France's Four Fabulous Seasons

Originally posted on & updated on 10th February, 2024

With so little differentiation between the seasons in England in recent years it’s reassuring to know that just across the channel it’s still possible to experience the joys of a colourful spring, the long hot days of summer, crisp and bright autumn weather and the icy chill of winter.

Although there are clear differences between the weather on the riviera compared to the climate of Normandy, there are four distinct seasons with noticeable differences that extend beyond the weather to include food, atmosphere and the changing face of the rural landscape.

Spring in France, le Printemps

France quite literally blossoms in the spring and the colours of the fields and the tree-lined avenues take on a clarity that promises months of mild and sunny weather ahead. As flowers and crops come to life after the winter months France’s cafe and restaurant menus begin to feature fresh seasonal ingredients. Whilst walkers often head to the Alps at this time of year to enjoy the meadows, celebrities will be making their way to the Mediterranean coast for the glittering Cannes Film Festival and some warmer spring sunshine.

Summer, c’est l’Eté au Soleil

Down in the south of France, in Provence and the Cote d’Azur especially, summer is characterised by long, hot days and beautiful blue skies. Elsewhere in France the weather is mild and generally settled compared to the UK and this helps to draw in plenty of visitors. French roads rarely get too congested however and it’s still possible to get away from it all and escape the crowds even in high season. Summer is the ideal time to make the most of France’s fantastic outdoor markets selling fresh local seasonal produce and with plenty of festivals and events in the towns and villages across France there will always be something to do. Summer event highlights include the Tour de France and Bastille Day which is on July 14.

Mushroom Season at l’Automne

Mild temperatures and plenty of sunshine make early autumn an ideal time to visit France particularly because it’s also the start of the grape harvest season. Throughout France there are wine festivals to enjoy at this time of year and in the Occitanie the weather is still good enough to enjoy days on the beach. Further north in Normandy and Brittany the leaves are turning beautiful shades of red and gold as autumn takes hold.

Winter, l’Hiver a la Montagne

If you like to ski then you’ll love France in winter. This is when Alpine ski resorts come to life and people flock to the picture postcard snowy slopes to enjoy winter sports and a seasonal raclette. Many French towns such as Lille, Lyon and Avignon have established and popular Christmas markets where you can stroll amongst the stalls sampling seasonal food such as galette des rois and a glass of vin chaud. In the Riviera resorts however it’s still possible to enjoy a café au lait outdoors without the need for a thick winter coat.

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