France is a large country, extending to around 1,000 km from north to south and from east to west. The climate varies from region to region:
Northern coastal regions experience a temperate climate much like England. The winters are mild with temperatures averaging around 41oF, while the warm summer temperatures are in the 70s and 80s. The weather can be unpredictable and rain can occur at any time of year.
Southwest France also experiences mild winters but the summers are much warmer. There is less rainfall in this region than in the northern part of France, however thunderstorms are common in the summer.
Central and inland France have more extreme weather and a greater variation between the seasons. The winter is harsher with snow and frost, whereas the summers are warmer. Rain fall is low but tends to fall in summer when the region can often experience thunderstorms.
The Mediterranean coast and Corsica have a typical Mediterranean climate of hot summer days and short mild winters. This region of France has the most sunshine hours each year – eleven or twelve during the summer. Rain is scarce during the summer but when it does rain it pours, often with thunder. Periods of cold windy weather can occur in late spring, brought about by the famous northerly ‘mistral’ wind.
Mountain regions especially the Alps, but also the Massif Central and the Pyrenees at high altitudes experience long and cold winters with substantial snowfall.
For up to the minute weather information to go the World Weather website.
When to go
The weather in France is the nicest during the spring months of May and June or at the beginning of fall in September and October. There are also less people during this time. The hoards pour in for summer vacation during July and August, making it the worst time to visit if you’re not keen on crowds (and higher prices).
*The Small Print
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