France can be, crudely speaking, broken down into three climate areas. The first two are the vast areas of ‘northern France’ and ‘southern France’ which meet roughly at the river Loire which runs from East to West across much of the country. North of that line and you encounter northern European weather. It’ll typically be mild and perhaps rainy in spring and fall, hot in summer and fairly cold and rainy with some snow and ice in winter. At all times, even in summer, rain can arrive suddenly, so make sure you bring clothes accordingly! South of the Loire and you enter into a Mediterranean climate. Spring and fall should be fine and mainly warm with summers potentially very hot up to and perhaps a bit above 30°C (86F). Winters are usually mild and less wet in these areas. The third great weather division in France is caused by mountains – specifically the Pyrenees and Alps. Winters and early spring here can be very cold with snow though also plenty of sun – special clothing is advisable. Summers are usually glorious but remember to use plenty of barrier cream when at altitude and that applies equally in winter. Typically local tours the Withlocals way can take place all year round because the country generally has temperate weather overall.
You can’t really talk about typical seasons and temperatures because France is so big and diverse. It can be very hot in the south and snowing in the north at the same time!
If you want to experience the beach and sun side of France plus its amazing Mediterranean history and culture, then a lot will depend upon your personal preferences for heat. In July and August temperatures along that coast can reach the mid-high 30s or even at times over 40C (100F). More typically they’ll be in the higher 20s though. If you prefer things a little cooler, visit in spring or fall. Winters are usually very mild.
In Northern France, home to many of France’s biggest attractions including Paris itself, the reality of life is that you can’t really ever guarantee what the weather will do. In summertime, typical highs might be in the low to mid 20s (68F). Rain can be fairly frequent at any time and the French themselves joke that “nobody visits the north to get a tan”. Spring, winter and fall are rarely severe in terms of harsh snow and ice but they can be cold, very windy and also wet. This is just as per any other country in northern Europe.
In the mountains, the skiing season is usually considered to run from December to perhaps early April but the later you leave it in that season, the bigger risk you have of limited snow conditions. Great ski resorts are everywhere but they can be busy – though local advice and expertise can help avoid some of the queuing for ski lifts etc!
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