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Enjoying the climate all year round

Information sheets

Due to its varied landscapes, France enjoys many different climates according to the region. Each season has its own charm and it's often pleasant to rediscover various areas of France in the snow, beneath the dazzling summer sun, clad in autumn colours or filled with flowers in spring. Whatever the time of year, there's always something new for visitors to discover and enjoy.

Enjoying the climate all year round

Varied climates

Located on the western edge of the European continent, France enjoys a wide variety of climates that make every season special.

  • France benefits from a temperate climate and fairly pronounced seasons depending on the region. Generally, the coldest winters are at high altitudes in the mountains, and the driest summers are in the south on the Mediterranean coast.
  • The main climate in France is the oceanic or semi-continental climate. It offers relatively mild winters and pleasant summers in such agreeable regions as Poitou-Charentes or Lower Normandy. There is also a Mediterranean climate, on the French Riviera in particular, as well as a mountain climate in the Alps and Pyrenees. This variety adds an extra dimension to the different landscapes as they change with the seasons.
  • With the overseas territories, France also benefits from a tropical climate, for example in the Antilles or Réunion. High temperatures and sunbathing on the beach can therefore be enjoyed all year round there.

When should I go?

Every season has its attractions, but practical activities should be undertaken at the right time of year. Holidaying outside of busy periods also allows you to avoid crowds of tourists and take advantage of the best rates.

  • While winter would seem to be the least suitable season for discovering the country, it is actually a nice season to be here if you're properly equipped. Some regions benefit from fairly mild temperatures in what is usually thought of as a cold season, and you can enjoy visitor attractions in milder weather than in the Nordic countries, for example. Of course, it's the best time to enjoy mountain skiing and winter sports. In the Alps, Jura or Pyrenees, many resorts welcome skiers looking for thrills. You can also learn snowshoe hiking, ski trekking or sledding. There is quite a lot of snow at high altitudes from December onwards in the Alps and Pyrenees. In some years, the season can last until March or April.
  • In spring, France covers itself with flowers to delight its visitors. It's surely the best season to make the most of outdoor activities, and the country's beautiful gardens. In general, the weather is clement and fairly mild, and the parks are full of a thousand-and-one colours. It's also an ideal time to visit the Loire castles for example, and spend a few hours in their splendid gardens.
  • It's hard to resist the sunshine that warms France in summer. You'll find everything you need for a wonderful holiday by the sea. With its many coasts, the country offers some of the most beautiful and best protected beaches in Europe. Sunbathing, swimming, walks by the sea… There's no shortage of outdoor activities when the summer sun is shining. This is a popular season for tourists in France, when you can visit all the tourist attractions that are open at that time of year, unlike in autumn or winter. Be careful though, these high tourist numbers can cause traffic jams in the most popular regions, and you'll need to be patient when travelling at times. However, the sunshine and relaxed lifestyle here are sure to offset these minor inconveniences!
  • Autumn is also not to be overlooked, with its superb colours and trees covered in red, yellow and orange leaves. What's more, at the start of the season, the climate is still very mild and visitors are often pleasantly surprised. The country also receives fewer tourists at this time of year, ensuring tourist attractions are more peaceful. Those who don't enjoy big crowds should therefore enjoy this time of year. Those who want to make their summer last a bit longer will also be pleased, as this is one of the best seasons for exploring Corsica, a little paradise that still enjoys a great deal of sunshine in September and October, as well as particularly pleasant temperatures.
  • The seasons in the overseas departments are often different from those in mainland France. Thus, the middle of summer may be too much for some people, whereas the month of January offers a chance to enjoy some pleasant sunshine.
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