If a dream trip to France is on the cards, then you are going to want to read on, to know what local festivities you can expect to enjoy, the best time to travel to the country, and what you can expect from the seasons in France.
If you are traveling from the Southern Hemisphere, you might want to get familiar with the opposite seasons and pack accordingly for the time of year you plan to go.
The same goes for local holidays and celebrations, if you want to avoid crowds and peak seasons, you will need to know when these happen, and if you’re going to take part in these festivities and feel the atmosphere of busy cities and attractions, then this will also be helpful for you to plan your trip. Don’t be afraid to get local tips and advice from your ‘Destination Expert,’ who knows France like the back of their hand and recommends the best local festivals and celebrations to attend.
So, with that being said, here is all you need to know about the seasons and local holidays in France.
Seasons in France
France is an easy country to decipher when it comes to seasons, with it having four distinct seasons, just like its neighboring countries in Europe. However, some parts of the country tend to be colder than others; think about The French Alps versus the French Riviera.
Therefore, you can expect more freezing temperatures and lots of snow in the winter season at higher altitudes in France and milder, more pleasant conditions in the coastal regions during winter. Let us go into more detail to make things clear.
Spring is a fantastic time to visit France, with the fragrant aromas of flowers all around, bright colors which provide beautiful photographic scenes, and a comfortable temperature that makes it perfect for doing a range of activities. You will find rivers at their fullest, different flora and fauna in every region, and fewer crowds than in the peak summertime.
France has a very mild climate, so a visit here in the summertime is perfectly comfortable for people that like a warm but not extreme temperature. The coast is a fabulous place to explore during the summer months when the waters are a pleasant temperature, the skies are clear, and the sun is shining, which is perfect for a glass of wine and lunch al fresco.
Unfortunately, this ideal weather comes to the crowds, so this is the peak tourist season when many are on their summer holidays, so it is best to travel in the shoulder seasons if you would rather avoid crowds and save money.
Autumn: September – November
This is the primary harvest time in France and a time when the landscape is filled with beautiful colors of red, rust orange, and bright yellow leaves on the trees, which are slowly falling to the ground as winter is approaching.
This is a magical time to visit France when the peak season has ended, but the mild weather is still comfortable to enjoy. This is an ideal time to visit if you like a warm day, don’t mind a cool night, and love to take photos of fairytale landscapes full of color. This is also the time of the year when you can smell homemade cider in the air, as it is the foremost time that people produce this iconic alcoholic apple beverage.
Winter: December - February
Although France does not have a dramatically cold winter as countries such as Canada or Norway do, it tends to have rainy weather during these months, which means you need to come prepared.
This is the peak season for winter sports in the French Alps, and you can expect crowds of people at the ski resorts, but everywhere else in France tends to be a little quieter, albeit with a few tourists on a winter break. The warmest weather in France in winter is on the island of Corsica, while the coldest is certainly up high in the Alps, around Chamonix.
Frances National Day is Bastille Day, which falls on July 14th. It is a celebration you should encounter if you are there at the right time. You can expect to witness awesome firework displays all over the country, military parades, concerts, various events, and even balls, so bring some fancy clothes if you plan to attend one of these. No matter where you are, you can find a grand celebration on this day, but the big cities offer a great experience.
Here is just a snapshot of what you could witness at the Eiffel Tower on Bastille Day.
Wine Festival of Bordeaux:
Wine lovers can not miss out on this event, especially if they are in France in June when this wine event is being held. The festival, which is held every second year, lasts for four days, and here you will be able to taste the wine from over 80 wine producers in the region, all in one place. In addition, you can also enjoy light shows, historical monuments, and tastings of other regional produce during your 2km (1.24 miles) walk down the ‘wine road.’
Here is a glimpse of what to expect.
Cannes International Film Festival:
Founded in 1946, this international Film Festival has become one of the significant French festivals known the world over for its glamour and the showcasing of new movies and documentaries worldwide. Held in Cannes every May, this event must be seen if you are in the region at this time, especially if you are a fan of celebrity spotting.
Tour de France:
This is the world’s most famous, prestigious, and challenging bike race, held during the French summer, and is an electric event to behold, complete with atmospheric crowds, media from all over the world, and lots of excitement. It consists of 21 stages and lasts for 23 days, and passes through various parts of France, which gives you an excellent opportunity to enjoy the event. However, be aware that accommodation, etc., will need to be booked well in advance.
Held annually in February, this is one of the leading Carnival festivals in the world, alongside Brazilian Carnival, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and the Venetian Carnival. You can expect lots of color, parades, costumes, music, and dance at this event, the most important winter event in the region held on the French Riviera. As one of the top Carnivals worldwide, this is an event that will blow your socks off if you have the opportunity to attend in person.
Want to know what it’s like? Check this out.