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Climate and Weather

France - Climate and Weather

As a broad generalisation, France enjoys long hot summers and cool winters, offering a climate that is both temperate and agreeable. However, as the largest country in Western Europe with an incredibly varied terrain, it is perhaps not surprising that the weather and climate in France can change dramatically as you travel from region to region and can therefore be somewhat unpredictable.

During the summer months, France is generally quite hot, offering an average daytime high of 75.2 degrees Fahrenheit with infrequent showers and cooler nights. The winter, on the other hand, is considerably cooler, with the average temperature dropping to 35.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

According to the international Köppen system, the varying climates found in the country can be divided into three different types: oceanic climate, continental climate, and Mediterranean climate.

Thanks to the influence of Atlantic winds, the north and north west of France experience frequent showers throughout the year – the north of the country averages at approximately 24 inches of rain each year, whilst the north western regions average at 31 inches. Although these regions tend to be quite wet, they do enjoy relatively mild temperatures, with the winter daytime temperature averaging in the mid-40s (Fahrenheit) and the low 70s in the summer months. In terms of sunshine, the north – northwest regions offer an average of 7-8 hours of daily sunshine in the summer compared to approximately 2 hours in the winter. As the closest region to the UK, it is perhaps not surprising that the weather patterns in these regions are very similar to those of the UK.

As you move into the central and eastern areas of France, the winters become colder with temperatures dropping to an average in the mid-40s alongside frequent snowfall. Summer temperatures in these areas tend to be warm, with average temperatures reaching the high 70s, however they are cloudy and thundery, particularly in July and August.

France is home to a number of different mountain ranges including the French Alps, Massif Central, and the Pyrenees and, naturally, these offer the coldest temperatures in the country with winter daytime temperatures averaging around 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Heavy frost and snowfall are also extremely common during the winter, with snow falling between three and six months of the year.

The Mediterranean regions of France, such as the French Riviera, Provence, and Corsica, offer the finest, and hottest, weather in the country. Boasting a typical Mediterranean climate, these regions enjoy average summer temperatures in the mid-80s Fahrenheit with minimal rainfall, especially in the summer months.

Finally, the south-west regions of the country offer moderate weather all year round, thanks to their low-lying valleys and mid-Atlantic winds. During the winter months, the daytime temperatures tend to stay around the low-to-mid-50s Fahrenheit mark, whilst the summer warms up to around 80 degrees. What’s more, these summer temperatures can also last well into October or November. Rainfall is relatively high in this area, although it tends to fall in short, sharp bursts.

The average monthly temperatures and rainfall can be found below:

Ensuring that you have appropriate clothing will depend very much upon the area of France you are visiting or relocating to. As a general rule though, light cotton clothes are advisable for the summer months, whilst raincoats and waterproof clothing are recommended for western and mountainous regions. Regardless of where you go and when, you should always ensure you have a sweater or cover up for the cooler evenings.

France does not often fall victim to the serious weather sometimes seen on other continents. However, it’s worth noting that, over recent years the weather in France has become a lot more unpredictable and, in some cases, extreme. Similar to other European countries, France has recently witnessed some uncharacteristically hot summers and bitterly cold winters.

Meteo is a useful resource for keeping up to date with weather conditions in France.

Read more about this country

Expat Health Insurance Partners

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