When to Go to France

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When to Go to France

Summer is the most popular (and expensive) season. July in Paris is crowded and hot, although the Paris Plage, the "beach" on the banks of the Seine, is popular with locals and tourists alike.

The Riviera sparkles in August—but the notorious embouteillages (traffic jams) on the drive south from Paris can make you wish you stayed home.

Famously fickle weather means you never know what to expect in Normandy and Brittany, where picture-postcard villages and languorous sandy beaches are never jam-packed.

September is gorgeous, with temperate weather, saner airfares, and cultural events scheduled specifically for the return from summer vacation, an institution that even has its own name: la rentrée.

Another good time to visit is in late spring, just before the masses arrive, when the sun sets after 9 pm and cafés are abuzz.

Unless you're skiing in the Alps, winter is the least appealing time to come, though it's the best time to find less expensive airfares and hotel deals—and escape the crowds.

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