When to Visit Paris, France

When to visit Paris, France

Figuring out when to visit Paris, France depends entirely on what kind of vacation you want to have. When planning a trip anywhere, it's always a good idea to keep in mind high and low seasons for tourism, the climate fluctuations and the activities available in and around your destination. Pick a time of year that suits you, is affordable and offers the right weather for the stuff you want to do. Even some museums are seasonal, and the last thing you want is to show up and find the attractions you wanted to visit are closed!

Let's take a close look at all four seasons to see what the advantages and disadvantage are for visiting Paris, France.

Visit Paris in Winter

Winter can be so depressing and Paris can be the perfect pick-me-up if you are looking to get away from it all. Winter is the "low season" for Paris travel, meaning that you'll actually get to meet some Parisians, and the Paris attractions aren't likely to be overrun. The exception to this is in mid-to-late December, when much of Europe visits Paris to do their holiday shopping at the famed Parisian Christmas markets.

Warning: it's gonna be cold -- not Minnesota-cold, but expect highs in the 40s and 50s Fahrenheit November through March. Don't worry, The Louvre is heated, and almost no one has time to wander the gardens after spending the day up at Versailles anyway (it's too big and oh-so grand inside). There may also be strong winds and thunderstorms, so pack a raincoat, buy a beret and plan to shell out some taxi fares on chilly, wet nights.

There is a certain romance to Paris in winter, with the cloudy skies and the rain and people huddling together in coats; and the long-armed ladies in sweaters and scarves at the cafes, but the greatest benefit to visiting Paris during the winter will undoubtedly be the fact that you won't have to wait in huge lines to visit the attractions. So, if you don't mind having to bundle up before going out to stroll the Paris streets (and extensive disrobing if you decide to shop for clothes), winter can be a fabulous time to visit Paris.

Visit Paris in (the) Spring(time)

As many a crooner has sung in "I Love Paris," Paris is an all-year city, but Springtime in the City of Love is full of promise and that pale, cool sunlight you only find in Europe. When you ask people about when to visit Paris, France, most will talk about spring. The weather is normally fresh and sunny with average highs in the 60s Fahrenheit April through early June, and the world-renowned gardens are in bloom and thriving. There will be rain, but less wind than winter -- it's a good time to pick up a pretty souvenir umbrella.

With great weather comes a great number of visitors, of course. You and your party will not be the only ones who have been let in on the notion that Paris is awesome during the spring. Plan to stand in line for events and attractions, and plan to scratch a thing or two off your list due to a lack of time. Don't be discouraged if you can't see everything when you're there -- it simply means that a return trip will be in order. Enjoy everything you do do, and leave rushing around to the amateurs.

Obviously, the fact that there are more people visiting usually means you will experience higher prices. That means that your airline tickets, your hotel room, even your car rental in Paris France will more than likely be priced for the high season. Check out how to find the best deals on Paris, France hotels.

Visit Paris in Summer

Summer months in Paris are pretty much as busy as the spring, so expect lines for attractions and raised prices. To thwart the stress of this, seek out a hotel with a heated swimming pool or spa, so you can lie down and relax when you'd had enough. The weather will be in the 70s Fahrenheit late June through August, and drops into the high 60s in early September. Be warned: it's going to be humid. Also, again, rainshowers are common, but far shorter in summer than in winter. A cloudy morning doesn't necessarily mean a nasty day; it just means a cloudy morning.

If you've decided that summer is the time to visit Paris, France, make sure to book flights, rooms and, when possible, attractions early so as to secure the best rates. Then, you can revel in the street markets and outdoor cafes, the nightlife which pours out into the street in the Latin Quarter, admire the amazing fashions you'd have missed when all of Paris was out in coats, and wander some of the city's loveliest gardens for free.

Don't forget that summer mean school's out, so Paris will not only be busy, but it will be busy with children and students on summer trips, along with families taking their long-awaited summer holiday. June is a popular month due to the weather and July draws crowds because of Bastille Day and the Tour de France. August is the month when most Parisians are on vacation, so while it's quieter during August, you're not likely to make any Parisian friends. Some businesses and restaurants close for the entire month, so call any must-sees on your list ahead of time to check.

Visit Paris in Autumn

Planning your trip for September or October will not be a disappointment. Paris, France vacations in fall are gorgeous, with the brisk weather (usually 60s Fahrenheit) and the changing of the seasons. Natives, having just returned from their month-long vacations, are relaxed and rejuvenated, making for a wonderful atmosphere. You will receive many of the benefits of springtime in Paris, but without the crowds (as school has just begun).

Fall is considered the Paris "shoulder season," so you'll find lower airfares and hotel rates. You'll also get to experience the Festival d'Automne de Paris, or Paris Fall Festival, a city-wide celebration of art of all disciplines. Heading to local venues to take in the international artists who've come to participate can be a magnifique alternative to the more popular attractions in Paris, and a particularly splendid diversion for experienced travelers who've already seen the top Paris attractions.

Photo by Panoramas via Flickr.
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