Travellers to Paris, the world’s most popular city, understand that sunny skies are not always the norm. (Think of Woody Allen’s romantised rainy streets in the blockbuster hit, “Midnight in Paris.”) If it’s warm weather you’re after, better look elsewhere in the hexagon. To ensure you get the most rays for your vacation buck, we’ve rounded up the top five sunniest places in France. Even in the deep, dark throes of winter, there’s sunshine on the French Riviera!
Located between the Mediterranean and the Alps, the climate in Marseille is characterised by long, hot summers, mild winters and lots of sunshine. Marseille and its neighbouring town, Toulon, tops the table when it comes to hours of sunshine and the city has, on average, 2801 hours of sunshine per year. Holidaymakers can explore the many historical and maritime museums and art galleries, and feast in the finest restaurants and bars the Old Port of Marseille has to offer. If you wish to explore the surrounding region, taking a hike along the Grand Canyon du Verdon, or riding the famous white horses in the Camargue are among the great adventures that await you.
The island of Corsica is located to the southeast of Marseilles and is just a short flight from Paris. Ajaccio, the island’s capital, has on average, 2726 hours of sunshine per year, while Bastia boasts 340 days of sunshine per year – which means you’re guaranteed to catch the sun rays whilst exploring the ‘scented isle’. Famous for its abundance of beautiful wild flowers, miles of sandy beaches and warm sparkling waters, Corsica is a compelling choice for a last-minute getaway from the rainy British Isles.
You don’t have to be rich or famous to holiday in France’s glorious Côte d’Azur. Even better, the city of Nice boasts the longest hours of sunshine in the French Riviera region, enjoying approximately 2668 hours of sunshine per year. Stroll along the Promenade des Anglais and make your way to Place Masséna, the main square and prime spot for people watching and cultural events. In the Old Town, Place Rosetti is home to the Cathédrale Saint Réparate while the Cours Saleya is where you’ll find the famous daily flower market and numerous restaurants serving the finest French cuisine.
The capital of the Languedoc-Roussillon region, Montpellier enjoys 2618 hours of sunshine per year. The focal point of the city is the Place de la Comédie and sightseeing highlights include the oldest botanical garden in France, and Saint Pierre Cathedral. The town also hosts the Festival de Radio France et Montpellier, an annual summer festival of opera, classical music and jazz, making it a perfect choice for culture vultures.
5. St Tropez
From Brigitte Bardot to the Beckhams, anyone who is anyone has frequented the chic resort of St. Tropez. The town enjoys a spectacular setting on the French Riviera and holds a high ranking in the sunshine charts. Its five kilometre shoreline offers a choice of great beaches offering windsurfing, sailing and canoeing equipment for rent, and motorized water sports, such as power boats, jet bikes and water skiing. Away from the sand and the yacht-filled marinas, St Tropez features some historic cobbled streets, endless cafes and gift shops, which are the perfect locations for star spotting.