Best time to visit France
Having seen over 18,000 years of human civilisation, France has journeyed through multiple historical eras that have left their mark through ancient palaces, monuments, chateaus and other prominent structures. In fact, France has the fourth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world. Of course, the country has more to offer than just remnants of its past. It has numerous natural landscapes in the form of gorges, valleys, mountains and salt lakes. The Camargue Salt Flats, Pont D’Arc, Etretat Cliffs, Cote de Granit Rose, Gorges du Verdon and Aiguille du Dru are some of the natural attractions of this country that will leave you speechless with their beauty.
Almost every city in this country has something special in store for you, with amazing architecture, fantastic shopping hubs and exciting activities to be a part of. Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Nice, Bordeaux, Cannes and Montpellier are just a few of the many top tourist cities that you must visit. This is because no matter where you go, you won’t be able to stop yourself from marvelling at everything these cities have to offer.
What adds to the beauty of every city is the fact that all areas of the country experience extremely pleasant weather throughout the year. As a result of this, tourists find that the best time to visit really doesn’t depend on the weather. Instead, it’s all about the experiences that come with each season. On a general note, the peak travel season falls in summer, with spring and autumn being the shoulder seasons. As the winter season is predominantly wet, people looking to experience outdoor activities wouldn’t really enjoy visiting during this season. However, where there’s rain, there’s always a rainbow, and the silver lining that comes with visiting in the winter season is that you can explore all the art museums at leisure without worrying about crowds.
When you’re trying to figure out the best time to visit France, do keep in mind that the country hosts a range of festivals throughout the year, featuring top artists from around the world. Be it a music festival, food festival, film festival or an inter-cultural festival, France has it all. All this makes it a destination that’s never short of action for tourists.
To get a better understanding of the best time to visit this beautiful country, let us dive deep into everything you need to know about the four seasons of the country.
Peak Season: June-July-August
Off Season: November-March except holiday season
Shoulder Season: April-May and September-October
|Travel Seasons||Min/ Max Temperature||Weather|
|Spring||10-22°C||Pleasantly warm with minimal showers|
|Summer||14-28°C||Warm with occasional showers|
|Autumn||8-15°C||Pleasant cold with slightly more showers|
|Winter||3-8°C||Cold with light snowfall|
Temperature: The temperature during spring in France varies between 10°C and 22°C.
Weather: Spring starts in March with the temperature improving slightly as the days wear on, reaching a maximum of 22°C in the month of May. The average low temperature stays around 12°C and does not go below 10°C. There is a little bit of rain as well.
Significant Events: When in France during the spring season, one event you do not want to miss is the Dunkirk Festival, with local artists performing on the streets and filling them with life. This is also when Paris Fashion Week, the world’s top fashion show, is held so there’s no way you should miss a change to visit France during this season. The Cannes Film Festival held in May is one of the most premier film festivals in the world, if not the best.
Why you should visit now: Spring in France is a great time to visit because of the shifting colours you’ll see all over the countryside. The flowers bloom, leaves get a new life, birds begin twittering and you have yourself beautiful scenes that are worth capturing on camera. Also, as this is the shoulder season, you will not encounter too many tourists, which will allow you to explore any spot you like with ease. This is also an excellent time for you to take wine-tasting tours in the countryside vineyards, especially if you are in Bordeaux.
Things to know before the visit: You should definitely carry your woollens if you are visiting in the month of March but you may not require them in May. It is a great time to explore nature in peace, so keep yourself fit enough to go hiking or trekking.
Tip: Even though this falls under the shoulder season, it might not be that easy to book your tickets or hotel accommodations. So, start looking for both at least a month before your trip. Carry an umbrella as well, as it does rain a bit during this month.
Temperature: The temperature during the summer ranges between 14°C and 28°C.
Weather: Summer in France is pleasantly sunny and warm, making it ideal for travel. The temperature does not go over 28°C in most areas and the lowest it reaches is 14°C. You do get showers across the country, with the southern part receiving a bit more precipitation than the rest.
Significant Events: Jazz Marciac, hosted by the village of Marcaic, attracts international and local artists alike and is an excellent event for all jazz lovers to attend. The World Cultural Festival is one of the best settings in which you can witness cultures from various countries at one spot.
Why you should visit now: Thanks to the amazing weather conditions during this season, it is the best time to visit the nation. Whether you want to explore natural landscapes, major historical places, various museums or festivals, summer in France is filled with memorable activities for you to enjoy. As the days are longer during this time of the year, you have a few more hours of sunlight to squeeze in tourist spots in your itinerary.
Things to know before the trip: Since this is the peak season, you will encounter a lot of tourists. Also, the prices of hotel rooms and flight tickets are bound to be quite high, especially if you try to book them at the last minute. Keeping in mind that even though it is the sunniest season of the year, it can get quite rainy at times so pack an umbrella and keep your fingers crossed you won’t need it!
Tips: Book your tickets and hotels at least two months in advance for lower prices. Also, most parties and music festivals take place during this time of the year so do not forget to carry some fancy clothes.
Temperature: Autumn in France sees temperatures that hover between 8°C and 15°C.
Weather: Autumn in France is as mesmerising as the spring or summer – the only difference is that it sees a bit more rain. The weather starts cooling down during this season. The maximum temperature during this time of the year is around 15°C and the lowest temperature does not go below 8°C.
Significant events: The Basque Country Music Festival, hosted by towns like Biarritz and St-Jean-de-Luz, is a highly lauded music festival in the country. Nuit Blanche is a festival celebrated on October 8 when the museums and parks remain open throughout the night, allowing you to appreciate the art and culture of the country as and when the whim strikes you. Le Salon du Chocolat is a food festival that focuses only on chocolate, which one of its biggest highlights being that you can make your own chocolate here.
Why you should visit now: Just like the spring season, autumn gives you a stunning blend of colours in the scenery, with the majority of the shades being red, brown and yellow. As a result, it is the perfect time for you to go for a hike or two at the French Alps and enjoy the amazing flora on display. Also, it is the best time to travel on a budget as the flight tickets and hotel rooms see a drop in their prices during this season.
Things to know before the visit: You might want to explore the villages and smaller towns this time of the year as the locals are free to indulge in activities with you. Similarly, the winemakers are relatively freer this time of the year, so it is a great time to explore the vineyards and learn more about your favourite beverage.
Tips: Since you can experience unexpected rain this time of year, it is advisable to carry your umbrella. Carry sturdy shoes with a good grip if you are planning to trek as it can get really slippery otherwise due to rain.
Temperature: The temperature stays in the range of 3°C and 8°C during the winter season.
Weather: Winter in France is not as cold as a few other European countries; however, the temperature does drop to a minimum of 3°C. The maximum temperature, on the other hand, goes up to 8°C. This is one of the wettest seasons in the country.
Significant events: Lyon Festival of Lights is one of the most popular festivals in the country during which you get to see all the houses lit up on the night of December 10. It is the week from Christmas to New Year that sees the greatest number of celebrations across the country. Enjoy Christmas with the locals and get to know the French style of celebrating this festival. If you are visiting in February, visit the small but beautiful town of St. Valentine on Valentine’s Day to join the local festivities.
Why you should visit now: The winter season may be cold but it is the best time for you to visit the museums in France. The Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, National Archaeology Museum and Carnavalet Museum are some of the ones that you should definitely visit.
Things to know before the visit: Even though the temperature does not go below 0°C, you do get to experience snowfall. You will not see too many people exploring natural attractions during this time of the year, so you may want to go there if you love the idea of a quiet walk in the snow.
Tips: You should carry at least two layers of woollens as it can get quite cold here. If you are on a tight budget, then this is the best season for you as the prices are at their lowest during this time (except around Christmas).
With close to 90 million tourists flocking to France every year, it is the most visited country in the world, and it’s not hard to see why! It’s rich history, unique culture, incredible food, and pleasant weather makes it the ultimate destination for travellers looking for an experience that stays with them for life.
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