Climate in France is considered to be in the oceanic climate zone. Even so, due to its location, the weather in France varies depending on the region.
France is a technical subject when it comes to explaining the different types of climatic zones, usually divided in:
- The Mountainside Regions – The alps and the Pyrenees
- Oceanic Regions – Brittany, Normandy
- The Continental Regions – Strasbourg, Paris, Versailles
- Central France Regions – Bourges, Lyon
- South West France Regions – La Rochelle, Aquitaine
- Mediterranean Coast Regions – Provence, Occitanie, Corsica, Nice
France is a popular destination all year round, being summer the peak season from June to August. During this period, it is generally sunny and warm across the whole country. Conversely, This would be the time to avoid if you are not fond of crowded touristy sites and resorts.
Generally speaking, French winter tends to go from December to February, and French summer from May to September.
Types of Weather in France
The oceanic climate, prevailing in the western parts of the country, is one of small temperature range. Ample rainfall, cool summers, and cool but seldom very cold winters.
The continental (transition) climate, found over much of eastern and central France, adjoining its long common boundary with west-central Europe. It is known by warmer summers and colder winters than areas farther west, ample rainfall, and snowy winters, especially in the higher areas.
The Mediterranean climate, widespread throughout the south of France (except in the mountainous southwest), is one of cool winters, hot summers, and low rainfall. The mean temperature is about 53°F in Paris and 59°F in Nice. In central and southern France, annual rainfall is light to moderate. It ranges from about 68 cm (27 in) in Paris to 100 cm (39 in) in Bordeaux. Rainfall is heavy in Brittany, the northern coastal areas, and the mountainous areas, where it reaches more than 112 cm (44 inches).
Normally, excluding Paris and Versailles in the Île-de-France region, expats and retirees take interest in the areas around the Mediterranean Coast, where they can find the more popular Mediterranean climate of other neighbors like Spain and Portugal – that means hot days in summer. It usually goes from May to September but can stretch as long as from April to October, and shorter and milder winters in comparison to up north. These are the regions of France with the most days of sunshine per year, and also lesser precipitation.
As in any country, weather depends on your region, but generally, France enjoys a temperate climate with four regular seasons, little rain, and low humidity.
Recommended dress code for French weather: light, breathable clothing in Mediterranean summers, jacket or sweater for Mediterranean winters, and waterproof winter gear for the mountain side all year long.