France in February: Carnivals and Shopping


A trip to France in February is an amazing opportunity to explore this romantic country with far fewer tourists. Early in the month, travelers tend to flock to the east, where the snow-covered Alps connect France with Italy and Switzerland. There are also many festivals, exhibitions and other special events taking place around the country in February, such as the spectacular Nice Carnival. Whether you prefer skiing or sightseeing, France is always full of excitement in February.

France Weather in February

You can visit statue of David at Promenade du Paillon in France in February
The beautiful city of Nice is famous for its fantastic climate and architecture.

France in February has an average daily temperature of 8°C (46.4°F) and an average nightly temperature of 3°C (37.4°F). This means you probably can’t go for a swim in the Mediterranean, but you can still enjoy walking along the famous promenades of Nice or Cannes. In the east of France, where the Alp mountains line the country, the average temperature is much lower at -9.6°C (14.7°F), meaning there is daily fresh snowfall on the ski slopes.

For the seasonal overview, read our travel article on the best time to visit France.

Weather in France in February - Rainfall and Temperatures

Avg Daily (°C)781216202325252116118
Avg Nightly (°C)335711141616131063
Avg Daily (°F)44.646.453.660.86873.4777769.860.851.846.4
Avg Nightly (°F)37.437.44144.651.857.260.860.855.45042.837.4
Avg Rainfall (mm)182224252624222116252226

Why Visit France in February

People walk on Rue Sainte Catherine while touring France.
Rue Sainte-Catherine in Bordeaux is known as the longest shopping street in Europe.
Dancing ballerina float looking back at hundreds of people in Nice Carnival
The first mention of the Nice Carnival dates back to 1294.

Although February is one of France’s colder months, there are still many events and attractions around the country for travelers to enjoy. Here are the best reasons to visit France in February:

  • Cheaper transport and lodging: France is filled to the brim with sun-seeking tourists in the summer months. In February, however, most flights are significantly cheaper, and — unless you plan on staying at a ski resort in the mountain towns — the grand hotels often offer rooms at a fraction of their summer prices.
  • Winter sports: The snow-capped Alps call out to any ski or snowboard enthusiast. Staying in ski resorts such as Courchevel 1850 is a great way to maximize your time on the slopes.
  • Winter sales: Across France, almost all shops have regulated four-week periods where products go on sale. In the winter, the sales start in the middle of January and continue through the first half of February. Be sure to take advantage of the low prices in Paris’s fashion district, or head to Bordeaux where you’ll find Europe’s longest pedestrian-only shopping street, Rue Sainte-Catherine.
  • Nice Carnival: Celebrate with Nice, the glamorous town on the French Riviera, as people flood the streets to participate in the annual carnival. Originally created to honor visiting nobility, the town has since continued the Nice Carnival as an excuse to dress up, listen to live music and have a great time.

Where to go and what to do

A skier flies through the air on the ski slopes in the Chamonix range
The Chamonix range is beautifully blanketed in snow which is perfect for skiers.

One of the best places to visit in France in February is Paris itself. The city is still filled with charming cafes, historic art and fascinating museums, but the streets are emptier without the thousands of tourists who visit Paris for the summer. If you’re traveling to France for a ski holiday, you can find ski resorts somewhere around Grenoble or Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, the closest commune to the highest peak in the Alps. For those looking for more fantastic French festivals, the town of Dunkirk also celebrates a Carnival in February. The town of Granville throws its very own Mardi Gras. Wine lovers are welcome year-round in the sunny region of Bordeaux, but in February, Paris hosts an international wine exposition ‘Wine Paris’.

Check out our travel guide for more ideas on things to do in France and find out for yourself how long to stay in France.

What to bring

Couple having a glass of wine in front of the Eiffel tower.
You can participate in the annual wine exposition 'Wine Paris' if you visit France in February.

For those hoping to hit the slopes, most ski equipment can be rented from winter sports shops. However, you must bring your own tinted sunglasses to protect your eyes from snow blindness while skiing, even on cloudy days. Across the rest of France, the weather will be warmer, but it is still February so bring a thick jacket when exploring the beautiful nation.

France is an amazing country packed full of good food, exciting events and stunning scenery. With cheaper flights and accommodation and far fewer tourists, France in February gives you a chance to appreciate the sights without the bustle of the summer visitors. And don't forget to take advantage of the nation’s great winter sales. To plan your epic adventure, chat with our location specialists for a customized trip to France.

Alternatively, browse through our list of France holidays in February for a quick dose of inspiration.

More information

Create your custom-made trip to France

Traveling to France? Chat with a local travel specialist in France who can help organize your trip.

  • Rosa Lara
    Rosa Lara
    Travel Expert in Portugal & Spain
  • Veronica Maggi
    Veronica Maggi
    Travel Expert in Italy & Switzerland
  • Ludovica Natalini
    Ludovica Natalini
    Travel Expert in Ireland & Italy
Our travel experts are recommended by
  • BBC
  • Independent
  • Herald Sun
0 Comments We welcome your questions or comments to this article. Our travel experts will respond within 48 hours.
Travel Expert in Portugal & Spain
Rosa Lara Travel Expert in Portugal & Spain
5.0 - Excellent
Travel Expert in Italy & Switzerland
Veronica Maggi Travel Expert in Italy & Switzerland
4.2 - Very Good
  1. Add Comment

Sign-in to unlock instant trip discounts. Create wish lists and save up to USD 1,500.

More login options here.