France in May - Weather, What to Pack, What to See

Glorious Spring Weather, Cannes Film Festival and a Wealth of Events

Cannes
••• Palais des Festivals during Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France. Francois Durand/Getty Images

May is a wonderful month to visit France, and along with September, is one of the most popular times. The weather is warm, but still mild and comfortable and the country looks gorgeous. While there are crowds in the more popular resorts, they aren't at their summertime height. There are many events, festivals and activities to keep visitors busy, and in particular the Cannes Film Festival that attracts celebrities and commoners from around the globe.

  • Check out the Calendar of Special Events and Festivals in May in France 2016.

Weather

In May the weather is generally mild, though there can still be spring showers and chilly evenings. But you can mainly count on wonderful blue skies, and warm temperatures. According to where you are in France, there are variations in climate, so here are the weather averages for some major cities:

  • Paris:
    Temperature ranges from 10 degrees C (50 degrees F) to 18 degrees C (64 degrees F
    Average temperature is 14 degrees C (57.2 degrees F)
    Average number of days with some rain is 12
  • Bordeaux:
    Average temperature ranges from 10 degrees C (50 degrees F) to 19 degrees C (66 degrees F)
    Average temperatures is 15 degrees C (59 degrees F)
    Average number of days with some rain is 13
  • Lyon:
    Temperature ranges from 9 degrees C (48 degrees F) to 20 degrees C (68 degrees F)
    Average temperature is 15 degrees C (59 degrees F)
    Average number of days with some rain is 13
  • Nice:
    Average temperature ranges from 13 degrees C (55 F) to 20 degrees C (68 degrees F)
    Average temperature is 17 degrees C (63 degrees F)
    Average number of days with some rain is 8
  • Strasbourg:
    Average temperature ranges from 8 degrees C (46 degrees F) to 20 degrees C (68 degrees F)
    Average temperature is 14 degrees C (57 degrees F)
    Average number of days with some rain is 13

What to pack
It can be challenging to pack for France, particularly if you are travelling around and visiting different cities. You will need a variety of spring clothing and also layers in case the evening weather is cold. Be prepared also for the occasional hot day of walking. You will probably find some rain and wind, especially in Paris. Your packing list should include:

  • A warm jacket for the evenings
  • Sweaters or cardigans
  • Good walking shoes
  • Sturdy umbrella that can resist the wind.

Find out more on Packing Tips

Why visit France in May

  • The weather is beautiful and Spring is in full spate
  • There are festivals and events throughout France as the season gets under way
  • The countryside look gorgeous
  • The tourist season is officially starting, with expanded hours at tourist attractions

Why not to visit France in May

  • Rates are beginning to climb on airfares and accommodation
  • Crowds are starting to pick up, and lines get longer

Top Events and Festivals in France in May

Major Events and Festivals in France in May 2016

There are many major events in May. Some happen each year; others are one offs,  like the great Normandy Impressionist Festival, this year featuring Impressionist Portraits which is a relatively unknown aspect of the great 19th-century art movement.

 

Also, 2016 sees the 950th celebration of the Battle of Hastings and 1066 when William the Conqueror soundly beat the English and established stable, Norman rule over England. While the major events will take place in the summer, April sees the start of them.

More about William the Conqueror

Visit the Sites of William the Conqueror and 1066

Normandy and William the Conqueror in Medieval France

The Castle of William the Conqueror at Falaise

The Castle of William the Conqueror at Falaise

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