Are you wondering what to wear in the South Of France? In this guide we will give you a seasonal overview of what to wear in the South of France in summer, winter, spring and fall alongside outfit inspiration.
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But before we get onto the specifics of what to wear in the South Of France along with some outfit inspiration we thought it would be worthwhile to talk about exactly what constitutes the South Of France, and how the seasons will affect your South Of France Packing List.
Where is the South of France?
As the name implies the South of France is obviously in the South of France. The French sometimes call it le Midi.
It is also used interchangeably with The French Riviera or la Côte d’Azur in French. However the French Riviera is actually just a small part of the South of France.
Some of the most famous places in along the South of France are:
- St Tropez
- Marseille and
to name just a few. As well as being close to Monaco.
So now you know where the South of France is, what are the dress codes you should be aware of?
South of France Dress Codes
As with many places in France, there aren’t many dress codes you need to stick to. As it is famed for its coastal locations it should come as no surprise that lightweight resort wear can be seen in these towns.
However it is important to realise although coastal, you will find people in the South of France very fashionably dressed.
You will notice that when out for dinner in France generally but specifically in the South of France that people will stick to smart casual dress codes. I would therefore have nice blouses and maxi dresses at the ready for going out to dinner in the region.
But perhaps the place in the South of France with the strictest dress code is in Monaco. In Monaco casinos the dress code is strictly enforced and usually means that shorts, sneakers, and flip flops may not be worn. And in some instances a jacket may be required. For a more detailed guide on what to wear in Monte Carlo check out this post.
Also if you plan to visit religious settings for instance, the Pope’s Palace in Avignon, then you will be required to keep your shoulders and knees covered as you would have to if you were visiting the Vatican.
It is also worth noting that the South of France is a big tourist destination. As such peak season will run from April to October and if you visit the region in Winter you will find there to be far fewer tourists. But this comes with the downside of the weather not being beach friendly.
However we will cover all the seasons in this guide to help you know what to wear no matter what time of year you visit.
For more information on how to dress in other regions in June check out the below posts:
- What to wear in France in June
- What to wear in Paris in June
- What to wear in the South of France
- What to wear in Monaco
How do Locals Dress in South of France
When people think about the South of France and French Riviera style, you think more about the summer wardrobes.
Things that are commonplace on the South of France in Summer include:
Muted Colors and White
When I think about Paris capsule wardrobes, I think about lots of dark colors. However for the South of France muted colors and whites are common place.
The benefit of white too is that it will reflect the heat in the summer which is much cooler.
Natural Fabrics are your best friend in the South of France. Cottons, linens and even silks are perfect for the summer in the South as these are more breathable and cooling than man made counterparts.
Summer dresses that are loose and flowing are very in vogue in the South of France in Summer as are floral patterns.
What to Wear in the South of France in Summer (June, July and August)
Summer in the South of France is categorised as June, July and August. And during this period both the temperatures and the crowds will skyrocket.
During the Summer in the South of France you can expect lots of sunny days and very little rain. Average summer temperatures tend to hover above 30oC (80oF).
Note: June is the coolest of the summer months in the South of France , with July and August battling for the title of hottest month.
As such we would recommend putting the below on your summer South of France packing list:
Most people who are visiting the South of France are doing so to visit the coast. However there are also lots of beautiful rural destination in the region too.
When on the coast you will see a lot of beach wear and resort wear in and around the South of France. Maxi dresses are one of my favorite things to wear in the area in Summer.
Loose and flowing dresses are better for the South of France in Summer than tight fitting ones made of man made fabrics as they will keep you cooler.
They are also great for wearing down on the beach and out for dinner.
These types of dresses are also good for countryside settings such as Avignon and Provence.
Maxi skirts are also great for pairing with T shirts and Tank tops in the south of France.
T Shirts and Tank Tops
These are perfect for out exploring the South of France however just don’t expect to go into churches in a tank top without covering your shoulders first. For this reason we recommend always carrying a pashmina with you.
I never travel anywhere in Europe without a pashmina. It is great in the evenings in case you get chilly dining al fresco and can also be used to make an outfit more modest for visiting churches and other religious settings such as the Pope’s Palace in Avignon.
Although churches won’t be the primary activity you do in the south of France, I am sure you will head into one so having at least one church outfit is a good idea.
Trousers and Blouse
Trousers and blouses are a great alternative to maxi dresses for exploring the towns of the South of France. They are also a great day to night transition outfit for going out to dinner in the region.
Linen trousers are popular with the locals and are good in the hot weather.
Although shorts are on my what not to wear in Paris list they are a great choice for the South of France and beaches.
However these can not be worn in religious settings and short shorts are not a very French style.
If you are visiting the South of France in the summertime chances are you will be spending time on the beach or on a boat. Therefore you will want to have some stylish swimwear with you.
As there are no dress codes on the beach in the South of France you can choose whatever swimwear you feel most comfortable in whether that be one pieces or bikinis.
Depending on how long you plan to spend on the beach here depends on how many pieces of swimwear you will need.
I would recommend packing at least two swimwear pieces so one can be drying while you are wearing the other.
Most people in France when not swimming or sunbathing will put on a beach cover on when they head to bars or local amenities so we recommend adding one or two beach covers to your packing list.
Sun hats are a staple on any French Riviera summer packing list. Be sure to pick a wide brimmed straw hat instead of a baseball cap to fir more in with the locals.
Goes without saying
We recommend packing lightweight PJs as not everywhere in the South of France will have Air conditioning. You may want to check out whether or not your accommodation has air conditioning before booking.
And if you are visiting other areas of France in Summer be sure to check out our other French Summer packing Lists:
- What to wear in Paris in June
- What to wear in Paris in July
- What to wear in Paris in August
- What to wear in France in July
- What to wear in France in August
What to Wear in the South of France in Spring (March, April, May)
Depending on what time you are visiting the South of France in Spring will depend on how hot the temperatures are.
April really kicks off the peak tourist season in he South of France and you may find March too cold to be spending too much time on the beach and will need layers especially on the coast.
May is obviously the warmest month in Spring and the South of France is the warmest region of France in Spring. You can expect temperatures in May to be around 55-68°F (13-20°C).
For this reason we recommend packing the same as the summer, though you may need less in terms of swimwear as the weather may be too cold and you will need to add some additional layers.
Therefore on the top of the summer packing list we recommend brining the below during Spring:
The South of France evenings in Spring can be cold so be sure to add a cardigan or two to pair to your dress and trousers outfits.
This is great for exploring in March and Early April in the South of France. However if you feel the cold it is a good idea to keep this on your list for any Spring month.
This may be needed if you are visiting the South of France in March.
You may also be able to remove the sunhat from your packing list if you are visiting in March.
What to Wear to the South of France in Fall (September, October and November)
Autumn, or Fall in the South of France is classified as September, October and November. However November is more akin to Winter in the region, and September and early October similar to summer.
In particular, if you are visiting the South of France in September you can pretty much select the same outfits as you would in August as the temperatures are very similar.
However the later in Fall you visit the cooler it becomes and peak season tends to end in mid–October.
If you are visiting in late October and November you probably wont be needing lots of swimwear as it will be too cold to get in the water everyday.
Also you will want cardigans and sweaters on your packing list, and in November you may even need a jacket.
What to Wear in the South of France in Winter (December, January and February)
The South of France is the warmest region of France and the Winters in the South of France are mld and often dry. In fact the temperatures are often 3-4oC degrees warmer in this region than in the rest of France.
However even though this region is the warmest in France it can still drop to around 3°C (37°F ). Generally speaking though the temperature in the area hovers around 50-57°F (10-14°C) in December.
Personally I don’t think the weather in Winter is warm enough for the beach or to go swimming but it is unlikely you will need anything thicket than a jacket or sweater during the South of France winters.
It also surprises many people that Winter is not the wettest period to visit the area. Fall tends to be wetter.
Therefore when putting together your South of France Winter packing list we recommend abandoning the summer packing list and wearing the below instead:
You will definitely want a warm jacket for the South of France in Winter. However during most winters a warm jacket will be enough and a thick coat won’t be required.
Cardigans, Sweaters and Top Layers
We recommend packing a few different types of top layers with you for instance a combination of cardigans, sweaters and hoodies of different weights so you have enough variety in case of a very cold snap.
Long Sleeve Tops
It is unlikely you will be wearing short sleeve t shirts in the South of France in the Winter. Long sleeve t shirts and blouses are therefore a much better choice.
Although linen trousers are perfect for the South of France in Summer and the shoulder seasons, they are too lightweight for Winter visitors to the region.
Instead we recommend going with heavier weight trousers in Winter. We tend to recommend packing jeans and some heavier smart woollen trousers instead.
I never go to France without one. But it is a handy extra layer for Winter visitors.
Goes without saying
A slightly heavier weight pair are better in Winter.
What to Wear in the South of France for Men
For men visiting the South of France we recommend adding the following items to your packing list:
- Mixture of long and short sleeve t shirts for day time and night. Polo shirts are also good in Paris for night.
- Shirts – mix of long and short sleeve
- Trousers – we recommend selecting natural fabrics such as cottons and linen as well as having one pair of smarter jeans with you for use on cooler days and in restaurants.
- Shorts – shorts aren’t commonly worn by locals off to the office etc. However if you want to bring shorts in July be sure to select a smarter, more tailored pair as opposed to cargo shorts.
- Blazer / Linen Jacket – perfect for winter and the shoulder seasons. Also may be necessary for casinos in Monte Carlo year round. Tip: Check any restaurants you have reservations for dress code before travel in case a tie or jacket is required.
- Smarter Pair of Shoes or sandals
Best Shoes for the South of France
Sneakers are perfect for South of France no matter the season you visit. Many people will explore the region either by foot or bicycle as well as car and public transport. Therefore having a comfortable pair or walking shoes is a good idea. This is why I recommend sneakers.
Note: if you are visiting in Summer be sure to pack sneaker socks too to reduce odour and sweat in your shoe.
Perfect for the beach and dinner in summer and shoulder seasons. However if you are there in Winter boots are more appropriate.
I personally like to wear espadrilles when in the South of France in Summer or shoes like Toms and Bobs, however if you want a shoe with height then I think wedges are the best choice.
Not for summer and the shoulder seasons, however if you are visiting in Winter boots are a must.
Water Shoes (optional)
In the South of France you will find the beaches to be beautiful, pristine and sandy. Therefore you won’t need water shoes to protect your feet from rocks. However they might be useful if you are visiting with kids as the sand can get hot in summer.
Flip flops are a great choice for the beach but aren’t great for walking around the towns of the South of France.
What Else to add to your South of France Packing List (non clothing)
- Aftersun cream
- Reusable Water Bottle
- Phone / Camera
- Insect Repellant – for summer and shoulder seasons
- Beach bag
Note: if you have room in your suitcase then you can bring toiletries with you. However toiletries are very easy to buy in France in supermarkets or pharmacies. Therefore we would recommend leaving the toiletries at home and buying them on arrival. It will save space in your case.
FAQs About What to Wear in the South of France
Can you wear shorts in south of France?
Yes you can wear shorts in the South of France. They are great for beaches and cycling around the countryside.
The only place you can’t wear shorts in the South of France are in churches, some restaurants and in casinos.
Do you have any questions about what to wear in the South of France that we haven’t answered? Then drop us a comment below and we will do out best to answer.