Saturday, 5 January 2013

Winter in the South of France

People often ask me what’s the weather like here in winter and it is hard not to sound smug but the obvious answer is “Sunny”.  The Languedoc boasts over 300 days of sunshine per year and checking that you have your sunglasses with you when you leave the house is as natural as carrying an umbrella in the UK. 

Talking of rain; it doesn’t very much and when it does rain it seems to be during the night – seriously!  Having said that, this year we have had a couple of very bad days of rainstorms where there were flood alerts but occasions like this are very rare.  You might notice when walking around the towns that the drainpipes on buildings empty directly onto the pavements rather than into drains – definitely not designed for practical use! 

The Mediterranean climate is very similar to the people who live here – gentle & easy to live with.  Winters are mild and the summers are pleasantly warm – although there are exceptions.  I have just looked up some ‘average’ temperatures and I see that January should be around 12 degrees (today it was 22 degrees on our terrace), and last August we had a ferocious heatwave where temperatures hit the high thirties rather than the 28 degree average temperature suggested.

The small price we have to pay for this wonderful climate is that we occasionally have to endure the Tramontane Wind.  This is a strong, chilly wind that comes from the North-West and can gust up to 100kmh.  There seems to be no rhyme or reason for why it starts and every elderly resident here has a different theory on how long it will last (5 days is my longest experience) but one thing is for sure – it blows away any threatening looking clouds in the winter and makes the summer heat bearable.

Today is January 5th and the sun has been shining all day and the sky is a brilliant blue. We have been for a long walk on an almost deserted beach, had lunch sitting outside at a restaurant, and relaxed on our terrace at home soaking up the afternoon sunshine. How is the weather with you.....?!


  1. Hi Caroline, same here in Aix-en-Provence! Windows wide open the whole day today; lunch outside, it's so hard to believe it's early January. The 22 degrees on your terrace is in the sun though . . . :-) We don't have the icy Tramontane here in Provence, but the Mistral wind can be very cold in winter. It's much stronger nearer the Rhone river and rarely a problem near Aix. Enjoy the blue skies!

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