In April, the mercury continues to rise and though the weather is quite variable depending on where you’re headed you can count on sunny days mixed with rain. If in Paris, expect a range between 45-61°F (7-16°C) and if you have plans to venture elsewhere in France, know that Northeast France sees temps between 43-63°F (6-17°C), similarly with 43-63°F (6-17°C) in Atlantic France (though the wind makes it feel cooler), and 48-63°F (9-17°C) in South France.
No matter where you find yourself, you’ll want to pack layers together with your waterproof coat and umbrella.
Crowds & Costs
April transitions from the low season to France’s shoulder season as businesses and major attractions begin to re-open for tourism. And while the number of foreign tourists increases as the weather continues to improve, there are still bargains to be had on airfare and hotels. The exception, however, is Paris, as the capital is now entering high season (some places’ high season extends beyond the summer months).
If Easter happens to fall during April, you can expect prices to spike during this period. So be sure to book all reservations far in advance as well as plan for business closures and public transportation running on a holiday schedule.
Where to Go
Most travelers begin or end their stay with a few days in Paris to visit famous attractions like the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Louvre, which displays da Vinci’s Mona Lisa among other important works. And if you happen to be in France during the Easter weekend, you’ll be rewarded with patisseries and chocolatiers selling artisanal Easter candy, cakes, and chocolates, as well as each region of the country celebrating Easter in their own manner. Find Easter markets in Colmar’s Place de l'Ancienne-Douane and the Place des Dominicans, music concerts, and a children’s egg hunt in Parc du Champ de Mars.
For a more religious experience, check out the somber Procession of the Sanch in Languedoc-Roussillon for a Catalan-influenced take on the Passion and Agony of Christ. There’s also the night procession at Collioure on the Côte Vermeille (a member of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France). While the ancient Roman city of Arles sees its popular Easter Feria bullfighting event open the Easter weekend, marking the start of the French bullfighting season.
If you’re traveling with children, try getting your family to the northern seaside town of Berck-sur-Mer (Pas de Calais) to see international competitors fly their respective kites at the Cerfs Volants festival. There is also a kite-making contest as well as a slew of activities for children. Meanwhile, the ski season is still going on in the mountains. For better conditions pick a slope with a higher altitude like purpose-built Val Thorens for 373 miles (600 km) of seemingly endless terrain or snow-dependable Tignes for 186 miles (300km) of runs serviced by 78 lifts.
What to Do
Warmer weather (though unpredictable) and new summer transportation schedules make April a good month to head outdoors and explore France by foot with plenty of options for hiking, biking, and sightseeing. Take a stroll through Jardins du Trocadéro in Paris’ Parc du Champ-de-Mars for pretty views of the Eiffel Tower with blossoming cherry trees in the foreground. Rent a car or ride the train and get out into the French countryside to take in all the blooming beauty. Head to the Loire Valley to discover the many châteaux and be sure to allow for a few hours to explore the immaculate gardens conceptualized on a different theme each year at Château Chaumont-sur-Loire.
And if in South France, now is a great time to take advantage of the lighter April crowds and visit any number of the stunning beaches and outdoor historic sites. Plage de la Garoupe in the delightful town of Antibes is one popular option seeing locals, as well as holidaymakers, splash in the water this month. Join a walking tour of Arles' historic city center to uncover its ancient Roman legacy left behind as seen in a number of its buildings, including the well-preserved amphitheater.
For a little shopping, get yourself to nearby L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue for their International Art and Antiques Fair. Peruse the hundreds of stalls set up in the stunning Provençal streets for antiques and knickknacks. And if you’re a seafood lover and time your holiday right, check out Fête de la Coquille Saint-Jacques in Brittany where the ports of Saint-Quay-Portrieux, Loguivy-de-la-mer, and Erquy hold a festival honoring the scallop. Enjoy boat rides, concerts, and of course special menus and tastings.
Events in April
Cerfs Volants (Berck-Sur-Mer Kite Festival). Every year in March and April the charming seaside town of Berck-Sur-Mer on the coast of the English Channel sees international kite-flying competitors line its beaches with an assortment of colorful kites competing against one another and the wind.
Pâques (Easter and Holy Week). Because Easter follows the liturgical calendar, it may occur in April (sometimes if falls in March). If it does, enjoy the celebrations and processions that occur throughout the country and expect closures on Vendredi Saint (Good Friday), Lundi de Pâcques (Easter Monday) and Sunday.
Festival des Jardins (International Garden Festival). From April to October the gardens of Château Chaumont-sur-Loire host this annual festival showcasing up to 30 themed gardens put on by landscape architects, designers, and artists.
Traveling to France in April? Check out these great itineraries.
Self-Drive Tour in Provence & French Riviera – 11 Days. Discover the best of the culture and art in the French Riviera and Provence in 10 days on this incredible self-drive tour. Visit vibrant Nice and Monaco, stroll through hill-top villages of Luberon, and discover the peaceful countryside of Aix-en-Provence. Follow the footsteps of some of the world's greatest artists (Van Gogh, Picasso & others) and explore the landscapes that inspired them.
Rhône Valley Family Tour: Lyon to Marseille – 12 Days. This self-drive 12-day itinerary highlights the best of the Rhône Valley, from north to south. Perfect for the whole family, you'll start in food-forward Lyon, then work your way through the colorful countryside of Provence and down to Marseille on the Mediterranean coast. Along the way, you'll taste full-bodied wines, marvel at ancient Roman ingenuity, and enjoy the majestic beauty that is southern France.