If you’re interested in going on one of our self-drive tours of Provence, or visiting Provence independently, we recommend considering late AprilMayJuneSeptember, or October. These months offer a pleasant combination of fine weather, fewer tourists and more comfortable conditions for outdoor activities.

Summer temperatures in Provence can soar up to 30°C/86°F on average, with peaks of 35°C/95°F in July and August (as experienced in 2023). However, July is the month that the lavender fields in most of Provence are in full bloom, so if this is a priority for you, July would be the ideal time to visit!

Winter in Provence can be chilly, with the persistent mistral wind and temperatures dropping to 5°C/41°F or lower, with shorter daylight hours. It can be very nice to experience the Christmas traditions in Provence, especially the Christmas markets in charming towns like Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, Isle-sur-la-Sorgue or Vaucluse, and the extensive Nativity displays with the traditional santons figurines.

However, if you want to enjoy pleasant weather for outdoor activities such as hiking and cycling, we suggest looking at April onwards, with the weather in MayJune and September usually being ideal.

A lady cycling in the Luberon in Provence
Traveler Carol cycling in the Luberon
©

Carol from the USA

Provence by Month

January and February (winter)

Naturally the weather in Provence is cold in the winter, with the chilly Mistral wind reaching up to 40 miles/hour. You might see snow in elevated regions such as the Luberon, and you’ll definitely find it at ski resorts like Mont Ventoux and La Joue du Loup. If skiing in France is what you’re interested in, the winter is the ideal time to visit Provence; plus, you’ll only be a 2-hour drive from Marseille and Cassis on the coast.

Although the short, cold winter days don’t make it the best time to visit Provence, it can be nice to explore the most popular sites without the tourist crowds. These include the Pont du Gard Roman bridge, the Roman Amphitheater in Orange, or Le Palais des Papes (the Popes’ Palace) in Avignon, all UNESCO World Heritage sites.

If you plan to visit the French Riviera in February, check the dates of the Nice Carnival and Menton Lemon Festival, as these are key late-winter events in the region.

Pont du Gard Roman bridge in Provence
Pont du Gard Roman bridge
©

Pixabay CC0

March and April (early spring)

As is typical of early spring, the weather in Provence can be unpredictable and changeable in March and April. However, the weather is typically noticeably warmer than the winter months with less rain than in other parts of France. 

On the coast, the sea will still be too cold for most people, but sunny days will make it a pleasant time to explore the coastal areas without the tourist crowds that start arriving later in the spring. It can still feel cold when there’s a northerly wind, so our recommendation is to pack for all weather (sunglasses and a warm waterproof jacket) and wear layers that you can remove or put on as necessary.

April is the time to enjoy the spring colors as fields and gardens start to bloom again - we’ll tell you where to see fields of gorgeous tulips

Later in April is a pleasant time to enjoy outdoor activities in rural Provence, such as walking, hiking and cycling. Plus, it’s still a good time to visit the region’s most popular towns and attractions, as there are still relatively few tourists compared with May to early September.

Trip planners Emilie and Clelia in front of a field of red tulips in Provence
Trip planners Emilie and Clelia in front of a tulip field in Provence
©

France Just For You

May (spring)

May is one of our favorite times to visit Provence. The lavender fields won’t yet be in full bloom but the poppy fields will! In May and June, we can help you discover the endless fields of red poppies swaying in the breeze. You might think you’ve just stepped into a painting! Indeed, artists, photographers and gardening enthusiasts will love Provence at this time of year.

Outside of the holiday periods, the villages and towns of Provence are not too crowded in May, and the weather is generally significantly better than earlier in the spring. 

Beyond exploring the main towns of Avignon and Aix-en-Provence, it will be a lovely time to see the hidden gems of the coast. If you book one of our Provence tours, we’ll advise you on the best way to explore the gorgeous creeks of Cassis (known as calanques) by boat or on foot.

Inland, you might enjoy a truffle-hunting experience or an outdoor cooking class in a Provence vineyard.

We also love the area of Venasque - if you're visiting Provence in May or June, be sure to try some Venasque cherries! They're so good the locals call them diamants rouges (red diamonds!).

Traveler Bruce from Australia enjoying an outdoor cooking class in Provence with mountains and vineyards in the background
Traveler Bruce from Australia enjoying an outdoor cooking class in Provence
©

Bruce from Australia

June (early summer)

A gorgeous time of year to explore Provence, the weather won’t be as hot as the height of summer, and will be an ideal time for exploring the great outdoors.

We’ll recommend our favorite cycling and walking routes through the Luberon and the gorgeous foothills of the Dentelles de Montmirail mountains.

It’s also a great time to experience Provence’s local farmers’ markets and stock up for your picnic! Discovering Provence’s hidden villages that most tourists don’t know about is a wonderful way to see the “real” France (and practice your French!). Some of our favorite villages in Provence include BonnieuxLourmarinMenerbesMaussane les Alpilles and Seguret.

Toward the end of June, the lavender fields in the lower hills of Provence will start to bloom.

The Kim Family from the USA hiking in the Dentelles de Montmirail in Provence
The Kim Family from the USA hiking in the Dentelles de Montmirail in Provence
©

The Kim family from the USA

July and August (mid-summer)

If you want to see the lavender fields in full bloom, July is the month to visit Provence. Some of the most beautiful areas include Sénanque Abbey (although this is a popular tourist spot) in the Luberon Valley; the Valensole plateau; and the Sault plateau, which normally blooms a little later, in late July and August.

Dividing the fields of lavender, you might come across some sunflower fields. These are normally harvested in late July.

This is another great time to explore the local markets, which at this time of year are often overflowing with beautiful flowers from the region.

The most popular towns and tourist sites, such as Aix-en-ProvenceAvignon, the Roman ruins and coastal areas will be at their busiest in July and August. If you book one of our tours of Provence, we will share lots of tips to help you avoid the biggest tourist crowds.

Remember that the Tour de France starts at the end of June and passes through southern France around the end of July, so some roads may be closed or particularly busy on those dates. 

Also keep in mind that this is the hottest time of year in France, so always carry plenty of water and sunblock with you.

Traveler Sandra from the USA in a lavender field in Provence
Traveler Sandra from the USA in a lavender field in Provence
©

Traveler Sandra from the USA

September and October

Early fall is a beautiful time to visit France and especially Provence. In early September, the weather will still be warm and sunny, with less extreme temperatures than the summer. The tourist crowds of the summer will be starting to leave, making it an ideal time to enjoy the beaches and swimming in the sea

Take a boat from Cassis to visit the calanques, or go on foot from La Presque Ile de Cassis to our favorites, Port-Miou and Port Pin.

The grape harvest will be in full flow all over France in September and October, so if you’re a wine enthusiast you may find this particularly interesting.

The outdoor activities we suggested above - truffle-hunting, hiking, cycling - are also great options for early to mid-fall trips to Provence.

Needless to say, the fall colors are a real draw, especially for photographers. We’ll recommend some of our favorite scenic areas and photostops!

Calanque de Port Miou near Cassis
Calanque de Port Miou, one of our favorite creeks near Cassis
©

Nrocks75, Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY SA 4.0

November and December (winter)

The weather is noticeably cooler in Provence in November, and you may even see some snow in the higher areas. However, even in the winter the south of France is still the sunniest region, so it’s a good option if you want to enjoy some winter sun. 

On the third Thursday in November, Beaujolais Nouveau is released across France. This young fruity Gamay wine is drunk in celebration of the end of the grape harvest, with music, events and fireworks across France on this day.

Provence has some very good ski resorts, some of them with sea views! These include Auron, Isola 2000Gréolières les Neiges, and Valberg. We don’t organize ski trips, but if you want to do a driving tour of Provence before or after your ski trip, we can take this into account when planning your Provence itinerary.

December is a wonderful opportunity to discover the Christmas traditions in Provence. We love the tradition of the Nativity scenes, which you’ll see all over Provence and France in December. At the Christmas markets, you’ll be able to buy some handmade figurines called santons, which you can collect and use to decorate your own Nativity scene at home. Here’s an example of our Senior Trip Planner Laura’s Nativity scene and santons:

Santons in a typical nativity scene at home in France
Santons in a typical nativity scene at home
©

France Just For You

Santons make lovely, authentic souvenirs from your winter trip to Provence. If you book one of our France tour packages, we’ll advise you on where to find the nicest, best quality souvenirs from Provence, from lavender products to olive oil. These can make great Christmas gifts for your loved ones back home too!

 

To summarize, the best time to visit Provence is in May, JuneSeptember, and October, if you want pleasant weather and fewer tourists. However, if you want to see the lavender fields, book a trip to Provence in July, and we’ll help you enjoy the best of Provence away from the biggest tourist crowds!

France Just For You

Experts in self-drive tours in France

Travelers Reviews

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Margaret & Rob
We would like to add our names to everyone else here who have had a truly excellent experience when using Emilie's, France Just For You company. We drove 2800 km on a recent holiday, and it was all arranged by Emilie. Everything she organized was perfect. We stayed in B and Bs and although we know a little French, all of our hosts spoke fluent …
Candy
Wherever possible we prefer to travel on our own as opposed to going on a tour package. With France - Just For You, they arranged for a vehicle and booked us into a couple of lovely B&B’s and a great Boutique Hotel in Paris and booked a couple of activities that we were interested in. Besides that, they put together a book for us with everything we …
Clemmer & David
France Just for You - Emile and Laura - accomplished the task with skill and knowledge. Accommodations were excellent with lots of local color, suggestions for parking a large SUV were helpful, solving on the spot problems was handled with expertise and courtesy, sites were overwhelmingly beautiful. The guide book is the best. All the guides were …
Pamela
We just returned from a fantastic three weeks in Southwest France. I highly recommend the services of France Just For You, we could never have planned the trip ourselves as well as they did. Laura did the planning and gave us an amazing itinerary, and was available at a moment's notice when we had a plane cancellation on our flight to Bordeaux and …
Jan & Ray
We were overwhelmed by the wealth of information available when attempting to plan our 6 week self drive holiday in France. Never having been to France before we found the task daunting and sifting through forums full of information only confused us. We have traveled in New Zealand using a New Zealand based travel adviser and decided to look into …
Mary & Dan
Emilie, Our trip has been fantastic! We appreciate all that you did to make it so wonderful. Many, many thanks! The itineraries, special experiences--- like the 4x4 wine tour, wine picnic, and cooking with Catherine---and the unique accommodations made our vacation very very special. We start toward home tomorrow, leaving your beautiful country but …

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