The French Riviera is the beautiful coastline in the south of France along the Mediterranean Sea. It covers about 550 miles and acquired the nickname Cote d'Azur or Azure (Blue) coast in 1887. The French Riviera is known for its beaches, views, picture perfect water, yachts and as a playground for the wealthy.
Socialites have been flocking to the resort’s renowned film festival since 1946 – and come May it’s still as busy as ever. Although this is the best time for star-spotting, there are always plenty of celebrities hanging around Cannes: you’ll spot them taking selfies along the beautiful Promenade de la Croisette, flashing platinum credit cards as they shop in designer boutiques, or slipping out of their palatial hotels to chill incognito in one of the Lérins Islands’ hidden coves.
What about beach holidays? Check! The French coastlines are overflowing with beaches, some better than others, but it’s often easier to suss out the best ones. On the Atlantic coast, the Landes region has a long stretch of flat and endless beaches. Families, surfers (no escaping these guys around here) and youngsters can tire themselves out all day – but be weary of the strong Atlantic currents.
Hendaye Beach is the most family-friendly beach in the South West, loved by locals and Spanish neighbours alike for its tranquil waters and huge stretch of white sand, whereas Seignosse Beach is where the surf's at.
Languedoc has a few sandy beaches but worth noting that it can get fairly windy by the coastline. The beach in Cap d'Agde is naturist (non-naturists welcome too) and Leucate Beach is by far the region's standout. Naturally, if you’re looking for a safe bet of sun, sea and sand, there’s nowhere better than the French Riviera which features an array of stunning beaches. Thankfully, we’ve already sought out the best beaches in the South of France.
In short, the best time to visit France depends on the region you'll be visiting. The South of France is a real summer scorcher but as the Mediterranean climate comes alive, so do the crowds. From mid-June to August, the water is pleasantly warm, and temperatures reach highs of 30°C+. However, if you're keen to discover the French Riviera off-season, go between April-early June or September-November.
Northern France, like nearby Britain, is unpredictable and wet and generally mimics the same temperatures as the UK. The west coast shares also the same unpredictability; even in the summer, it is subject to thundery days.
Temperatures in Central and Eastern France are more comfortable to judge thank to its continental climate – meaning cold winters and hot summers of 25°C.
If the weather isn't a significant consideration, but instead you're looking to avoid the crowds, then give Easter a miss and stick to spring and autumnal months. Ski aficionados should also be aware of the February school ski break.
It’s also worth knowing that the French also love to holiday in their own country between mid-July to the end of August and rightly so – but again, increasing the flurry of crowds.