France in April is when the flowers are blooming and sunlight has replaced the grey skies. The days are longer and the nights are mild. In other words, does it get any better than this?
Spring is in the air and it’s time to travel! If you are looking to avoid the tourist crush of summer, April is a wonderful time to visit France. Hotel prices and airfare are slightly lower, and you get all those lovely châteaux and musuems to yourself.
Which is not to say that there isn’t any rain, because let’s face it, it rains a lot in Paris. But even the rain seems like a sign of the upcoming spring, rather than of a foreboding grey winter.
Everything is coming back to life, from outdoor farmers’ markets to restaurant terrasses. Yes, the Palais de Versailles is nice in winter as well, but if you are walking into its magnificent garden, you want to see the trees in bloom.
And if you are heading down to the south of France, well there is never really a bad time to visit. So with that, let’s check out the top travel tips for visiting France in April, shall we? Allons-y!
The weather in April in Paris and the northern part of France tends to fluctuate between sunny and clouds with rain, so it is best to be prepared for all eventualities.
Average temperatures in April in major cities across France are:
- Paris – 10.7 °C (51.2 °F)
- Lyon – 11.2 °C (52.2 °F)
- Marseille – 13.3 °C (55.9 °F)
- Bordeaux – 12.5 °C (54.5 °F)
- Lille – 9.9 °C (49.9 °F)
- Strasbourg – 10.6 °C (51.2 °F)
- Deauville – 10.2 °C (50.3 °F)
The south of France will have clearer skies, but watch out for those mistral winds in Marseille and along the French Riviera coastline that make the weather feel colder than it should.
Where to go
With fewer crowds in April, Paris is a great place to head to if you wish to see all the major museums and attractions. There are plenty of places like Mont Saint Michel and Château de Fontainebleau that made for great day trips from Paris if you plan to base yourself in the City of Lights for a few days.
Nearby Loire Valley wine region and Champagne are also wonderful places to visit if you want to experience some beautiful châteaux and bubbly champagne and crémants.
If you are looking for some winter sports in the Alps however, you should head to the ski resorts that are bigger like Val Thorens or Serre Chevalier, as lower stations may have poorer snow conditions.
If you enjoy rugby, April is the finale of the rugby season so if you happen to be in Toulouse at the time, try to catch a game. Toulouse is one of the strongest teams in the French rugby league over the past decade so chances are high that they will be in the finale.
Nearby to Toulouse is the city of Arles which holds a large Easter feria bull-fighting festival in April (as well as in September). This area is part of the Camargue department near the French-Spanish border, and a strong Spanish influence. If you want to try the French version of paella and tapas, you will love travelling in this area of Provence and the Occitanie.
There are also several villages nearby that have been bestowed the title of plus beaux village de France, so this is the perfect time to visit before the summer tourists arrive.
And for something even more interesting, you can head to the town of Vittel in the Vosges department. April is when it holds its famous annual foire aux grenouilles (meaning “frog legs festival”).
April Holidays, Events, and Festivals
There are not a lot of public holidays or big events taking place in France in October, but there are a few local festivities that take place all over the country. Along with April fool’s day, the main festivities and holidays in April include:
1. Lundi de Paques – Easter Monday
Because Easter follows the liturgical calendar, it sometimes falls in March and sometimes in April.
- Public holiday in France: Yes
- When: Based on the Jewish calendar, Easter falls on the Sunday after the Passover full moon
While Good Friday is usually the public holiday in North America, in France it is Easter Monday. Only Alsace and Moselle have Good Friday off as well. It usually marks the end of carnival season as well, with most of the major carnivals wrapping up by the end of march.
An interesting note is that there is no Easter Bunny in France. Lapins (rabbits) are considered a delicacy so it would be difficult to explain to your little French kid why you are eating that cute little rabbit who gave you some chocolate eggs.
2. Spring School Holidays
It has been 6 weeks since the winter school holidays, so time for school to be out for 2 weeks again! Unlike the ski holidays of February, no one has any idea what to do with the kids, so its off to the grandparents or the centre de loisirs (leisure center).
If you are planning to visit places like Disneyland Paris, Parc Asterix, or other children’s attractions, you should expect longer lines and more crowds during this period.
What to Pack
France in April is a bit warmer than March, but you will still need a light jacket. But it does rain a lot, especially in Paris, so you will want to pack your rain boots and an umbrella.
You can find more French style tips here.
If you enjoyed reading this article, you may enjoy reading more about events in France in other months of the year. A bientôt!