Winter in France

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Start planning your winter vacation to France

France is a country worth visiting all year round. However, in the winter, France has a particular charm. At this time of year, you’ll be able to enjoy ski resorts with world-class slopes, attend one of the many seasonal art and culture festivals, take advantage of the amazing winter sales while shopping in Paris, or simply indulge in delicious local comfort food to keep you warm during these cold months. 

Why should I visit France in the winter?  

France takes on a magical atmosphere during winter. Imagine gazing up at the Eiffel Tower as snow falls from the sky. Or look out at the city skyline from the hills of Montmatre. Elsewhere, skiers from all over Europe flock to the French mountains to speed down its world-famous ski resorts and spa towns. Whatever you choose to do in France in winter, you’ll have an unforgettable vacation. 

The best things to do in France in Winter  

Whether you prefer to relax in a thermal bath, ski down a freshly dusted ski slope, or visit a classical music festival, winter in France has it all. Here are the best things to do.   

Relax in one of France's famous spa towns  

For total relaxation, head to the French alps. Here, you’ll find well-known spa towns, such as Plombières-les-Bains in the Vosges, where naturally heated thermal springs offer a glorious retreat from the chilly air. Grab a glass of Champagne, sit back and relax, and take in the stunning mountain views.  

Be active at a ski resort on the Pyrenees 

The French Alps are world-famous for their ski resorts and excellent slopes. Try skiing down a few slopes in the Pyrenees, for example, and you’ll enjoy an adrenaline rush in a gorgeous landscape. The world-class traditional chalet accommodation offered in many resorts completes the perfect vacation package. 

Go to a classical music festival in Nantes  

Classical music fans should head to Nantes during the end of January for the La Folle Journée festival. This event gathers performers from all over the world with aims to challenge the standards of the classical music genre. 

Celebrate Mardi Gras in the Côte D'Azur

Head over to the coastal town of Nice during the celebration of Mardi Gras to enjoy a colorful parade. This French version of the celebration includes music, theatrics and, of course, plenty of crêpes. The ’bataille des fleurs’, a flower parade, is the highlight

Indulge in France's winter food  

One of the most traditional winter foods, especially in the Alps, is raclette and fondue—two dishes comprising moreish melted cheese. For raclette, the cheese is heated up using a special tool, then dripped onto all manner of food from bread to vegetables, while fondue involves a melted cheese sauce served in the centre of the table, with bread for dipping. This is the ultimate winter warmer. Bon appétit! 

What's the weather like in France in winter?  

Generally, the winters in France are quite cool, ranging from 32°F to 46°F. On the Mediterranean coast of the country, there are usually warmer temperatures, while in the mountains it can become quite cold. With the changeable weather, it is sensible to pack layers for when the weather gets cooler in the evening. A winter coat is a good idea for colder alpine regions or the mountains.

When to go in France?

France's temperate climate makes it a fairly pleasant country to visit all year round, though you do need to bear in mind that it can get very cold in winter, especially in the north and the east, and very hot in summer, particularly in the south. Many French people (and other Europeans) choose to holiday on the Mediterranean coast in August. This can make the price of accommodation particularly high at this time of year, and the most popular and well-known coastal resorts can get very busy. Shops more or less everywhere will be closed for the annual holidays too. So avoid August if you plan to go on a shopping spree!
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