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France: Best Time to Visit


There are two considerations when deciding on a French vacation. One is weather and the other is the variation in prices from one season to the next. However, the weather can be unpredictable especially in the north. For simplicity’s sake, here is a summary by region as France is geographically varied.

Paris

Spring

There is no doubt this is a pleasant time for travel to Paris. It is not too crowded and accommodation prices are not high season. May is the driest month generally. The weather in Paris is temperate and everything is in full bloom. The crowds are not too bad although, the city is now popular all-year-round.

Summer

This is a very busy time and accommodation prices are higher. It is also the time when Parisians rush to get out of the city on their own vacations. Some restaurants close down but not enough to cause problems. It is also the time of lengthy daylight in the evenings.

Fall

Good weather but it is the time especially in October when the city caters to exhibitions, conventions, and trade shows etc. which can cause accommodation prices to be high.

Winter

The weather can be gloomy and wet but there are fewer crowds and accommodation prices are somewhat better. If visiting museums and art galleries are on the agenda, then this is the perfect time to be in Paris.

The French Riviera

Generally, the Mediterranean has reasonable weather year-round. It has mild winters with some rain. The western part is colder than the eastern, especially in winter, because it is subject to a cold wind called The Mistral. The summer is hot and dry but with breezes to temper the heat. Spring and fall are the wettest times but no great quantities. Between May and August, hotels and restaurants are generally quite crowded. Two busy times on trips to France are during the Cannes Film Festival in mid-May and the Grand Prix motor race in Monte Carlo in late May. In February, Nice celebrates Carnival.

The French Alps

Generally speaking, most ski resorts open at the end of November and close mid to late April. The later you go, the greater the risk that the snow conditions could deteriorate but the weather will be warmer. The best month to go skiing is in January if you want fewer crowds and better accommodation prices. In the late spring through to the fall, the best time to visit the French Alps for hiking is between July and September when the weather is sunny and predictable.

Normandy and Brittany

While on France tours which include Brittany, the weather is warmer and drier than England, particularly in the summer. It can be very hot on the south coast of Brittany in July and August. Brittany benefits from a remarkably mild climate, particularly in the extreme west where frost and snow are relatively rare. Overall, both provinces can be unpredictable in the summer with rain turning up from time to time. Normandy‘s climate is generally mild. Summer is peak tourist season for both coastal regions so, to avoid the crowds, May is a good time to visit as is September.

Average Temperatures.

 

Jan

Apr

Jun

Aug

Oct

Paris

7 C/45 F 16 C/61 F 23 C/73 F 25 C/77 F 16 C/61 F

Nice (French Riviera)

13 C/55 F 16 C/61 F 23 C/73 F 27 C/81 F 21 C/70 F

Chamonix (French Alps)

2 C/36 F 12 C/54 F 20 C/68 F 22 C/72 F 13 C/55 F

Dinard (Brittany)

8 C/46 F 12 C/54 F 18 C/64 F 21 C/70 F 16 C/61 F

NOTE – All quoted temperatures are daytime average highs unless otherwise stated and can vary.


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