France’s climate is one thing that makes France such a popular getaway location at practically any time of the year. Unlike many other countries, France in fact, has a variable type of climate with different seasons in different locations. Depending on where you are situated, the weather may be entirely different in neighbouring regions. As a result of the differences in climate, it’s quite easy to determine which region is most likely to provide the right weather conditions for the type of holiday you are organizing.
France’s climate is very much influenced by the fact that it is surrounded by three different seas; the English Channel to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the West and the Mediterranean Sea to the south plus several mountain ranges such as the Alps, Massif Central, Jura and the Pyrenees. In general, France’s climate can be described as temperate and mild, never being too hot or too cold on most of its territory.
As a result of the winds coming in from the English Channel, you can expect southern England-like weather in this region. Winters range from cold to mild and summers (June to September) are cool with temperatures peaking in the mid-20s or so. Northern coastal areas such as Brittany are known for heavy rainfall.
Ile-de-France, being an inland region, therefore, removed from coastal areas, has hot summers and cold winters as there is little influence by ocean currents and winds. In the centre of Ile-de-France lies Paris, which experiences much less rainfall than in any other part of France, however, rainfall should be expected at any time of the year especially during late spring and early summer. Temperatures in this region can peak in the 30s during the summer with a high tendency for heat waves.
Central France, much like Eastern France, experiences a continental climate characterized by cold and usually snowy winters and warm summers.
Eastern France is known for its continental type of climate. You will find the weather much more aggressive on this side. Cold winters and hot summers are most likely with less rainfall than in western France.
Western France’s climate is overall a maritime one. With the Atlantic Ocean to the west of France, conditions here are much milder with the possibility of rainfall during any period, even in summer. Winters are cool and summers are generally warm.
Southern France (Marseilles, St.Tropez, Bordeaux, Provence)
Expect a similar climate as you would find in nearby Mediterranean countries with mild winters and very hot summers and temperatures peaking in the low 30s. Lots of rainfall is common during the winter season much like the Mediterranean but during the rest of the year, rainfall is moderate. Along the Mediterranean coastline in places such as the Côte d’Azur, expect long hours of scorching sun during the summer with refreshing sea breezes during the night. Rainfall is scarce during the summer period, however, if it should rain expect sudden heavy rainfall and lots of thunder! Winters are mainly mild due to warm winds coming from the Mediterranean Sea.
As would be expected of mountainous regions such as the Alps, Pyrenees and Auvergne summers are cool and winters cold with lots of snow creating perfect conditions for skiing holidays all year round.
Tip: The French are very much known for staying in France during holiday periods such as school holidays preferring to head south in search of hotter weather conditions which in turn are the most popular regions among outside tourists. As a result, these regions can become highly crowded. If you are not keen on overcrowded places and prefer a calmer environment visiting these areas during non-holiday periods would be advised.