The overall weather in France varies considerably due to the size of the country, its position, and its topography. Alpine in the mountains, Mediterranean along the southern coastline, and continental in the central regions, France’s climate includes the Mistral winds, coastal thunderstorms, and freezing, snowy winters in the central areas, as well as the Alpine regions.

The Atlantic coastline to the west has a maritime climate featuring cool summers and mild, wet winters, with westerly prevailing winds moving inland across the flat countryside. This region is also affected by the Mistral winds blowing from the Rhone Valley, and the Languedoc region sees the Tramontane wind from the northwest. The eastern provinces are landlocked, with their continental climate bringing freezing winters and hot summers on the plains, and frequent snowfalls at heights.

Central France’s weather is generally continental, but is modified by inland movements of the maritime climate along the Atlantic coastline. The Mediterranean coastal region enjoys dry, hot summers and mild winters, with its total amount of rainfall equaling that of central France, but falling in torrents over a few days in winter. The climate in Paris is equally variable, with May through October seeing the temperature vary between 68°F and 78°F. October sees the most rain, and January is the coldest month around 42°F

Best Time to Visit France

The best time to visit France depends entirely on the style of the vacation, as there’s plenty to do and see year-round. Winter sports in the Alps and Pyrenees run from November through April, and for those into natural wonders, spring is a magic time both in the mountains and the valleys and plains. Soaking up the sun in the south is best from June through August, and sightseeing across the entire country is great any time of year. Hotel room rates rise in the high summer season, as well as at Easter and during the Christmas festive season.