Summer is a fantastic time to go to France, especially in August. Warm weather, bright sunshine, good food and a relaxed lifestyle are guaranteed for any summer holiday in France. However, deciding where to go in France in August is no easy task. There’s simply too much choice.
So to help you out, we’ve put together a list of the top 20 places to visit in France in August, a list of our favourites that will take your breath away. You can visit all of these places independently of each other, and they’re just as suitable for a summer break in France as they are for a longer summer holiday.
So pack your swimming trunks and walking shoes, and get ready for some fun days and even more exciting evenings!
The weather in France in August
August is a popular time to visit France, as the weather is generally warm and sunny throughout the country, particularly in the southern regions. The average maximum temperature in the country varies from around 24°C in the north to around 29°C in the south.
These temperatures are perfect for beach days on the French coast, but we find them rather uncomfortable for exploring the cities. Some may also find it too hot for hiking or cycling.
Bear in mind that there may be regional variations and heat waves, particularly in cities. There may also be occasional afternoon thunderstorms in some parts of the country. If you can, we recommend that you visit France between May and July, or in September or October, when temperatures are more pleasant.
Best places to go in France in August
This magnificent seaside resort on the Côte d’Azur has a beautiful old town that has been fairly well preserved, with ramparts dating back to the 16th century!
You can visit the star-shaped Fort Carre, which offers spectacular views over the town, and take time to explore the Musée Picasso, which displays an impressive number of works by the brilliant artist – making it one of the best places to visit in France if you’re a fan of Picasso’s work.
Grab your provisions from one of the local bakeries and have a picnic (you’re probably starting to sense a theme here with picnics) on one of the many beautiful beaches, or spend a few hours hiking along the coastline, where you can discover everything from hidden coves to immaculately maintained lighthouses.
Biarritz was once a little fishing town but it has transformed itself into one of the best places to go in France in August thanks in no small part to the popularity of the Hôtel du Palais – once the summer residence of Napoleon.
Napoleon wasn’t the only one to enjoy himself here: Biarritz has been a favourite holiday destination for European royalty since the 1800s, and when you visit this little French gem, we think you’ll understand why!
Biarritz is known as one of Europe’s top surfing destinations, with a long history of surfing dating back to the 1950s. Its large sandy beaches and consistent waves make it a popular destination for surfers of all abilities.
The best time to surf in Biarritz is from September to April, when the waves on the Atlantic coast are at their most consistent and powerful. However, the summer months, from June to August, also offer good surfing conditions for beginners and intermediate surfers, with smaller waves and warmer water temperatures.
Biarritz is also one of the best places in France to visit if you’ve ever been intrigued by the Basque Country, as it’s located right in the south!
French Basque Country
Nestling between the Bay of Biscay and the foothills of the Pyrenees, there’s never a bad time to visit the French Basque Country. However, June to September are the hottest and driest months in this region, which is also known for its own (rainy) climate that keeps it beautifully green.
If you visit this particular corner of France in summer, you’ll find that temperatures don’t get much higher than 20 degrees, so it’s not too hot for hiking. You can also enjoy the region’s beaches at Biarritz and its interesting culture at Bayonne.
French Basque Country is ideal for sightseeing, but the only way to get to the heart of this region is on foot. Enjoy the variety of landscapes, from the spectacular coastline to the rugged green mountains, on short or long walks.
With regular waves all year round, the French Basque Country is also a surfer’s paradise, with a wide choice of surf schools, surf shops and championships.
Finally, the French Basque Country is known for its distinctive architecture, delicious regional cuisine and for having the best chocolate in France!
Cannes is one of the best-known seaside resorts on the Côte d’Azur and one of the best places to go in France in the summer, especially in August.
For over 70 years, Cannes has been attracting celebrities to its gates as it hosts the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.
During your stay, you can take a stroll along the iconic boulevard de la Croisette, ideal for shopping or strolling around in the hope of spotting a celebrity or two.
Cannes is a great place to party (even if it’s perhaps more expensive than the average), so plan some time to go out in the evening when you visit.
This other Côte d’Azur spot needs no introduction.
It’s simply an iconic French beauty that leaves no mystery as to why visitors flock here year after year every summer (and even outside of summer!).
For an unforgettable dinner, book a table at La Roustide, a popular restaurant serving traditional French cuisine with a modern twist.
While you’re here, be sure to visit the old town and its beautiful, colourful houses.
This small island village in an archipelago about half an hour’s drive from Saint-Tropez is renowned for its fantastic food, as well as its sun-drenched beaches and relaxed, fun atmosphere.
As the island is relatively small (four miles long and two miles wide), there are no cars here, and you’d best be prepared to walk or take a bike to get around.
There are also plenty of stalls set up by locals showcasing their best wines, produce, cheeses and other regional specialities, meaning you can easily stock up for an afternoon picnic.
A former fishing village that has since become a popular tourist destination, especially in summer, Saint-Tropez has retained much of its original beauty and charm.
Indulge in an afternoon stroll through the cobbled streets of the old town or, if you find yourself here on a Tuesday or Saturday morning, head to the Place des Lices where you’ll find an open-air market with beautiful flowers, fresh herbs and produce, as well as a spectacular selection of cheeses.
Saint-Tropez is of course famous for its beaches, some of which are only accessible by yacht or boat.
If you’re not sure which beach to choose, we’ve got just what you need: the Escalet beach is highly recommended and the Pampelonne beach is another place not to be missed!
Côte d’Albâtre FranceFrom Dieppe to Étretat, the Côte d’Albâtre in Normandy is a land of majestic cliffs, pretty beaches and picturesque fishing villages.
The Côte d’Albâtre is also the land of the Impressionists, where artists such as Monet, Turner and Pissarro painted “en plein air” to capture the beauty of its chalky cliffs.
It’s one of the best places to go on holiday in France this summer, with ideal weather to enjoy this unique landscape, explore some of France’s prettiest coastal towns and sample the regional cuisine.
The best way to explore the Côte d’Albâtre is on a road trip through Normandy, but it’s also possible to get to any of these destinations from Le Havre by bus.
Gulf of Morbihan
With its many islands and islets, its microclimate that warms the sea and its gentle way of life, the Gulf of Morbihan is one of Brittany’s most beautiful landscapes to discover during the summer in France.
Morbihan means ‘little sea’ in the local language, a place where you can sail or kayak sheltered from the vagaries of the Atlantic Ocean. Here you can visit lively towns, mysterious châteaux, prehistoric sites and some of the prettiest coastal towns.
Finally, the Gulf of Morbihan is a great place to immerse yourself in Brittany’s culinary heritage: seafood, crêpes and other traditional dishes.
The best way to explore the Gulf of Morbihan is by car, but you can also base yourself in Vannes and visit other places on day trips.
Situated on the River Tarn, this city is perhaps best known for the Cathedral of Sainte-Cécile, an impressive example of Gothic architecture that also houses some valuable frescoes. This magnificent cathedral presides over the Cité Episcopale, a walled medieval quarter that has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There are also some great cafés and restaurants (so you’ll be spoilt for choice when you visit), but if you really want to indulge, be sure to visit one of the local street markets, which offer everything from farm-fresh vegetables and fruit to delicious breads, meats and cheeses, so you can pack yourself a picnic to enjoy in the sunshine.
This city was once the centre of Western Christendom in the Middle Ages and is an absolutely magnificent place to visit. You can visit the Palace of the Popes, a 14th-century building that hosted no fewer than six papal conclaves.
There’s also a very interesting street market, as well as the Pont d’Avignon – the remains of a 12th-century bridge (much more impressive than it looks).
If you’re more interested in history than beaches (or just want a change of pace), Avignon Cathedral is a great place to visit! Alternatively, if you just want to stroll around and relax, head to the Jardin des Dômes.
Avignon in August is also the ideal base for exploring the lavender fields of Provence and the hilltop villages of the Luberon.
Carcassonne is home to a magnificent medieval castle and is generally a really charming place to visit in the south of France!
Situated on the banks of the River Aude, the walls that surround the oldest parts of the city have sections that date back to the 4th century, although the whole was largely reinforced nine centuries later.
These ancient walls were then abandoned and fell into ruin before being restored at the end of the 19th century.
Widely regarded as one of the most picturesque villages in France (seriously, some of the best places to visit in France are its villages), Lourmarin is surrounded by stunning mountains and lush orchards. Set on a hill, you don’t even need to have arrived in the village to fall head over heels in love with it. It’s as beautiful from afar as it is indoors.
One of the best places to dine is Le Numero 9, an extraordinary restaurant on Rue de Temple (you’ll thank me later). This restaurant prides itself on an ever-changing menu that focuses on fresh ingredients that don’t have to travel long distances to get to your table.
The lavender fields of Provence
Summer in Provence is hot and busy, but it’s a good time to visit the lavender fields. Known as “the blue gold”, the lavender fields are one of the main sites to visit in Provence.
It’s one of the best places to visit in France from June to August, when the lavender fields are in full bloom. There are four main areas to see lavender in Provence.
Aix-en-Provence and Avignon are two good starting points for discovering the lavender fields. The best way to explore the lavender fields is by car and there are also lavender tours with transport from these towns.
Steeped in medieval history, this thousand-year-old walled town is an impressive place to visit in France in August.
You can easily spend a lazy morning watching the locals and tourists come and go in the Place du Jeu de Boules, the town’s lively gathering place.
Feeling hungry? Don’t miss lunch at La Colombe d’Or – a restaurant renowned for its traditional French delicacies!
This place was originally an inn with an adjoining tavern that was known as the haunt of famous artists such as Chagall, Matisse and Picasso. Works by these artists are still scattered around the property today. Bear in mind that the restaurant is very busy, so book well in advance.
Situated close to the Spanish border and crossed by the River Garonne, Toulouse is known as the Pink City due to the pink-coloured stone used in the construction of the city’s magnificent buildings.
It’s ideal for anyone who wants to experience the culture and cuisine of the South of France at its best but doesn’t like the crowds of other (larger) French cities, making it one of the best places in France to visit for a more relaxed break.
The Basilica of Saint-Sernin is widely regarded as one of the most impressive churches in the country, while the town square is always a great place for a leisurely stroll and fantastic street food.
This large port city has been nicknamed Little Venice, due to its many canals.
There are many beautiful beaches, as well as numerous museums housing impressive collections of art.
If you’re feeling adventurous (or feel like getting some exercise), you can climb Mont St. Clair, a relatively steep hike that offers breathtaking views.
If, however, you just want to sit back and relax (you are on holiday, after all), there are some great places to go for some delicious food – one of which is La Coquerie, which doesn’t have a menu, but offers the freshest and finest produce on the market every day.
If you’re looking for a pastoral paradise in France during the summer, head to the French Alps. This unique mountain range is home to stunning scenery, pristine lakes and great hiking.
Nature lovers will be delighted in the French Alps: the Vanoise, Ecrins and Mercantour national parks are extraordinary.
Sports enthusiasts will be spoilt for choice during their summer holidays in the French Alps: mountaineering in the Mont Blanc massif, paragliding over Lake Annecy, rafting and kayaking in the upper Ubaye valley, and an endless list of beautiful hikes.
Reunion Island is one of the French islands in the Indian Ocean, situated between the islands of Madagascar and Mauritius. Nicknamed “the intense island”, Réunion is a land of contrasts and a concentrate of adventure, exoticism and different flavours.
With 40% of its territory classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this marvellous island is a paradise for nature lovers, known for its volcanic and forested interior, its coral reefs and its beaches.
There’s never a bad time to visit Réunion, but hikers will certainly prefer to explore the island during the summer months in France (European summer), which correspond to the island’s dry season. The dry season on Réunion runs from May to November, with average temperatures between 25°C and 18°C.
If you want to combine natural wonders with sightseeing, Réunion has a large number of 18th-century colonial buildings and several museums worth visiting. The colourful market in Saint-Paul is also well worth exploring.
Vallée d’Ossau (Ossau Valley)
The Ossau Valley is one of three valleys in the French Pyrenees. It lies between the plain of Pau and the Spanish border, in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region.
Less well known than the French Alps, the Ossau Valley is a real hidden gem, with endless outdoor activities for adrenalin-seekers.
If you visit this part of France in August, it’s festival time in the villages, with music and events for all the family.
Where is the hottest in France in August?
The hottest regions in France in August are Provence, the Dordogne, Carcassonne and the Côte d’Azur, but heatwaves can affect the whole country.
Is August a good time to visit Paris?
The advantage of visiting Paris in August is that many Parisians leave the city for the whole month to go on holiday. As a result, the city is much less crowded and can be more pleasant to walk around. The downside is that it can be very hot and humid in the capital during the August heatwaves. Northern France and the Atlantic coast may be a better option. Alternatively, travel earlier in the summer or in early or mid-autumn.
What should you pack for a summer holiday in France?
There are a few essentials for a beach holiday. You’ll need sun protection for your skin, sunglasses for your eyes and shoes that you can wear on and off the sand.
Flip-flops are great for getting from place to place (for example, walking from your hotel to get an ice cream), but if you’re planning to spend a lot of time on the beach, it might be worth investing in a good pair of water shoes or a versatile pair of sandals that can be worn on both land and water.
If you like to keep active on holiday, don’t hesitate to pack your good old sports shoes: you’ll have plenty of opportunities to use them!