Weather in France in January

Is January a good time to go to France?

A winter holiday in France has a number of attractive features aside from the more affordable accommodation and airfare rates during winter. January in France is the coldest month of the year and it is wet throughout the country but, travellers from the eastern cities of the United States or further north in Europe will find France in winter comparatively warm. This is peak, winter sport season and the summer crowds are long gone. Instead of contending with bustling crowds, Paris will feel like a playground and, the galleries and museums will be open for leisurely enjoyment. There are predominantly locals at this time of year, which means authentic French cooking, and a festive local atmosphere.

Aside from the weather, which sometimes causes travel delays, the only downsides of winter in France is that some attractions, hotels, museums and castles are closed for the season. Therefore, it is important to do some planning and check the itinerary to make certain that all items are available.

Climate in France in January

Temperatures in France in January range from 3°C to 11°C (37°F to 52°F), but sometimes fall below freezing (0°C, 32°F), especially in the North. Rainfall ranges from 50mm to 70mm (2in to 2.8in) in most regions and snowfall is common in alpine and northern regions.

The South of France can still be sunny and cool in the winter, but prepare cold temperatures in the rest of the country and heavy showers in certain parts. It is also important to consider that in recent year there has been flooding, especially in southern parts of France, so please be cautious of weather warnings around this time of year.

What’s on in France in January

There are many reasons to travel to France in January, other than for affordable accommodation and airfare. There are a number of winter markets still going in January and grape harvest festivals will be taking place in some wine producing regions and towns, so take full advantage of the winter vintage as well as the local cuisine.

France in January is perfect for shopaholics, as the annual winter sales make for some affordably extravagant Haute Couture purchases. A bit of research will go a long way in securing great travel discounts in winter, but be aware that some hotels and venues will close during January. Finally, New Year’s in Paris is a grand event and any of the cities will be buzzing over the holiday period in January.

What to pack for a holiday in France in January

Layers are important for France in January as the weather is cold during this month, even in the South of France. Pack long sleeved shirts, long skirts and dresses, jerseys, coats, jeans and thermals, along with gloves, scarves and hats. Because of the rain, light clothes will easily become dirty, especially trousers, dresses and skirts, so it is advisable to pack some darker shades for this season. Comfortable walking shoes or boots are essential, for hikers and city-dwellers alike, because it will be wet in most places.

If travelling to the Alps or northern regions of the country it is advisable to pack gloves, scarves, hats and sturdy boots to navigate the cold and sometimes snowy weather. Some events and establishments will require formal attire, so pack something smart for a special occasion or alternatively, leave some space to buy something affordably extravagant at the French winter sales!