Travel Tips

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Best Time To Visit France (Guided by a French Native!)

Explore France with insights from a French native! Learn the best times for sightseeing, saving money, and avoiding crowds. Ideal for potential travelers.

Tobi Miles
July 19, 2022
Best Time To Visit France (Guided by a French Native!)

Out of all the countries in Europe, France receives the most tourists each year. This country is known for its excellent hospitality, exquisite food, and famous landmarks. If you’re ready to see this country for yourself, you may be wondering when the best time to visit France is.

April and May are the best months to visit France because attractions aren't crowded and the temperature is ideal (55 to 68 F/ 13 to 20 C). This time of year is great to see the blooming fields and flowers. The early spring months are also a great time to visit because off-season rates provides a 50% savings on tickets.

Have you always dreamed of traveling to France? Today, we’re going to discuss when you should book a trip and why. We’ll give you a monthly-by-month breakdown of what you can do when traveling to France and discuss everything else you wanted to know about the best time to visit France.

When Should You Not Travel To France?

Traveling to France can get pricey, as the average tourist spends around $1,000 per week in the country.

If you don’t want to go over your budget, you should avoid traveling to France in July. This is because it’s right in the middle of the tourist season, so flights are more expensive and hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions are a lot more crowded.

The tourist season in France usually begins in April but gets busier towards the end of June. From there, it remains busy until mid-September. During this time period, the flights are more expensive.

The rate of flights also increases around the holiday season in December. However, don’t let that turn you off from a summer trip to France. Many areas have more crowds, but it won’t prevent you from enjoying attractions.

When Is The Cheapest Month To Travel To France?

If you want to save money on your trip to France, it’s best to wait until the holiday season is over and things are less busy. February is the ideal time to travel if you want to keep your wallet in check. It’s much easier to find a great deal on flights this time of year and you may be able to find a round trip for under $400.

Winter isn’t the most popular season for traveling to this country, which makes it easier to find an off-season rate at hotels. For example, the Paris Charles de Gaulle Villepint has rooms for as low as $56 a night in February.

There are many other hotels that you can find at a bargain rate for this time of year. Always look between November and April for the best rates.

Best Months To Visit France: Month By Month Breakdown

There’s no bad time to visit France, as the country has something for everyone. Depending on what your interests are, some months are better than others to visit. Let’s take a look at why you should visit each month of the year.

Related Read: Best Time To Visit Europe

January: Best Month For Shopping

France is one of the best countries in the world for fashion. A lot of people enjoy spending the day in the different boutiques and markets in France.

If you want to spend time shopping in one of the fashion capitals of the world, January is one of the best months to do so. This is because the winter sales start in January, so you can get the best picks at the best prices.

After a day of shopping, you can warm up with a coffee and pastry at a local cafe. In many towns across France, especially Paris, there are cafes on nearly every block. The cafe culture is very big in this country and each cafe has unique architecture and decor that draws people in.

  • Shop in boutiques along Boulevard St. Germain
  • Enjoy espresso and macarons at a French cafe
  • Visit gift shops like Bring Home France & Les Parisettes

February: Best Month For Ski Chalets & Ski Resorts

France is beautiful during the winter months, especially in the alpine regions. February is one of the best months to book a stay in one of the luxury ski chalets or ski resorts.

You won’t be short of options to stay either because France has some of the largest ski areas in the world with several cozy resorts and chalets to stay at. Many tourists enjoy the scenic train ride to the alpine areas, like Paradiski, Three Valleys, and Portes du Soliel.

Skiing is just part of the fun when staying at one of France’s ski resorts or ski chalets. After a day of skiing, you can enjoy apres-ski, which is a French tradition of drinks and socializing by a fireplace after skiing. The restaurants in the France alpines are magnificent with a wide selection of traditional gourmet cuisine to choose from.

  • Choose from some of the largest ski mountains in Europe
  • Spend a day at the resort’s sauna
  • Enjoy a movie at the cinema

March: Best Month For Your Sweettooth

France is known for its selection of confectioneries and pastries. If you want to try some delicious desserts with every meal, France is the place to go.

There are over 30,000 bakeries in the country to keep up with the demand. No matter where you stay, you’re likely to find delicious fresh baked goods nearby.

So, why is March the best month to indulge in sweets in France? As the country prepares for Easter, they introduce of variety of limited-time-only sweets for the season.

There are cakes, candies, and chocolates of all kinds. However, if it’s your first time visiting France, we highly recommend you try a madeleine and an eclair.

  • Eat traditional Easter desserts, like the Tarte Tartin or Nid de Paques (Easter nest cake)
  • Wine tasting
  • Snowboxx music festival

Related Read: Best Time of Year to Visit Rome

April: Best Month For Sightseeing

April is one of the top months to visit France if you want to go sightseeing. There are several reasons why, but one of the top ones is the weather.

Spring is in the air, so the days are milder and sunny. However, since summer hasn’t arrived yet, the days aren’t too humid. This creates perfect conditions to get out and explore some of the scenic attractions in this country.

Another reason that April is great for visiting France is that it’s still in the off-season, but more outdoor attractions are starting to open up for the season. This allows you to score a better rate on flights and accommodation, while also enjoying the most France has to offer.

Going sightseeing and visiting attractions in April is ideal because the tourist season hasn’t started, so places won’t be too crowded.

  • Canal Saint-Martin Cruises
  • Cycling tours
  • Visit a botanical garden

May: Best Month For Learning About France’s Culture

There are a lot of events that take place in May throughout France that are fun for tourists while also allowing them to learn more about the culture. On the 3rd Saturday every May, France takes place in the European Museum Crawl, which allows visitors in for free.

If you visit at the beginning of the month, you may be able to get a ticket to see the Great Roman Games reenactment at Arenes de Nimes.

Since the tourist season isn’t busy yet, this is also a great time to explore popular tourist attractions, like art galleries or the Eiffel Tower. It’s also a great time to explore famous landmarks, like churches and castles.

  • Tour the Loire Valley Castles
  • Visit Louvre-Lens Museum
  • View Sacre-Couer (sacred heart) on top of Montmartre Hill

June: Best Month For Meeting New People

Paris is a top tourist destination in the month of June, so you may run into more crowds in the city. If you’re a social butterfly who enjoys meeting new people this can be a great time to go. There are plenty of festivals and events that bring people into the country, like the music festival and the garden festival.

Another thing that is celebrated in June is wine. There are many restaurants and taverns that will highlight different local wines that tourists should try.

The weather is also ideal for sitting outdoors at the cafes, so you can enjoy the sites of France while having a traditional breakfast.

  • Visit a winery
  • Tour the gardens of Chateau Chaumont-sur-Loire
  • Enjoy a picnic

Related Read: Italy: Travel Budget Calculator

July: Best Month For Beach Days

July is the hottest month of the year in France, so it’s the perfect time to spend your vacation at the beach.

Cannes, the French Rivera, and Saint Tropez are famous beaches in France that tourists love to visit over the summer months. However, there are several amazing beaches throughout the country. You can find some of the best beaches in Normandy and Brittany.

Cycling fans also like to visit France in July. This is because Tour de France takes place this time of year, which is the most famous cycling competition in the world. People from all over the world tune in to see this 3 week event.

Since the route that the cyclist follows goes through many cities in the country, you could get the opportunity to stay in one and see it if you book your accommodations in advance.

  • Swimming and scenic views at the beach
  • Try glace artisanale (artisanal ice cream)
  • Kite-surfing, canoeing, or kayaking

August: Best Month For Exploring

August is another busy month in France, but it’s still a great time to visit this country. Even though the most popular tourist attractions will be crowded, you can still enjoy a lot of the scenic attractions that make this country worth exploring. This is a great time for hiking, as there is a wide selection of trails and hills throughout the country.

It’s also a great month for renting a vehicle and exploring the countryside. There are many villages throughout the countryside that look like pictures out of a fairytale storybook. The scenery and the architecture are absolutely breathtaking. August is another great month for exploring the beaches in France as well.

  • Hike along Tour du Mont Blanc
  • Sailboating on the French Rivera
  • Cool off with a traditional French cocktail, like a French 75

September: Best Month To Enjoy Harvest Season

September is another favorite month for tourists to visit. While the beginning of the month is summer-like, the days begin to cool off slightly and provide more comfortable weather to be outdoors.

Harvest season begins in September, so you will get to enjoy a selection of seasonal dishes and see the leave start to change to beautiful autumn colors.

Wineries also have more going on throughout the month of September. There is even a harvest and wine festival that takes place in Saint-Emilion.

Don’t forget to check out some of the popular tourist attractions, like museums and galleries, as they are still open for summer hours in September, but they are also much less crowded.

  • Visit a wine estate
  • View monuments during European Heritage Days
  • Takes scenic pictures

October: Best Month To Try French Foods

There’s something very comforting about seasonal dishes in autumn. October is the peak month to treat your tastebuds to a trip to France. There are many food festivals that take place during this month.

You can try a selection of French delicacies at each event you attend. One of the most popular festivals is the Bayeaux Pork Gourmet Festival which takes place annually in Normandy.

When you’re not enjoying a different dish, you can enjoy a film or some live music. The Lumiere Film Festival is held every year in October and features over 174 films. There is also a festival called Jazz Between Two Towers La Rochelle. This event features recognized musicians that come from all over the world to perform.

  • Last month to see the International Garden Festival
  • Try red wines
  • Enjoy a selection of different cheeses

November: Best Month For Indoor Activities

November can be a very wet month in France, so it’s a great time to visit indoor attractions. Don’t let the rain turn you off, as there are still a lot of fun things to do this time of year.

This is a great time of year to head to Paris and visit some of the famous monuments, like the Eiffel Tower or the Arc de Triomphe.

If you’re visiting later on in the month, you may be able to catch the Beaujolais Nouveau, which occurs on the third Thursday of the month.

This is an annual celebration that occurs throughout the country to celebrate the release of a new wine. The wine releases just after midnight, and locals celebrate with parties, live music, and fireworks.

  • Visit the Hall of Mirrors
  • Have a spa day
  • Visit Aquarium La Rochelle

Related Read: UK: Travel Budget Calculator

December: Best Month For a Christmas Holiday

France goes all out for the yuletide season, so if you want to spend the holidays away from home but still have it feel like Christmas, this is the place to go.

Many hotels and businesses across the country will have eye-catching holiday decor. Most cities decorate an outdoor Christmas tree and have seasonal decor nearly everywhere to put people in the spirit.

A lot of travelers come to France this time of year, so you can expect more crowds around the end of the month. Christmas markets open up, allowing tourists to find unique gifts to bring back home.

There are many holiday pastries and cakes to try, and restaurants have a festive menu selection. This is also the beginning of ski season for people that want to travel to a ski resort.

  • Drink Cremants sparkling wine
  • Drive around looking at Christmas lights
  • Check everyone off your Christmas shopping list

When Is The Best Time To Travel To France With Family?

France has a wide selection of activities and attractions for people of all ages, which makes it a great place to bring the family any season.

If your family is interested in seeing scenic attractions, we recommend visiting in September or October to avoid crowds. On the other hand, if your family wants a ski getaway, January and February are ideal.

When Can I Avoid Crowds In France?

If you want to avoid crowds, we recommend booking your trip to France anywhere between September through to May. June through August are the busiest months.

However, keep in mind that there are certain times throughout the rest year when it can get crowded in France as well. Many people book trips around the Christmas and Easter holidays. It can also get crowded when schools are out for spring break.

When Does It Rain The Most In France?

If you want to avoid a wet month, don’t book a trip in December. During this month, the country receives the most rain, with an average of 1.8 inches.

May is another damp month, but spring showers aren’t as heavy as December rainfalls. The wettest region in France is Brittany, which receives a lot of rain in October and November.

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
March 28, 2024
A nomadic wordsmith savoring the world's flavors and penning stories that turn every journey into an epic.
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