A French summer sure does sound dreamy. If the terms bring about thoughts of green fields, sunny cobbled streets, pleasant cafes, and colourful countryside, you might just be on the right track. As far as the weather is concerned, the summer season, and in particular, the month of May, is perhaps one of the best times to visit the beautiful paradise that is France. However, there are a few showers scattered here and there and that’s why, May is part of the “shoulder season” to visit France.
So should you visit France in May? What should you expect? We’re answering all these questions (and more) in this article.
Let’s begin by understanding how the French weather behaves during the month of May.
France Weather In May
May is associated with mild temperatures and pleasant days in France. While you can still expect a few scattered spring showers, if planned well, it is relatively easy to stay dry in France in May.
With that said, you can also expect nighttime to be considerably chilly. In fact, even in May, many may find the sea and ocean waters too cold for a dip. In Paris, the temperature varies between 14-degree celsius and 20-degree celsius. While South France has somewhat the same kind of weather, things are a bit on the chilly side of the spectrum in the North Eastern region of France.
Unlike the temperature, the chances of rainfall vary dramatically among different cities in France. Cities like Paris receive the maximum amount of rainfall while cities on the Southern coast, like Nice, receive little to no rainfall.
While this may mean that you can’t enjoy a beach break during your trip to France, there are still plenty of things to see and do that make the country worth visiting in May.
Reasons To Visit France In May
As mentioned earlier, May is considered the “shoulder season” for tourism in France. It is the last month before the tourist industry experiences a sharp spike in the number of tourists coming to the city as the peak season starts.
This means, if you plan well enough, you can enjoy some serious savings on flight and accommodation costs. Like most destinations, many hotels and hostels in France have a separate tariff list for the shoulder seasons and many offer accommodation at 50% of what they would charge during peak season.
There is, however, a small catch. In France, the month of May is littered with public holidays and bank holidays which may affect the opening hours of tourist spots and even shopping and nightlife areas.
With that said, it is possible to avoid these days with a little bit of planning.
France In May: 5 Places To Visit
France is much more than festivals during springtime. The blooming cherry blossoms, pleasant weather, and fewer crowds translate into a perfect opportunity to explore the rich towns of France.
A little-known city situated close to Luxembourg, Metz is a hidden treasure. The picturesque little city is home to some magnificent castles, an expansive countryside, and celebrates several merry local festivals with great enthusiasm. The city is also home to many museums rich with nifty details about the long and interesting history of France.
If you are a history buff, do make it a point to visit the city of Metz, regardless of the month you choose for your visit.
The city of Paris needs no introduction. In fact, there’s a good chance that you had planned to visit France before ever reading this article!
May is the perfect time to visit France. The longer days give you plenty of time to explore the French capital and the presence of fewer crowds makes the exploration delightful.
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3. Loire Valley
Another place that is perfect for the history buffs, Loire Valley is home to grand châteaux, palatial homes, and a rich history, set in a picturesque valley rich with postcard-worthy views in every direction.
Most castles and châteaux are closed down during the winter months and have just opened in May. In June, these are packed to the brim with tourists, since Loire Valley is just a day trip away from Paris.
4. Mont Saint-Michel
One of the most recognizable structures in all of Europe, Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy is a relic of French history. Dating back several centuries, the castle has survived two World Wars, the rise and fall of dynasties, and is a must visit if you are in France, regardless of the season or the ongoing month.
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Besides history, architecture, and opulence, France is known for producing some of the finest wine on the planet. Bordeaux is one of Europe’s biggest wine regions, home to six wine regions that are known as the Bordeaux Wine Routes. Apart from the exquisite collection of vineyards, Bordeaux is also known for its rich architecture and the variety of unique experiences it offers.
France In May: Top 3 Things To Do
Speaking of experiences, France is home to a collection of many remarkable experiences that visitors can enjoy throughout the year. Here are our top picks for the month of May:
1. Plan A Museum Crawl At Nuit des Musées
On the third Saturday of May, the museums of over 30 countries in Europe open their doors for everyone, free of charge. A relatively young festival, the Nuit des Musees was started just 10 years ago, and is an absolute delight for those fascinated by history.
Most museums in France, especially in Paris, organise special events and concerts within their premises, to engage the visitors.
Where: All over France
When: 16th May 2020
2. Attend The D-Day Festival
The celebration of the successful landing of Allied Forces on the Normandy beaches during World War 2, D-Day is remembered by holding festivities across Normandy. Another young festival, the D-Day Festival was first celebrated in 2007.
The festival involves special history walks through the town, parades, street food stalls, and concerts. The festival starts on 30 May and goes on for two weeks, to come to an end on June 14th.
3. Enjoy The Roland Garros French Open
One for the lovers of tennis, the French Open is an extremely popular event in the country. For this reason, getting the passes to the annual event becomes next to impossible. However, it still is a great idea to enjoy the tournament from the comfort of a French sports bar, in the company of locals that appreciate the sport just as much as you do.
France In May: Top 4 Events
Apart from the cheap flight and hotel prices, another reason to visit France in May is the festivals it hosts during the month. Here’s a list of our top picks:
1. Great Roman Games
Witness the biggest re-enactment of the most spectacular medieval history event at a real life arena. Arènes de Nîmes is famed as the best preserved Roman Era arena on the planet. Attracting participation from over 500 re-enactors, the event is a true spectacle and gives visitors a chance to peek through the rich history of Rome.
When: 1,2, and 3 May
Where: Arènes de Nîmes, Nîmes
2. Cannes International Film Festival
The most famed film festival in the World, the Cannes International Film Festival is perhaps the most popular French attraction in the month of May. Attracting the top filmmakers, artists, along with the featured screenings of the most anticipated films of the year, Cannes International Film Festival is an absolute delight for lovers of cinema.
When: 12-23 May
3. French Motorcycle Grand Prix
One of the most celebrated motorcycle grand prix, the French Motorcycle Grand Prix is the perfect way to spend a weekend in France for petrolheads. Enjoy some heart-stopping high-octane action at the legendary Le Mans circuit and if you don’t like racing, there are plenty of concerts, meet-ups, and even a shopping village available at the venue.
When: 15, 16, and 17 May
Where: Circuit de la Sarthe(Le Mans Circuit), Le Mans, Sarthe
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4. Monaco Grand Prix
Regarded as the slowest and most difficult racing circuit, the Monaco circuit is an absolute legend in the F1 landscape. Witness history being made as the world’s best F1 racers compete to cover the narrow circuit, flying by at speeds close to 300km/h. If you are visiting France in late May, this exhilarating experience must find a spot on your itinerary.
When: 21-24 May
France in May is one of the best times to visit. The month is your best bet to avoid the hard cold weather of the French summer, the scorching heat of June and July, along with the swarms of tourists that start pouring into the country in June. Be that as it may, a visit to France calls for diligent planning. Plan your next trip to France with us and get an itinerary customized according to your preferences.
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Frequently Asked Questions About France In May
A. The peak tourism season in France starts in the month of June. The country sees a steady stream of tourists coming to explore the country till the latter part of October. Even the winter season is quite popular, in the case of some French cities, like France. However, many tourist spots are closed for visitors during the winter season.
A. Yes, most parts of France receive considerable amounts of rain during the month of May. With that said, the duration, intensite, and frequency of the showers can vary dramatically among cities.
A. In most cases, the film festival is an invite-only event and there are no passes sold for the event. The only way to get inside the film festival is with the help of celebrity. All actors and filmmakers that attend the event are given a definitive amount of passes and are penalised if they don’t use all of them. If you’re lucky, you may convince one of these celebrities to share their pass with you at the entrance of the Palais des Festivals.
A. Mostly, no. Normandy weather is known to be unpredictable, especially near Mount Saint-Michel. However, the weather has little to no influence over your experience of the age old castle.
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