Weather - Cantal, France
On this page you'll find information about the climate or average weather conditions that can be expected in the Cantal region of Auvergne in France for our independent and guided walking holidays.
Our independent walking holiday in the Cantal starts from mid May in order to give sufficient time for the winter snow to melt on the highest ridges and summits.
France has a temperate climate (although there are wide temperature differences between summer and winter) and is largely influenced by Atlantic weather systems. Southern France benefits from a warm Mediterranean climate whilst eastern France is partially influenced by a continental air mass.
The Cantal is at the junction between these different air masses and their respective influence depends on the prevailing wind directions. The western slopes of the mountains and summits receive more rainfall than the eastern slopes and valleys.
All observations are for Aurillac which is situated in the western Cantal. Likely differences between these values and those experienced in the walking areas are highlighted below.
The weather in the Cantal is influenced to a large extent by its altitude. This makes for a wetter climate than you would otherwise get for its southern location. The summits receive additional rain compared to the valleys, often in the form of snow in the winter and in storms in the summer. The region has 13 rainy days per month in May falling to 10 in June and only 8 in July. August and September are also relatively dry months with only 9 days with some rain.
Temperatures vary with altitude and so there will be a difference between the average temperatures listed below and those experienced whilst walking on the summits which will also be influenced by wind conditions. Temperatures at Aurillac which is already over 600m above sea level are as follows: 17°C in May, 20°C in June and September, 23.5°C in July and August, and 15°C in October. On average temperatures on the summits would be about 5 - 6°C cooler.
The Cantal is a relatively sunny location, more so than the more northern mountains of Auvergne, making it an ideal location for a walking holiday. Average sunshine totals amount to 7 hours per day in May and June, rising to 9 hours in July and August. September is similar to May but October is much less sunny. The sun's strength means that you must protect yourself against the sun even on overcast days.
In summary, a walking holiday in the Cantal will have relatively warm and sunny weather from May to October compared to mountainous areas in the UK. July and August are the warmest and driest months. The valleys could be uncomfortably hot from mid July to mid August. June and September are ideal months with June being slightly sunnier than September but also slightly wetter on average. The end of May is warmer and sunnier than the beginning of October, but it is also wetter.
Walking holidays in the Cantal in late spring benefit from a vibrant, lush green landscape which shows off the beautiful mountains to their best.
Find out more information about the Cantal mountains