau on the third Thursday in November, which offers the first taste of the treasured wine just weeks after the grapes have been harvested. The wine fest continues with the Hospices de Beaune wine auction in Burgundy on the third Sunday of the month, with all proceeds going to charity.

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Events in France in November

All Saints' Day

1 November 2021

Armistice Day

11 November 2021

The festive cheer and warm mulled wine are enough to keep you feeling cosy during the bitter chill of wintertime. Christmas markets pop up all over the country, but so do school holidays so be prepared for major cities to be more crowded than usual. The ski season will be underway in the Alps and Pyrenees, offering all sorts of winter sports to choose from. Pack a warm coat, thick socks and gloves to keep your extremities extra toasty in December.

To experience the most festive vibes, head to the Christmas markets of the Alsace region, where you can experience a unique mix of French and German influences. Grab a cup of vin chaud and take a stall-crawl amongst thousands of twinkling fairy lights. Some of the most popular markets include Strasbourg (the oldest in Europe) and Ribeauvillé with its medieval theme and fancy dress. Meanwhile in Lyon, the Fêtes des Lumières offers a chance to see the city’s main monuments and rivers illuminated with a combination of videos, lasers and LEDs.

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Events in France in December

New Year's Eve

31 December 2021

Christmas Day

25 December 2021

St Stephen's Day

26 December 2021

December Solstice

21 December 2021

Christmas Eve

24 December 2021

Weather and temperature in France

From the snow-capped mountains of the Alps, the Jura and the Pyrenees to the warmer climate of the southeast coast, France has widely varying temperatures across its regions all year round. The north and central regions which include Normandy, Burgundy and Île-de-France (where you’ll find Paris) typically have hot and humid summers and cold, rainy winters. Cities like Strasbourg in the Alsace region and Grenoble and Chamonix in the Alps experience colder and longer winters. Down south, the weather is warmer all year round thanks to a Mediterranean climate, resulting in hot and dry summers and lots of sunshine.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
Paris High 8°C 7°C 13°C 16°C 18°C 22°C 25°C 25°C 21°C 16°C 11°C 9°C
Low 3°C 2°C 5°C 7°C 10°C 13°C 16°C 15°C 12°C 10°C 7°C 5°C
Rainfall 16 days 14 days 15 days 15 days 15 days 13 days 11 days 12 days 12 days 14 days 16 days 16 days
Lyon High 7°C 6°C 14°C 17°C 20°C 25°C 27°C 27°C 22°C 18°C 12°C 9°C
Low 2°C -0°C 4°C 7°C 10°C 14°C 16°C 15°C 12°C 10°C 5°C 3°C
Rainfall 16 days 14 days 15 days 15 days 15 days 13 days 11 days 12 days 12 days 14 days 16 days 16 days
Marseille High 12°C 11°C 16°C 19°C 22°C 28°C 30°C 30°C 26°C 22°C 16°C 13°C
Low 4°C 2°C 6°C 9°C 12°C 16°C 19°C 18°C 15°C 13°C 8°C 5°C
Rainfall 16 days 14 days 15 days 15 days 15 days 13 days 11 days 12 days 12 days 14 days 16 days 16 days
Nice High 13°C 12°C 15°C 17°C 20°C 24°C 27°C 27°C 25°C 21°C 17°C 14°C
Low 6°C 5°C 9°C 12°C 14°C 19°C 21°C 21°C 18°C 15°C 11°C 8°C
Rainfall 16 days 14 days 15 days 15 days 15 days 13 days 11 days 12 days 12 days 14 days 16 days 16 days
Bordeaux High 11°C 10°C 15°C 17°C 19°C 24°C 27°C 26°C 24°C 20°C 15°C 12°C
Low 5°C 2°C 6°C 8°C 10°C 14°C 15°C 15°C 13°C 11°C 8°C 5°C
Rainfall 16 days 14 days 15 days 15 days 15 days 13 days 11 days 12 days 12 days 14 days 16 days 16 days
Roissy-en-France High 8°C 7°C 12°C 15°C 18°C 22°C 25°C 25°C 21°C 16°C 11°C 9°C
Low 3°C 1°C 4°C 7°C 10°C 13°C 15°C 15°C 12°C 10°C 6°C 4°C
Rainfall 16 days 14 days 15 days 15 days 15 days 13 days 11 days 12 days 12 days 14 days 16 days 16 days

Weather data provided by Forecast.io

Cost of stay in France

Want to travel smart? Here, you can check out the average cost of accommodation per night in France.

    0 17 34 51 68
  • £46 Jan
  • £50 Feb
  • £47 Mar
  • £45 Apr
  • £51 May
  • £54 Jun
  • £57 Jul
  • £55 Aug
  • £55 Sept
  • £52 Oct
  • £39 Nov
  • £46 Dec
    0 17 34 51 68
  • £28 Jan
  • £30 Feb
  • £28 Mar
  • £27 Apr
  • £28 May
  • £27 Jun
  • £26 Jul
  • £27 Aug
  • £28 Sept
  • £28 Oct
  • £21 Nov
  • £29 Dec
    0 17 34 51 68
  • £14 Jan
  • £15 Feb
  • £16 Mar
  • £14 Apr
  • £18 May
  • £18 Jun
  • £21 Jul
  • £22 Aug
  • £18 Sept
  • £18 Oct
  • £9 Nov
  • £13 Dec
    0 17 34 51 68
  • £32 Jan
  • £32 Feb
  • £30 Mar
  • £30 Apr
  • £32 May
  • £29 Jun
  • £25 Jul
  • £26 Aug
  • £26 Sept
  • £30 Oct
  • £18 Nov
  • £31 Dec
    0 17 34 51 68
  • £53 Jan
  • £55 Feb
  • £52 Mar
  • £51 Apr
  • £52 May
  • £53 Jun
  • £52 Jul
  • £50 Aug
  • £52 Sept
  • £54 Oct
  • £40 Nov
  • £50 Dec

The best places to visit in France

Check out some of the most popular cities, places to visit and things to do in France!

What other travellers say about their holiday in France

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