Climate Change Overview

Country Summary

This page presents high-level information for France's climate zones and its seasonal cycle for mean temperature and precipitation for the latest climatology, 1991-2020. Climate zone classifications are derived from the Köppen-Geiger climate classification system, which divides climates into five main climate groups divided based on seasonal precipitation and temperature patterns. The five main groups are A (tropical), B (dry), C (temperate), D (continental), and E (polar). All climates except for those in the E group are assigned a seasonal precipitation sub-group (second letter).  Climate classifications are identified by hovering your mouse over the legend. A narrative overview of France's country context and climate is provided following the visualizations.


The surface area of mainland France (550,000 km2) is the largest of the European Union countries (around 13% of the EU area). Located between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, between latitudes 41°N and 51°N, France has around 3,200 km of coastline. France is a country of average elevation, and plains and hills occupy two thirds of the territory. However, it has two mountain barriers, one in the east and the other in the south: The Alps and the Pyrenees. Mont Blanc (4,810 m), the highest point in France, is located in the Alps, on the border with Italy. The Massif Central, in the centre of the country, plays a role in dispersing water to the four major basins: The Seine to the north, the Loire to the northwest, the Rhone to the east and the Garonne to the southwest. Nearly 60% of the mainland surface area is used for agriculture (33 million hectares), 34% is forests and natural or semi-natural environments (19 million hectares), while just under 6% corresponds to urbanised land (3 million hectares). The population of France is over 67 million (2020). The French economy is mainly a service economy with the tertiary sector accounting for 76.7% of the labor force, while the primary sector (such as agriculture, fishing) accounts for only 2.8%.

France is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change from increase in temperature increasing the risk of heat waves, more intense rainfall increasing the risk of flooding, rising sea levels, and uncertain change in the frequency and severity of storms. Through the National Climate Change Adaptation Plan, France aims to protect the French population against extreme weather events and also to build resilience to climate change in the main sectors of the economy (agriculture, industry, and tourism).