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The Sunniest Departments in France 2017

Tuesday 08 May 2018

Last year the Bouches-du-Rhône was toppled from its traditional place as the sunniest department in France, and a new region made a strong showing.

Each year Meteo France publish a review of the climate for the preceeding year.

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

It will come as no surprise to learn that Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur always takes the laurels as the sunniest region in mainland France, when the department of Bouches-du-Rhône normally heads up the list.

However, last year the Bouches-du-Rhône slipped down the table to sixth place, with 2,826 hours of sunshine.

Sunniest department of the year was the Alpes-Maritimes, with over 3,000 hours of sunshine. The department was last year in second place, a position it often occupies.

Breaking up the traditional monopoly of PACA of the top six places in the table was the department of Gard (Occitanie), with over 2,800 hours of sunshine.

It was also a good year in the of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, which had five departments in the top 25 table.

As might be expected the region of Occtanie (formerly Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées) also has strong representation, with 11 of their 13 departments in the top 25.

Unusually, on the west coast of France the departments of Charente and Charente-Maritime had a poor year, with the former only making 25th place, and the latter down with the also-rans.

The department with the lowest average hours of sunshine was Hauts-de-Seine (Île-de-France) with 1,287 hours of sunshine, followed by Nord (Hauts-de-France) with 1,501 hours.

Ergo, the sunniest departments in the south of France have around twice as much sunshine each year as some departments in the north.

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

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 2017
1Alpes-Maritimes (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur)
2Var (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur)
3Alpes-de-Haute-Provence (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur)2,895
4Vaucluse (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur)2,895
Gard (Occitanie)2,852
6Bouches-du-Rhône (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur)
7Hautes-Alpes (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur)
8Hérault (Occitanie) 2,759
9Drôme (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)
10Pyrénées-Orientales (Occitanie)
11Aude (Occitanie)
12Lozère ( (Occitanie)
13Aveyron (Occtanie)
14Cantal (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)
15 Rhône (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)
16Isère (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)
17Tarn (Occitanie)
18Ardèche (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)
19 Ain (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)
20Haute-Garonne (Occitanie)
21Ariège (Occitanie)
22Gers (Occitanie)
23Corrèze (Nouvelle-Aquitaine)2,128
24Tarn et Garonne (Occitanie) 2,126
25 Charente (Nouvelle-Aquitaine)2,120

The graphic below gives a cartographic representation of sunshine hours across the country in 2017.


  • 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 +42°C occurred in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Var, Bouches-du-Rhône, and Gard.

    Coldest Day - The coldest temperature recorded was -16°C in the Vosges, Doubs, Haute-Saône, and Meurthe-et-Moselle.

    Driest Department - The driest department in France last year was in the Bouches-du-Rhône (321mm rainfall) toppling the Pyrénées-Orientales (441mm) from its traditional premier position.

    Wettest Department - Highest rainfall in the year was recorded in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques (1073 mm), Cantal, Jura (1058 mm) and Doubs (1009 mm).

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