The tradition appealed to many looking for a bracing way to ring in 2019.
How cold? “Nine or nine-ten (degrees Celsius), but it's fine, it feels good,” said Claudy, who took part with around 1,000 others in the annual rite at Malo-les-Bains, northern France.
In Fahrenheit, this means a chilly 48 degrees.
Here are some of the best pictures from the tradition, taken from both the north and south coasts of France.
Many dress up for the occasion and this year some even donned a gilet jaune in honour of the “yellow vest” protest movement which shook France at the end of December.
And many took the opportunity to toast the new year.
But unsurprisingly others found it was best to keep moving.
The gloomy weather wasn't enough to put people off.
Of course for those swimming off the south coast of France, conditions weren't quite so trying.
And impressive 800 people took part in Le Mourillon, a neighbourhood to the east of the French city of Toulon in the south east of France.
But it wasn't only the young who dared to take part.