Is the French climate all it's cracked up to be? How much has it changed in recent decades?

This is a good and detailed article discussing the climate of Limousin. However I would say it is over ten years out of date and I don’t recognise much of what is stated in the article about Haute Correze. Mentions the Limousin is not particularly windy, but our springs and summer have been particularly windy for the last few years.

We only live at 520m asl, and prior to that at 330m asl, the last really heavy snowfall that stayed on the ground nearly 2 months was back in 2009. We get snow every year still, but the quantity and duration are definitely on the wane. Being further east as you rightly point out, the weather is drier compared to the Mille Vache plateau, and we are very fortunate to have as much sunshine per year as in Gap (so I’ve been told), whereas even 30 min further north the weather is more often overcast.

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Where are you now in France Tory?

About 50km from Swiss border. The top half of our land is barely covered limestone, and the bottom half is marais. With temperatures from -20 to +35 and the frequent 24 hours swings of 25 degrees gardening can be a challenge. We have a lot of portable windbreaks and fleece and can be seen at midnight hauling stuff out to protect buds from late frosts. But we are starting to learn what likes it here, and things that like it grow bigger and better than anywhere else - we have over 3m high eupatorium.


In the Perigord blanc - so middle of Dordogne.

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I think it’s so funny brits are saying that the weather is harsh in the uk when me when thinking about me growing up in Sweden with having to go to school in minus 25 in A snow storm Makes me laugh :joy:


Here in 24 it’s been raining for like 2 months now that’s a little depressing but I whold not trade it for the minus weather back home hopefully better whether next week

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I lived 8 years by the sea between Toulon and Hyères and have been in the West Lyonnais region for 15 years or so. The South was predictably dry and sunny most of the time but seems to be getting longer rainy periods now, according to friends down there . This is obviously relative as ‘longer’ means 3 or 4 days of rain in-between the sunny bits instead of 1 or 2 :blush:, during the winter months, but it does have an impact on local flooding. Here, near Lyon, the weather has definitely changed as snowfall has become rarer for the last 5 or 6 years, winters are warmer (minimum minus 2 or 3 at its coldest instead if minus 5 or less) and summers are longer and warmer. We get a lot more wind now as well, sometimes even the Mistral, which never started this far north of the Rhone Valley before. My husband grew up here and has noticed the warming and especially the changing wind patterns. There is also less rain and the water table level has been dropping over several years. Climate change is definitely making its mark. I wonder what we’d be writing here in another 10 years’ time!

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I think climate change is happening at such a pace now. I’ve seen changes in the last 15 years in the southern part of the massif central (aveyron and tarn) as elsewhere. A couple of years ago we spent christmas in ax-les-thermes and went vtt and walking in bright sunshine and 15°! The massif central has so many different climates from the north west, which must be one of the wettest places in France as it collects everything that the atlantic throws at it, just simple mechanics as the clouds are forced to rise by the relief and so cool and the water vapour forms droplets and it rains. stay at the same latitude and go across to clerment or le puy and you have two of the driest places in France as there’s no rain left by the time the air gets across to them. Down south it depends on whether the weather is coming from the atlantic, but by the time it gets to us there’s often not a lot of moisture left (exept this year which is wet, wet, wet!) or once the autan blows we get a foehn effect and nice dry and warm air from the med or north africa but wind that’d “bulls’ horns off”. Perso, I’d have gone for the ariège everytime over the limousin but then I’m a sudiste :wink:
And obviously, being a buraliste I get to talk weather day in day out and everyone agrees, it’s changed loads. My inlaws have been farming at 700m in the aveyron all their lives and they’ll confirm the changes like everyone else I know.


Oh and a few years back when discussion about climate change started, TF1 did a forecast for 2050… last summer they pulled out that forecast and we were already hitting those temperatures and extreme weather situations!

Our present house hadn’t moved when we bought it 8 years ago (old farmhouse with walls made of mud (local clay)), in the last three years it’s been dancing around and cracking up everywhere, mates have the same problem as the clay soil is moving too much with the extremes between constant summer droughts and very wet spells. It’s now a national problem and talked about regularly in the media.

Well Martin, harsh in a different way…in a British way. The UK is not exactly famed for having a great climate! I can tell you having lived in Snowdonia and the Scottish Highlands that the weather can be harsh, not especially snow and cold, but weeks and months of rain and rain and rain and rain. No blue skies, lack of sunshine and warmth (and that’s just the summers!!) Can really get to you after a few unbroken months of it. When I was a kid growing up in rural Shropshire in the 1970s and 1980s we did have a few minus 23 temperatures and over a metre of snow one winter.

Yes, nice. We checked out that area back in 2012-13 but decided on Charente, then moved to Limousin a few years back. I don’t think there is any escaping the extreme weather. We all just have to learn to deal with it.

Great post Andrew. Yes we did like Ariege the scenery was spectacular, but we wanted a property with a hectare or so of land and the prices were too high for us compared to Limousin.
We love it here when the weather is good, however even the summers are becoming too hot for comfort. Spring and Autumn are my favourite seasons. Winters are becoming seriously grim on a par with the UK, i.e cool, wet and virtually permanently grey.

That in a nutshell is why we would probably stay put rather than consider moving to a different part of the country.


In Charente, until Christmas we have had mostly clear blue skies.
Yes it is grey and miserable now, but hopefully that will be over by the beginning to mid-March, unlike the UK which seems to have 6 months minimum grey skies.
I can remember two consecutive years in England were it was impossible to have a decent BBQ.

We got out the BBQ at new year…ate indoors, but food cooked outside as lovely crisp blue sky days.

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We had a really nice Autumn and early winter this year mostly blue skies and did not pull out the bedding plants out until we got our first frosts on the 15th December, snow drops and daffodils are out early this year, earliest daffodils in flower since I have been at this house.


I can only speak from my experience here in the Plateau Millevaches. We moved here in 2017 and our first summer was half decent and not too hot.

Winter 2017-18 had one notable cold spell with snow and severe cold (-15) for a few weeks. The rest of that winter was very wet and very grey with record breaking rainfall locally.

Winter 2018-19 had a couple of marginal snowy interludes (snowed and melted quickly). Grey and very wet the rest of the time.

Winter 2019-20 was virtually sunless and very, very wet and grey. Mild, no snow at all.

Winter 2020-21 started okay in December after a glorious and sunny November. White Xmas and some cold, frosty and sunny days. Since the thaw in mid January it has been all down hill and we haven’t had a sunny day since early January…so nearly four weeks without hardly seeing the sun. Copious rain, flooding and waterlogging since.

Three out of our four summers here have been blisteringly hot and dry.

We know friends who lived in the Charente until September last year and they said that all the recent winters have been mainly wet, mild and grey. Only our first winter in Charente (2014-15) was decent. I’m just trying to make the point that climate change is seeing a rapid and significant decline in the formerly quite reliable French climate.

Great Photo!!

Your dog is also out early !! Great photo.