February in France: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

Pic du Midi de Bigorre Observatory

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February in France can be whatever you choose it to be. In the Pyrenees and the Alps, the slopes beckon as this is the peak of the ski season. If you would like something different, check out any of the various and exciting winter sports and activities in the ski resorts, which are also putting on events by February, with everything from races to music festivals.

It may be cold in the north but it’s pleasant on the Mediterranean. This is the bargain time to fly to France, with deals on airfares, hotels, and other packages. Don't forget that the French government-regulated sales are still on. And of course, the fabulous Carnival or Mardi Gras celebrations begin.

Finally, February is all about celebrating love, so you may want to visit the village of St. Valentin in Indre, or spend time in Paris, the most romantic city in the world.

France Weather in February

February is the dead of winter in France, which generally means cold temperatures, rain, and sometimes snow. However, the weather varies from region to region: A snowy day in Paris might easily be a warm, sunny day in Nice. Wherever you go in France, you should assume that the weather will consist of crisp but comfortable days and chilly nights, with average temperatures ranging from cold to mild.

  • Paris: 35 F (3 C) / 46 F (8 C)
  • Bordeaux: 52 F (11 C) / 38 F (3 C)
  • Lyon: 38 F (3 C) / 54 F (12 C)
  • Nice: 47 F (8 C) / 51 F (11 C)
  • Strasbourg: 30 F (minus 1 C) / 42 F (6 C)

Most areas see their share of rain, with Paris and Bordeaux averaging 14 days of rain, Strasbourg 13, and Lyon and Nice six days apiece. Snow is not as common in February, as Strasbourg sees six days of snow, Paris four, and Lyon and Bordeaux one each. Nice and much of southern France don't receive any snow.

What to Pack

The weather in France in February can vary according to which region you are in, but as a general rule, it will be cold. You might get rainstorms and certainly snow, so include the following in your packing list no matter where you visit: 

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

February Events in France

February in France isn't full of holidays or large events, but it is a great season for both indoor and outdoor activities. 

  • Winter sales (les soldes) offer wonderful bargains, with savings of up to 70 percent. They typically run from the beginning or middle of January through early to mid-February throughout France, depending on which region.
  • The ski season in France can be a great experience. There are over 250 resorts, many sets in stunning landscapes, and plenty of other winter sports to consider. The apres-ski (activities after hitting the slopes) are lovely, and the resorts have upped their game with top ski lifts, special passes, and more. Plus, many of them hold spectacular events throughout the season.
  • Valentine's Day is celebrated on February 14. The French are as keen on romance as the next nation, but apart from having "the language of love," they have an advantage, St. Valentin. It may be small, but the "Village of Love" is pretty popular, with a Lover's Garden and a three-day flower-filled festival for Valentine's Day.
  • 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, featuring vendors, fireworks, and numerous colorful floats from which approximately 100,000 flowers are thrown into the crowd.

February Travel Trips

  • There are few crowds and no long waits for tourist attractions in February and restaurants are full of locals. Traveling during this quiet time means you can see the countryside, the cities, the cathedrals, and palaces without fighting the masses.
  • Prices are lower for both airfares and hotels during February, so keep an eye out for the best deals.
  • The weather can be uncomfortably cold, and some attractions could have restricted hours, or even be closed, especially in smaller towns and villages, it is best to confirm details before heading out.
  • France's unpredictable weather could cause travel delays by air, rail, or car, so plan accordingly.
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