Météo France has warned to expect violent storms with hail and high winds across the north coast and down an axis cutting through the centre of the country from Lille to Montpellier in the south, according to a report in the Le Parisien daily.
Among the areas affected by the adverse weather on Friday afternoon and evening include Auvergne, Ariège, Aveyron, Haute-Garonne, the Loire, the Tarn and Tarn-et-Garonne.
Several municipalities have warned inhabitants to take precautions including to avoid heading out into the woods.
In some areas storms are expected to dump some 20-40 millimetres of rain in an hour.
New storms are expected to build on Saturday, pushing up from the Pyrenees to the Massif Central mountain ranges towards the evening.
Alpine regions and around the Mediterranean will however escape the stormy weather with forecasts indicating continued sunshine and summer temperatures.