We often wonder what is the best season to paraglide, we often hear many misconceptions about the conditions where we can, or not, fly: "You can't fly in winter", "You can't fly when the sky is completely overcast", "You can't fly without wind", ...
All this is false, they are only preconceived ideas. Indeed, there are some conditions in which we can not fly paragliding but they are not numerous!
Finally, there are still many moments when you can fly paragliding! Don't worry about the weather.
We can ask ourselves which season gathers the best conditions for paragliding in France. We will answer you that all are favourable to the practice of the paragliding because in fact, it is possible to fly all the year in paragliding. But we will tell you, of course, that between mid-spring and the end of summer, we will find the best weather conditions for paragliding: less rain, we are much less cold in the air, more thermals favorable to long flights, ... After each season has its specificities with different practices.
Everybody knows it, winter is cold, and paragliding is even worse... The sun is low, the trees have no leaves, thermal bubbles are very rare. It is therefore a rather calm season, with laminar conditions and few ascents. It is the season of the big "ploufs".
It is also the season to combine paragliding with other sports: skiing or snowboarding for example! This will allow you to discover other facets of paragliding or even to deviate towards mini-sailing. See our article on paragliding on ski.
The sun is higher and more powerful but the trees do not have leaves yet. The thermal conditions are therefore strong and turbulent. Experienced pilots will take advantage of this to make their greatest flights. The others will have to be vigilant during the day when the conditions are the most lively. But in the morning or in the evening, the conditions are very good to practice and progress in paragliding.
The sun is high, the trees are leafy. The conditions will be very changeable throughout the day in just a few hours or even minutes. Beginners will prefer the morning and the evening to fly in calm conditions and enjoy beautiful resorts. Experienced pilots will have all day to thermals and get the most out of their experience. However, summer is also thunderstorm season. It is therefore important to stay alert to the weather reports and the signs of impending weather changes.
The sun is fading but the trees still have their leaves. This is the season of beautiful resorts. Beginners can stay in the air longer and take advantage of this time to refine their piloting technique in mild thermal conditions. It is also a great season to go hiking in the mountains and come down quietly in the air while contemplating the beautiful orange landscape.
It is important to know a minimum of the conditions encountered during each period of the year in order to understand and make the right choices to live the best possible flights.
Let's talk about the best periods for paragliding in the most important paragliding sites in France: the Dune du Pilat, the Massif Central and Annecy.
Located on the southern edge of the Bay of Arcachon, the Dune du Pilat is a unique natural monument in the world. It is nearly 3 km long, over 600 m wide and 110 m high, making it the largest dune in Europe. The Dune du Pilat is renowned for its gentle flying conditions and the beauty of its environment.
However, paragliding on the Dune du Pilat is subject to restrictions imposed by the local authorities. These restrictions aim to protect this natural area and avoid accidents. You will be allowed to take off and land in specific areas to the south of the Dune and you will be obliged to respect certain overflight zones. These zones change according to the time of the year and the number of visitors. Indeed, the Dune du Pilat attracts a lot of people during the summer, so it's during these periods that the rules are stricter and where you will find the most people on the site (tourists, solo paragliders, tandem paragliders and even paragliding schools).
We advise you to come to this site during the low season (before 15 June and after 15 September) when you will enjoy better flying conditions and fewer restrictions.
Annecy is a very famous town in France for paragliding over its lake. When the weather is good, many paragliders come to practice on this site. But there are also professional tandem pilots and paragliding schools. Finally, many people come to Annecy to fly, especially in high season! We advise you, as for the Dune du Pilat, to come in the low season, when the weather conditions are quite good and when you can fly more serenely to enjoy the magnificent landscape that this paragliding site offers us!
Auvergne is a region where paragliding is quite developed due to the numerous sites present and the weather conditions which promise conditions for flying all year round.
All seasons are good to fly in Auvergne!
At the end of spring and beginning of summer, you will have very good thermal conditions in the middle of the day for long flights or cross-country flights on sites such as the Puy de Dôme or Saint-Sandoux. You will also have calmer conditions in the morning or evening for less experienced people.
You can also take advantage of the good weather and the relief to make magnificent cross-country flights in the Massif du Sancy or in the heart of the Chaîne des Puys.
In autumn and spring you can take advantage of calmer conditions to progress and refine your technique, with some days offering good resorts and lift for longer flights.
Winter is a rather calm season, with laminar conditions and few ascents. This is the season for big dives for beginners and those who want to improve their flying skills. The region is also well known for its ski resorts and high altitude snow. You can practice other types of sailing sports such as speed-riding for example!
And abroad, at the most important paragliding sites on the planet, when are the best seasons to go flying?
The Canaries are a real paradise for free flight, between September and mid-April but especially in winter as it is the only place in Europe where it flies very well in thermal conditions with magnificent and different landscapes depending on the islands. You can do all kinds of flying in the Canaries: cross-country flights, long flights, site flights, soaring and even hang-gliding.
For paragliding, the city of Pokhara is considered one of the best destinations, as it offers breathtaking aerial views of the city, Phewa Lake and the Annapurna Himalayan range. It is a great playground with views of the Himalayan mountains and almost daily flying opportunities! You can practice all kinds of flights: trekking, cross-country, accro, tandem... That's why many paragliders come there every year.
The best season for paragliding in Pokhara is from September to the end of April which is the dry season. The best months of the year are November and December, when the visibility of the mountains is at its best.
After that, it's the monsoon season! It is possible to fly but it will depend on the weather conditions at the time and you will have fewer slots than during the dry season.
Only 3 hours by plane from France, Morocco is a very popular country for paragliders. Indeed, the flight sites are numerous, the weather conditions are quite good all year round and the change of scenery is guaranteed!
We recommend going from the end of September to mid-April when the conditions are best (unlike France, so it's good timing!).
The diversity of the sites offers different flying conditions depending on the site chosen; there is something for everyone: flying by the sea in laminar wind, in thermo-dynamics in the hinterland or in front of the Atlas Mountains where the restit sometimes makes us land at nightfall.
Located in the south-west of the Indian Ocean, Reunion Island is a volcanic island renowned for its beauty and biodiversity, but also for being one of the best places for paragliding. It is appreciated by paragliders for its exceptional aerology and its favourable winds which allow very long flights.
Above all, it is a place where you can fly all year round! Indeed, the weather conditions of the island allow to fly 300 days a year. There is therefore no better time to go paragliding in Reunion Island: enough to make all the paragliders in the world salivate.
However, the conditions are different at different times of the year:
From November to April, Reunion Island experiences a cyclonic period. The days are longer and the winds become less frequent. This creates a drop in ceilings. Moreover, during this period, very high rainfall can be recorded in addition to the cyclones.
From May to October, it is winter in Réunion: the atmosphere is drier and the ceilings are higher. However, the days are shorter. Winter is therefore a better season for long distance paragliding.
It should also be noted that Reunion Island's reputation attracts many foreign paragliders from November onwards who flee the poorer flying conditions in France and more generally in Europe. The number of paragliders increases quite a bit from this month onwards and you should therefore expect to see a lot of people at this time.
You now know what the conditions are to fly paragliding, in which season the best conditions can be found in France but also abroad in the most beautiful sites all over the world! You have no more excuses to say that the weather is not good enough to fly because you know where to find the best weather conditions!