Springtime in France is a very special time of year.
This new season is fresh with the promise of warmer days, delicious fresh fruit and vegetables and the glory of colourful Spring wildflowers.
Discover France in the spring and enjoy all that this early season has to offer.
Fresh spring produce
Life in France orientates around food. It’s a fact!
As Spring takes hold, the market stalls in villages throughout France become increasingly more colourful with fresh produce that wakes up the taste buds after a winter of relative stodge.
From March onwards, we start to see piles of asparagus on the stalls, along with bundles of rhubarb, spring chard and spinach as well as bags of broad beans which are all hoovered up greedily by the locals.
But the most eagerly anticipated fruits are the first Gariguette strawberries that appear on market stalls in April.
They have a surprisingly full flavour and soft texture for such an early season strawberry and are a huge contrast to the early season, cheaper Spanish strawberries that tend to flood the market in the Spring.
Once the Gariguettes have appeared, we know that strawberries will be a permanent fixture at the markets all the way through to September. Hurrah!
As Spring gets into its stride, the meals that appear on the tables of many B&Bs and on the menus of restaurants in France become ever more imaginative and packed full of fresh flavours.
Enjoy the great outdoors
Night time temperatures may still get down to single digits, but, during the day, you can expect temperatures in Spring to reach the mid 20s C, especially in the South and South Western areas of the country that are often affected by the North African and Mediterranean weather systems.
Visit France in the Spring and you can look forward to topping up your vitamin D levels after those daylight deprived winter days!
Spring is also the ideal time for hiking in the moyenne montagne and foothills of the Pyrenees where colourful spring wildflowers carpet the meadows and woodland floors.
After being cooped up indoors during the winter months, the fresh clean mountain air and gentle exercise is welcomed by both body and soul.
But be warned, it’s easy to underestimate the strength of the sun in the south of France even in springtime.
Shorts and shirt sleeves mean the risk of sunburn is ever-present. Dig out that sun cream that has been languishing in the drawer since last summer and be sure to bring it with you on your Spring break in France.
Check out our partner B&Bs in the mountains of France here.
Easter festivities in France
Easter is one of those occasions at which the French excel. It’s an important holiday and a traditional time for families to gather together.
Visit France during the Easter holidays and take the kids on one of the many ‘Chasse aux oeufs’ or Easter egg hunts that take place at numerous venues across the country.
Head to the Loire Valley for your Easter break and take part in an Easter egg hunt in the grounds of one of the many family-friendly chateaux in the area.
Easter is also a time for creative shopkeepers to let loose with seasonal window displays of rabbits, chickens, eggs and flowers.
Artisanal chocolate makers are in their element too, creating not only rabbits and chickens but also bells or ‘cloches’ out of chocolate too.
France is an intensely Catholic country and tradition dictates that church bells fall silent between Good Friday and Easter Sunday to commemorate Christ’s death and resurrection.
The enjoyment of chocolate bells on Easter Sunday is a nod to this religious tradition!
The return of migrating birds
The sight and sound of migrating birds returning from their winter homes in Africa is a sure sign that Spring is here!
One of the most iconic migrating bird species is the white stork which is a symbol of new life and fertility.
Every spring, these fabulous birds return to their nests on the rooftops and chimneys of Alsace in eastern France.
Storks are synonymous with Alsace, thanks in no small part to the stork conservation centre in Hunawihr. You must make a point of visiting the centre if Alsace is on your itinerary this year.
In many towns and villages in Alsace, horizontal cart wheels have been placed on the top of poles and chimneys to serve as a base for stork nests.
In certain areas of the foothills of the Pyrenees, nesting platforms have been created atop electricity pylons which are quickly occupied by returning storks as their breeding season begins.
They are quite a sight to behold!
Cheap spring travel to France
Spring is still in the off season. Even over the Easter holidays, travelling to France is considerably cheaper than in the summer months.
Whether you are travelling to France by plane, train or by car, there are some great deals around if you’re prepared to do your research.
Accommodation in France is also great value in spring as low or mid season tariffs still apply, generally right up to the end of May.
Visit France in Spring for a short break or longer holiday and enjoy all that this rich and varied country has to offer at this beautiful time of year.