The French traditionally take their summer holidays from July 14 (Bastille Day) to mid-August, so you may find some shops closed for the first half of the month as residents of northern France migrate south, where the coastal beach cities experience high volumes of tourists and citizens alike soaking up the summer sun.
August is still a high festival season in France, which celebrates food, music (especially jazz), street theater, arts, and films all month long. There’s a particular emphasis on local festivals as the French go back to their roots and take holiday houses in many small villages during the earlier part of the month.
Many of the cities like Chartres and Amiens put on spectacular light shows at night while the chateau at Blois presents a dramatic living history lesson after dark when the weather stays warm enough to stay out late. Additionally, all museums and attractions are open with extended summertime hours throughout the month, and it's one of the best times to experience outdoor dining on sidewalks and terraces across the country.
August Weather in France
The weather in France is usually glorious throughout the month of August, but it can be stormy in some regions. Generally, you can expect blue skies and warm temperatures, even at night, but according to where you are in France, there are variations in climate. Average highs across the country reach upwards of 80 degrees Fahrenheit on the hottest days and average lows reach down to 55 degrees Fahrenheit on the coolest nights.
In Paris and the north of France, August can be unpredictable. It can be stormy so expect heavy showers at any time, but it can also be very hot. Meanwhile, the South of France may be hot and humid, featuring several heat waves this month with temperatures up to the high 90s. Depending on which city you visit, you will likely experience drastically different weather.
- Paris: Average highs of 75 F, average lows of 59 F, and 13 days of rain
- Bordeaux: Average highs of 79 F, average lows of 57 F, and 11 days of rain
- Lyon: Average highs of 79 F, average lows of 56 F, and 11 days of rain
- Nice: Average highs of 81 F, average lows of 64 F, and 7 days of rain
- Strasbourg: Average highs of 75 F, average lows of 55 F, and 14 days of rain
What to Pack
France is a large country so what you pack depends on where you are going. In the hot, dry South of France, you'll want light cotton clothes, a light windbreaker, a hat or visor, good sunscreen, a bathing suit, good walking shoes, and open-toe sandals. In the wetter, northern part of France, you may want to bring a raincoat, umbrella, and waterproof shoes and maybe even a light jacket in case you get chilly at night.
August Events in France
From rich cultural celebrations to lively music festivals, there's no shortage of great ongoing and annual events coming to France this August. While many locals flock to the southern beaches of France to cool off, others stay in the city to experience the country's diversity through its variety of special events.
- Jazz a Marciac: This jazz festival takes place over three weeks from July 27 to August 15 in the southwestern village of Marciac and features local and international artists.
- Arelate Festival: The Arles Roman Arena comes alive with gladiators, chariots, and Roman games for a celebration of Medieval culture from August 18 to 26.
- Chaumont-sur-Loire International Garden Festival: France's answer to the Chelsea Flower Show in London takes place in the Loire Valley from April through November each year.
- Pyrotechnic Art Festival: A firework show presented by a different country each year in the Bay of Cannes. France will present "Alpha Pyro" on Tuesday, August 7, while Finland will present "Joho Pyro" on Wednesday, August 15, and the Phillippines will present "Dragon Firework" on Friday, August 24.
- World Cultures Festival: An international folk dance and music festival in Montoire-sur-le-Loir on August 9 to 15.
August Travel Tips
- If you're not a fan of big crowds, avoid the South of France in the first half of the month and stay away from the cities during big celebrations like the Pyrotechnic Art Festival.
- Book accommodations, restaurant reservations, concert and show tickets, and airfare well in advance to avoid oversold venues and overpriced travel.
- Rooms sell out fast in the South of France, especially in the cities, but you may have some luck in northern France or some smaller coastal towns. Or you could always camp out at one of the public campsites for a small fee.
- While you may not need to book your train tickets in advance (if you plan on traveling between north and south France), buying ahead can save you money on your travel costs.