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Ascension weekend in France: Weather, roads and what's on

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Ascension weekend in France: Weather, roads and what's on
Temperatures are expected to exceed 30C across parts of France this weekend. Photo: AFP/Meteo France
15:00 CEST+02:00
Several parts of France are set to see the mercury exceed a summery 30C over the next few days as many French enjoy a four-day weekend for Ascension. Here's a look at the forecast for the weather and roads, and what's on around the country.
It might seem a bit early to be talking about the weekend weather forecast... but not if you're in France.
 
Many French people will be taking the opportunity to faire le pont (do the bridge) this weekend and turn Thursday's public holiday for Ascension into a four-day weekend. 
 
And the good news is that the day off work won't be wasted with temperatures expected to climb and blue skies across most of the country, according to French national weather agency Météo France.
 
However the north of France will have to wait a little bit longer for the sunshine to arrive on Thursday - but just until the afternoon. 
 
On Friday, the mercury is expected to exceed 20C across most of the country while in the south west it will be balmy 25C. 
 
But on Saturday and Sunday the real heat begins, with several regions expected to reach, or even exceed, 30C "for the first time this year". 
 
Weather forecast for Saturday 2 pm- 8 pm. Map: Météo France
 
The greater Paris region of Ile-de-France is expected to see temperatures reach 28C although forecasters at Météo France said it could reach 30C in the French capital and further south it will be even hotter.
 
"30 C will be reached frequently in the south of the Loire on Saturday," the weather agency said, adding that Brittany and Normandy are set to hit 27C and 26C, respectively. 
 
Temperatures are not expected to be quite as high across the whole of the country on Sunday however France is still predicted to get its fair share of sun throughout the day and some areas will remain hot.
 
"Temperatures will exceed 30C in Bordeaux (Gironde), Agen (Lot-et-Garonne), Toulouse (Haute-Garonne), Nîmes (Gard), Montélimar (Drôme), Lyon, Grenoble (Isère), Clermont-Ferrand (Puy-de-Dôme), Bourges (Cher), Nevers (Nièvre), Tours (Indre-et-Loire), Angers (Maine-et-Loire)," said Météo France, adding that the mercury could even approach 35C in the lower Rhône Valley on Sunday.
 
Photo: AFP
 
This first peak in temperatures corresponds to the official beginning of the summer for meteorologists which is June 1st which is slightly different from the calendar which has the beginning of summer marked as June 21st. 
 
But unfortunately the cause for celebration won't last too long with temperatures set to plummet on Monday - in some places by as much as 10C - as rain and storms hit parts of the country. 
 
Traffic
 
If you're planning to hit the roads in France over the long weekend, traffic conditions have been classified as "red", meaning "very difficult" - across the whole of the country from Wednesday lasting into Thursday for those leaving the big cities (see below), according to Bison Futé - the government's traffic infomation service. 
 
Map: Bison Fute
 
 
For the rest of the weekend, conditions on the roads are expected to be fine until it comes to time for people to return to France's big cities on Sunday evening when traffic is set to be "very difficult" once again. 
 
The traffic info service is advising motorists to avoid leaving the big cities between 3pm and 9pm on Wednesday and if you're leaving the Paris region, avoid doing so from midday. 
 
It also recommends avoiding major roads towards coastal areas between 3pm and 8pm, and avoiding the A9 motorway until 9pm as well as the A7 motorway until 11pm.
 
For Thursday it advises leaving the big cities before 9 am and if you live in the Paris region before 7am, as well as avoiding the A7 motorway between midday and 4 pm. 
 
What's on?
 
If you're going to be in Lyon for the long weekend, you might want to check out the Nuits Sonores electronic and indie festival, which is on until June 2nd.
 
Or if you're in Bordeaux, don't miss out on the start of the International Fair in Bordeaux (June 1st-10th). At the expo you'll find everything home-related from furniture, household appliances, construction equipment, as well as handicrafts and jewellery.
 
Meanwhile in Paris on Sunday people strolling around the central four arrondissements of Paris, and the Champs-Elysees, will have the pleasure of doing so in a car-free environment from 10am - 6pm - part of Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo's plan to keep the centre of the city free of cars one Sunday a month. 
 
Museums across Paris will also be free to visit this Sunday so why not take the opportunity to visit one you've had on your list for a while. 
 
Or if you'd rather keep out of the sun, why not settle in for the weekend, switch on the television and enjoy the French Open.  
 
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