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Weather in France

An overview of French weather and the five climate zones

Weather in France: divided into 5 climatic zones

France can be divided into 5 different climatic zones. The following is an essential breakdown of the typical weather conditions in France in each of these zones. If you want a better idea of what to expect before you buy your property read on!

Weather in northern and north-western France

The north and north-west of France is affected by the Atlantic. Consequently, it has a changeable, maritime climate like that of the UK. This area of the country experiences relatively mild winters with very infrequent frost and snow. Rainfall tends to be fairly evenly spread throughout the year. Summers in the north are only a little warmer than those in southern England whilst further down the western coast, summers can be very hot and sunny with an average of 7 or 8 hours of sunshine as compared with only 2 hours in winter months.

Weather in north-eastern and central France

The area north-east of an imaginary line running between Lille, Paris and Lyon, experiences a mid-latitude, continental climate. This means winters tend to be cold with frequent snow and frost particularly along the eastern border. Rainfall is even throughout the year but generally annual rainfall totals are low. Thunderstorms are common during the warm summers, especially in the south of the area towards the Jura mountains.

Weather in south-western France

The south-west enjoys warm summers with long periods of sunshine interspersed with short but heavy showers. It can get very hot here but not unbearably so, and summer temperatures can last well into October and even November. The winters are short, with a good amount of sunshine, but also cold, with temperatures sometimes reaching -15 C or below! The worst affected months are probably mid-December through to January, with February usually being very wet.

Weather along the Mediterranean Coast and Corsica

Along the Mediterranean coast and in Corsica, a Mediterranean-style climate prevails. The summers are always very warm and sunny and often extremely hot for long periods at a time. For three months (June-August) this region has very little rain other than the occasional thunderstorm. Winters are also generally mild and sunny although they can get unseasonably cold and windy for a few days due to the northerly Mistral wind. The Mistral can also result in cool spring days.

Weather in the mountainous regions

The mountainous regions of the Vosges, the Jura, the Alps, the Pyrenees and the Massif-Central experience a very localised Alpine-type climate. The Vosges, the Jura and the northern Alps have very wet summers and autumns whilst the Pyrenees experience the most rain during the winter months. The Pyrenees, the Massif-Central and the southern Alps have warm summers with thunderstorms and heavy cloud cover in the middle of the day.

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