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The climate of the French Riviera (Côte d’Azur), the French coastline that goes from Marseille to Menton (near the border with Italy), is Mediterranean, with mild, relatively rainy winters and warm, sunny summers. Atlantic frontal systems pass quite often throughout the year, but especially from October to April, while in summer, especially in July and August, they become rare.

In winter, there may be cold waves, though rarely, with snow on the coasts and frosts in inland areas. Typically, the summer temperatures are acceptable, although there can sometimes be hot periods, with highs about 35 °C (95 °F), fortunately, sea breezes blow along the coast.

Precipitation in this westernmost part of the French Riviera is not abundant: in Marseille, it amounts to 550 millimetres (22 inches) per year, with a maximum in autumn and a minimum in summer.

The eastern part of the French Riviera, the one oriented to the south-east and bordering the Ligurian Riviera in Italy, which according to some is the real Côte d’Azur (in cities like Saint-Tropez, Cannes, Nice), is the mildest one. Here, snowfalls and frosts are very rare. The summer heat is less intense than in Marseille as well.CannesHere are the average temperatures in Cannes. In the eastern part of the coast, the rains increase a bit, exceeding 700 mm (27.5 in) per year, and reaching 800 mm (31.5 in) in Monte Carlo (in the Principality of Monaco). From late September to December, during some years, the rains are plentiful.

The sunshine duration on the French Riviera is good in summer when the weather is usually fine, and decent in spring, especially in April and May, and again in September. In the rest of the year, ie in autumn and winter, there is a moderate amount of sunny days, but they alternate with cloudy and rainy days.

The sea temperature in the French Riviera is never very warm because it is cooled for several months per year by the Mistral (which, as we mentioned, blows in the western part, but owing to sea currents, cold waters reach a larger area). So, the sea temperature in Marseille reaches a maximum of only 22 °C (72 °F) in August. In the eastern part of the coast, the sea is a bit warmer in the summer months. The best time for swimming and sunbathing on the French Riviera is the summer, from mid-June to August. If you plan to visit cities, you may want to avoid the hottest months, so you can choose the months of May, June and the first half of September, bearing in mind that sometimes it can rain, when depressions affect the area, or in the form of an afternoon thunderstorm.

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