2010 was the coldest year France has seen in two decades, according to Météo France.
Meteorologists say the average temperature was 0.3°C below average between 1971 and 2000, making it the coldest since 1990, on a par with 1996.
The temperatures last winter (2009-10) helped to pull down the average: the winter was 1.2°C below the 1971-2000 average and the past two winters saw more snow than any in the past 30 years.
Director of climatology for Météo France, Philippe Dandin, said the figures did not contradict climate change and overall rising temperatures for the planet.
He said the variable temperatures were partly the result of anomalies in ocean currents around the tropics, which had brought a cold wave across northern Europe.