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Winter in France

What to Do in France During a Magical Winter Vacation

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Snow Shoeing in the Savoie-Alpes

Snow Shoeing in the Savoie-Alpes

France Tourism Office/Jean-Francois Tripelon
Winter is the least popular season for tourism in France, but there are many wonderful reasons to visit France in winter. You can escape the typical madness of the tourist season crowds, save yourself lots of euros, and take your pick between cool winter sports and mild Mediterranean destinations.

Reasons to Visit France in Winter

  • There are almost no crowds
  • The cost for everything, particularly airfare and lodging, is way down
  • If you hit in January, you can find the big retail sales (which only strike twice a year under law, in January and July)
  • You can enjoy an amazing variety of winter sports in this nation featuring five mountain ranges in a country the size of Texas, including skiing, snowboarding to ice climbing
  • You can also find a respite from the winter visiting more mild destinations along the Cote d'Azur and the Cote Vermeille
  • This is a wonderful time of year to visit France's thermal spas

Things to Do in France in Winter

  • Shopping - This is quite possibly the best time of year to find shopping bargains. The government-sanctioned sales, or soldes are in January. If you go in December, you can catch the Christmas markets.
    • Winter sports - The winter sports peak in January and February, and the Alps and Pyrenees are two great regions to experience them. You can do winter sports the mild way with cross-country skiing and snow shoeing, even dog sledding. You can do it the more extreme way with ice climbing and ice rappelling.
    • Warm up for winter - If you already have enough snow and cool temperatures at home, use a getaway to France in winter as a chance to escape the cold. Did you know you can find year-round surfing in the Aquitaine? Or that it is commonplace to enjoy a sunny day in the 60s in Nice or Perpignan in the middle of "winter?"

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