January & February
The days are usually crisp and clear, just right for walking, cycling or sight seeing. These are the months to attempt climbing Peyrepertuse or Queribus or to go on long, but lazy, bike rides alongside the Canal du Midi - stopping for a lovely lunch, of course. It can be around 8 - 14 degrees in the day time but then it can be colder - it is usually, however, possible to spend a lot of time out of doors enjoying the scenery. 2018 - 2020 were exceptional, the temperatures were like those of a 'normal' April some days reaching 19 degrees. There was also little rain, a cause for some concern for the wine makers.
You will find all sorts of statistics about the excellent micro-climate in this part of the Languedoc - Occitanie - basically it is very similar to the climate in South Africa and California. Instead of repeating dry statistics, however, here are our observations based on the last couple of years in the Corbieres.
Winter in the Corbieres
March & April
Spring comes early in the Corbieres and these are the months when the almond blossom appears though each year it arrives earlier, this year, 2020, it was out in February. Each vineyard or field is edged with a beautiful line of pink blossomed trees The grape vines also start to sprout a little and the wild flowers come out too, starting with the white, frothy flowers of the wild rocket and continuing with the gorgeous, heavy purple flowers of the wild iris. The herbs, rosemary and thyme are also in flower and their scent is pungent and fills the spring air. Again, from 2016, temperatures have been the highest since records began, often days in March have been 25 degrees.
July & August
These are the holiday months for the French so expect crowded motorways (so use the 'back' roads) and fields of sunflowers all with their heads turned towards the blistering sun. Consistently good weather with very little rain, it becomes intensely hot going up to 45 and even 50 degrees. The sea will be around 24 degrees. As there are 44 beaches in this area you will always find a quiet spot to yourself and, if you would like to try something different, the rivers are perfect for swimming at this time of year. One of the best rivers at St Laurent de Cabrerisse is only 10 minutes drive from Thezan des Corbieres and 20 minutes from Ferrals les Corbieres.
November - December
Many villages have harvest fetes during these months, where regional produce such as chestnuts, walnuts, pumpkins or olive oil is proudly displayed. This time of year offers ideal weather to walk, cycle or explore the mountains and/or Cathar castles - usually sunny in the day time and can reach 22 degrees still, but cooler in the evenings.
September - October
The first two weeks of September usually retain most of the heat of August then it begins to cool in the evenings, October still has temperatures of 30 degrees in the day time. The sea retains its heat in September staying at around 22 degrees. Grapes are harvested at the end of September beginning of October - this is called the vendange. Many chateaus - Maylandie in Ferrals les Corbieres is one - allow people to help with the vendange for a day in return for a lovely lunch or dinner in the vineyards Many people come here specifically at this time to help in the vineyards, just for the experience of picking grapes by hand, the traditional way.
May & June
In May the Flanders poppies fill the vineyards and tumble down the banks along the roadside - a glorious sight. The temperature rises very quickly and children will be playing in the rivers and the sea - the second week of June 2014 the temperature was 30 degrees, in June 2015 - 2020 the temperature reached 33 degrees.