When to Go to France

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When to Go to France

Keep in mind that French schoolchildren have five holidays a year: one week at the end of October, two weeks at Christmas, two weeks in February, two weeks in April, and the two full months of July and August. During these times travel in France is truly at its peak season, which means that prices are higher, highways are busier, the queues for museums are long, and transportation is at its most expensive. Your best bet for quality and calm is to travel off-season. June and September are the best months to be in France, as both are free of the midsummer crowds. Try to avoid the second half of July and all of August, when almost everyone in France goes on vacation. July and August in southern France can be stifling. Paris can be stuffy and uncomfortable in August. Many restaurants, theaters, and small shops close, but enough stay open these days to make a low-key, unhurried visit a pleasure. Anytime between March and November will offer you a good chance to soak up the sun on the Côte d'Azur. If Paris and the Loire are among your priorities, remember that the weather is unappealing before Easter. If you're dreaming of Paris in the springtime, May is your best bet, not rainy April. But the capital remains a joy during midwinter, with plenty of things to see and do.

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