Northern France experienced a record-breaking start to the spring at the weekend with the mercury rising in Paris to its highest ever level.
The French capital saw temperatures rise to 21.6 °C (70.9 degrees Fahrenheit) at 4pm on Sunday, which broke the previous record of 21.2°C, set in 1880, for the first ten days of March, according to the country’s weather service Météo France.
Records were also broken in the towns of Le Mans (20.8°C) Lille (19.5°C) Orleans (22.2°C) Tours (21.4°C) and Cherbourg (19.8°C).
"These are spring temperatures that are more commonly seen in the month of May and they are a continuation of the remarkable winter we have been having,” said Météo France’s Jerome Lecou.
“In general we were easily between seven and 10 degrees above seasonal averages,” he added.
Lecou said temperatures will remain mild for the coming days but will then drop towards the norm for this time of year, by the end of the week.
The warm sunshine meant there was only one place to be in France this weekend and that was outdoors. From the beaches of Normandy and the Atlantic coast to the parks of Paris, sun seekers headed outside en masse for the first time this spring.
It was in stark contrast to this time last year, when France was still in the grip of one of its coldest winters in recent history.
Here's a selection of photos to enjoy from the start of spring.
The popular Buttes-Chaumont park in Paris is packed to the rafters for the first time this year.
— Gogo Mrmgt (@GogoMrmgt) March 9, 2014
A kite-flyer on the beach at Concarneau in Brittany.
— Stéphane Cariou (@StphaneCariou) March 9, 2014
The beach at Pornichet on the Atlantic coast of western France.
— Philippe Lefébure (@phiphi_lef) March 9, 2014
Parisians stop rushing around the capital and take a breather sitting on the paving stones.
— Ludovic Marin (@ludovic_marin) March 9, 2014
Despite the sunshine some beaches in south western France remained closed because of the damage caused by recent storms.
— Sud Ouest (@journalsudouest) March 7, 2014
A poetry group dances to verse at the Eiffel Tower underneath spring sunshine.
— Théâtre Chaillot (@TheatreChaillot) March 9, 2014
And flowers come out in bloom in Provence.
Comme un air de printemps sur les restanques de Provence. An atmosphere of spring in Provence… pic.twitter.com/EniXdyAprN
— pascal charoy (@pascalcharoy) March 7, 2014
Sunseekers enjoy a stroll around Les Jardins de Luxembourg in Paris.
— DUCHEMANN Mélissa (@m_duchemann) March 9, 2014
Beachgoers in Normandy take shelter from sun.
— Bleu_BNormandie (@fbleubnormandie) March 9, 2014
Members of Paris's legion of senior citizens sit out in the Batignolles park to enjoy the sunshine.
— Marie Christine LeDû (@mcledu) March 9, 2014
And finally, here's a reminder of what it was like this time last year in Paris.
Send us in your own photos of the first weekend of spring in France and we will add them in to the gallery.