When is the best time to visit France?
Art, architecture, history, fashion, stunning beaches and delectable cuisine – France is every traveler’s dream. With so much to offer, it is little wonder then that France ranks among the top European vacation spots. Our destination experts weigh in on when is the best time to visit France.
The best time to visit France is during spring, from the months of March-May and then fall (September-November). This is the time that temperatures are comfortable along with fewer crowds. June – August is usually high season in France, and this is when the country is at its hottest and busiest. You can expect long queues at most of the famous attractions around this time! During the winters, it is cold throughout the country, with temperatures dropping well below freezing in some parts.
Winter is in full swing across France, and you can even expect snowfall in some parts of the country as well. January is usually the coldest month with temperatures averaging around 45°F. Precipitation is also high around this time, so make sure you carry plenty of layers and rain gear. Several hotels and restaurants in the countryside can be closed around this time, so do factor that in your plans. While it is the coldest in the north, expect it to be milder along the coast.
- Watch the New Year fireworks over the Arc de Triomphe in Paris
- Take advantage of sales across France and go shopping!
- Go skiing in the Alps
Cold and gloomy conditions continue throughout the month, but there will be a slight rise in day temperatures. Temperatures range between the high 30s and mid-40s and the wet conditions persist as well. But if you are in the mood for romance, there’s no better city to celebrate Valentine’s Day than the most romantic city in the world – Paris!
- Head to Nice to enjoy the parades, floats and festivities of the Carnaval, one of the biggest celebrations of the year
- Enjoy a romantic dinner cruise on the river Seine in Paris as you celebrate Valentine’s Day
This is one of the last few months before the crowds begin to descend across the country, so if you are willing to brave the cold and rain, this is a good month to visit France. Paris sees the temperatures range between 41-54°F; it is slightly cooler in the northeast and warmer along the Mediterranean.
- Witness the unusual celebrations during the Dunkirk festival
- Take advantage of fewer crowds and go museum hopping in Paris
The temperatures begin to rise, the sun begins to shine and the flowers begin to bloom, making the start of spring one of the best months to visit France. The weather can still be erratic so don’t forget to pack your layers and rain gear. Paris can get especially busy around Easter, so do book in advance if you plan to be here around this time.
- Take advantage of the warm weather and go on a walking tour of Paris
- Explore the quaint charm of the Loire Valley region with its many chateaux
This is the start of the high season across the country, and expect the crowds to make their presence felt especially towards the end of the month. Temperatures continue to vary as spring transitions into summer. While the days get warm, you can expect chilly evenings and the occasional rainy spells.
- Movie lovers can head to the Cannes Film festival
- Watch the French Open at Roland Garros in Paris
- Enjoy a culinary tour of Paris
Expect crowds throughout the country and long lines at all the major attractions as this is the peak tourist season in France. Temperatures vary between the high 50s and the mid 70s, making this a good time to explore the beaches as well! Enjoying the sun across the parks in the country is the norm!
- Explore Nice on a bicycle
- Relax on the beaches of the French Riviera
This is one of the warmest and busiest months to be in France. Day time temperatures usually hit the high 70s and you can expect plenty of sunshine and crowds! This is also the time the lavender fields are in full bloom in Provence and the renowned cycling event, the Tour de France is held in the country.
- Attend the Festival d’Avignon, the annual summer arts festival in Avignon
- Witness the celebrations of Bastille Day across the country
- Explore the sights of Provence
August is another hot month in France – and busy as well! The beaches continue to be a big draw, so book well in advance in case you plan to visit the country around this time. Do note that since this is the month of school holidays in France, many businesses tend to close during this month, so confirm your reservations well in advance.
- Go on a history tour in Normandy
- Learn how to make macarons in Paris
- Go for a boat ride off the coast in southern France
Much like August, September remains hot and sunny. This is one of the better months to visit the country as this is the shoulder season, when the crowds reduce (relatively!). This is the month of transition, as autumn begins to set in but expect temperatures to remain in the mid 50s to the high 60s, only dropping towards the end of the month. This is also the harvest season in France, so a tour of a vineyard is a must at this time!
- Go on a tour of the vineyards in Bordeaux
- Take advantage of the diminishing crowds and visit the sights of Paris
- This is probably the last month to enjoy a beach vacation in the French Riviera
It gets cooler and grayer through the month as autumn sets in across the country. Temperatures usually vary between the 50s and 60s and expect it to get cooler at nights as the month progresses. Make sure you carry layers as well as rain gear to deal with the vagaries of the weather.
- Visit family-run champagne cellars and vineyards in Champagne
- Go on a culinary tour in Nice
- Chocolate lovers, don’t miss the Le Salon du Chocolat in Paris
Expect it to be cold, gray and wet throughout the month, which makes outdoor activities a bit difficult. However, this is a good time to explore the museums and other indoor cultural attractions, especially in Paris, as the crowds considerably thin out. Temperatures vary between the 40s and 50s and you can expect it to fall below 32°F at night at times.
- Go on a perfumery tour
- Enjoy a culinary tour in Lyon
Winter is in full swing across the country. Expect temperatures to drop below freezing in several parts as well as plenty of snowfall! The coastal regions experience plenty of rain and wind, so wherever you are, make sure you are carrying plenty of layers. The Christmas and New Year festivities are popular throughout the country, making this a festive time to visit, provided you are ready to brave the cold!
- Enjoy the Christmas markets of Strasbourg
- Marvel at the Festival of Lights in Lyon
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What to Pack for France
What you pack on your trip to France depends on when you travel to the country. Carry plenty of layers and rain gear if you are traveling in the winter months. For spring, summer and fall, ensure you have cotton clothes and summer wear, but carry a couple of layers for the chilly evenings during spring and fall. Don’t forget to carry sunscreen and sun hats for the beach vacations!
Plan an unforgettable trip to France with advice from our experts. We’ll time your vacation just right to ensure you see all of the highlights. Get in touch with us today for your personalized, obligation-free itinerary.
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