France in May: Great Weather and Abundant Festivities

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With summer just around the corner, a trip to France in May offers a mild weather with a few rain showers here and there. The mercury continues to rise as spring comes to a close, while tourists slowly trickle into popular sites and attractions. The sea may still be too cold to swim in, but now is an excellent time to enjoy the pleasant weather without contending with crowds. Take part in a plethora of outdoorsy activities while in the country during this time of year. Spy on celebrities in Cannes, be part of Grand Palais Éphémère’s Taste of Paris food festival, or explore the mountain villages of Bastia.

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France Weather in May

View through stone window, famous tourist destination Cote d Azur, France
Saint Tropez village church tower and old rooftops will take you back in time in France

May is when you can hear spring’s last hurrah in France. The weather is relatively mild throughout the country, with a few rain showers and colder evenings. The amount of precipitation, however, varies. Expect Paris to be rainier than destinations on the southern coast. Northeastern parts of the country see temperatures ranging from 8℃ to 14℃, while it hovers between 10℃ to 19℃ along France’s Atlantic coast. Southern France, which is also the warmest, experiences temperatures ranging from 12℃ to 20℃. In other words, this is the perfect time for sightseeing and other outdoorsy activities.

For a seasonal overview, see our article on the best time to visit France.

Weather in France in May - Rainfall and Temperatures

AprMayJun
Avg Daily (°C)162023
Avg Nightly (°C)71114
Avg Daily (°F)616874
Avg Nightly (°F)455258
Avg Rainfall (mm)252624

Why Visit France in May

Chateau de Baloigne in Rhone Alpes in France
Surrounded by woodlands of pine trees with the river running below, the chateau is the best spot for a relaxed holiday
The view of the natural lake and landscapes of the French Pyrenees
The French Pyrenees in is famous for its landscapes full of natural life and a great destination for campers, mountaineers, and hikers in summer and for skiers during the winter, France

 May is the last month of France’s shoulder season. This is also your last chance to make the most of fewer crowds and cheaper rates before the influx of tourists in June puts a damper on your travel plans! With relatively milder weather and only a few rainy days, this is one of the best times to discover all that the country has to offer.

Hiking, boating, and sightseeing are some of the most popular activities during this month. The sea may still be cold (around 18℃ on average) to swim in, but the waters get a bit warmer during the month’s tail end. Here is why you should visit France in May.

  • Great weather for sightseeing: A warm weather along with a clear blue sky and less precipitation means that you can tick off the museums and monuments of Arles before going on a wine tour in the nearby Avignon or the Rhone Valley. Call it an end to your trip after having explored Mont Ventoux on foot.
  • Fewer crowds: France in May is still relatively peaceful, so you can add popular destinations to your itinerary without having to jostle with crowds. You can have the stunning Verdon Gorge to yourself or go white-water rafting along the Verdon River!
  • Shoulder-season prices: Take advantage of deals and discounts on airfare, hotels, and establishments before the peak season arrives. However, be aware of nationwide closures caused by the month’s numerous holidays.
  • An array of festivals: From Nimes’ Great Roman Games to the Cannes International Film Festival and the French Motorcycle Grand Prix, you will find plenty of reasons to celebrate when you are on a trip to the country in May!

Where to go and what to do

Horizontal view of the Pontusval lighthouse and bay in Brittany, France
Take a calming stroll on the beaches of Brittany, France

With spring adding colors to the country’s attractions, you will not run out of things to do in France during May. Paris is still in its high season during this month. If you can contend with crowds, go on a gastronomic journey in Grand Palais, which organizes the Taste of Paris Festival.

Head to Cannes and spy on celebrities during the Cannes Film Festival. Then amble around Normandy’s beaches during the D-Day Festival. Culture vultures can go on a museum-hopping spree on the third of May when most of the region’s museums celebrate Nuit des Musees by offering free entrance tickets.

Gaze at the palatial homes of the Loire Valley, or go wine-tasting in Bordeaux. Swing by the beaches in Normandy while the crowds have not piled in yet or discover Provence’s charming Mediterranean countryside instead.

Beaches are wonderful for strolling around this time of year, so consider hiking along Corsica’s coastline or exploring Nice’s emblematic Promenade des Anglais. Find out how many days to spend in France to fix your perfect tour duration.

What to bring

Paris during spring in France
Spring in France, with the green landscape and flowers in full bloom, is a sight to behold
Traditional buildings in the old town on Lille, Frence
Explore the cozy and traditional architecture in Lille, France

 Despite being reasonably mild in the spring, France in May is damp and chilly, with nights becoming considerably chillier. Layer your clothes and bring an umbrella to protect yourself from the cold and rain, and wear comfortable shoes that you can walk in for hours, especially when touring around cities.

May in France sees temperatures soaring as summer prepares to make its grand entrance, but expect a few showers along with chilly evenings on occasions. As the last month of the shoulder season, travelers can take advantage of lower fares and relatively fewer crowds.

The month is filled with festivals, with one taking place almost every week. While this is a good reason to visit, be prepared for banks and establishments closing for several days as this may put a damper on your plans. Several destinations, like Paris and the French Riviera, are in their high season during this month, so beat the crowds by booking in advance. It is no lie to say that a vacation to France in May is about as good as it gets! Fine food, excellent weather, and a long list of attractions mean that May in France is suitable for travelers of all tastes. Connect with our travel experts in the country for a customized tour to France.

You might also want to check out our tours to France in May.

Other articles: 
France in April
France in June

Published by David Lee, updated on November 2, 2023

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