France is renowned for its art, culture, food, and wine, all things that can be enjoyed year round, however, factors such as weather, crowds, and local events make it important to consider what season you wish to visit the country for your dream vacation experience.
That’s why the vacation planning specialists at Luxury France Tours have prepared this guide to seasonal variety in France. Read on to find out about temperatures in different regions throughout the year, and what festivals and cultural events are on over the course of the year.
So pack your bags, grab a croissant, and let’s explore the best time of year to visit France!
Table of Contents
- Peak Tourist Season
- Shoulder Season: A Balance Between Crowds and Prices
- Biggest festivals in “Shoulder Season”
- Visiting France over Winter and Christmas
- Christmas Markets
Peak Tourist Season
The peak tourist season in France is generally considered to be June through August, with July and August being the busiest months. Naturally, during these summer months, the warmer weather provides the ideal setting for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and beach-going.
As you would expect, however, the summer vacation period is also the busiest. So if you are visiting the most popular destinations like Paris, Nice and Lyon, crowding at the most famous tourist attractions and higher accommodation prices are simply unavoidable.
If you are not put off by the crowds then take a look at some of the most unique and fascinating cultural events to visit in France during the summer:
This is a prestigious performing arts festival that takes place in the city of Avignon in the south of France. The festival features a wide range of performances, including theater, dance, and music, and takes place in July.
Fête de la Musique:
This is a nationwide music festival that takes place on June 21st. The festival celebrates music of all genres and encourages people to take to the streets and perform.
Tour de France:
This is one of the most famous cycling events in the world, taking place in July. The race covers more than 2,000 miles and passes through many of France’s most beautiful regions.
Shoulder Season: A Balance Between Crowds and Prices
The shoulder season in France refers to the time period between peak tourist season and off-season, when the weather is still good but the crowds and prices are lower. In France, the shoulder season is generally considered to be April, May, September, and October.
The weather during shoulder season can vary, but it is generally mild and pleasant. In the spring, the weather is usually cool and rainy, with temperatures starting to warm up in May. In the fall, the weather is generally mild, with cooler temperatures and the chance of rain increasing as the season progresses.
Biggest festivals in “Shoulder Season”
There are many cultural festivals and events that take place in France in the months of April, May, September, and October. Some examples include:
Fête de la Gastronomie:
This is a nationwide food festival that takes place in September, celebrating the diversity and quality of French cuisine.
This is an all-night art festival that takes place in Paris in October. The festival features a wide range of artistic performances and events, including music, theater, and visual arts.
Fête de la Nature:
This is a nature festival that takes place in April and May, celebrating the beauty and diversity of the natural world in France. The festival features a range of events, including guided nature walks, talks, and workshops.
Foire aux Vins:
This is a wine fair that takes place in the fall, usually in September or October. The fair features tastings of a wide variety of French wines, as well as food, music, and other entertainment.
Cannes Film Festival:
This is one of the most famous film festivals in the world, held annually in Cannes on the French Riviera. The festival showcases new films from around the world and takes place in May.
Visiting France over Winter and Christmas
The weather in France during the winter months (December, January, and February) can vary greatly depending on the region. Generally, the northern and coastal areas of France have a milder climate, while the mountainous regions in the south and east tend to have colder and snowier weather.
If you pack the appropriate clothing for the cold though, one of the more surprising ways to experience the beauty of the French landscape in the winter is to take a winter hike.
The winter landscape in France, including the French Alps, the Pyrenees, and the Vosges. is especially beautiful, with snow-capped peaks, frozen lakes, and picturesque villages. These areas offer a range of trails that are suitable for hikers of all levels, from beginners to experienced hikers.
During the holiday season, many cities and towns in France host festive Christmas markets, where visitors can browse a wide range of holiday-themed items such as decorations, gifts, and food. These markets are a popular tradition in France and attract visitors from all over the country.
The Christmas markets in France are typically held in the weeks leading up to Christmas and are a great place to find unique gifts and souvenirs. Many of the markets feature stalls selling handmade crafts, ornaments, and other holiday decorations, as well as food stalls offering traditional holiday treats such as gingerbread, hot chocolate, and roasted chestnuts.
Some of the most well-known Christmas markets in France are the ones in Strasbourg, Colmar, and Nantes. The market in Strasbourg especially is considered to be one of the oldest and most famous in Europe, and features hundreds of stalls selling a wide variety of holiday-themed items.
France is a beautiful country that is worth visiting at any time of year. Whether you choose to visit during the peak season of summer, the shoulder season of spring or fall, or even over the winter months, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
If you would be interested in discovering more about what’s on in France in the different season to help you plan your vacation, contact the custom tour specialists at Luxury France Tours.