There is always something to do on the French Riviera.
And even if you don’t have the best imagination, there’s always the stunning scenery that never changes.
The truth is that the best time to visit the French Riviera is all year around because there is always something to do.
But depending on what interests you have, and what you like to do on your vacation, the best time to go to the Riviera will be different depending on what person you ask.
Some people might not want to do anything else than swimming and sunbathing during their time on the French Riviera, and if that is the case, the best time to visit the French Riviera is highly dependant on the weather.
However, for people who might want to go to museums and explore buildings, the weather might not be as crucial, even though the nice weather is always a plus. But if you plan on walking long distances, it might not be ideal to visit the French Riviera in the middle of the summer, as the sun stands high and makes spending a long time in the sun – especially when walking long distances, as it can get quite tiring.
Climate on the French Riviera and the best time to visit the French Riviera
For people who are planning to do things on the French Riviera that is dependent on good weather, the most important thing you want to pay attention to is obviously the weather.
The French Riveria, Côte d’Azur, is surrounded by hills in the west, and alps in the northwest, and meeting the Mediterranean in the south. This contributes to making the French Riviera a place with a mild climate all year around.
In fact, you can expect close to 300 days of sunshine on the French Riviera per year.
As you’d expect, the French Riviera is the most crowded during the summer. That’s when the tourists come, and at the end of the summer, the inhabitants also have their summer breaks. If you visit early summer, you’ll experience fewer people, yet amazing weather. The water will, however, be a lot colder compared to the end of summer as it has been cooled down during winter, but if you aren’t that fond of bathing and swimming, it won’t be a problem. Of course, that is not to say that it isn’t possible to take a bath during early summers, such as May, June, and early July. At this time, there are also a number of interesting events going on, such as the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix and the Cannes Film Festival.
August is the month when the French Riviera is the most crowded. It is the time when most tourists find their way to the French Riviera, and it is also the time when the French have their summer holidays.
And it is not surprising that people choose to head to the French Riviera during the end of July and August because it is the time when the sun shines the most, the water is the warmest, and the weather is the best.
If you visit the French Riviera during the winter, it is important that you have in mind that many restaurants and hotels will be closed. Generally, thehotels and restaurant that focuses on tourists have closed from November to February.
Here, you can see the average rainfall in Cannes, but the rainfall is very similar along the French Riviera.
As you can see, the most rainfall comes in Oktober and November, so if you plan on being outside and don’t want the rain to stop you, the best time to visit the French Rivieria woud be all months except Oktober and November, or, if you want the minimum risk of rain, June, July and September.
Winter on the French Riviera is not ideal for a day on the beach, however, if swimming and beaches don’t attract you, then this might be the best time to visit the French Riviera for you, as you can stroll around without sweating immensely, and walk in the sun without being burned to the color of a tomato. In fact, with the right garments, the temperature and climate during winter is actually very pleasant. Especially if the sun shows up.
During winter, there’s plenty of fun things to do on the French Riviera.There are, for example, Christmas markets, go skiing in one of the region’s ski resorts which open in December. The closest ski resort you can find is Isola 2000, among others.Going there takes just over 2 hours.
The town of Menton holds its annual Citron festival, La Fête du Citron in February, which attracts plenty of visitors, lasting for three weeks.
If we are going to try to break up the seasons, it would look something like this:
- Winters on the French Riviera
Winters on the French Riviera have little rainfall, and never cold and snowy winters. The crowds are gone, but the beautiful scenery remains, making it the perfect place if you want to go somewhere where the tempo isn’t that high.
- Spring/Fall on the French Riviera
Spring and fall are two amazing times to visit the French Riviera. You have lots of sun, but without the immense crowds that the French Riviera holds during summer. When the sun is out, people sit outside the cafés enjoying a nice coffee, but if the sun isn’t out, it can get a little chilly.
Summer is undoubtedly the best time to visit the French Riviera if you look at the opinions of the crowd.
During summer, the most amount of people are here, meaning it is the time when most people prefer the Riviera. The weather is amazing with close to zero days of rain during summer, and the temperature often stretches above 30 degrees.The nice sea breeze from the Mediterranean cools down the warm summer air and offers a stunning scenery out over the sea. During summer, the hotels, restaurants, and cafés are often highly crowded, at least if you visit the traditional places in cities like Nice, Cannes, Monaco, and St.Tropez.
What to know before visiting the French Riviera
It can be good to know that if you plan on visiting the French Riviera to surf, the majority of the private beaches are closed from October or November until the summer closes in.
During low season, many hotels and cafés are closed, however, the most common stores and shops are open, especially those located on the regular shopping streets. Grocery shops are open all year round so you can always get food, no matter when you visit. On Sundays, smaller boutiques are often closed, and some restaurants might be closed on Mondays. If you plan on visiting museums on the French Riviera, it can be good to know that museums are often closed on Mondays or Tuesdays.
Best time to visit the French Riviera month-by-month
January is a calm month on the French Riviera when the temperature is cooler. The average temperature in January is 8 degrees. While it isn’t an ideal time for sunbathing, the scenery is stunning, and you aren’t far away from ski slopes. Plus, January is a great time for doing things like visiting museums or visiting monuments, as those activities aren’t as dependant on good weather, plus, there are fewer crowds.
February is quite similar to January, only that it starts to get warmer and brighter during the day. The average temperature is 9 degrees Celsius. There are two major events that take place on the French Riviera during February, and those events are Menton Lemon Festival (Fete du Citron), and the Carnaval of Nice.
In March temperatures are rising and it is starting to get brighter in the morning and the evening. The average temperature is 11 degrees Celsius, which makes it quite pleasant if you are dressed correctly – especially if the sun is out.
March is a popular month for outdoor activities such as biking and running, as there are relatively few cars and few people.
In April, the French Riviera start coming to life after its winter hibernation. it starts to get warmer, and the average temperature 12 degrees Celsius.
In April, there are French National Holidays which can occasionally crowd hotels and restaurants during some periods in April.
In May, the French Riviera starts to blossom, with more people out on the streets, and the weather becoming increasingly warmer. The average temperature in May is 16 degrees Celsius, which means that you can be outside without any thick winter jackets- especially when the sun is out.
The Cannes Film festival takes place in May, as well as the Monte Carlo Formula 1 Grand Prix, so have in mind that during those periods, there will be lots of people out and about.
June is when summer begins on the French Riviera. The average temperature is 20 degrees Celsius, making it a very pleasant time to visit, especially since the French Riviera hasn’t become a hub for tourists yet. During this time, the water starts getting warmer, but it is not at its peak yet. You can definitely sunbathe as long as the sun is out.
July is a popular month for tourists on the French Riviera. The average temperature stretches to 23 degrees Celsius, making the weather highly pleasant.Now, the Nice Jazz Festival takes place, together with the Bastille day fireworks (national day of France), including several other events.
This is the most popular month on the French Riviera, and this means that for most people, August is the best time to visit the French Riviera. The average temperature stretches to 23 degrees, and the water has reached its peak temperature at the end of August.There are close to zero days of rain in August. The national holiday in France takes place in August, and this is an important reason why it is so crowded since now both tourists and French inhabitants are free from work.
In September, the French Riviera gets back its calm as the tourists start leaving, and the French inhabitants go back to work. The average temperature continuingly decreases, and the average temperature is 21 degrees Celsius. But that is not to say that the weather isn’t pleasant in September.
In October, the temperature has gone down significantly from the month before, with an average temperature of 16 degrees. All the tourists have left, and the French Riviera has calmed down.
Some years, October is a wet month, and some, it rains close to nothing, so it’s hard to know.
November on the French Riviera has an average temperature of 12 degrees, which means winter is closing in, and the weather isn’t as pleasant. But this gives room for activities such as museum visiting, and sightseeing, which aren’t dependant on good weather.
In December, the French Riviera goes into hibernation and visiting now means visiting a very calm French Riviera. Hotels are closed for the season, and so are some restaurants. December is also a slow month as Christmas is closing in The average temperature is 10 degrees Celsius, which means you have to put on warm clothes.