The Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region is known for its warm Mediterranean climate and never-ending, sun-drenched summer days. It is one of France’s sunniest regions. However, various micro-climates and other variations across the region mean that the climate ranges from Alpine, to the north of Nice, to continental, to the north of the Vaucluse department.
In Alpes-Maritimes, the wind is not usually as strong and sea winds bring warm air and clouds from the south. In September there are violent storms when temperatures drop in the mountains and the resulting cold air meets warm air blowing in from the south.
One of the Mediterranean climate’s other significant features is the famous Mistral, a cold, dry, north wind that regularly exceeds 100 kilometres an hour. On average, the Mistral blows on around 100 days every year, affecting the west of the region more than the east, which is protected by the Alps.
Average annual rainfall in the region is close to the national average. However, the region is not affected by the type of grey drizzle so familiar to more northerly areas.
The rain, when it comes, falls as huge downpours in a short space of time, quenching the whole landscape’s thirst with a short, violent, shower. It rains slightly more often in the southern Alps and temperatures are lower at these higher altitudes. Nevertheless, the valleys of the southern Alps still enjoy a Mediterranean climate.
Average temperatures vary somewhat across the region.
Toulon, in the Var department, can boast more hours of sunshine than any other town in France, and the temperature on the coast ranges from around 28°C in August to 5.5°C in January. Temperatures are somewhat cooler inland and colder still in the mountains, with summer temperatures averaging 23°C.
The high altitudes in the mountains of the Alpes de Haute-Provence department, and the Mediterranean warmth of its valleys, mean that summer temperatures here can be amongst the highest and lowest in France.
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