Wind Rose, AvignonAvignon's peak tourist season - boosted by its important theatre festival - is in July, but the climate is agreeable - if not as clement as in Aix or Marseille - for much of the year.

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This is a guide to the city's year-round climate. Scroll down the page to view the current four-day weather forecast for Avignon.

The best time to visit Avignon, from many visitors' point of view, is at any point between June and September. However it's entirely possible to relax outside from March onwards until as late as early November.

It all depends on the Mistral wind which, by tradition, has defined the climate (pictured top left: a wind rose).

According to some accounts, the very name of Avignon means "city of violent winds". And the local saying goes, "Avenie ventosa, sine vento venenosa, cum vento fastidiosa". In other words, "Windy Avignon / Pest-ridden when there is no wind / Wind-pestered when there is". You have been warned!

The Mistral (nothing to do with the poet Frédéric Mistral: the name means "masterly" in the provençal language) is a fierce, cold, dry wind from the north or north-west which roars down the Rhône Valley towards the coast.

Statistics on the prevalence of the Mistral are inconclusive. It appears that the numbers of days it blows can vary very widely from year to year.

One thing is certain: it can blow up at any time, can reach speeds of over 90 km (56 miles) an hour, can last for days and is usually, though not always, accompanied by bright blue skies and glorious sunshine.

Avignon annual climare chartIt is guaranteed to make temperatures plummet - and the wind chill factor makes it feel even colder.

In winter it's bitter. In summer it's a rarer occurrence and - looking on the bright side of things - comes as a welcome relief from the heat. Plus, it helps blast away those pesky midsummer mosquitos. On the minus side, arriving after a long period of drought, it brings with it the risk of forest fires.

Annual rainfall in AvignonAs well as being windier than either Aix en Provence or Marseille, Avignon also has a significantly higher annual rainfall. Both the city itself and, especially, Barthelasse Island have always been vulnerable to flooding.

And, being further inland, the papal city has a continental climate with greater extremes of temperature.

This means wider variations between day and night and Avignon is both colder than its southern neighbours in winter and hotter and more humid in the middle of summer.

 

 

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