In pictures: Parts of France become winter wonderland… in October!

An early winter chill has hit France, leaving parts of the country with a sparkling blanket of snow... and it's only October. Here's a look in pictures.

In pictures: Parts of France become winter wonderland... in October!
The first snow fell in Payolle in the High Pyrenees. Photo: AFP
Winter surprised many in France on Monday by making an early arrival.
Heavy snowfall hit many areas including the departments of Haute-Loire, Lozere, Loire, Puy-de-Dome, Cantal, Aveyron, Correze and the Creuse.
And unsurprisingly, it didn't take people long to start posting photos of the early winter chill in their areas. 
Here's a look at some of the best shots. 
As you can see, the snow really hit in Puy-de-Dome.



And the Loiret in north-central France turned into a veritable winter wonderland. 



Cows seek shelter under trees during snowfall on a meadow in the commune of Pontgibaud, in the Auvergne region.

Photo: AFP

Meanwhile the Cote d'Or had its own snow shower. 


And here's a look at the Haute-Loire department in south-central France after the snow. 


Creuse had its own blanket of snow.


In Yonne, it looked like a scene from a fairy tale. 

And here's a look at the town of Busset in the Allier department. 



Meanwhile this was Lucinges in the Haute-Savoie. 



The Nord department also got a decent coating of snow. 

This is Saint-Etienne is east-central France. 



And it might look pretty in this photo taken in Normandy but you wouldn't want to be driving in it. 


Here's a particularly picturesque shot taken in the Auvergne.



Snow also blanketed Nievre in the region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté



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South west France on red alert for flooding

Five areas in south west France have been placed on a red weather alert for flooding as storms lash the region.

South west France on red alert for flooding
Storms are moving in to south west France over the Pyrenees. Photo: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP

Météo France has placed five départements in south west France – Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes, Hautes-Pyrénées, Haute-Garonne and Ariège – on a red weather alert for heavy rains and flooding.

Extremely heavy rainstorms have hit the area, with a band of storm clouds travelling along the Pyrenees, bringing the risk of avalanches in the mountains and flooding in lowland areas.

The neighbouring département of Pyrénées-Orientale is on orange alert, along with the principality of Andorra. In the north, Aisne is also on orange alert for heavy rain.

Heavy rain is expected to continue throughout Monday, gradually easing off towards the evening, although the flood alerts remain in place until Tuesday.