The best time to visit the French Riviera is. . .all year! Seriously, it's a beautiful region to visit whether you come in spring, summer, autumn or winter. Naturally your choice of season will determine your choice of activity but you'll always find something to do.
Best Month to Visit the French Riviera
Check the month by month guide below for weather, events, festivities, holidays and general advice.
Average temperature:8°C/ 48°F. It's not beachy but you can count on being able to ski on one of the nearby slopes like Isola2000. Many hotels along the coast take January off and close their doors. Nightlife is slow as many people are allowing their bodies and wallets to recover from the holiday festivities. The liveliest event in the region is the Monaco International Circus Festival in Monaco.
Average temperature: 9°C/49°F. The two big events in February are the Lemon Festival (Fete du Citron) in Menton and the Carnaval of Nice which occur at about the same time. It's a bad time to drive into the centre of either town but hoteliers are happy to open their doors and kick off the tourist season.
Average temperature: 11°C/52°F. Although not yet warm enough to swim, March is a good month for other outdoorsy activities and the ski season is still in full swing. At the end of the month, there's the Paris-Nice bicycle race and the Festin des Cougourdons, a Niçois religious feast marked by traditional folk dances and the display of colourfully decorated gourds.
Average temperature: 12°C/55°F. Beware of the Easter holidays when hotels can fill up (see France National Holidays). Airfares are also steep as a succession of school holidays around France keeps families on the move. One of the most interesting local festivals is the Honey Festival in Mouans-Sartoux the last Sunday of the month.
Average temperature: 16°C/62°F. One of the best months to visit the Cote d'Azur as the weather is guaranteed gorgeous. There are lots of national holidays though, so watch for traffic to and from the coast. And then there's the Cannes Film Festival so forget about staying in Cannes and the Monte Carlo Formula 1 Grand Prix so forget about driving into Monaco. Do try to attend both events though for the glamour and the ambience. For a more down-to-earth experience, drop in on the May Festival (Fete de Mai) that takes place every Sunday throughout the month at the Arenes de Cimiez in Nice.
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Average temperature: 20°C/68°F. The beach season begins. Lifeguards are on duty from the middle of the month, the water is warming up and the sun is at its strongest. The French summer vacation period hasn't yet started so it's still possible to get hotel reservations.
Average temperature: 23°C/74°F. Everything is in full swing on the Cote d'Azur. Musicians from all over the world are serenading visitors throughout the month. Look for the Nice Jazz Festival, the Juan-les-Pins Jazz Festival and the Nuits Musicales du Suquet in Cannes, among other musical events. Plus there's the Bastille Day fireworks (see more on French holidays) and an international festival of fireworks in Monaco.
Average temperature: 23°C/74°F. The French Riviera gets hot and crowded in August but I dare you to find a rainy day. The biggest national holiday in France is the 15 August and after that the visitor population dwindles. By the end of the month you can even find a place to stretch out your towel on the Baie des Anges. The biggest music festival is the throbbing Les Nuits du Sud in Vence. Classical music lovers will go for the Chamber Music Festival of Menton.
Average temperature: 21°C/70°F. The water is still warm and the weather sunny in September. The last week of the month brings yachts to Cannes for the Boat and Yacht Show (Festival Internationale de la Plaisance). One weekend in September is devoted to the Journees du Patrimoine when local and national monuments are all open to the public. It's a great time to discover the history of the French Riviera.
Average temperature: 16°C/62°F. The weather can get changeable in October. Some years there's not one rainy day and some years can be really wet. Come prepared for all weather and plan to check out some wonderful festivals. At the beginning of the month, there's a rural fair in Vence that includes local music and dancing and there's a sailboat race in St-Tropez.
Average temperature: 12°C/54°F. Beaches are depopulated but nightlife is in full flower. In Cannes, there's the International Dance Festival, a prestigious showcase for international dancers. The 19th November is the Monaco National Day with fireworks and celebrations in Monaco.
Average temperature: 10°C/50°F. It's a slow month as everyone is preparing for the Christmas festivities. Many hotels are closed for the holidays if not for the whole month. Around Christmas, each town displays a Crèche and many have Christmas markets.