Weather in southwest France: July 2011 update

Albi under rain clouds

Every month I post an update on how the weather has been, based on the statistics we have kept since 1998. To see the other weather posts, please click on ‘Weather’ under the Topics tab in the right-hand sidebar. I can tell you straight away that this July was the worst we have experienced in 14 years. A surprising number of bemused people landed on my blog using ‘Why is the weather in SW France so bad?’ as a search term.

A few months ago, weather forecasters were issuing dire warnings about this summer tuning up to be even hotter than 2003. I wondered at the time how they could tell so far in advance. Anyway, my scepticism was justified. This July has been cooler than average and was downright unpleasant for 10 days on the trot.

Here are the figures.

Weather assessment for July

A quick reminder of our subjective weather assessment: we assign each day a plus if it’s fine, a minus if it’s bad and a zero if it’s indifferent or we can’t decide. In July there were:

Pluses – 15
Zeros – 5
Minuses – 11

Last year there were 25 pluses. In 2009, there were 26. The chart shows the percentage of plus days each July for the past 14 years (the line is the trend). In recent years, July has had good weather, apart from 2007. But for the first five years, July was disappointingly bad. I hope it’s not going to repeat that pattern.


Our rainfall stats go back to August 2004. The volume of rain for this July was well above the average for the month: 92mm against the average of 39.8mm. It rained on 10 days, compared with the average of 6.6 days. Sorry, these charts don’t upload well: the blue bars are the actual rainfall, the red ones are the average.


We could have done with that rainfall earlier in the year, when it was exceptionally dry. Normally our lawn is like a desert at this time of year. This year, it’s as green as in spring.

The weather has perked up in the past few days, although storms are forecast for later today. However, not everyone is averse to rain in August. I found these dictons du jour (sayings of the day) on a French website:

Août pluvieux, celliers vineux (rainy August means full wine cellars).

Août sans pluie fait maigrir la vache (an August without rain makes for a skinny cow).

Copyright © 2011 A writer’s lot in France, all rights reserved


  1. We have just returned from Le Tarn, small Hamlet called Les Passets between Briatexte and Lavour. The weather was a real let down. Worse than England, we left last Friday with clear blue skys. But it seems the rank weather has returned. Two thousand mile drive
    ( round trip) Very disappointing.


    • I’m very sorry to hear the weather ruined your holiday. It’s a great shame when you only have a short time to spend here and it certainly colours your view of the place. It won’t be any consolation to you to know that normally you can expect much better weather at this time of year. I hope you found something to enjoy while you were here.


  2. You’re right . I’m French, I’m 52, and I think it was the worst july in my entire life .
    I’m not surprised, I told them not to vote for Sarkozy .


  3. Goodness, the worst July in 14 years? I suspected it was a bad one. We’re green again too here, but could still do with some more rain. Clouds are gathering this afternoon so we might get it quite soon!


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