France in August is warm, sunny, and crowded. But if you know where to go, you can plan the perfect summer holiday that all but ensures great weather and great adventure. And if you want to get in some beach time, read on to learn more on where to go for that less-frequented option.

Weather

August continues to bring the summer weather: blue skies and warm temperatures. Though it’s important to be mindful that depending on where you find yourself in France, you’ll experience variable weather. In Paris, for example, you can count on temperatures to range between 59-77˚F (15-25˚C) with sunny hot days interspersed with brief thundershowers. In the northeast the weather begins to cool as the month progresses leading into fall, daytime temps range from 55-77˚F (13-25˚C).

Meanwhile, summer is full-on along the coasts with the Mediterranean Sea warming a degree to 75˚F (24˚C). Atlantic and South France see little change than the month before with temps averaging between 61-75˚F (16-24˚C) and 68-81˚F (20-27˚C), respectively.

Crowds & Costs

August remains ever-crowded as the weather is little changed from the month before, visitors flowing in for the sun, festivals, and popular attractions. For the most part, there's no escaping the crowds along the French Riviera, Atlantic coast, and Corsica, especially over weekends and the first half of the month as the French are likely to be on holiday. With that in mind, confirm all reservations if you visit this month since many business owners take a break during the hot season. 

Book your reservations and accommodation well in advance as there's major pressure on hotels and restaurants at this time. Though you can find some respite in the north and interior of the country (locals having flocked to the beach), popular destinations such as Paris will continue to bustle with visitors, and hotel rates remain more costly than during low-season months.

Where to Go

If you aren’t crowd-shy, head to southern France to explore the number of seaside villages, resort towns, and beaches, from Marseille to Monaco along the Côte d’Azur. Though if you’re in want of shirking the hordes of holidaymakers (both local and foreign), make your way west of Marseille to Côte Bleue. A region that extends to Camargue, you’ll have striking views of turquoise waters, dramatic coastlines, and the calanques (narrow inlets framed by steep, limestone cliffs) with plenty of access points to the coast (though you’ll have to walk a bit). Try La Vesse, Ensuès, Eaux Salées, or the beaches of Sainte-Croix and Verdon.

Another option is to visit historic Compiègne over the beaches of Normandy. Here you’ll want to stroll through the woods where the First World War’s Armistice of 1918 was signed and visit the opulent château museum (built for Louis XV and used by Napoleon III—nephew to the Napoleon). And in the Ariège region of southwestern France is Mirepoix, a medieval market town that makes for a great jumping-off point to explore nearby towns like, Carcassonne and Limoux, as well as to discover the French Pyrenees.

What to Do

If you do visit the French Riviera, take to the seas for a day of sailing in and around the Lérins Islands. Known for their rocky beaches and nature trails leading through pine and eucalyptus forests, you’ll sail from Cannes to two of the four emerald islets, Sainte-Marguerite and Saint-Honorat to discover beaches and swim right off the boat. If there’s interest, consider visiting the 17th-century Fort Royal, most famous as having imprisoned the Man in the Iron Mask. Alternatively, stick to the mainland and get yourself to the sandy, rugged, and wild coastline around Hyères for a few nights of camping.

Hiking enthusiasts have plenty of choice throughout the country, the Luberon mountain trails being popular take you through pretty hilltop Provençal villages that overlook vineyards and olive groves. For something unique, there’s Dune du Pilat on France’s Atlantic coast. Climb Europe’s tallest sand dune for all-encompassing vistas of the Arcachon basin. And if you have yet to visit the steeped-in-history beaches of Normandy, try checking out the near-endless stretches of sand and coastline after visiting the military cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer.

Music lovers and cultural enthusiasts will want to make their way to the city of Orange, north of Marseille for the Chorégies d’Orange. Take in an al fresco opera production performed by international stars, in the Roman theater. Its semi-circular, tiered stone seating and acoustic stone stage creates one of the world’s best settings. For more music events head to Confolens for international music and dance performances or Saint Cloud for their (loud) Rock en Seine event featuring loud rock concerts performed on four stages.

Events in August

Chorégies d'Orange. A summer al fresco opera event held each year in Orange’s ancient Roman theater in southern France.

Interceltic Festival. Every year during the first week of August, the Breton town of Lorient acts as a gathering for all Celtic cultures, drawing in crowds of over 800,000 festival-goers and artisans.

L’Assumption (Assumption of Virgin Mary). Expect some closures for this August 15 public holiday as the country honors the assumption of Mother Mary into heaven.

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 August? Check out these great itineraries.

Relaxed Provence & French Riviera – 10 Days. Experience the best of Provence and the French Riviera in 10 days. Visit Cannes, Nice, the hill-top villages of Luberon, Aix-en-Provence, and more regional highlights. Along the way, you’ll enjoy gourmet culinary tours, local culture, and charming boutique hotels.

Active Family Adventure in Verdon Gorge – 9 Days. This family-friendly itinerary features heart-pumping fun and adventure in Southern France's Gorges du Verdon, the largest canyon in Europe and your playground for the next 9 days. You will raft the Verdon River, hike the edge of the canyon, paddle Lac de Sainte-Croix, and climb Via Cordata for an exceptional experience, ending your stay in Aix-en-Provence.

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