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France in August?

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This is a kind of "what would you do" question...My girlfriend and I have been planning a trip to France for several years, and only now do we have some time and money to go. But for logistical reasons, it's looking like August is the only time we can make it work (mid-July is a remote possibility) in the next two years. (My girlfriend is in a rigorous academic program.)

I hear that France in August is really crowded and hot and generally less pleasant than other times of the year in part because Europeans take vacation that month. This will be our first trip to Europe and this opportunity probably won't happen again anytime soon, so we want to have a great time. If you were in this situation, would you go for it in August or wait two years and try for a better time of year, like May? Or would you try really hard to make mid-July work? Is there really a huge difference between July and August?

Some relevant details: we want to spend about a week in Paris at the art museums, historical sites, and so on. We'd spend another week in one of the wine regions (details as yet unclear, but please do chime in if you know that one region is more crowded in August than another). We will probably *not* want to spend much or any time on the beaches. I live in Atlanta and deal with a lot of nasty traffic that wears me down, so huge French traffic jams do not appeal, and might be a dealbreaker.

Thanks!

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