France is situated in the Northern Hemisphere and as its fellow European neighbouring nations, goes through a cycle of four distinctive seasons. Let’s have a closer look at the seasons of the year in France with some interesting facts…
What is a season in France?
The Earth revolves around the Sun in 365 days. The tilt of the Earth’s axis combined with the rotation of the Earth around the Sun produces an alternation of seasons.
These four seasons (spring, summer, autumn and winter) each last about three months.
These four periods of the year have approximately constant weather conditions.
The spring and autumn equinoxes and the summer and winter solstices mark the beginning of each season.
The Ancient Times and the seasons of the year in France
The notion of the season has been known since the Ancient Times.
In the 3rd century BC, the astronomer and mathematician Eratosthenes managed to calculate the inclination of the earth’s axis, the phenomenon responsible for the seasons.
Then, astronomer Hipparchus of Nicaea discovered the precession of the equinoxes in the 2nd century AD.
The seasons of the year in Greek mythology
The cycle of the seasons is also present in Greek mythology with the myth of Persephone.
Daughter of Zeus and Demeter, she married against her will the god Hades who held her prisoner in the underworld.
Wanting to recover her daughter, Demeter, goddess of agriculture and harvests, stopped making the earth bear fruit.
In order not to let the world die, a compromise was found between Zeus, Hades and Demeter: Persephone had to spend six months in the underworld and six months on Earth.
These two periods represent winter and summer.
The seasons of the year and French traditions
In French traditions, the seasons or the changes of seasons are marked by festivals. These celebrations sometimes go back to the dawn of time.
- Winter: Christmas
- Spring: Easter
- Summer: Saint-Jean Day, and much more recently, the Fête de la Musique (Music World Day).
- Autumn: Toussaint (All Saints’ Day)
In the rural world, some of these festivals had enormous social and religious importance. Nowadays, the emphasis is more on their festive and/or commercial aspect.
The dates of the four seasons in France
Here are the dates of the seasons of the year 2021, starting with the winter season:
- Winter will end on Friday, March 19, 2021.
- Spring will take place from Saturday 20 March to Sunday 20 June 2021.
- Summer will take place from Monday 21 June to Tuesday 21 September 2021.
- Autumn will take place from Wednesday 22 September to Monday 20 December 2021.
The dates of the seasons are based on the dates of the equinoxes and solstices provided by the Institute of Celestial Mechanics and Ephemeris Calculation.
Staggered seasons in question
As a result of recent observation, there seems to be a discrepancy between the official dates of the seasons and the weather.
A study carried out by the Weather Channel for the years 2000/2013 confirmed this fact by indicating that there would be a gap of about 20% in relation to the dates on the calendar.
- Winter would generally cover a period from 1 December to 28 February.
- Spring would begin on 1 March and end on 31 May.
- Summer would be between June 1 and August 31.
- Autumn would begin on September 1 and end on November 30.
The seasons in France in French
Let’s learn about the 12 months and 4 seasons in France… in French, starting with winter.
Note that all seasons are masculine and are therefore preceded with the article le or l’.
WINTER = L’HIVER
- January = Janvier
- February = Février
- March = Mars
SPRING = LE PRINTEMPS
- April = Avril
- May = Mai
- June = Juin
SUMMER = L’ÉTÉ
- July = Juillet
- August = Août [pronounced ‘out’]
- September = Septembre
AUTUMN/FALL = L’AUTOMNE
- October = Octobre
- November = Novembre
- December = Décembre
In addition, here are the seven days of the week in French:
- Monday = Lundi
- Tuesday = Mardi
- Wednesday = Mercredi
- Thursday = Jeudi
- Friday = Vendredi
- Saturday = Samedi
- Sunday = Dimanche
All weekdays are masculine and are preceded with the article le.
The four seasons of the year in France
Click on the images below to reach our dedicated pages on the seasons of France.
Pictures of the seasons of the year in France
Here are more photos of the seasons of the year in France, starting with winter.
Want to see more photos of the four seasons in France?
Check out our French blog:
The Four Seasons in art
The seasons have always inspired artists such as painters and composers. The most famous musical illustration of the seasons is undoubtedly Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons.
Composed around 1716-1717, this grandiose universal hymn to nature is one of the major works in the history of classical music. Indeed, it has been a huge worldwide success since its first performance in London and Paris in 1728.
Like what you read? Pin it now!