Climate in France - French Weather Conditions
France is a very large landmass with varying terrain and it is therefore possible to see a number of different climates across the country. In France there are four types of climate, each one linked to one of the assorted mountainous, coastal or inland areas.
1. Mediterranean climate - the south coast of France, which stretches from the border with Spain in the west along to Monaco and the border with Italy in the east, is known as the Mediterranean coast and we associate it with long, hot summers and mild winters.
2. Oceanic climate - the north coast of France, stretching from Dunkerque in the east all the way along the English Channel (la Manche) to the far western point of Brittany, and also the west coast, known as the Atlantic coast, that extends from Brest in the north to Biarritz in the south, have mild weather all year round.
3. Mountain climate - France's five mountain ranges, the Alps, Vosges, and Jura on the eastern border with Germany, Italy and Switzerland; the Massif Central between the middle of France and the south coast; and the Pyrenees separating France and Spain, all have cool summers and cold winters.
4. Continental climate - much of eastern France is land-locked and accordingly it experiences very hot summers and cold winters like many other continental areas.
As the French coined the phrase "Il pleut des chats et des chiens" (it's raining cats and dogs), we can assume that France, especially Northern France, has wet and changeable weather, like neighbouring England. In fact, much of France's rain falls in Brittany and along the north coast. The west coast can be extremely warm, but there is always the risk of stormy weather, thanks to the Atlantic. The Loire is considered to be the dividing line between the northern climate and the significantly warmer climate in the south.
The weather in France is of particular interest to its large agricultural population, especially those trying to produce another fine vintage of French wine where too many days' rain can ruin a good crop. The French talk about the weather (la météo) as much as the English do, and you can even phone up a recorded weather forecasting line on 08.92.68.08.08 for daily updates.