If you enjoy or are used to very hot weather, August may be a good time to visit France, particularly if you want to do a self guided tour of Paris and other big cities. This is because Parisians and people from the city normally take their long vacations in August, heading for the coast or going abroad. This means there are fewer people in the cities.

In this post, we’ll suggest some of our favorite places to visit and activities you can enjoy in France in August. We’ll also talk a bit about the weather in August, and festivals and events you can attend.

The Eiffel Tower in Paris in the summer against a blue sky
The Eiffel Tower

Pxhere CC0

France Weather in August

August is a popular time to visit France because it's generally hot and sunny all over the country, especially in the southern regions. The average high temperature across the country ranges from the mid-70s Fahrenheit (around 24°C) in the north to the mid-80s (around 29°C) in the south. 

This is perfect for beach days on the French coast, but we find these temperatures quite uncomfortable for exploring the cities. Some may also find these temperatures too hot for hiking and cycling. 

Keep in mind that there can be regional variations and heatwaves, especially in cities. There may also be the occasional afternoon thunderstorms in some parts of the country. If you can, we recommend visiting France between May and July, or September or October, when the temperatures are more comfortable.

You can also find out more about the weather in France on our FAQ page.

A beautiful creek with turquoise blue sea in Provence, France
A calanque on the coast of Provence in the south of France

Pxhere CC0

Festivals and Events in France in August

Some of our favorite summer festivals in France include: 

Lorient Celtic Music Festival, Brittany 

Also known as the Festival Interceltique de Lorient, this is the largest music festival in Brittany and France, attracting around 750,000 festival-goers each year! It has been running for more than 50 years and features thousands of artists, musicians, dancers and film-makers.

The festival celebrates the music and culture of the Celtic nations, including Brittany, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, the Isle of Man, and Galicia. There are a wide range of musical performances, from traditional Celtic music to contemporary folk and rock, as well as dance, theatre, and other cultural activities.

Festival du Bout du Monde, Brittany

This music festival takes place on the Crozon Peninsular, also in Brittany, and features world music and other international acts.

La Route du Rock, Brittany

Another popular music festival in Brittany, this time in Saint-Malo, features indie and alternative rock bands from around the world.

A view of the rocky coast of the Crozon Peninsula in Brittany
Crozon Peninsula, Brittany

Maud NoëlCC-BY SA 3.0

La Fête de la Lavande, Provence 

The lavender festival takes place in the village of Sault in Provence, and is a celebration of lavender, one of the region's most iconic crops. The festival features a parade, music, dancing, and other activities. 

Check out our blog post on traveling through Provence by car for some of our recommended scenic driving routes!

Rock en Seine, Paris

This is a popular music festival that takes place just outside of Paris, including rock, pop, and indie music acts from around the world.

Festival de la Vézère, Dordogne 

This classical music festival takes place in the Dordogne region in southwestern France. You can enjoy performances in historic churches, castles, and other venues in the town.

Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère, Dordogne in France
Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère, Dordogne in France

Commune de Saint Léon sur Vézère - CC-BY SA 4.0

Best Places to visit in France in August

Gorges du Verdon, Provence

This stunning gorge in southeastern France is often called the "Grand Canyon of Europe." Visitors can explore the gorge by hiking, kayaking, or taking a scenic drive along the rim.

Towns that are near the Verdon Gorge, which you might like to stop at, include:

  • Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, a charming village at the base of the Verdon Gorge known for its ceramics and picturesque setting.
  • Castellane, an historic town known for its medieval architecture and lively markets.
  • Aiguines, a small village located on the banks of the Verdon River known for its stunning views of the surrounding mountains and lake.
  • Riez, an ancient Roman town just north of the Verdon Gorge with some archaeological sites.
  • Gréoux-les-Bains, a spa town to the south of the Verdon Gorge known for its thermal baths.

We can include a stop at the Verdon Gorge in any of our driving tours of Provence.

Kayakers in the Verdon Gorge in Provence, France
Kayakers in the Verdon Gorge in Provence, France

Mihai Lupascu - Unsplash CC0

Île aux Moines, Brittany

The Ile aux Moines, also known as the Island of Monks, is a small island located off the coast of Brittany in the Gulf of Morbihan.

One of the main attractions of the Ile aux Moines is its stunning natural landscape, which includes rocky cliffs, sandy beaches, and lush forests. Visitors can explore the island on foot, strolling through picturesque villages filled with traditional Breton houses, quaint shops, and cafes. The island is also home to several sandy beaches and coves, which are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.

The island has a rich history of traditional arts and crafts, including pottery, weaving, and basket making. There are several workshops and galleries on the island where visitors can see these crafts in action and purchase handmade souvenirs.

There are also some interesting historic sites and monuments to explore. These include the 15th-century Chapelle Saint-Michel, located on a hill overlooking the island, and the ancient menhirs (standing stones) that can be found in various locations around the island.

If you would like to visit one of Brittany’s stunning islands, we can include this in our tours of Brittany, France.

Two girls hiking on Ile aux Moines, an island off the coast of Brittany
Jeanne & Pauline hiking on Ile aux Moines, Brittany

France Just For You

Vosges Mountains, Alsace

The Vosges Mountains are a beautiful region located in the Alsace region of eastern France. The area is known for its stunning natural beauty, with rolling hills, dense forests, and crystal-clear lakes. Alsace is also known for its charming villages, fascinating history, and excellent food and wine.

The forest of the Vosges Mountains may provide a welcome break from the August sun. You may enjoy hiking or cycling, and there are numerous hiking trails, ranging from easy walks through the forest to more challenging climbs to the mountain peaks. The views from the mountaintops are spectacular, offering sweeping views of the surrounding countryside.

Not far from the Vosges Mountains are the charming villages and towns of Colmar, Riquewihr, and Eguisheim. These ‘fairy-tale’ towns are known for their half-timbered houses, winding streets, and beautiful flower displays. We will help you discover the mountains and some beautiful Alsatian villages on our tours of Alsace.

Vosges mountains in Alsace, France
Vosges mountains in Alsace, France

Pxhere CC0

The Floating Gardens of Amiens, Somme

The floating gardens of Amiens, known locally as "hortillonnages," are a unique network of small islands and floating gardens located in the heart of the city of Amiens in the Somme region of northern France. The gardens cover an area of around 300 hectares and consist of a series of narrow canals and small islands that are connected by small wooden footbridges.

The floating gardens date back to the 12th century and were created by monks who used the canals and islands to grow vegetables and fruit. Today, The floating gardens are home to a wide variety of plants and wildlife and are a popular attraction for visitors to the city. 

You can explore the gardens by taking a traditional wooden boat tour, or by walking along the narrow footpaths that wind through the islands.

The floating gardens of Amiens are a must-see attraction for anyone who is interested in gardens, nature, or looking for a quiet and relaxing escape from the city. We can combine a visit to Amiens with a trip to the WWI and WWII sites of the Somme.

The floating gardens of Amiens in the Somme. There are people on a boat with beautiful gardens on either side.
The floating gardens of Amiens in the Somme

CRT Somme Tourisme-AB

Best Things to do in France in August

Watch the Perseid meteor shower in the Pyrenees

The Perseid meteor shower occurs every August and is visible from many parts of France. Visitors can head to a dark sky area, such as the Pic du Midi observatory in the Pyrenees, to watch the shooting stars. In 2023, the Perseid meteor shower is visible between July 17 and  August 24. You can visit the Pyrenees on a self drive tour of the Basque Country.

A black sky full of stars and shooting stars in the Pyrenees mountains
Shooting stars in the Pyrenees mountains

Gael AvelineCC BY-SA 2.0

Tour the underground city of Naours in the Somme

The underground city of Naours in northern France dates back to the Middle Ages and was used as a hiding place during times of war. 

In fact, in World War I, it was used as a kind of tourist destination, a place for soldiers to spend time when they were on leave from the front line. In this underground space you can see more than 3,000 pieces of graffiti that were created by the soldiers. Most are by Australian soldiers, with others by British, American and French soldiers.

It is an interesting place to visit, and you make like to do a guided tour of the underground city’s tunnels and chambers on one of our driving tours of the Somme.

An underground town in Naours, Somme
An underground town in Naours, Somme

Zairon - CC-BY SA 4.0

Explore Lyon’s Secret Passageways

Lyon's Secret Passageways, or Traboules, are a network of hidden passages and staircases that run through the city's historic buildings. The passageways were originally used as shortcuts by silk traders and other merchants to transport goods from one part of the city to another, and later served as hiding places and escape routes for resistance fighters during World War II.

Today, Lyon's Traboules are a popular tourist attraction and you can see a map of their locations on Google. The passageways are mostly located in the historic neighborhoods of Vieux Lyon, Croix-Rousse, and Fourvière, and can be accessed through the doorways of many of the old buildings in these areas. Some of the passageways are open to the public, while others remain closed or are only accessible through private tours.

Walking through the Traboules is like taking a step back in time. The passageways are narrow and winding, with stone walls and vaulted ceilings that give a sense of the city's medieval past. Some of the passageways open out into hidden courtyards and gardens, while others lead to hidden squares and historic landmarks.

One of the most famous Traboules is located at 54 Rue Saint-Jean in Vieux Lyon. This passageway leads to a beautiful courtyard with a spiral staircase that takes visitors to a panoramic view of the city. Another popular Traboule is located at 9 Rue des Trois Maries, which opens out into the Place Colbert and is known for its beautiful mosaic floors.

We will help you discover all our favorite secret passageways when you book one of our self guided tours of Lyon.

A traboule - a secret passageway in Lyon, France
A hidden passageway in Lyon, France

Guillaume Baviere - CC BY 2.0

Visit the Château de Chambord at night

We love to recommend a visit to the Château de Chambord to our travelers who are visiting the Loire Valley

This stunning Renaissance-era castle is even more impressive at night, when it is illuminated by a spectacular light show. Visitors can take a guided tour of the castle and watch the light show in the evening.

Chambord Castle in the Loire Valley
Chateau de Chambord, Loire Valley

Dorian Mongel - Unsplash CC0

Try eating snails at the Fête de l'Escargot in Burgundy

The Fête de l'Escargot (Snail Festival) takes place in the town of Digoin in Burgundy in late August. It attracts thousands of visitors from around the region and beyond.

The highlight of the festival is the snail-eating competition, in which contestants race to see who can eat the most snails in the shortest amount of time. There are also cooking demonstrations, tastings, and sales of snails and other local delicacies.

In addition to the food, the festival also features music and entertainment, including traditional dances, live music, and street performers. Visitors can also browse stalls selling local crafts and souvenirs, and take part in other activities such as petanque, a traditional French game.

While you’re in the region, we recommend visiting some wineries with our expert private guide (he’ll do the driving so you can drink as much Burgundy wine as you want!). A visit to the gorgeous town of Beaune to see its medieval hospices is also a must.

You can enjoy all of these experiences on our self drive tours of Burgundy!

Medieval hospices in Beaune, Burgundy
Medieval hospices in Beaune, Burgundy

Pxfuel CC0

Hike along the Pink Granite Coast

The Pink Granite Coast in Brittany is a beautiful area known for its unique rock formations and stunning coastal scenery. There are several great hiking trails along the coast.

  • The Sentier des Douaniers, or Customs Officers’ Path, is a coastal trail that runs for 21 miles along the Pink Granite Coast, from Perros-Guirec to Ploumanac'h. The trail passes through stunning landscapes and offers beautiful views of the coast and the rock formations. The trail is well-marked and relatively easy, suitable for most hikers.
  • From Ploumanac'h to Trégastel there is a shorter and easier hiking trail that runs for around 3 miles. The trail passes through beautiful beache and rocky coves, and also has stunning views of the Pink Granite Coast. It is a great option for a shorter hike or a family-friendly day trip.
  • Les Sept Îles, or the Seven Islands, is a group of small islands off the coast of Perros-Guirec. The islands are home to a large variety of seabirds, including gannets, puffins, and cormorants. Visitors can take a boat tour to the islands and hike along the coast to see the birds and the beautiful coastal scenery.
  • Pointe de l'Arcouest is a scenic point located at the end of the peninsula on the Pink Granite Coast. You can enjoy lovely views of the coast and the surrounding islands, including the Île-de-Bréhat. The area has several hiking trails that lead to this point.

We can help you discover some or all of these places on our driving tours of Brittany.

Saint-Guirec on the Pink Granite Coast in Brittany. The sea is blue, there's an island in the background and there are large rocky boulders in the sea
Saint-Guirec on the Pink Granite Coast in Brittany

Jeanne Menjoulet - CC-BY 2.0

Go surfing in Biarritz

Biarritz is known as one of the best surf destinations in Europe, with a long history of surfing dating back to the 1950s. Located in the Basque Country region in southwestern France, the wide sandy beaches and consistent waves make it a popular destination for surfers of all levels.

The best time to surf in Biarritz is from September to April, when the waves of the Atlantic coast are the most consistent and powerful. However, the summer months of June to August also provide good surf conditions for beginners and intermediate surfers, with smaller waves and warmer water temperatures.

We will recommend our favorite surf schools/teachers and tell you which beaches are the best! 

Find out more about the best things to do in Biarritz.

Surfers in Biarritz in the French Basque Country
Surfers in Biarritz

Pixabay CC0

FAQs about traveling to France in August

In August, it's normally hot and sunny all over France and especially in the south. High temperatures fluctuate between the mid 70s F (25°C) to the mid-80s F (around 30°C) in the south. This can be nice if you're planning a beach vacation in France but can be quite hot and sweaty if you're walking around the city, and may feel too hot for hiking and other outdoor activities. You should enjoy a very nice sea breeze in Brittany, Normandy, Bordeaux and the Basque Country on the Atlantic coast. 

The hottest regions of France in August are Provence, Dordogne, Carcassonne and the French Riviera, but heatwaves may affect the whole country.

The advantage of visiting Paris in August is that many Parisians leave the city for the whole month to go on vacation. This means the city has far fewer people and is perhaps more pleasant to walk around. The downside is that it can get very hot and humid in the capital during August heatwaves. The north of France and the Atlantic coast may be a better option. Or - travel earlier in the summer or in early to mid fall.

If you’d like to discover France off-the-beaten path this August, we can plan a personalized self-drive itinerary for you, including car hire and all premium accommodation.

Check out sample self guided driving tours of France or email Emilie & Laura with your France wish-list!

Considering visiting France in a different month? Check out our other guides below:


France Just For You

Experts in self-drive tours in France

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