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Where are the Sunniest Departments in France?

Friday 08 September 2017

Meteo France have recently released figures showing the sunshine levels in each department of France last year, so who were the winners and losers?

It will come as no surprise to learn that Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur takes the laurels as the sunniest region in France last year, with an average of 2,725 hours of sunshine.

POSTSCRIPT: The figures for 2018 can be found at Sunshine Departments of France 2018

They are followed by Languedoc-Roussillon with an average of 2,229 hours, and Midi-Pyrenees with 2,041 hours of sunshine. These two regions now form the new super region of Occitanie.

The region with the lowest average hours of sunshine was Lorraine (now part of the region of Grand Est) with 1,592 hours, and Upper Normandy (now part of a merged Normandy region) with 1,611 hours.

The national average level of sunshine in France is around 2,000 hours each year.

Drill down to a department level and the six administrative departments of Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur share between them the top six positions in the twenty sunniest departments. Ten of the thirteen departments of Occitanie also make it into the top twenty.

The sunniest department in France was the Bouches-du-Rhône (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur), which heads the table every year.

On the west coast of France the departments of Charente and Charente-Maritime make a reappearance in the top 20 listing, after having been pushed out last year.

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

Sunshine Hours By Department 2016
1Bouches-du-Rhône (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur)2,862
2Alpes-Maritimes (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur) 2,760
3Vaucluse (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur)2,736
4Alpes-de-Haute-Provence (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur)2,731
Var (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur) 2,624
6Hautes-Alpes (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur) 2,619
7Hérault (Occitanie) 2,505
8Gard (Occitanie)2,342
9Pyrénées-Orientales (Occitanie) 2,277
10Aveyron (Occtanie)2,126
11Tarn et Garonne (Occitanie) 2,107
12Cantal (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes) 2,089
13Haute-Garonne (Occitanie)2,069
14Tarn (Occitanie) 2,064
15 Ariège (Occitanie) 2,021
16Gers (Occitanie) 2,029
17Lot-et-Garonne (Occitanie) 2,006
18Corrèze (Nouvelle-Aquitaine)2,005
19Charente-Maritime (Nouvelle-Aquitaine)2,001
20Charente (Nouvelle-Aquitaine)

The graphic below gives a cartographic representation of sunshine hours across the country.


  • Light Yellow - less than 1600 hours of sunshine;
  • Deep Yellow - 1600-1750 hours;
  • Amber - 1750-2000 hours;
  • Orange - 2000-2250 hours;
  • Light Red - 2250-2700 hours;
  • Deep Red +2700 hours.
  • Other main weather records from the year:

    Hottest Day - The hottest day in the year of +40°C occurred in the four departments of Gers, Gironde, Landes, and Lot-et-Garonne.

    Coldest Day - The coldest temperature recorded was -12°C in the departments of Meurthe-et-Moselle and Vosges.

    Driest Department - The driest department in France last year was once again the Pyrénées-Orientales, with 386 mm of rainfall. They were followed by the Bouches-du-Rhône (413 mm) and Aude (449mm).

    Wettest Department - Highest rainfalls in the year were recorded in the departments of Doubs (1334 mm), Jura (1256 mm) and Cantal (1206mm).

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