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Weather Dec/Jan around France

Between 18 Dec and 11 Jan we'll be touring from Paris down the east to Nice, across the "bottom" and up the west back to Paris, then 9 days there. The temps are pretty scary for Paris at that time. Will the south be a bit warmer?
We will be walking our socks off in Paris, does it tend to be still and cold, or rainy a lot, and is there much wind? Are there many sunny days during this time? I realise it's hard to generalise but with planning on being outdoors every day we would appreciate an idea of what clothes would be best for Dec/Jan as we're coming from Down Under. Thanks.

Posted by
11294 posts

If you want sunny, warm, and dry, you don't want to come to Europe in their winter. Of all the things you mentioned, the one that's not a big problem in Paris is wind, since it's inland. Otherwise, when I was there in early February 1999, I had only a little rain, but it was cold (not quite as bad as New York can be). One day there was a brief snowfall, and everyone in town was amazed (it didn't even stick to the sidewalks). Don't forget it's also dark at that time, as days are short. You must be prepared for rain and cold every day, and then be pleasantly surprised if it's nicer. Again, if this upsets you, don't come at that time. The advantage of Paris is, since it doesn't have wonderful weather, there are lots of indoor attractions, and lots of cafes to sit in if you get wet or tired from walking. The south should be warmer, particularly along the Mediterranean. Remember, Nice got its start as a winter resort, for those from Northern Europe fleeing their cold winters. But inland, thanks to mountains among other things, it can be cold and windy. (I haven't been to other parts of France in the winter, so I have no personal experience).

Posted by
515 posts

It is going to be very cold. Pack warm sweaters, warm socks, scarves, and a hat to protect the ears. The average minimum temp is about 2 degrees celsius and the average maximum temp is about 6 degrees celsius. The average rainfall is about 1.8 inches in January. It tends to rain less in January then December. Sometimes the temp can go below zero. The wind can be unbearable at times. PACK WARM!!

Posted by
9197 posts

The south can have clear air with some sun, but it can still be cold that time of year. If the wind is blowing out of the Alps and down the Rhone Valley, it's very cold. This isn't like California or Florida. You'll need warm clothes.

Posted by
893 posts

The weather has been highly variable the past couple winters. You need to be prepared for cold & wet, possible snow (even in the south of France - it happens), and wickedly cold and strong winds. Or, you could get close to 50F and sunny. No way to know.

Posted by
10 posts

Thanks everyone, I get the message - it will be very cold in Paris - but I don't have a choice, have to take my leave over the Xmas (summer NZ) holidays. Will rug up appropriately and just hope for the best.