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Spring in France
France in spring is a wonderful place to be. As the remnants of winter melt away, spring colors add to the streets and the countryside’s beauty.
Spring in France makes its first appearance in March and reaches full bloom in April through May. As a ‘shoulder season,’ spring in France means that even the most popular French regions or tourist attractions are less crowded, and rates are cheaper for airfare, trains, and accommodations.
In France in spring, the weather is decent, if slightly unpredictable, especially in the northeast of France and inland. In these areas, rains continue to determine the weather’s quality, and they could ruin your spring holidays in France.
The Spring season in France is the time to visit the most beautiful gardens in the country, stroll through still deserted beaches, or go green and stretch your legs after a rather harsh winter. And there are more than a few major holidays and festivals to attend for a truly authentic experience.
When is spring in France? The Spring season in France corresponds to March, April, and May.
So what are the best places to visit in France in spring? Here are a few of our favorite destinations for a perfect spring break in France, with something for every kind of traveler. Our list of France spring ideas includes:
- Where to go in France in March /Best Places to Visit in France in March
- Where to go in France in April /Best Places to Visit in France in April
- Where to go in France in May /Best Places to Visit in France in May
Where to Go in France in Spring
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1. Paris (Ile-de-France)
Paris is always a good idea to visit. As spring arrives, locals get excited about flower shows, festivals, street fairs, and outdoor flea markets. The city parks and the Parisian cafés are also great places to be in springtime in France.
Spring in Paris is great for wandering around the city, visiting the top tourist attractions still without the crowds, sailing through the Seine River or the city’s canals, and having casual picnics in the parks. Spring is also a good time for memorable day trips from Paris by train to visit the countryside or explore historical sites in Ile-de-France.
Choose Paris for a spring break in France or as the starting point of a memorable spring holiday in France.
TIP: Paris is one of the best places to visit in France in April! Don’t miss the beautiful cherry blossoms flowering all over Paris.
2. Alsace (Grand Est)
After some sleepy months, Alsace wakes up with spring festivals and colorful outdoor markets full of fresh produce. Spring also marks the arrival of storks in Alsace, and places like Munster celebrate it with a special festival (Le Printemps des Cigognes).
In March, many Alsatian cities and towns celebrate the carnival. The Strasbourg Carnival is the most important, but you will find carnivals also in Colmar, Soultz, Saverne, Rhinau, and more. For something unique, however, head to Rosheim to see their spectacular Venetian Carnival and the town village metamorphosed in San Marco Square!
Spring is the perfect season to explore Strasbourg, the cutest Alsatian villages, and the region’s countryside under the first rays of the sun. Hire a car for an epic Alsace road trip or explore the region on two wheels.
3. Loire Valley (Centre-Val-de-Loire)
Spring in France is a good season to visit the Loire Valley, especially the months of April and May. Summer in the Loire Valley is never too hot, but it is a packed season, especially in the Loire Valley Castles and the surrounding medieval towns.
Remains of the French monarchy, the Loire Valley Castles are among the most visited sites in France. From Cheverny to Château de Chambord via Azay-le-Rideau, they form a real circuit along the Loire River, and they are best explored on a Loire Valley road trip.
If you visit this area for your spring holidays in France, you will enjoy the manicured gardens surrounding the castles in full bloom – we particularly like those of Azay-le-Rideau and Villandry. Some royal towns and cities like Blois or Amboise are wonderful to explore in spring too.
Spring in France is also a good time to explore the Loire Valley on two wheels. La Loire à Vélo is a unique 800km cycle route along the Loire River that attracts over 900,000 tourists every year. Explore part – or the whole circuit – during the spring, and you will find lesser crowds and more accommodation options along the route.
4. Giverny (Normandy)
Monet liked to paint the colors of his garden with the seasons, but spring is undoubtedly the best time of year to visit Giverny and its pink house in Normandy.
This year, Monet’s house will open its doors on 1st April 2023, and it is a great time to immerse yourself in the flourishing nature and the pleasant scent of flowers before the summer crowds arrive.
Admire the Japanese bridge and the famous pond that you can find in some of Monet’s main works. Don’t leave without visiting the rest of Giverny, one of our favorite villages in Normandy.
5. The Calanques of Marseille-Cassis (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur)
If you are wondering where to go to France in spring to enjoy sunny hikes and perhaps the first sea baths of the year, consider the Calanques of Marseille-Cassis. This is one of the best places to visit in May before the summer heat and autumnal rain arrive.
The Calanques National Park is the 10th National Park in France, and it is the only national park in Europe that is at the same time terrestrial, marine, and suburban. This natural area located in Provence, between the communes of Marseille, Cassis, and La Ciotat, offers spectacular Mediterranean landscapes, rich flora, and fauna. It comprises several islands and one of the richest submarine canyons in the world.
Set your base in Marseille or Cassis and enjoy some of the outdoor activities around the Calanques, like hiking, diving, or canoeing. You can also take a catamaran tour with lunch to explore the most secluded beaches in the area.
6. French Riviera (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur)
If you are wondering where to go in France in March, April, or May, the French Riviera is a good option. The French Riviera in spring is magnificent, with temperatures frequently exceeding 20 ° C from May. The summer crowds are not there yet, and everything is (a bit) cheaper, so it’s a great time to explore the most popular places and enjoy the still lonely beaches in a more local atmosphere.
You can set your base in cities like Nice or Cannes and explore other places on the coast or inline on day trips. But a French Riviera road trip is the best way to explore what this wonderful area has to offer.
7. Annecy and its Lake (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)
Annecy is home to a charming medieval town and an alpine lake of glacial origin, renowned for its extremely pure waters. Annecy is beautiful to visit all year round, but it gets too crowded in summer to really enjoy it.
Annecy is one of the best places to visit in France in April and May. With the winter season coming to an end, take the time to stroll the streets of Annecy and the shores of the lake, perhaps with a stop in a traditional restaurant for a hearty fondue or a raclette. During this period, Lake Annecy’s water will be too cold for a dip, but you can explore the lake by bike or on a boat tour.
8. The Marais Poitevin (Pays-de-la-Loire)
The Marais Poitevin is a marsh area of approximately 100,000 Ha in the region of Pays de la Loire in Western France. Its 8,200 km of waterways, beautiful landscape, and natural diversity are ideal for a ‘green’ getaway in France in spring.
This area is one of the best places to visit in France in May. Discover the Marais’ rich fauna made up of carp, pikeperch, otters, nutria, and several species of migratory birds. Explore the wet marshes (nicknamed ‘Green Venice’) on a traditional flat-bottom boat or a kayak, while the dry marshes are perfect for hiking or biking.
The Marais Poitevin is also home to pretty villages, like Coulon or Arçais, and colorful markets.
9. Road Trip in Corsica
The island of Corsica is one of the best places to visit in France in spring, especially in May. Take advantage of the mild weather and the calm before the summer holidays to explore the coast and venture into the island’s interior on a Corsica road trip.
Corsica by car is the only way to reach the best beaches and discover all the must-see attractions of the island and its hidden gems. There are so many wonderful places to see on a road trip around Corsica that you will appreciate the freedom to stop when you want to admire the landscape or visit something that was not on your Corsica bucket list.
And don’t miss tasting the regional food! Polenta, goat cheese, pork cold cuts, and olives, all washed down with Corsica beer.
10. The Arcachon Bassin (Nouvelle-Aquitaine)
If you are wondering where to visit in France in April (late April) and May, consider Arcachon. The Arcachon Basin in Western France is a wonderful area for some relaxing days in France in spring. It is home to many exceptional natural sites, like the Cap Ferret peninsula, the 109 m high Dune of Pilat, the Landes forest, or Île aux Oiseaux, a fantastic ornithological reserve where more than 300 species of birds live.
Explore the Atlantic coast on foot or by bike, admire the picturesque houses so typical of this area, and taste the delicious oysters of Arcachon bay, available in the markets and local restaurants all year round.
From Arcachon, you can also consider day trips to Bordeaux or Saint Emilion for some sightseeing and wine tastings.