Best Times to Visit

Weather

France has a temperate and continental climate in the north, a Mediterranean climate in the south, whilst the mountains are cooler with heavy snows in the winter. More information about the French weather may be found in Climate in France.

Visitors are advised to bring light, breathable clothing for summer, with warmer clothes for the winter. Waterproofs and winter gear is advisable for the mountains all year round.

Festivals

The Carnaval in Nice is a festive 10-day Mardi-Gras celebration featuring daily parades, concerts, street theatre and more. While this isn't the only Carnaval in Europe, it is certainly one of the biggest ones. Also in Nice is the Festival of Jazz, which takes place in the Arenes de Cimiez every summer. Attended by over 45,000 visitors, concerts are held each night between 7pm and midnight.

The world-famous Cannes Film Festival takes place in the south of France in mid-May, and although tourists cannot attend the film showings, they will be able to step up to the red carpet to see the many celebrities.

Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer in the Camargue is the venue for a colourful gypsy festival in late May, characterised by wild singing and dancing.

The ultimate French festival is Bastille Day, or Fete Nationale as it is known in France. A visit to any spot in France, be it Paris or a small village, is sure to be rewarded with amazing festivities, fireworks, fabulous food and general revelry.

In August, the country goes on holiday and many places will be closed.

The long-awaited release of each year's Beaujolais Nouveau comes at the strike of midnight on the third Thursday in November. There are about 120 festivals to honour the arrival of this enticing young wine in the Beaujolais region alone, not to mention throughout France and across the globe.

Public Holidays

The following table shows the public holidays celebrated in France:

Date Holiday
1 January New Year's Day
March/April (variable) Easter Monday
May/June (variable) Ascension
May/June (10 days after Ascension) Whit Monday
1 May Labour Day
8 May 1945 Victory Day
14 July Fête Nationale (Bastille Day)
15 August Assumption Day
1 November All Saints' Day
11 November Armtistice Day
25 December Christmas Day