Climate of France
Where is the country of France located? France, officially the French Republic, is a transcontinental country predominantly located in Western Europe. France has three climates, sometimes with a deviating microclimate in the transition areas. Most of the country has a temperate maritime climate (type Cfb), with relatively mild winters, no extremely hot summers and precipitation throughout the year. The French Alps, which are located in the southeast of France, have a high mountain climate (type EH). Relatively much precipitation, colder winters and relatively cool summers characterize this climate. For many, however, France is known as the country where the weather is often nicer than in the Netherlands and where the summers seem to last a month longer than with us. Along the southeast coast, which runs from the border with Spain to the border with Italy, there is a Mediterranean or Mediterranean climate (type Csa), with warm, dry summers and relatively mild winters. The eastern part of this coastal area, the Côte d’Azur, is the sunniest part of France. To indicate how sunny other areas are, the comparison is usually made with this very sunny region.
Climate statistics for France
At first glance, it does not seem so easy to summarize the average climate data for France. This is because of the climatic differences within France. We have therefore chosen to present the climate statistics for the fairly centrally located capital Paris and the city of Nice on the French Riviera.
The long-term climate averages for Paris can be summarized as follows:
- The average maximum temperature is between 6 and 24 degrees Celsius.
- The average minimum temperature is between 2 and 14 degrees Celsius.
- On an annual basis there is about 600 to 700 millimeters of precipitation
- The annual number of hours of sunshine is about 1600 to 1700 hours.
- The average relative humidity is 75.8%.
- On an annual basis, there are about 100 to 120 days in which at least 0.1 mm of precipitation falls.
- On an annual basis, there are about 10 to 12 days in which there is snowfall.
- January is statistically the coldest month in Paris.
- July is statistically the hottest month in Paris.
The long-term climate averages for Nice can be summarized as follows:
- The average maximum temperature is between 11 and 27 degrees Celsius.
- The average minimum temperature is between 3 and 19 degrees Celsius.
- On an annual basis there is about 650 to 800 millimeters of precipitation
- The annual number of hours of sunshine is about 2600 to 2900 hours.
- The seawater temperature is between 17 and 27 degrees Celsius.
- The average relative humidity is 70.7%.
- On an annual basis, there are about 60 to 70 days in which there is at least 0.1 mm of precipitation.
- January is statistically the coldest month in Nice.
- June and August are statistically the hottest months in Nice.
France is a very popular summer destination for a reason. In the summer months it is almost guaranteed pleasant weather in many places, with sometimes very warm days and sultry summer evenings almost every day. The feeling of France is mainly aroused by those circumstances and all the scents and colors that nature reveals. Life as a God in France is especially realized during this glorious period. It’s not for nothing that a car holiday to Franceis so hugely popular. Because the outdoors in France is wonderful in the summer months, the many campsites in France are busy in the summer. At midday temperatures that average between 22 and 30 degrees in summer, excellent conditions are created for wonderful outdoor life. You can enjoy beautiful landscapes, especially in the period from June to mid-September, in which thousands of nice villages and places are waiting for you. The further south you travel in France, the warmer it generally gets. The southern regions can sometimes get very hot in July and August. It often happens that the thermometers go somewhere towards 35 or even 40 degrees. The hinterland of Bordeaux is particularly sensitive to this, as is the region in the south-eastArdèche can get quite hot in the middle of summer.
France is a country of extremes. For an average sized country, the weather conditions and temperatures within a fairly small radius can be quite large. While spring-like temperatures of twenty degrees can still be reached in the southeast, it can already freeze hard at night about 200 kilometers north.
Significant differences can be measured not only in winter, but also during the summer months. At times when it is around or above forty degrees in the Bordeaux area, it can be twenty degrees colder in the northwest.
The French cities are very popular as a city trip destination. Paris is one of the top 5 city trip destinations in the world, but cities such as Nice, Bordeaux and Marseille are also quite popular for a nice weekend away. In principle, the weather you will encounter when you make a city trip to France does not differ much from what you are used to in the Netherlands. Especially in northern cities such as Brest, Metz, Nancy and Paris you will notice that it is only one degree to two degrees warmer on average. In the southern cities you see a bit more difference. There the winters are often wetter and the chance of heat is greater in the summer. Especially in the inland southern cities of France, the mercury can rise to well above 30 degrees. On the coast, the maximums are usually around or around 30 degrees in the summer.
Winter sports France
The French Alps are a very popular winter sports area. Beautiful slopes and almost guaranteed snow in the period from December to April provide ideal skiing conditions. Enthusiasts say that the best time to ski here is late spring, from late March to early May, when the slopes close. The snow is often still of good quality, while the spring sun is already becoming very pleasant. Winter sports in France are therefore very popular among ski enthusiasts, especially in the early spring months.
Less popular among the Dutch, but certainly a good winter sports destination, are the French Pyrenees. Other regions where you can tie the slats under, but which are less snow-sure, are the Vosges, the Jura and the Massif Central.
The figures below are based on long-term average climate statistics. The temperatures are displayed in degrees Celsius (°C).
|Maximum temperature||Minimum temperature||Hours of sunshine per day||Days of rainfall per month||Water temperature|
Best time to visit France
Do you want to know when is the best time to travel to France? You can determine the best time to travel to a destination based on the weather and climate. In addition, there are other factors that are not directly related to the weather and that can influence the best travel periods for a travel destination. Think, for example, of holidays or festive periods, which makes traveling more interesting or not, because daily life comes to a standstill as a result. France is the most popular holiday destination among the Dutch. The relatively short distance and the enormous versatility of this country ensure that Dutch tourists spend about two million holidays in France every year. The free climate is one of the main factors why France is doing so well as a holiday destination. Much of the country has a temperate maritime climate. The Mediterranean climate prevails on the Mediterranean coast and in the mountain areas you will see a mix of continental climates and the high mountain climate and tundra climate appropriate to high mountains.
The best months for France
You can visit France all year round. It mainly depends on your travel purpose what the best time to travel is for a holiday in France. If you want to define an overall time frame as the best time to travel south to French cities and regions, we would recommend May, June, September and October. These are the months in which the weather is often pleasant, but in which the chance of hot days such as those in June and August is smaller. During the hottest summer months, afternoon temperatures in France can reach 35 to 40 degrees Celsius. We know few people who experience this as pleasant.
The Atlantic coast, which is home to popular regions such as Brittany, Normandy and Aquitaine, is cooler on average than the Mediterranean coastal areas. Temperatures are moderate in the northern coastal areas: expect about 18 to 24 degrees in the hottest months. A little further south, near Bordeaux, it is warmer on average. There you can count on 25 to 30 degrees in the middle of summer, with an occasional peak to the top. The best time to travel to France’s Atlantic coast is July and August, with June and the first half of September as additional options for the Bordeaux region.
The coastal area on the Mediterranean Sea is warmer, has more hours of sunshine and is drier than the rest of France. The many seaside resorts on the southeastern coast such as Cannes, Nice, Frejus and Argeles are therefore ideal for a beach holiday. The most suitable travel period for this is from June to mid-September. From the second half of September, the chance of rain increases considerably and the temperatures drop noticeably. May can also offer good beach days. The seawater is then on the cool side with an average of 15 to 17 degrees Celsius.
You can actually make city trips to French cities such as Paris, Nice, Bordeaux, Lyon or Marseille all year round. The most pleasant periods are spring and autumn. You do have a chance of a rain shower or some cooler weather. On the other hand, you avoid the heat that can hit French cities in July and August. June is the only summer month that we really dare to recommend.
In the winter months, large numbers of tourists travel to France to participate in various forms of winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding. The high mountains and the considerable amounts of snow together form a good basis for a successful winter sports holiday. Winter sports are possible in the Pyrenees as well as in the French Alps. In most places this is already possible from December. In the higher ski areas, the winter sports season lasts until the beginning of May. Lower slopes often close in April and sometimes in March. The best time to travel for a winter sports holiday in France is the months of February and March. It is then light for longer, so you can ski or snowboard longer in a day. The weather conditions are often more pleasant during these months: less cold and more sunny weather.