July in France is festival time. Open-air dining and street activity is bustling. Parks and gardens are glorious with beautiful colors and scents. Depending on where you are in France, your weather in the major cities can fluctuate wildly from one area to the next.
The weather in France is usually lovely in July though it can get very hot, climb to 90 F, and heatwaves can occur. So make sure you reserve a hotel room with air conditioning. Paris follows no predictable pattern; it can be wonderful outdoor weather, or it can rain quite heavily.
The south of France and the middle of the country can get very hot in July. Paris and the northern part of the country may get a lot of rain, meanwhile Nice along the French Riviera averages about two days of rain in July.
Until the end of July, there is the chance of the mistral, a dry wind that keeps the weather in Provence unusually sunny but can also spread forest fires.
What to Pack
Since the weather can be unpredictable, it makes sense to be prepared. Either that or plan to do a lot of clothes shopping, which might not be a bad idea either since July has some of the best shopping around with vendors spilling out into the streets.
Since it is summer, you can expect to wear light, cotton clothes, t-shirts, shorts, and sandals. Although, if you are planning to visit the cities and towns, you may want to bring comfortable walking shoes. Pack sunglasses, a sun visor or hat, and sunscreen for the sunny days. If you plan on hitting the beach, bring your bathing suit. You may want to bring a light jacket, long pants, and closed-toe shoes for the cooler nights. Pack an umbrella, especially if you will be in Paris, which has a high chance of rain than other parts of the country in July.
Travel in July: Pros and Cons
France celebrates everything from food to music and boasts that it has some of the best, world-class jazz festivals in July. You'll also discover wonderful street theater, arts and crafts, and top classical and popular music. As well, you can follow the world's most famous cycle race, the Tour de France (this is both a pro and a con, since if you plan to drive around France, there may be street closings).
All museums and attractions are open. And, in the summer, most attractions extend summertime hours with some late night openings.
Shopping gets better in July. The markets, particularly in the south of France, fill the streets with tempting stalls. Massive sales are taking place the entire month of July. It's the season of the official, government regulated sales in France. Check out the shops with "Soldes" signs in the windows. And if you're in the countryside, remember those famous day-long sales called vides greniers (emptying the attic). If there's one near you try to go; you get great bargains and a fun day out.
Outdoor dining is at its peak. July is the best month for pavement and terrace dining. Outdoor cafes are doing a brisk business.
As it is a popular time, you may experience higher fares for air and lodging. As well, you might get caught up in the crowds of visitors who are on vacation from the rest of Europe, particularly in popular venues like the Cote d’Azur and the Loire Valley
Although the weather usually cooperates, a heat wave can occur in July, so it is another con, although, if you planning a trip to the south of France, the waters of the Mediterranean will keep you cool.
Festivals and Event Highlights
- Festival d’Avignon is an annual arts festival held in Avignon, France, every July in the courtyard of the Palais des Papes since 1947. It is the oldest extant festival in France.
- Bastille Day is usually celebrated with firework displays all over France. Bastille Day in Paris usually includes a military parade on the Champs-Elysées, a dance party, and much more.
- Chaumont-sur-Loire International Garden Festival in the Loire Valley is France's answer to the Chelsea Flower Show in London.