Time in France now: + All 13 of France Time zones explained

Do you know the current time in France now? Discover how time zones work and all 13 of France’s time zones.

father of time man wearing a bowler hat, suit and red tie with a clock for a face and head
father of time man wearing a bowler hat, suit and red tie with a clock for a face and head

Pacific Standard, Greenwich mean time, Western European time? The division of the world’s time is confusing. Here’s what you need to know about time zones using all 13 of France time zones as an example.

Even if you’ve never travelled abroad, you’re probably familiar with the term “time zone.” But how many of us really understand how the concept of time zones work?

Someone recently asked me this question, and although I thought I knew the answer, I couldn’t explain it.

I decided to do a little research in relation to where I live, France, everyone’s favourite tourist destination

Do you know the date and time in France right now?

The current date and time in France 24-hour clock. 


Above, you should see a clock and a 24 hour digital clock with the current time and date in Metropolitan France, where the time zone is UTC+01:00 (CET). 

But that’s just France’s time zone located in Europe. In other words, Paris local time. 

France has 12 other time zones thanks to its territories, for a total of 13 time zones.

Plot twist. One of France’s time zones is not recognized by some other countries as belonging to France. 

During daylight savings, Metropolitan France time zone changes from UTC+01:00 (CET) to UTC+02:00 (CEST), during the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October.

France and most of the world used military time.

France and most of the world use military, a 24 clock which avoids confusion between a.m. and p.m.

The first thing you should know about time in French is that France, and most of the world, uses military time, which is a 24-hour clock and helps avoids confusion between A.M. and P.M.

Unlike the 12-hour clock used by many English-speaking countries, military time starts the day at midnight 00:00 or 24:00 and ends 24 hours later at 23:59.

So instead of transitioning from 12 noon to 1 pm, military time continues, 12:00, 13:00, 14:00,15:00 all the way to 24:00, which is midnight and the start of the next day.

What is a time zone?

Every country on earth has at least one time zone, but many countries have more than one.

I won’t get too technical, but basically, a time zone divides the world’s 24-hour days into more manageable chunks. And each time zone is one hour ahead or behind its neighbouring time zone. 

Knowing the time zone helps us keep track of what time it is in different parts of the world.

This is especially important when scheduling events or communicating with people who are in different parts of the world.

Each time zone runs from pole to pole and tends to follow a country’s boundaries rather than along the north-south longitude lines. 

Take Greenland for example.

map of world time zones

If you look at the world’s time zone map above, you’ll notice that Greenland is huge.

And despite being physically located in four different time zones, its time zone lines run around Greenland so that the majority of the country can be in the same time zone.

Why is that?

Greenland is a sparsely populated country, and many of its towns and villages are small and remote. 

It’s easier to maintain one standard time for the whole country, and would be difficult and impractical to coordinate multiple time zones considering its population.  

You can read more about the history of time zones at BBC. It involves trains and is pretty interesting. 

How are time zones calculated using UTC (Universal Coordinated Time)?

UTC times and time zones showing prime meridian and UTC +-00:00 in a world map

Timezones are calculated in relation to how far ahead or behind they are to UTC±00:00.

UTC stands for  “Universal Time Coordinated,” aka “Coordinated Universal Time,” which is maintained by the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM), not far from Paris, France. 

If you look at a map of the world’s time zones, UTC±00:00 is the center or the first time zone from which all other time zones are based.

In other words, UTC is located in Time Zone 0, the Prime meridian, which is in the local time of Greenwich, England.

UTC±00:00 is essentially the same as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

The term “Greenwich Mean Time” was originally used to refer to the mean solar time at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London, which served as the reference point for measuring time around the world.

However, in 1972, GMT was replaced by Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) as the international standard for timekeeping.

UTC is essentially a modernized version of GMT and is based on atomic time, whereas GMT was based on the rotation of the Earth.

So, while the terms GMT and UTC are technically slightly different, they are often used interchangeably and refer to the same time standard.

 (UTC±00:00) has many synonyms: 

  • (GMT) Greenwich mean time- Predecessor to UTC, sometimes used as a synonym for UTC, which replaced GMT in 1972.
  • WET – Western European Time
  • Zulu Time – South African Time
  • Zulu -Military Time
  • Z time

Here is the current time at UTC±00:00

UTC 0, Greenwich Mean time map

Any country and city that is within UTC±00:00 will have the same local time because they are in the same time zone.

Here are some cities and countries in the UTC±00:00 time zone. 

  • London
  • Belfast
  • Cardiff
  • Dublin
  • Edinburgh
  • Iceland
  • Rep. of Ireland
  • Portugal,
  • Monrovia
  • Morocco. 

France Time Zones: France has the most time zones in the world.

If you ask someone how many time zones France has, most would probably reply that France has one time zone. But this isn’t really correct.

France actually has 13 time zones, thanks to its overseas territories, including France’s claim to Adélie Land in Antarctica. That’s more than Russia. 

That’s more than any other country in the world. 

Some sources say that France only has 12 time zones because most countries don’t recognize France’s claim on Antarctica,  Adélie Land, which is in timezone UTC+05:10

Potatos, tomatoes…

Seven countries maintain territorial claims in Antartica (Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway, and the United Kingdom) 

Countries with 3 or more time zones

Below is a list of countries that have three or more timezones. Some, like France, the United States, and the UK have territories, ads to the number of their time zones.

  • France time zones: (Including territories and Antarctica) but not daylight savings.
  • Russia time zones: 12 time zones
  • United States time zones: 11
  • Antarctica time zones: 9 time zones
  • Australia time zones: 9
  • United Kingdom time zones: 9
  • Canada time zones: 6 
  • Denmark time zones: 5
  • New Zealand time zones: 5
  • Brazil time zones:4
  • Mexico time zones: 4
  • Chile time zones: 3
  • Indonesia time zones: 3
  • Kiribati time zones: 3 

All the rest of the countries in the world have two zones or less. 

Table of France’s time zone, including daylight savings and Antarctica.

Here’s a look at France’s time zones organized by UTC, including daylight savings.

We usually don’t count daylight savings as an additional time zone. 

In France’s case, only two places in France observe daylight savings. 

  • UTC +02:00: Metropolitan France, the part of France that is in Europe
  • UTC−02:00: Saint Pierre and Miquelon, France’s territory off the coast of Canada. Follows the US and Canadian schedules for daylight savings. 
  Standard time Summer(daylight savings)  
1 UTC−10:00   Society Islands and Tuamotus Austral Islands
2 UTC−09:30   Marquesas Islands
3 UTC−09:00   Gambier Islands
4 UTC−08:00   Clipperton Island
5 UTC−04:00 (AST)   Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin
6 UTC−03:00 (PMST)   French Guiana
UTC−03:00 UTC−02:00.
2nd Sunday in March to 2nd Sunday in November
(same as US & Canada)
Saint Pierre and Miquelon
(Off the coast of Canada)
7 UTC+01:00 (CET) UTC+02:00 (CEST)
last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October
Metropolitan France
(central European France and Paris time)
8 UTC+03:00   Mayotte & Scattered Islands (group of islands near Madagascar Indian Ocean
9 UTC+04:00   Réunion, Crozet Islands (in the southern Indian Ocean)
10 UTC+05:00   Kerguelen Islands, Saint Paul and Amsterdam Islands
11 UTC+05:10   Adélie Land (French claim on the continent of Antarctica)
Not recognized by many countries
12 UTC+11:00   New Caledonia
13 UTC+12:00   Wallis and Futuna

France’s time zones by region & Territories

Here is a different look at France’s time zones by region/territories.

SUMMER(Daylight savings)time
French Polynesia Society, Tuamotu and Austral islands UTC−10:00  
Marquesas Islands UTC−09:30  
Gambier Islands UTC−09:00  
Clipperton Island   UTC−08:00  
Guadeloupe   UTC−04:00  
Martinique   UTC−04:00  
Saint Barthélemy   UTC−04:00  
Saint Martin   UTC−04:00  
French Guiana   UTC−03:00  
Saint Pierre and Miquelon   UTC−03:00 UTC−02:00
Metropolitan France Europe/Paris UTC+01:00 UTC+02:00
Mayotte   UTC+03:00  
Réunion   UTC+04:00  
French Southern and Antarctica Lands
(Uninhabited except for transient
Scattered Islands UTC+03:00  
Crozet Islands UTC+04:00  
Kerguelen, Saint Paul
and Amsterdam islands
Adélie Land UTC+10:00  
New Caledonia   UTC+11:00  
Wallis and Futuna   UTC+12:00  

You can calculate the time based on two different UTC time zones. 

  • When you move East (to the right), you gain time. One hour is added to the local time for each time zone you cross;
    • UTC+01:00
    • UTC+02:00
    • etc.
  • But when you move West (to the left), you lose one hour (one hour is subtracted from the local time)
    • UTC-01:00
    • UTC-02:00
    • etc

UTC time zones showing prime meridian and UTC +-00:00

For example, if you’re in Paris and want to know the local time in San Francisco, you can calculate the time difference using UTC times for those two places. 

  • Paris time zone at UTC+01:00 (CET) Central European Timezone.
  • San fanciso time zone: UTC-8:00 (PST) pacific standard time.

Starting from Paris, which is in UTC +01:00, you have to move 9 time zones going east, which means San Francisco is 9 hours behind Paris. 

  1. ±00:00
  2. -01:00
  3. -02:00
  4. -03:00
  5. -04:00
  6. -05:00
  7. -06:00
  8. -07:00
  9. -08:00

Wrapping up France time zones

Although France has the most time zones in the world, most travellers travelling to France will be most interested in the time zone of Metropolitan France. The part of France that’s located in Europe, and where Paris is located, and not France’s territories. Unless, of course, you plan on travelling to France’s territories located around the world. 

All you have to remember is that metropolitan France’s standard time is called: CET – Central European Time (UTC +01:00).

Which means that France is 1 hour ahead of  Greenwich Mean time aka UTC because it’s located one time zone to the right of Western European Time (WET) UTC±00:00

However, during daylight savings, metropolitan France’s time zone is (UTC +02:00), 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean time, aka,Western European Time, aka UTC±00:00.

So simple. 

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Annie André

Annie André

About the author

I'm Annie André, a bilingual North American with Thai and French Canadian roots. I've lived in France since 2011. When I'm not eating cheese, drinking wine or hanging out with my husband and children, I write articles on my personal blog annieandre.com for intellectually curious people interested in all things France: Life in France, travel to France, French culture, French language, travel and more.

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