Any month of the year is a wonderful time to enjoy a visit in the stunning natural beauty of Provence, France, but you should be aware that this region has four distinct seasons that are marked with changing weather patterns. You'll be able to ski in the mountains during certain months, the gorgeous beaches will be calling to you at others and there are wonderful activities, attractions and events that are available throughout the year. Read on to learn more about each of the seasons in this incredible southeastern region so that you'll be able to better plan your perfect stay in Provence.
Provence is quite large with several cities and towns, and most of this region boasts a Mediterranean climate that offers mild winters, dry and hot summers and more than 300 days of sunshine every year. The average annual high temperature hovers around 65 degrees, and the annual low temperature average is about 46 degrees. However, as you travel about this exciting region, you'll also discover a few micro-climates and interesting variations that include an Alpine climate just inland from Nice, which refers to the mountain climate where it's much cooler in general.
There's also a Continental climate in the northwest part of Vaucluse, and that area is quite dry with significantly hotter summers and colder winters than are found in other parts of Provence. The winds of Provence deserve a mention as well, and the one known as the mistral wind is cold and dry when it blows in the winter through the Rhone Valley, to the Bouches-du-Rhone and the Var. At its worst, it may blow at over 60 miles per hour. Fortunately, these winds can easily be avoided during your stay in Provence.
The months of December, January and February make up Provence's winter, and January is generally the coldest month with an average temperature of around 45 degrees. It may fall as low as 36 degrees at night and may hit as high as 52 degrees during the day. December and February also see an average temperature of 45 degrees, but the day time temperature may reach 54 degrees in the month of February and 52 degrees in December with nighttime lows of 36 to 37 degrees. It's nice and sunny most every day throughout the winter months, and it rains the most in December with around 2.2 inches of rain and the least in February with 1.6 inches of rain.
It's a great time to come explore the towns and cities that make up Provence, and the winter months are just right for visiting the museums and the many natural sites that are found in the region as well. You'll want to see the Verdon Regional Natural Park in Var, the Alpilles in Bouches du Rhone and the Luberon Regional Natural Park in Vaucluse. January and February are considered the high season for ski trips in Provence's Southern Alps, and you may be able to ski as early as mid-December and through early March depending upon the weather conditions in the mountains.
Provence is absolutely beautiful in the spring months of March, April and May, and the blooming of the wildflowers is simply stunning. March has an average temperature of 52 degrees, followed by 55 degrees in April and 64 degrees in May. March lows may fall to 41 degrees, and the temperature may go as high as 61 degrees. In April, the low temperature generally never falls below 46 degrees, and the high daytime temperature may reach 64 degrees. It begins to warm up significantly in May, so low temperatures will go no lower than 55 degrees, and the high may be all the way up to 72 degrees.
Each of the spring months see about 1.8 inches of rain. This season is just right for enjoying lunch at the many restaurants that boast an open terrace and for heading out on the walking tours without having to deal with the heat of summer. You'll also want to visit the famous natural sites of Camargue, Calanques and St. Victoire to observe the area's flora and wildlife along the hiking and horseback riding trails as well as for a bit of climbing. Some visitors may like to head to the seashore in May before it becomes really busy during the summer season, but you can only expect the water to be around 66 degrees.
June, July and August make up the popular summer months of Provence, and July is the hottest month of the year with an average temperature of 75 degrees and 12 full hours of daily sunshine. June sees low temperatures of 63 degrees and high temperatures of 81 degrees, while both July and August see lows of 64. July often sees temperatures as high as 84 degrees, and it may get as hot as 82 degrees in August. June and August see the same amount of rain at less than an inch, and July barely see ½ an inch of rain.
People from all around the world head to Provence in the summer for a wonderful beach holiday on the blue coast of Var or Bouches du Rhone. The air and water temperatures are just delightful and the water is clear and clean, but you may miss the major crowds if you come in June or even September as July and August are the traditional school vacation months for local families.
The famous lavender fields come into full bloom in June and July, and you'll be able to see them in Var, Vaucluse and Drome. The mountain lakes call many visitors to the Alps during the summer as well, and you'll find all kinds of equipment and instruction available for fun on the water as well as bike and hiking equipment rentals for the scenic trails. The summer season is also festival season in Provence with several exciting festivals scheduled during every month.
This is the season that tends to bring the most rain as well as the beautiful fall foliage changes, and October is the wettest month of the year with 3.7 inches of rain over 20 or more days. September sees about 2.5 inches of rain over some 15 days, and November sees some 2.9 inches over an 18-day period. Temperatures average at about 68 degrees in September, 61 degrees in October and 50 degrees in November. September shows low temperatures of 59 degrees and high temperatures of 75 degrees, and October hits lows of 54 degrees and highs of 68 degrees. November is colder as winter nears with lows of 43 degrees and highs of 57 degrees.
September is still a good month for a beach holiday in Provence, and you'll find the water to be at a comfortable temperature. The end of September through the end of October is just right for a tour of the main cities as well as the smaller towns as the weather is still pleasant, and you'll find all of the best restaurants and attractions still open for business. The Alps are particularly beautiful during the autumn months, so it's the perfect spot to visit if you're a fan of photography. You can also take your time exploring the mountain villages and wonderful natural preserves.