Will anywhere in France get a white Christmas this year?

A white Christmas might be at the top of many people's festive wish list but will it actually come true for anyone in France this year?

Will anywhere in France get a white Christmas this year?
Photo: AFP
A Christmas tree, presents, fine food and snowfall are for many the essential ingredients that go into making a truly magical festive celebration. 
But unfortunately for most people hoping for such a Christmas in France this year, they're likely to be left disappointed. 
Weather forecasters are predicting that Christmas 2018 is set to be the eighth in a row in France without snowfall — unless you're in the mountains that is. 
Since 2011 Christmas in France has been noticeably mild and this year is set to follow the trend, according to French weather reports. 
“Unfortunately, on the lower ground, there is no risk that it will snow this weekend and during Christmas,” said Steven Testelin, a forecaster at France's national weather agency Meteo France. 
“This is also good news since it means that nobody will get stuck in their car on a snowy road on December 24th or 25th,” he added.
Weather forecast for Christmas Eve afternoon. Map: Meteo France 
On Christmas Ever in the Hauts-de-France or Grand Est region of the north east, you're much more likely to be hit by rain instead of snow. 
Similarly the north west is set to be very cloudy with fog and low cloud and conditions are set to remain similar on Christmas Day while the rest of France is set to be dry and sunny.
In the greater Paris region of Ile-de-France, temperatures are expected to be a fairly balmy 9C-12C while on the French Riviera the mercury could reach up to 13C. 
So, if you're someone for whom Christmas just isn't Christmas without snowmen and sledging then you'll need to head for the mountains for your yuletide celebrations.
“There will be snow on the French Alps on Friday in the first part of the afternoon at altitudes between 1,000 and 1,500 metres and will later move up to ground at altitudes higher than 2,000 metres in the evening. The air will be soft and slightly damp,” Steven Testelin from Meteo France said.
Testelin added that there will be light snow on the French Alps across the weekend and in the lead up to Christmas. 
Weather forecast for Christmas Day afternoon. Map: Meteo France 
But don't fret too much, the lack of snow isn't reflective of some kind of massive climate shift in 2018. In fact, snow isn't actually all that common in France over the Christmas period. 
Between 1950 and 2018, snow has only been recorded on the low grounds of France a few times between December 24th and 26th. 
In the north east, it has been recorded 15 times in Nancy, 12 in Strasbourg, eight in Dijon and 7 times in Lyon. 
Paris can count just three white Christmases, while Rouen and Poitiers have only had four since 1950.
The phenomenon is even more rare in the south, with cities in the Mediterranean only seeing snow at Christmas once or twice in the past 65 years. 
In 2010, when France last experienced a white Christmas it was the north east that was mainly hit by the snowfall, with 26 cm in Strasbourg on December 25th and 15 cm in Nancy. 

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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.