The most important factor in deciding when to visit France is tourism itself. As most French people holiday in their own country, consider avoiding the main French holiday periods – mid-July to the end of August. At this time almost the entire country closes down, except for the tourist industry itself. Easter, too, is a bad time for Paris: half of Europe’s schoolchildren seem to descend on the city. For the same reasons, ski buffs should keep in mind the February school ski break. And don’t be caught on the roads during the last weekend of July or August, and least of all on the weekend of August 15. The best time to visit France is therefore during the spring months, between April and June, or autumn, which runs from September to November.

Generally speaking, climate needn’t be a major consideration in planning when to go. Northern France, like nearby Britain, is wet and unpredictable. Paris has a marginally better climate than New York, rarely reaching the extremes of heat and cold of that city, but only south of the Loire does the weather become significantly warmer. West coast weather, even in the south, is tempered by the proximity of the Atlantic, and is subject to violent storms and close thundery days even in summer. The centre and east, as you leave the coasts behind, have a more continental climate, with colder winters and hotter summers. The most reliable weather is along and behind the Mediterranean coastline and on Corsica, where winter is short and summer long and hot.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

France features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The world's quirkiest food festivals

The world's quirkiest food festivals

Tomato-drenched crowds wading through a lake of passata at Valencia’s La Tomatina festival might be a familiar image, but such passionate and eccentric cele…

22 Dec 2017 • Lucy Cowie insert_drive_file Article
Ebikes: are they worth the hype?

Ebikes: are they worth the hype?

Though they may be sniffed at by "real" cylists, e-bikes are opening up serious mountain routes to the more casual pedaller. Andy Turner dons some lycra to find…

27 Oct 2017 • Andy Turner local_activity Special feature
20 seriously weird places around the world

20 seriously weird places around the world

The world is a weird (and wonderful) place. And from a rose-coloured lake to a Japanese island ruled by cats, we've got twenty pictures to prove it. 1. Spotted…

26 Jul 2017 • Rachel Mills camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right