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The various climates in France

It is important to emphasize that there is not just one climate in France!

France is the ONLY country in Europe where all TEMPERATE climates are represented. smile gif

France enjoys a strategic position as it is surrounded by the North sea in the north, by the Atlantic Ocean in the west, and by the Mediterranean sea in the south.

We can find 4 climates in France:

  • The Oceanic climate, which is the main one (due to the proximity of the sea/ocean) in north west and south west France. The Oceanic climate is characterized by a strong humidity and frequent rains, in all seasons. The temperatures are mild thanks to the proximity of the sea and the thermal amplitude is low (it is the difference between the extreme temperatures).
  • The Continental climate, which corresponds to the regions that are the most distant from the oceanic influence (regions towards Germany/Switzerland). It is characterized by very cold winters (snow) and hot summers (usually stormy), so the thermal amplitude is high.
  • The Mountain climate affects regions above 800 m (the Alps, the Jura, the Pyrenees, the Central Massif, the Vosges and the Corsica Massif). The mountainous regions are the coldest zones throughout the year. The temperature decreases with altitude: -0,6° C every 100 m. The rain reaches more than 1000 mm a year and the snow is present from 3 to 6 months a year.
  • The Mediterranean climate, whose expanse corresponds to the zone where the cultivation of the Olive tree is possible, is characterized by the heat, the drought (the “summer drought”), and a strong luminosity in summer. It rains mainly in Spring and Autumn (for a few weeks). The Mediterranean vegetation is adapted to the “summer drought” thanks to persistent and small leaves, which limits the evapoperspiration (like Olive trees). Winters are generally mild.

The Mediterranean climate is by far the most appreciated climate. As surprisingly as it can be, many tourists and foreigners enjoy roasting in the sun during their holiday on the Mediterranean coast rather than visiting the wonderful beaches that north France offers and that are much cooler, even in summer (oceanic climate). In addition to be cooler, the beaches in northern France are much wider than the beaches on the Mediterranean coast. The following pictures speak more than everything!

Picture above: Le Touquet (northern France)

If you want to have the beach for yourself, Le Touquet is a good place to go! Even in summer, you will always be able to find a seat far away from people because the beach is very wide.

Nice (on the Mediterranean coast)

As you can see, the beach in Nice is very narrow (picture above). In summer, people are always struggling to find a seat! (picture below). Well, it can be a good way to make new friends or to find a girlfriend but you can say bye bye to privacy !

France has also regional climates, local climates and microclimates (a microclimate is a local atmospheric zone where the climate differs from the surrounding area. The term may refer to areas as small as a few square feet (for example a garden bed) or as large as many square miles (for example a valley).

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