Although February is in the middle of the colder off-season in France, those who visit during this month will be able to enjoy some unexpected surprises and wild parties. There are fewer people to contend with, and all over France, Carnaval is the largest celebration of the year. Below is our list of the best events and places to visit in France in February
France is known for being drizzly and damp. You should expect temperatures between 36-46 deg F (3-8 deg C), if you plan to make Paris your capital. There is also the possibility of snow and showers. You can expect temperatures of between 28-46degF (2-8degC in the northeast), 45-48 deg F (9-0 deg C in the Atlantic) and 43-55 deg F (6-13 deg C in the south) if you plan to travel the country. You should check the weather forecast before you leave for your destination in February to ensure you have winter gear, waterproof boots and a windproof jacket.
Crowds and Costs
Even though February is the busiest month of the year, it’s still considered off-season in most parts of the country. Because of the weather and limited daylight hours, this is a slower time to travel to France. Hotels and flights will be cheaper than usual (with the exception ski resorts). Book your ski/snowboard vacation in advance if you plan on taking it.
March also marks the beginning of spring, with Mardi Gras celebrations in the country and Carnival celebrations (depending upon the Catholic calendar). It is best to make reservations in advance for accommodation and dining establishments. You should also be aware that most hotels, bars, and restaurants are closed on the islands and in coastal towns. However, there is always something open. Ferries to Corsica run on a reduced schedule. These are great options when searching for the best places to visit in France in February.
Where to go
People who love to party will be pleased to learn that many of the country’s most popular festivals take place in February and March, just before Easter. You’ll find Mardi Gras celebrations no matter where you live in the country. Some last for weeks, while others can go on for months. on end. For the Limoux Carnaval, you’ll need to travel to Languedoc-Roussillon, southern France. Here you will see parades of musicians and tongue-in-cheek revelers dancing through narrow streets. You can also join the Nice Carnaval raucous as you enjoy the oldest-running carnival scene: parades of masked performers, grosse tete puppets and theme-decorated vehicles.
There are also smaller events that can be found all over the country. These can be both stunning and confusing and include Dunkirk’s noisy seafaring carnival, Strasbourg’s well-rehearsed event which has around 3,000 participants, or the Mulhouse Carnaval at the border of Germany and Switzerland for an international taste.
There are many cities in France that make for the ideal getaway for couples when looking for the best places to visit in France in February. It is one of the most romantic countries on the planet. One option is to visit the City of Lights, where you can enjoy a more intimate experience at some of Paris’s most popular attractions. You can see world-class art at Louvre, visit the Notre Dame Cathedral, Eiffel Tower, or do as the French and enjoy a romantic dinner cruise along the Seine.
You can also visit Chartres, a small town just outside Paris. The North Tower of the Gothic Cathedral is one of the most beautiful places in the world. You can buy flowers for your sweetie in Nice at Cours Saleya. Or, you can stroll hand-in-hand among the half-timbered black and white houses of Rouen’s center.
What to do
Even though there are no grapes on the vine in February, it is still a great time to visit France’s wineries. You’ll be able to have a more comprehensive and intimate experience because there are less tourists competing for winemaker’s attention. You might also find better service at hotels and restaurants if you eat unhurried and enjoy local and seasonal food. La Percee du Vin Jaune is a celebration of oak-aged “yellow wine” if you’re in Jura’s central-eastern region. A certainty on our list of the best places to visit in France in February.
The days are longer than usual, which makes it a great time to enjoy winter activities and cultural events that celebrate spring’s return. You can enjoy fresh powder on any of France’s outstanding ski slopes, or try something new like snowshoeing or sledding. If you don’t like the idea of being outside in the cold, there are plenty of other activities that can be enjoyed. Warm up with a warm drink and a fire in an alpine ski chalet.
If you are from a northern climate and want to see less snow, then Menton is the place for you. You can stroll along the sunny Cote d’Azur to take part in their colorful Fete du Citron (Lemon Festival). You can also visit the medieval village Tourrettes-sur-Loup to enjoy their welcoming-the-spring Violet Fete. You might even be able join their flower battle if you time it correctly.
Shopping is big in France’s major cities and should always be considered on a list of the best places to visit in France in February. February marks the end of France’s annual winter sale period. Here you will find amazing bargains in all the fashionable boutiques and retail shops located in cities such as Lyon, Montpellier, Lille and Montpellier. Look out for signs that say soldes (sale) on store windows. There are great deals to be found in Paris, but don’t expect too much.
Events in February
Fete du citron (Menton Lemon Festival). A spring festival celebrating the fruit is held in Menton (also known as Cite des Citrons) on the French Riviera. It lasts for two weeks. The streets are lined with impressively large, ornately decorated, fruit-covered floats. There is also a sale of jams, soaps and perfumes made from lemons.
Le Carnaval. Each year, 40 days before Easter on a liturgical calendar in France, Carnival celebrations are held between January and April. However, they often fall in February. It is the longest-lasting two-week event on the French Riviera and attracts more than one million people.