THIS IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT FRANCE, given that France has a large coastline, it is not surprising that it once had naval might. It’s not surprising that French explorers were eager to sail the world’s oceans given that France borders the North Sea and the English Channel to the north, the Atlantic Ocean touches its western beaches, and the south coast of France faces the Mediterranean.


Paris is one of the world’s most impressive cities and if you want to visit the capital, the answer to the best time to visit France is – anytime. That’s because Paris’ shopping, entertainment venues, sports events and significant landmarks receive significant support all year round.

French cuisine and wine are world-famous. Some of the world’s top chefs began their careers with classical French training. Not surprisingly, there are visitors to France who go specifically to enjoy its food and wine. Other good reasons to go to France are its famous Mediterranean resorts, historic cities, beautiful countryside and outstanding skiing compelling attractions. So picking the best time to visit France will depend on what you want to do there.


best time to visit the south of france
Coloured surfboards on a shingle beach during one of the best times to visit France for a beach vacation.

Summers in France are very pleasant, especially the further south you go.

The Mediterranean coastline is extremely popular, and some places on the Cote d’Azur are exclusive.

There are many hours of daylight and plenty of hours of sunshine.

Parisians leave the capital for their annual holidays in droves in July. On particular weekends, the roads are hectic, often with traffic heading south.

France has far more to offer than beach holidays.

Normandy and Brittany in France’s northwest attract significant numbers.

Provence and the Dordogne are popular, while Biarritz in the Basque region of France offers plenty of sights to fill your day.

Paris is one of Europe’s most visited cities, and many visitors head there in the summer.

However, school holidays dictate when families can take their main holiday.

The appeal of Paris and nearby Euro Disney guarantees that families can enjoy lots of variety in two weeks.

Here are some guideline stats but remember there are regional variations:

  • June (Sunrise 0550, Sunset 2145, Average Low Temperature 12C (53F), Average High Temperature Average High 22 C (71F))
  • July (Sunrise 0550, Sunset 2145, Average Low Temperature 15C (59F), Average High Temperature 25C (77F)
  • August (Sunrise 0625, Sunset2130, Average Low Temperature 15C (59F), Average High Temperature 25C (77F)


1- Go On A Driving Vacation
best time to visit provence france
Autumn or spring are the best times to visit France if you’re touring around. Pictured here are traditional colourful houses in Eguisheim’s Old Town along the Alsace Wine Route.

A driving holiday in France is rightly popular because of the variety of things to see and do.

UK travellers can cross the English Channel, and mainland Europeans merely cross the land borders.

Design your itinerary based on the time available and personal interests. You will never be bored and return home full of great memories.

2- Explore The Landmarks Of Paris
best time to visit paris france Back view of young woman visiting the city of Paris with Eiffel Tower and Seine River.
There’s no ‘best time’ to visit France to see landmarks in Paris but summer is as good as any.

Beautiful Paris is one of the world’s greatest cities, with famous landmarks including the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, l’Arc de Triomphe and l’Ouvre.

It’s easy to navigate the city without having your own transport and the food is fantastic, with plenty of cafes to stop to enjoy a snack, lunch or a cool drink.

3- Explore The Vineyards Of Bordeaux
best time to visit bordeaux france Aerial view, Vineyard Sunrise in summer, Sainte Croix du Mont, Bordeaux Vineyard, Gironde, France
The best time to visit Bordeaux, France, is in summer as the weather is perfect for a wine-tasting vacation.

France is one of the leading wine-producing nations in the world, so it makes sense to sample French wine during your visit.

Bordeaux in the southwest is home to plenty of vineyards, and you can book a chateau for a luxurious experience.

There are organised wine holidays, or you can make individual bookings and visit the vineyards yourself.

4- Relax In A Mediterranean Resort
best time to visit nice france
Summer or spring are the best times to visit France if you want to relax on the French Riviera. Here’s the beautiful town of Cassis.

The Mediterranean is an obvious choice for the weeks of summer.

St. Tropez, Cannes, Nice, and resorts on the French Riviera will stretch your budget. But then why not?

For the budget-conscious, suitable accommodation is available near this coast, and you can visit resorts during the day.

5- Explore The Coastline Of Brittany

Brittany’s coastline is somewhat different.

Beaches, cliffs, sheltered harbours and plenty of history can provide a stunning holiday.

Temperatures are warm, without being hot, while the seafood is just one aspect of its outstanding cuisine.

Top tips:

best time of year to visit bordeaux france Stylish girl turns around when walking in Bordeaux street with the cathedral on the background, France
The best time to visit southern France is summer when you can wander around the streets of cities like Bordeaux to explore.
  • Check the weather forecast each day and head out prepared with a hat, water and a light showerproof jacket.
  • If you intend on concentrating on Paris, look at the passes and discounts available while you do your planning.
  • Local cafes will serve good food and drink, so don’t think you need to eat in expensive restaurants.


best time to visit southern france
The best time to visit France for colour is in autumn.

Once school holidays are over, popular tourist destinations become quieter.

Temperatures in France remain pleasant though there is a distinct chill in the air as the year continues.

It is a season of colour as green gives way to red, orange and yellow in the countryside.

Even Paris, with its treelined boulevards, looks at its best and the city’s parks are lovely at this time of year.

There will undoubtedly be more rain in autumn than during the peak tourist season, but there are certainly compensations.

As crowds begin to disappear, prices fall, both for flights into France but also for accommodation.

Hear south for the warmest weather in France in autumn.

Throughout France, this is harvest time, and that means festivals.

The grape harvest is the focus in Bordeaux, Alsace, Champagne and the Loire Valley, where you will find celebrations.

As a fertile country, France is a country that celebrates its crops, so visit the local markets and see what we mean.

Here are some guideline stats but remember there are regional variations:

  • September (Sunrise 0710, Sunset 2035, Average Low Temperature 12C (54F), Average High Temperature Average High 21C (70F))
  • October (Sunrise 0750, Sunset 1930, Average Low Temperature 9.5C (49F), Average High Temperature 16.5C (62F)
  • November (Sunrise 0740, Sunset 1730, Average Low Temperature 5.5C (42F), Average High Temperature 10.5C (51F)


best time to visit lavender fields in france Woman with suitcase in her hand in a lavender field in the summer afternoon.
When is the best time to visit France?
1- Walk Along The Seine

Paris in the autumn is beautiful.

Perhaps you should walk along the Seine as a starter?

Many green areas and parks provide a chance to sit and relax, proving that city life does not need to be hectic all the time.

2- Hike The French Alps
best time to visit france
The best time to visit France for amazing scenery is autumn. Pictured here is Chamonix in the Alps.

The French Alps come into their own when the ski resorts open in the winter and but a lovely area for walking and hiking, mainly because the temperatures are rarely too high.

Autumn is a season for enjoying the valleys and their quaint villages.

There may be rainfall, but that ensures that lovely shades of green await all visitors.

3- Explore Alsace
best time to visit france wine country An image of a view over a vineyard at Alsace France in autumn light
The best to visit France’s wine country is in autumn for golden vineyards and harvest time.

Alsace is a wine region that specialises in whites.

Its Rieslings are world-renowned with its near neighbours and the USA its most significant markets, but there is more to this region close to France’s eastern border.

Strasbourg is its capital, a real historical gem, while Alsatian castles are another attraction.

4- Try Beaujolais Nouveau

Beaujolais Nouveau is an institution, and until very recently, there was a race to see who could get the first bottle to different parts of the world each year.

The wine sold in the first year of a vintage is released for consumption in mid-November, the third Thursday.

These days it is delivered before the release date with instructions about exactly when it can be sold.

Its fermentation period is just a few weeks and it is the current year’s grape crop. Try it!

5- Dine On French Cuisine
hen is the best time to visit champagne in france
Bowl of homemade boeuf bourguignon with carrots and potatoes. Yum!

French cuisine is reason alone to visit France and there are numerous world-famous restaurants, but even the simplest café is likely to serve delicious food.

There are huge regional variations and seasonal ones as well.

If you go to France in the autumn, look for pumpkin pie, boeuf bourguignon, and truffles with your scrambled eggs if you can afford them.

Top tips:

  • Be prepared for changes in the weather, especially if you are out hiking.
  • Take a jumper or jacket with you for later in the day.
  • Look out for festivals.
  • France is a sporting nation. You may find something to interest you locally, soccer or rugby union typically.


best time to visit south of france skier with mountain backdrop
If you’re a skier, of course, the best time to visit France is winter.

The ocean is a moderating influence, and France’s extensive coastline ensures that its coastal regions avoid the extreme winter temperatures that are essential for the French Alps.

The Alps is a dominant feature in several European countries, with its western section within France.

Its most famous mountain, Mont Blanc, sits astride the French-Italian border and attracts visitors all year round, and in winter, skiers head for places like Grenoble, Chamonix, Chambery and Evian-les-Bains.

Val d’Isere retains the feel of a traditional Alpine village, while other resorts are purpose-built for the vast numbers who enjoy skiing.

Another reason to choose France as a winter vacation destination is that the Mediterranean has good winter sunshine that can be rare further north in Europe.

The waters may be cool, but that should not stop you from enjoying time on the French Riviera.

Paris is an all-year-round destination and one of the world’s fashion capitals, with shops that attract in the weeks before Christmas and the weeks after for the end-of-year sales.

The major landmarks of Paris are relatively quiet in winter but just as impressive.

The crowds that are a feature in other parts of the year are no obstacle for winter visitors.

Here are some guideline stats but remember there are regional variations:

  • December (Sunrise 0825, Sunset 1700, Average Low Temperature 3C (37F), Average High Temperature Average High 7.5C (45F))
  • January (Sunrise 0845, Sunset 1700, Average Low Temperature 2C (35F), Average High Temperature 6C (42F)
  • February (Sunrise 0820, Sunset 1750, Average Low Temperature 2C (35F), Average High Temperature 7.5C (45F)


france best time to visit
One of the best times to visit France’s Lyon is in winter when the Croix-rousse district on the Rhône river.
1- Go Skiing In The Alps

The popularity of skiing increased hugely as the Alps became more accessible.

Regular flights from regional airports land at many places, giving easy access to the mountains.

Look at Lyon, or Sion, within France, Geneva, or even Milan and Turin within Italy.

2- Go Sporting Or Shopping In Paris

Paris offers plenty to do in mid-winter for couples and families.

You may enjoy shopping as an example or be happy to wrap up against the cold to visit the main attractions that are so crowded in other parts of the year.

Winter is also when there are major sporting team events in Paris, such as “Les Bleus”, the national rugby union side, or international football.

3- Escape To The Mediterranean

Winter sunshine on the Mediterranean coast will appeal to anyone whose winter home usually gets week after week of cold weather and short hours of daylight.

4- Eat Your Way Around France’s Culinary Capital

Lyon is a city at the top of the Rhone Valley, famous for its cuisine; some call it France’s culinary capital.

Famous winter dishes include stews, casseroles and poultry in sauces, all hearty and warming.

The city has plenty of cultural attractions as well with plenty of outstanding museums for a cold day.

5- Celebrate Christmas In Alsace

Enjoy the atmosphere of Christmas in Alsace in northeast France.

Check on places like Colmar, Eguisheim and Dambach-la Ville, where you will find decoration and lights as well as great markets.

Top tips:

  • Expect rain and be prepared for it. Wrap up warmly even on what appears to be a bright sunny day because the sun goes down fast, bringing with it a chill in the air.
  • If you want to go to a popular sporting event, check that tickets are available, and ideally, book in advance.
  • Skiing holidays do not come cheap, so work out a budget in advance by doing your research.


best time to visit france paris yellow and purple flowers with louvre in the background
Spring is the best time to visit Paris (France) for colourful gardens, such as the Tuileries garden and the Louvre.

While snow persists in the Alps and nights are cool in the early weeks, spring is when France reawakens and fills with colour.

Buds begin to open in early spring and flowers provide plenty of colour.

It is still off-season in resorts until the second half of spring so prices remain below summer levels.

Several events take place annually during spring, especially in May.

Roland Garros hosts the second tennis major of the year, the French Open.

The Monaco Grand Prix has few rivals when it comes to rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous.

Paris in the spring is one of the most romantic places in Europe.

Crowds have yet to appear, and its major attractions, by day and night, are happy to welcome the first significant numbers of the year.

Versailles and Chantilly are close by, and spring shows them and their gardens at their best.

Flight and accommodation prices do not rise until well after Easter, so there is real value for anyone visiting France at this time of year.

Here are some guideline stats but remember there are regional variations:

  • March (Sunrise 0730, Sunset 1835, Average Low Temperature 4C (39F), Average High Temperature Average High 12C (53.5F))
  • April (Sunrise 0730, Sunset 2020, Average Low Temperature 7C (45F), Average High Temperature 16C (61F)
  • May (Sunrise 0630, Sunset 2105, Average Low Temperature 9C (48F), Average High Temperature 18C (64F)


1- Enjoy The Romance Of Paris

If you want a romantic break, then Paris is the place for you. After weeks of winter, even a short break will help you forget the winter season.

2- Relax On The French Riviera
best time to visit england and france aerial bay view, Alpes-Maritimes region of France
It’s to see why spring is the best time of year to visit France to spend time on the French Riveria. Pictured here is Villefranche sur Mer.

Prices in the French Riviera are prohibitive for some travellers in the high season.

You can find good value if you check prices during spring weeks.

3- Attend A Sporting Event

Major sporting events in France are very popular.

You need to plan to attend many of them, but if you do, you will enjoy the atmosphere of combining sport with other activities in France.

4- Taste Spring Fare

French cuisine is great anytime but in spring, you will see things like artichokes and asparagus in the markets.

Even small cafes and bistros offer great food, and seasonal vegetables will feature on their menus.

5- Go Spring Skiing
when is the best time to visit paris france
Alpe d Huez ski resort in the French Alps. Are you a skier? You may find that winter is the best time to visit France for you.

There is still time to ski in the spring but you need to check the snow forecasts in the various resorts and keep in mind the season ends in April.

The highest resort in the French Alps is Val Thorens at 2,300 m (7,500 ft), so look there if you want a late skiing holiday at the season end.

Top tips:

best time to visit france weather wise Beautiful romantic girl in a coat and hat with a transparent umbrella in Annecy. France.
The best time to visit France weather-wise for cheaper prices is in Spring but keep an eye on the weather. Pictured here is a rainy day in Annecy.
  • Rain and cool temperatures are likely, especially in early spring, so be prepared if you are outside all day. Light showerproof jackets and an umbrella in a backpack make sense.
  • Some attractions may be closed in early spring, not in cities like Paris, but in holiday resorts on the Mediterranean. Always do your research to avoid disappointment.
  • You could try negotiating for discounts on accommodation in March, and always before Easter if you are travelling as a group. There is no harm in asking.

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