Paris and France in February: What to Pack, See and Do

Bargain Travel Deals, Top Skiing and Carnival Time

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The Observatory at the top of the Pic du Midi at Bigorre. Atout France/R-Cast

February in France can be whatever you choose it to be. In the Pyrennees and the Alps, the slopes beckon as this is the peak of the ski season. If you want something different, check out any of the various different and exciting winter sports and activities in the resorts. The ski resorts are also now putting on festivals and events; everything from races for all to music festivals.

It may be cold in the north, but it’s pleasant on the Mediterranean.

This is bargain time to fly to France, with airfares, hotel and package deals all on offer. Don't forget that the French government-regulated sales are still on. And of course the fabulous Carnival or Mardi Gras celebrations begin, many of them around the same dates.

Finally, February is synomymous with romance, so maybe visit St. Valentin in Indres, or spend the time in the most romantic city in the world -- Paris. See some suggestions for the romantic-minded below.

Weather

The weather varies from region to region, but wherever you go reckon that it will include crisp but comfortable days and chilly nights. Here are weather averages for some major cities:

  • Paris:
    Average temperature ranges from 3 degrees C (35.6 degrees F) to 8 degrees C (46.4 degrees F)
    Average number of wet days is 14
    Average number of days with snow is 4
  • Bordeaux:
    Average temperature ranges from 11 degrees C (52 degrees F) to 3 C (38 degrees F)
    Average number of wet days is 14
    Average number of days with snow is 1
  • Lyon:
    Average temperature ranges from 3 degrees C (38 degrees F) to 12 degrees C (54 degrees F)
    Average number of wet days is 6
    Average number of days with snow is 1
  • Nice:
    Average temperature ranges from 8 degrees C (47 degrees F0 to 11 degrees C (51 degrees F)
    Average number of wet days is 6
    Average number of days with snowfall is zero
  • Strasbourg:
    Average temperatures range from -1 degree C (30 degrees F) to 6 degrees C (42 degrees F)
    Average number of wet days is 13
    Average number of days with snow is 6

Find out more: Weather in France

What to pack

The weather in France in February can vary according to which region you are in, but take it as a general rule that it will be cold. You might get rainstorms and certainly snow. So include the following in your packing list:

  • A good winter coat
  • A warm jacket for daytime
  • Sweaters or cardigans (layers are best)
  • Scarf, hat and gloves
  • Good walking shoes.
  • Sturdy umbrella that can resist the wind

Find out more on Packing Tips

Why visit France in February

  • The government-sponsored winter sales (les soldes) are on (see details below)
  • The skiing season is at its height (see details below)
  • There are few crowds and no long waits for tourist attractions
  • The restaurants are full of locals
  • You see the countryside, the cities, the cathedrals and palaces without being obscured by trees
  • Prices are lower for both travel (airfares) and for hotels and you can get a good deal on flights
  • It’s the month of Nice’s Carnaval, which predate New Orleans’ Mardi Gras (see below). And there are many festivals throughout the south of France as the weather warms up

    Why not to visit France in February

    • The weather can be uncomfortably cold
    • Some attractions could have restricted hours, or even be closed, especially in smaller towns and villages
    • Weather could cause travel delays by air, rail or car

    Major February Attractions

    The ski season
    Skiing in France is a great experience. There are wonderful resorts set in stunning landscapes; there are plenty of other winter sports to consider; the apres-ski life is great, and the resorts have upped their game with top ski lifts, special passes and more. And many of them hold spectacular events throughout the season.

    More on Skiing in France

    Shopping in France

    The winter sales (les soldes) offer wonderful bargains, with savings of up to 70%. They run from mid January to mid February throughout France with a few exceptions.

    Sales in Meurthe-et-Moselle, Meuse, Moselle, Vosges, Landes and Pyrénées-Atlantiques run a week or so earlier.
    In Paris, make a note of Soldes By Paris!

    More on Shopping in France

    St. Valentine's Day

    The French are as keen on romance as the next nation, but they have an advantage (apart from their language being 'the language of love'). They have the village of St. Valentin. It may be small, but it's pretty popular.

    Other Romantic Suggestions

    Carnival in France

    The major French carnivals begin in February and continue throughout the season. Of all the great Mardi Gras celebrations, Nice in the south of France puts on the most spectacular. But don't miss the others.

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