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When is the Best Time of Year to Visit France?

When is the Best Time of Year to Visit France?

The most popular time of year to visit France is July and August when the weather tends to be most favorable, but if you would rather avoid the crowds and save on your travel costs, consider alternative times to visit. Read on for suggestions of things to do in France during the off-season, and learn which months are better for planning certain activities.


Shoulder Season in France

Summer months are the sunniest and nicest weather for walking around and enjoying parks, but in France they are also the most crowded and most expensive for hotel accommodations and flight costs. Not to mention, travelers in France during July and August run the risk of visiting when the weather can be too hot to be enjoyable. Travelers who take advantage of visiting France during “shoulder-season” (the months just before and just after peak summer season) in May/June and September/October can benefit from considerable savings and more time to enjoy all that France has to offer at a relaxed pace.

What you can do on a rainy day in France

As far as Paris and other metropolitan French cities go, May and June are a wonderful time to visit because of the countless activities one could do in the chance that the weather is not particularly warm or sunny:

  • Visit a museum
    The Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Rodin Museum, Picasso Museum
  • Go shopping
    Indoor Malls like Galerie Lafayette, Beaugrenelle, Carrousel du Louvre
  • Eat!
    French cuisine is diverse, delicious, and always fresh. From the breads and pastries to the gourmet dining experiences, you could spend an entire lifetime trying all the best foods in France.
  • Visit a cathedral
    Sainte-Clotilde Basilica, Cathédrale Notre-Dame (as of May 2019 the Cathédrale Notre-Dame is closed until further notice due to restoration)
  • Go underground at the Catacombs
    Join a tour or opt for an independent visit to walk the 1.25 mile route
  • Discover an Art Gallery or Antique Shop at a covered Passage 
    Passage des Panoramas, Passage Brady, Passage Verdeau, Passage du Caire, Galerie Vivienne, Galerie Véro-Dodat, Passage du Grand-Cerf, and Galerie Colbert
  • Watch a French film at the cinema
    Cinéma du Panthéon, Le Grand Rex, La Pagode


What to do in France during the Fall

Once temperatures have cooled in September and October, those of us who don’t prefer the heat can once again enjoy the outdoors. Fall is a great time for hiking France’s beautiful and rugged landscapes. Most notable are the Chamonix Valley in the French Alps, home to Europe’s highest peak- Mont Blanc, and the Verdon Gorge of Provence, known as France’s “Grand Canyon”. Fall is also the time of year when wine grapes are harvested, so a visit to vineyards in Bordeaux or any of France’s six other wine regions is sure to be a colorful and cheerful occasion.

What do in France during Winter

The winter months bring another peak travel season in France, with the Christmas and New Year’s holidays being an enchanting yet expensive time to visit. Ahead of the Christmas holiday, French streets become busy with crowds visiting seasonal Christmas markets and shopping malls. For those that can brave some crowds, the best time to visit Christmas markets across France is in late November as soon as most are set-up.

Similar to holiday shopping, late November and early December are great times to beat the crowds before the holiday rush for ski season. France is home to some of the best ski resorts in the world, with thousands of kilometers of runs for skiers of all levels from beginner to Olympic. The pistes can get busy during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, but thankfully in France the ski season typically lasts until the end of April or even the beginning of May, giving travelers plenty of opportunities to visit the mountains without the crowds.

The best reasons to visit France during the off-season are to save on travel costs and avoid the crowds- but driving your own car can help you do both at any time of year. Drivers who opt for a short-term lease while traveling save considerably when compared to a traditional long-term car rental. Travelers with their own cars can also avoid crowds by planning their own schedules. Since you will be traveling at your own pace, you can choose to visit famous landmarks before tourist buses and groups arrive, or stay long after they leave.


With a short-term lease through Auto France, drivers can benefit from full insurance coverage, 24-hour Peugeot roadside assistance, unlimited mileage, and a brand new car direct from the Peugeot factory. Click here to browse the vehicle models, or click here to get started with your reservation.


Related Articles:

Top 7 Ski Resorts in France for Beginners

15 Unique Places to Stay in France

Should You Drive or Take the Train in Europe?


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