Many of our clients ask us, before they arrive in France, what they can expect in the way of weather, so that they can pack accordingly. The short answer is: everything.
In the good old days, when the weather here was predictably unpredictable, we used to say that our springs are hopelessly unpredictable (might be gorgeous, or might be cold and damp) all the way until summer. Nor could one count much on the summer weather, until August. July might bring warm weather, or more of the cold and damp.
We would add that the most reliable part of the year is the second half of August until the middle of October, when we often have lovely Indian summers. To finish the subject we would observe that winters set in sometime during the course of November, and are usually not too severe, with temperatures rarely dropping below zero (particularly in Paris).
In the last few years all of this has changed to become even more unpredictable: our recent winters have been uncharacteristically severe and our summers colder and damper than they used be. Our springs and autumns, however, remain pretty much the way they used to be. When you boil it all down, you are left with only one period when the weather in France is predictably nice: the Indian summers.
There are seven jet streams (sometimes more) that converge over the North Sea, the interplay of which produces our weather. Foreseeing the result is something so devilishly difficult to predict as to relieve our weathermen of any pretence of responsibility for their dismal predictive records.
Now that we have convinced you that the weather in France can not be known in advance, that it has become unpredictably unpredictable, what are you supposed to pack on your next trip to France? Take the season you are in, and note the one that came before and the one that will follow. Be prepared for all three.
Also be prepared for precipitation and fair weather. Above all, plan on dressing in layers that you can add on or peel off so that you can easily adapt to what you get. Finally, console yourself with the thought that, if you don’t like the weather, you will only have to wait a few minutes for it to change.