Weather in France in May

Is May a good time to go to France?

May in France is warm, hot in the South of France, and the country is still relatively free of tourists. The weather is perfect for exploring the countryside or resting on the coasts, and it is comfortable enough to sit at a city café and watch the world pass by. There are many festivals during this month and travellers will never be short of things to do.

Airfare and accommodation will be more expensive than in low season, but it is cheaper than the summer months. May has many public holidays, and there will be local and visiting holidaymakers roaming through France during this period. If travelling to France on business, then be sure to bear this fact in mind.

Climate in France in May

France in May is warm, especially in the south. Southern areas of France range between 12°C and 22°C (54°F and 73°C), while northern, central and eastern areas range between 9°C and 20°C (49°F and 60°F), with western regions being slightly cooler. Southern France has relatively little rainfall, from 40mm to 60mm (1.6in to 2.4in), but in the cities of Bordeaux, Marseille, Biarritz, Tarbes, Grenoble and Lyon rainfall can exceed well over 80mm (3.1in) during this month. Northern, eastern and central France has more rainfall than the South of France, ranging from 60mm to 80mm (2.4in to 3.1in) and in recent years there has been severe flooding in the south, so please be cautious of any weather warnings.

What’s on in France in May

May is full of events and festivals, as well as two major sporting events, and things are heating up in France as summer draws closer. One of the more famous festivals during May is the Cannes Film Festival, which will draw international celebrities to the South of France. Roland-Garros French Open Tennis Championships and even if it is one of the early matches, should definitely be on the itinerary for a holiday in France. It is important to book tickets well in advance for the French Open. The Gran Prix de Monaco is another world famous event and is arguably the world’s greatest automobile event.

The Nuits Sonores is an electro festival that is ideal for younger travellers, a five-day event that will feature the best dance music from international artists and is a great start to the summer festival season. There will be a Medieval Festival at Sedan Castle in the North of France where there will be jousting, street performances, food markets and musicians, transporting travellers back to medieval times. The Pentecost Feria in Nimes is a bullfighting festival with events for the whole family including concerts, museum exhibitions and free concerts for a festive evening of dancing.

What to pack for a holiday in France in May

May is a month for light clothing and it is generally quite warm. Pack some T-shirts and shorts, as well as some jeans, trousers and long sleeved shirts for the evenings, a warm jersey and a coat, as well as skirts and dresses. Pack some open toe shoes, sandals and trainers for footwear when down south and closed toe shoes and trainers will be perfect for cooler areas. There will be warm temperatures in the South of France so be sure to add a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen when travelling to the south coast.

There will be cooler days, and an odd cold evening, so pack a warm jersey or a few extra layers, and always remember that some days will have all four seasons in them, so keep raincoats and umbrellas close by. Some events and restaurants require formal attire, so pack something smart for a special night out or when attending an exclusive event. Spring in France is a trekkers dream, so pack sturdy walking shoes or boots, and a few extra layers when travelling in colder elevated areas and alpine regions.