Spring offers the best weather to visitors, with beach tourism picking up in May. Temperatures aren't too bad in autumn, although the short days mean limited sunlight and the cold starts to make itself felt towards the end of the season, even along the Côte d'Azur. Mid-July through to the end of August is when most city dwellers take their annual five weeks' vacation to the coasts and mountains, and the half-desolate cities tend to shut down a bit accordingly. The same happens during February and March.
France has a predominantly temperate climate, with mild winters, except in mountain areas and the northeast. The Atlantic has a profound impact on the northwest, where the weather is characterised by high humidity, often violent westerly winds and lots of rain. France's northeast has a classic continental climate, with fairly hot summers and cold winters. Midway between the two, the Paris basin boasts the nation's lowest annual precipitation, but rainfall patterns are erratic. The southern coastal plains are subject to a pleasant Mediterranean climate: frost is rare, spring and autumn downpours are sudden but brief and summer is virtually without rain. The south is also the region of the mistral, a cold, dry wind that blows down the Rhône Valley for about 100 days a year.
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This luxury hotel in the heart of the Triangle d'Or is a haven of serenity and a marvel of Empire-style decor.
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