In general the Languedoc climate is Mediteranean, with hot dry summers, rainy winters, and moderate springs and autumns. You can expect to get 300 days of sunshine a year in the Languedoc, but the region covers a large area, and for various reasons the weather can vary considerably within its borders.
After Corsica, the Languedoc-Roussillon region is the hottest in France, with average annual temperatures between 13.5°C and 15°C. Eus a town in the Pyrénées-Orientales département (one of the "plus beaux villages" in France) is the sunniest spot in the whole country.
The coastline, sheltered by mountains, tends to be sunnier than and warmer than the inland areas. The mountains of course tend to be cooler, and valleys damper.
The coastal plains of the Languedoc rarely freeze in winter due to the influence of the Mediterranean Sea. Summer temperatures are frequently in the eighties (30C +). Generally, the inland temperatures are a few degrees cooler in winter and a few degrees warmer in summer. Nîmes, reputed to be the hottest city in France, recorded a shade temperature of 43C (110F) in 2001. On the Languedoc plains the rainfall is about 28 inches a year. Summer rain is infrequent and the days are long and dry. Heavy rains come in autumn and sometimes in spring.
Some areas of the Languedoc have microclimates. For example neighbouring valleys in the foothills of the the Pyrenees ( Pirenčus, Pirineus, Pyrénées) may have very different weather patterns: one wet, the next dry and sunny.
The Languedoc weather is some of the most extreme in France. The Languedoc has not only the hottest summers, but also the highest winds. It has spectacular lightning storms, hailstorms that can strip a car of its paint, and occasional floods. In September 2002, 27 inches of rain fell in one day and caused severe flooding in areas of the Languedoc. A dam burst killing more than 20 people, flooding vineyards and ruining the vines. Such extremes are rare, and summers are consistently comfortable to hot.
In the north, dry winds like the Mistral,
and the Tramontane
blow during the summer months. The Tramontane
blows most frequently, and comes from the North-North-West
of France. A few days each year the Scirocco
(or Sirocco) blows, carrying a fine miasma of dust from
the North African deserts.
- January and February are the winter months. Lots of rain, occasional frosts and snowfalls on the plains. Consistent snow in the mountains.
- March and April are unpredictable, with glorious sunny interspersed with cloudy, rainy cool days.
- May and June are usually pleasant, with lots of sunshine and warm temperatures.
- July and August are hot and dry, with temperatures around 30° C. September can feel humid.
- October is often beautiful month. Days are warm and sunny.
- November and December are cooler but still very pleasant, with lots of sunshine.
click here to see typical monthly sunshine patterns in the Languedoc.
click here to see average monthly rainfall in the Languedoc.
click here to see average monthly humidity in the Languedoc.
click here to learn about winds in the Languedoc.
click here to learn about weather in the Languedoc Mountains.