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France Travel in March

Cheap Travel, Late Skiing and the Start of Springtime

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mimosa

Mimosa at the Festival, Mandelieu-La Napoule

© OTC Mandelieu-La Napoule

March can be the last chance until late fall to visit France on a budget.This is the time to fly to France for cheaper airfares, hotel and package deals and bargain ferries from the U.K. The ski season is having its last busy month. It can be sunny and bright, or it can be cold. But if winter hasn't loosened its grip, hotels throughout France will welcome you with roaring wood fires.

Already there will be the first of the wonderful, inventive Easter candy displays in patisseries and chocolateries. If the weather is warm, the trees and flowers will reward you with the first signs of Spring when Paris particularly comes alive. And finally, down in the south of France on the Riviera, the Nice Carnival is at its height, while other Mediterranean towns are celebrating the end of the winter and the beginning of Spring.

Weather in March

As the season moves from winter blasts into spring, you can expect any and every kind of weather. You’ll probably get everything -- from warm, sun to cold, even snowy days. In the north, be prepared for cool to cold weather, and in the south, for mild to cool weather. There are major variations in climate depending on where you are in France, but here are weather averages for major cities:

  • Paris:
    Temperature ranges from 5 degrees C (41 degrees F) to 11 degrees C (51.8 degrees F)
    Average temperature is 7 degrees C (44.6 degrees F)
    Average number of wet days is 12
    Average number of days with snow is 2
  • Bordeaux:
    Average temperature ranges from 4 degrees C (39 degrees F) to 15 degrees C (59 degrees F)
    Average temperatures is 10 degrees C (50 degrees F)
    Average number of wet days is 12
  • Lyon:
    Temperature ranges from 4 degrees C (39 degrees F) to 14 degrees C (57 degrees F)
    Average temperature is 10 degrees C (50 degrees F)
    Average number of wet days is 8
  • Nice:
    Average temperature ranges from 8 degrees C (48 F) to 15 degrees C (59 F)
    Average temperature is 10 degrees C (50 degrees F)
    Average number of wet days is 8
  • Strasbourg:
    Average temperature ranges from 2 degrees C (36 degrees F) to 11 degrees C (52 degrees F)
    Average temperature is 7 degrees C (45 degrees F)
    Average number of wet days is 15

Find out more: Weather in France

What to pack

Packing for a France holiday in March can vary, but generally this is a cold time of year. You might get rainstorms and certainly snow. So include the following in your packing list:

  • A good winter coat
  • A warm jacket for daytime
  • Sweaters or cardigans (layers are best)
  • Scarf, hat and gloves
  • Good walking shoes
  • Sturdy umbrella that can resist the wind

Find out more on Packing Tips

Why visit France in March

  • The skiing season is in its last full month (see details below)
  • There are few crowds and no long waits for tourist attractions
  • The restaurants are full of locals
  • You see the countryside, the cities, cathedrals and palaces without being obscured by trees
  • Prices are lower for airfares and for ferries from the U.K as well as hotels
  • It’s the second part of the famous Carnaval in Nice, which predates New Orleans’ Mardi Gras (see below)

Why not to visit France in March

  • The weather can be uncomfortably cold
  • Some attractions could have restricted hours, or even be closed, especially in smaller villages
  • Weather could cause travel delays by air, rail or car
  • Apart from the south of France, it’s a slow month for events and festivals

Major March Attractions

The ski season
There is still plenty of time to ski in France in March, and skiing in France is a great experience. There are wonderful resorts set in stunning landscapes, there are plenty of other activities to consider, the apres-ski life is great and the resorts have upped their game with top ski lifts, special passes and more.

More on Skiing in France

Carnival in France

Although the major French carnivals begin in February, they continue throughout March. Of all the great Mardi Gras celebrations, Nice in the south of France puts on the most spectacular. But don't worry; there are many more through March.

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