It’s no coincidence that June is one of Provence’s best travel months in part because of its favorable weather; significantly less rain than April and May, resulting in brighter, sunnier days. Average temps this month range between 63-81°F (17-27°C) with the sea an enticing 72°F (22°C).
As you travel about the region, you’ll discover variations in weather. You can expect cooler temps inland of Nice in the mountains as well as hotter, drier weather in the northwest part of Vaucluse sometimes seeing the mercury rise into the mid-90s (mid-30s).
Pack light cotton clothing with your sunscreen and swimsuit as well as bring your umbrella for those short afternoon rains. For more on the weather this month, see France in June: Travel Tips, Weather, and More.
Crowds & Cost
In early June you're still ahead of the tourist crush in most cities, with the exception of Marseille and Nice as there’s a steady trickle of tourists taking to the shores. Here the tourist season is well underway. Whether you're visiting Marseille or the popular French Riviera, you can expect an uptick in prices as all hotels and restaurants are open for business. Therefore, it’s wise to plan ahead and make your necessary reservations as far in advance as possible, including tickets for attractions and sights within the country.
Toward the end of the month, some of the more popular venues can feel crowded and most airlines, hotels, and car rental companies no longer offer bargain prices.
Where to Go
June marks the beginning of the high festival season when Provence commits to celebrating everything, from the arts to folklore and food. Lured by the southern sun, there are a host of music-related events happening in Marseille, starting with the popular Festival de Marseille, an international event drawing large crowds for dance, theater, music, and art. There are rock music events, like Marsatac, that take place on the beaches and in the Vélodrome as well as a plethora of jazz festivals. Try the Palais Longchamp to catch an act of a leading international artist, or visit Juan les Pins or Toulons for other notable events.
Further afield in Vaucluse, the town of Apt hosts the Luberon Jazz Festival, offering a wide range of music including some free events. Come for the jazz, stay for the famous Saturday-morning market that sells its famed fruits confits (candied fruit), local produce, and Provençal wares. Apt is also a hub for hiking trails and footpaths and a series of cycle routes that crisscross the Luberon National Park. Then there’s the pagan-turned-somewhat-religious Fête de Saint-Jean to consider. No matter where you are during the summer solstice (June 21) the whole of Provence comes alive with folk dancing, craft fairs, ceremonial bonfires, and general revelry. Head to Aix-en-Provence for their take as the town lights up (literally and figuratively) when the flame brought from Catalonia arrives at the Town Hall.
Meanwhile, the Fêtes d'Arles is an exciting and unique-to-Provence festival with a number of historic and popular events you’ll want to experience. There’s La Course de Satin, a bareback race on purebred Camargue horses that started in 1529 or the centuries-old Pegoulado, a somber torchlight procession of participants attired in traditional Provençal costume.
What to Do
A trip to Provence would not be complete without a visit to the coast now that the weather is beach-perfect and the sea is finally warm enough for swimming. If you’re in want of visiting the French Riviera, some less busy beach alternatives to the more frequented, glamorous counterparts are the small beaches of Plage Graviers and Plage des Salins around Saint-Tropez. There’s also Villefranche-sur-Mer next door to Nice, as well as the even quieter, Plage de Passable. Another public option and popular with the locals is Nice’s Lenval where kitesurfers, windsurfers, and paragliders take to the waves, making the most of the sea breeze.
If you’re an active hiker, consider heading inland to hike the Vallée des Merveilles (Valley of Wonders) in Mercantour National Park. It’s a great option that combines world-class hiking with fascinating archaeological history—over 40,000 petroglyphs from early man to be discovered—in the Southern Alps.
Or, put your feet up and ride the two-hour Trains des Merveilles from Nice to Tende, a guided voyage through the lush park. The Luberon mountain trails are another popular option that lead you through pretty villages perchés (hilltop villages) that overlook romantic panoramas of mountains, plains, and valleys of vineyards and olive groves.
If you’re a nature lover you’ll want to head straight for the Camargue to spot wildlife, including the flocks of flamingos among hundreds of thousands of bird species. The “Wild West of France,” the Camargue is a scene of marshes, swamps, rice paddies, and ancient villages waiting to be explored. Keep an eye out for the white Camargue horse, an ancient breed, and the gardiens (cowboys). And if you find yourself here, make your way to nearby Saint-Rémy-de-Provence for the Fête de la Transhumance event that sees thousands of sheep pack the streets in a mass exodus to the mountains for the summer.
Events in June
Fête de la Saint-Jean. Originating as a pagan celebration of the summer solstice (June 21), the event now marks the feast of St. John the Baptist with Provence-wide folk dancing, ceremonial bonfires, priests blessing animals, craft fairs, Provençal mass, and general merrymaking.
Rendezvous aux Jardins. Gardens throughout France open during this annual festival. A great opportunity to get into private gardens normally shut to the public.
La Fête de la Musique (Music Festival). On the day of the summer solstice (June 21), you’ll find all genres of music celebrated throughout France. Catch free performances: on the streets and in parks, in museums and concert halls, and in bars and restaurants.
Traveling to Provence in June? Check out these great itineraries.
Southern Alps and the French Riviera: Hiking & Culture Tour - 4 Days. On this nature and culture tour, you'll experience the best of the Southern Alps and French Riviera, famous for their alpine scenery and Mediterranean coastal beauty. Over three days, you'll discover the historic city of Nice, the valleys of Mercantour National Park, ancient petroglyphs, and much more.
French Panorama: Paris, Marseille & Nice - 10 Days. Spend ten days taking in some of the top treasures in France from north to south. You'll start off exploring Paris with local guides to see both its star attractions and secret spots, then head to the historic city of Marseille. Continue to the famed French Riviera and the seaside city of Nice to end your trip in the sun.