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Best season to visit France

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Jun 25th, 2011, 08:56 AM
  #1
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Best season to visit France

My husband and I are starting to plan a trip to France in 2012 - 30th anniversary!. We'd like to start in Paris and make our way down to the Mediterranean - lots of planning left to do. We can both get away for 2 weeks in either May/June or September. Weather-wise which season is best?

Thanks in advance!
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Jun 25th, 2011, 09:36 AM
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It is hard to tell about weather; it is so variable. It was hot when I was in Paris mid-April this year, and I have been there in May when I needed a jacket every day. June "should" be nice but so "should" September.

Go to www.wunderground.com and check historical data for weather, not that that will tell you about 2012.
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Jun 25th, 2011, 09:48 AM
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Weather is important, of course, but there are many other factors to consider.

In May/June, the days are considerably longer than in September. I was in Paris a few weeks ago, and the sun did not set until about 9.30 or 10pm. That's great if you enjoy walking around on the streets when it's light out; not so good if you want to see the Eiffel Tower all lit up at a convenient hour.

There are several public holidays in May -- Labor Day (May 1), VE Day (May 8), Ascension (variable date), and Pentecost Monday. That mostly affects shops that would be open, but those weekends would be busier for travel, as well.

Finally, and maybe most importantly, May/June is the prime Strike Season in France. Labor unions call strikes to express their outrage or dismay, and it's a startling coincidence that much of that outrage and dismay comes about in May and June rather than in November or January.

So what is the right answer? There isn't one -- either is a great time to visit.

Don
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Jun 25th, 2011, 09:56 AM
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Any time is a great time to visit Paris. But my favorites are April/May and September. However, last year we went over Thanksgiving week and had a wonderful time seeing the Christmas markets, decorations, etc. But it was chilly and daylight hours were short.
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Jun 25th, 2011, 09:58 AM
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September. And this is only from personal experience. Yes, the days are getting shorter, but the weather always seems to be as good as it gets, and the Mediterranean is still warm from the summer's heat. So you can still splash around after the crowds have all gone. There's a fall rice festival in Arles around that time. I'm not into bull fights in the Arena there, but the paella dishes cooked outdoors in the local cafes, and the booze and music in the street makes it a worthy stop.
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Jun 25th, 2011, 10:27 AM
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We've been to France 7 times in Sept.
6 times beautiful weather
1 time (2002) rain and flooding in the south

When is our next trip? Sept 2011

Would I travel there at other times of the year? Definitely, it just seems that Sept. fits into our schedule.

Good luck and happy travels.
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Jun 25th, 2011, 12:30 PM
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In our experience, May and September offer the best combination of good weather and smaller crowds. We've also enjoyed late June when the weather is warmer in Normandy and to poppies are blooming and the lavender is blooming in Provence. For visiting the Mediterranean area, I think I would like late September best.
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Jun 25th, 2011, 12:37 PM
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Thanks everyone! I was leaning towards May but I like the idea of warmer water temperatures in September. Also, the strike season will need to be taken into consideration. Now leaning towards September, although i would like the longer days in the spring. Wow, this is really difficult!

Thanks again - so much useful information!
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Jun 25th, 2011, 12:44 PM
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I think either one would be fine, I might prefer June myself, but this is really a personal decision, I think. I just do like the long days and in Provence, the flowers in bloom. I've been in Nice in September, and Paris, and that was fine, also. YOu just can't predict on the weather, September can be fine, but I've also been there in September when it was more like November. And I've been there in June when there was a massive heat wave.

I wouldn't base any bets on strike activity. As a matter of fact, the biggest French strike I can recall was last year in the Fall, and I think it started in October and perhaps did go into November, although maybe it stopped just before November. There have been strikes in November in prior years, also (eg, 2007). And in 2009, it was in January they had a big strike, and there was one in February, also. I don't think May/June are the months they usually happen or that I'd characterize them as the prime strike months. They just never seem to be in August.
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Jun 25th, 2011, 01:09 PM
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waether2travel.com climate guide

September for me usually better

France is pretty far north takes a while to warm up

water warmer things greener after summer

mid sept works best generally for me

Otel.com betterbidding.com booking.com best deals for me

sunfrance.com lecalendal.com Arles beaune.com Carcassonne

some of my favs down there.

Chateau Esclimont made a romantic stay also for us

Close to Chartres when there last might have a look there

Congrats!
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Jun 25th, 2011, 02:18 PM
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I just thought of something else to consider. As I stated above, we usually go to Europe in Sept. When we were contemplating a May thrip this year, my friend who has travelled extensively said that she like Sept. better because the flowers are still in bloom and vibrant. In May, it was smaller types of flowers and buds. IMO, she was right. Back to Sept. for us.
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Jun 25th, 2011, 06:12 PM
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Well, maybe, but when I was in Provence in mid-Sept. 2009, the sunflowers and lavender were both history -- dead stalks, for the most part. Maybe it was an off year -- I know flowering seasons do change. Still, there were lots of other flowers in bloom all over the place, just not those great fields of sunflowers and lavender that take your breath away.

But 30 years -- one of those anniversaries where you really do want to hit the beach and enjoy the warm mediterranean water with your partner, maybe collecting sea glass for the memory book, kicking back and having a cocktail on the beach and a great bouillabaisse. So, yeah, September.
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Jun 25th, 2011, 06:43 PM
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There is more to the " south" of France than Provence. It is lovely, but keep your mind open....
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Jun 26th, 2011, 08:05 AM
  #14
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Thanks all - definitely leaning towards September.
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