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The Sunniest Departments in France 2020

Friday 13 August 2021

Although last year it was a relatively normal year in the south, sunshine levels in the north were above average.

According to Meteo France, the north of France bathed in 10% more sunshine than normal, as also occurred in 2019. The surplus locally exceeded 20% from the Pays de la Loire, along the northern and north-eastern borders, Paris, and the departments of Nièvre and the Loire-Atlantique.

Good reason then why the list of the top 25 departments with the highest level of sunshine last year are strewn with those from the more northly regions - Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and ‎Bourgogne-Franche-Comté.

However, as might be expected, the region of Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur tops the table as the sunniest region in mainland France, with their five departments leading the pack.

Sunniest department of the year was the Bouches-du-Rhône, with 2,820 hours of sunshine, higher than occurred in 2019 (2,725). The department nearly always tops the table.

Those departments that fell out of the top 25 this year were Aube (Grand Est), Corrèze (Nouvelle-Aquitaine), Charente (Nouvelle-Aquitaine), Marne (Grand Est), Haute-Marne (Grand Est), Dordogne (Nouvelle-Aquitaine), Côte-d'Or (‎Bourgogne-Franche-Comté), Vienne (Nouvelle-Aquitaine), and Yonne (‎Bourgogne-Franche-Comté).

The departments with the lowest average hours of sunshine (1500 to 1800 hours) were Somme (Hauts de France), Moselle (Grand Est), Meuse (Grant Est), Savoie (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes), Val-d'Oise (Ile-de-France), Aube (Grand Est), Meurthe-et-Moselle (Grand Est), Seine-Maritime (Normandy) and Eure (Normandy).

The national average level of sunshine in France last year was 2,089 hours.

Many French departments are large, with different climate zones within them, so the table below should only be used as a general guide.

Sunshine Hours By Department 2020
NoDepartment (Region)Hours
1Bouches-du-Rhône (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur)
2Var (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur)
3Vaucluse (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur)
4Alpes-de-Haute-Provence (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur)
Hautes-Alpes (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur)2,636
6Gard (Occitanie)
7Drôme (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)2,536
8Hérault (Occitanie)2,518
9Alpes-Maritimes (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur)
10Pyrénées-Orientales (Occitanie)
11Ardèche (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)2,354
12Haut-Rhin (Grand Est)
13Aude (Occitanie)
14Tarn (Occitanie)
15 Charente Maritime (Nouvelle-Aquitaine)2,241
16Aveyron (Occitanie)
17Rhône (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)
18Cantal (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)
19Gironde (Nouvelle-Aquitaine)
21Ain (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)
22Loire (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)
23Loire-Atlantique (Pays de Loire)
24Haut-Loire (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)
25Nièvre (‎Bourgogne-Franche-Comté)


The average annual temperature for the country was 14.1°C, an increase of 1.5°C over the annual average (as measured over the period 1981-2010) and the hottest year since records in 1900.

The hottest day occurred in the departments of Bouches-du-Rhône and Gard, where the temperature reached +42°C. A temperature of +40°C/+41°C was reached in 60 other departments.

Coldest day of the year occurred in Aveyron, Gard, Lozere, and Hérault, when temperatures fell to -9°C, figures which illustrate the contrasting weather patterns in southern in France.


The level of rainfall in the year over the whole country was normal. The highest level of rainfall occurred in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques (1,334mm) followed by Finistère, Hautes-Pyrénées, Landes, Tarn-et-Garonne, Haut-Vienne, Ariège and Manche, who all recorded over 1,000 mm of rain.  The driest departments were Bouches-du-Rhône, Var and Vaucluse, who all recorded under 500 mm of rain.

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