Dordogne weather – what to expect throughout the year

Dordogne fields under a blue sky
Dordogne fields under a blue sky

THE weather in the Dordogne is usually not too hot, or too cold, for any length of time – there was a good reason Cro-Magnon man settled in the region.

You can visit the region throughout the year and see the Dordogne countryside under a different coloured sky, from slate grey of winter to dazzling clear, blue skies of summer.

And one of the reasons so many people visit the area is because the weather is rarely extreme, forcing you to batten down the hatches for days or wrap up warm when you are on your summer holidays.

To get a forecast for the next few days you can visit Météo-France, and narrow your search down to different regions.

Clouds through the trees in late afternoon
Clouds through the trees in late afternoon

Dordogne weather in March, April and Easter

March can still be cold and damp, but you will begin to see the first signs of spring approaching, however, overnight frosts can still be experienced.

April is the month of change in the Dordogne when the beginning of the month can still be cool and damp, with the trees and flowers beginning to show their first initial bursts of green.

By the end of the month many flowers will be in full bloom beside the roads and under the forest trees with warm temperatures allowing you to get out and explore the Dordogne.

Dordogne weather in May and June

As we head towards the summer there is more daylight and the warmth of the sun brings the forests to life, with a mellow green glow in the air.

You may still get a day or two of rain, but overall your week or two on holiday in the Dordogne should not be disturbed by long periods of rain, although you might be advised to keep an umbrella to hand.

Thunderstorms can pop up in late afternoon, usually with heavy downpours and hailstones, but they usually bring a breath of fresh air to the region.

Flowers and the valley in sunshine
Flowers and the valley in sunshine

Dordogne weather in summer months of July and August

By this time of the year the temperatures will be in the high 20Cs or early 30Cs, with warm mild evenings allowing your to sit outside at night markets or small local bars.

Recent summers have had periods of extreme heat though, with some days seeing temperatures heading towards 40C, this is too much for many especially by the afternoon when many of the houses will close their shutters to keep the scorching heat out.

And increasingly the threat of forest fires grows in the summer months so being aware of what you can do to reduce the risk is important.

Dordogne weather in autumn of September and October

This is my favourite time of the year, especially getting out early on a cool September morning when a light mist might be lingering in the valley.

You can spend all day in a t-shirt, enjoy meals outdoors and only have to put a light jumper on in the evening.

For me it is the perfect time to visit the Dordogne, the busy tourists days are behind you and many places to visit, as well as bars and restaurants are still open, but without long queues or hordes of people.

Dordogne weather in winter and Christmas

November and December is likely to be damp, with some days of heavy rain, and fewer places open to visit, but it won’t be very cold, although night time temperatures can occasionally get down to -5C.

But you should be able to still get out and on clear, crisp mornings see some beautiful landscapes and whilst you will have to wrap up, you should not have to battle with heavy snowfall or problematic wintery conditions.

Christmas in recent years has seen mild weather, with the chance to spend Noël au balcon or Christmas on the terrace, especially if you are sheltered from any chilly winds.

Christmas markets and special fetes and celebrations are held in many towns and villages, so you should be able to enjoy a real taste of the Dordogne without getting wet or very cold.

Dordogne weather in January and February

Deep into winter in the Dordogne and you are likely to experience cloudy, cold days when the log burning fire has to be kept topped up.

The east of the Dordogne can experience winter temperatures quite a few degrees lower than the west, and northerly or winds from the east can take day time temperatures below freezing.

The weather in the Dordogne gives you a chance to see it during various times of the year, and as I highlight above early autumn is a good time to visit.

But whatever time of year you visit you are unlikely to have your travel plans completely washed out, or forced to sit around the fireplace keeping warm, although that is a lovely experience in an old stone cottage as you watch the sun set.

Categorised as Travel

By Craig McGinty

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