Monet and SW France Weather Summer 2014


Water lily pond at Giverny
Water lily pond at Giverny

The image above is of Claude Monet’s garden at Giverny in Normandy, inspiration for many of his paintings. We recently spent a night in the village of Giverny on our way up to the UK. Needless to say, I took a lot of shots and the garden was lovely, even though it was the end of September. Wish mine looked like that. More about Giverny in a later post.

In the meantime, here’s the verdict on summer 2014 in SW France. The weather statistics are the baby of my husband, known as the Statistics Freak (SF for short), owing to his penchant for recording anything and everything.

The SF says summer goes from the beginning of May to the end of September, i.e. five months. This is debatable, but I know better than to argue with him.

Overall, it was a pretty rotten summer, mitigated only by September, which was the best in 17 years here. 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. Here are the proportion of each over the period May to September, compared with the average in brackets.

Pluses – 58% (63%)
Zeros – 29% (23%)
Minuses – 13% (14%)

July and August were both among the worst we have had: gloomy, damp and cool. I felt sorry for holidaymakers who resolutely wore light summer clothes while the locals were wrapped up in jumpers and trousers.

September 2014

So, thank goodness for September, which restored our faith in the weather in the south of France. (We missed half of it, having spent a week on Corsica and a week in the UK). September is frequently one of the best months of the year with settled, dry, warm weather. In September 2014, we had:

Pluses – 27
Zeros – 2
Minuses – 1

The chart below shows the percentage of plus days each September for the past 17 years (the line is the trend, which is going up). With a couple of exceptions, it shows September as being a relatively stable month.

Proportion of pluses in September
Proportion of pluses in September


Our rainfall stats go back to August 2004. September is historically a dry month: the average volume is 56.3 mm. This September was even dryer than that with 43.5 mm. And it rained on only 4 days; the average is 6.5 days.

Even with a dry September, the rainfall is still ahead of the average for the year to date: 716.5 mm compared to the 631.2 we would normally expect, i.e. 13.5% more than usual.

Rainfall 2014 to date
Rainfall 2014 to date

October started with beautiful weather, for which, fortunately, we arrived home in time. Alas, that changed today and the forecast for the next 10 days is variable. This makes September stand out even more as a beacon in a dismal run of weather.

To finish, I’ll leave you with another couple of pictures of Monet’s place. Watch this space for more.

Giverny - water lily pond 2
Life imitating art?
Border in the garden at Giverny
Border in the garden at Giverny

You might also like:

Glorious French Gardens
Les Jardins de Quercy Revisited
Weather in SW France: Verdict on Summer 2013


Copyright © 2014 Life on La Lune, all rights reserved


    • We did well to go at the end of September and also at the end of the afternoon! I will post up more about it. We stayed at a wonderful B&B in the village, which is worth a few words. Really glad we had the opportunity to see the house and garden, albeit fleetingly.


  1. As you know, I love the weather stats you post which, though I love a little north of you are still vaguely relevant to me. Unfortunately what is clear this year is that my choice to spend September with my mother in Oxford was flawed – it’s been nice but not as nice as my little corner of Cantal paradise 🙂


    • Thanks for your kind words about the weather stats, which are quite a tradition chez nous.

      We were also in the UK at the end of Sept for a family wedding. After that, we stayed with friends in Newbury and then did a tour around Pangbourne, Wallingford and the Berkshire Downs, driving past Wells’ Stores at Streatley in both directions. A real trip down memory lane. How it has changed, though! I left Pangbourne in 1987 and it has become so built-up since then. They always say you should never go back – probably good advice. Sometimes it’s cathartic to do so, nonetheless.


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