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France in November - am I crazy?

Old Sep 10th, 2010, 03:37 PM
  #1  
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France in November - am I crazy?

I'm trying to plan our first trip to France, and late October/early November may be the earliest we can travel. Is it daft to go then? (God only knows when we'll be able to go back, so this trip really counts.) We were hoping to spend five days in Paris and five days somewhere in the south (still to be decided). Are all the markets, etc. closed up by then? The fresh food was one of the things I was so looking forward to. Any advice appreciated. Thanks.
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Old Sep 10th, 2010, 03:41 PM
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Most markets are year round - that won't be a concern. Some seasonal stores in towns and villages in the south will be closed, along with some restaurants and hotels, but it won't be severely limiting at all.

Go, France is worth it any time of year. I'll be there myself in late October, maybe early November.
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Old Sep 10th, 2010, 04:21 PM
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I have been to Paris in February, March, May, June, July and August and planning to go this October. I have enjoyed every trip but would probably not go back in July or August because I found it to be too crowded. I have also been in Provence in early March and it was sunny but cool but very enjoyable. I think there might be more rain in November but that would not stop me from going.
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Old Sep 10th, 2010, 06:38 PM
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A wonderful time to go to Paris I will be there from November 1st til December 4th. I was there last year til mid December.

Depending where you go in the south re things being closed.

Joan
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 08:01 AM
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We were in Paris last November and the weather was nasty. We've been a number of times and weren't all that interested in museum hopping. My husband does not like to shop. Our plan had been to just "be" in Paris, wander, etc. I didn't really consider the fact that we'd be so uncomfortable just wandering the streets in cold, wet weather. In retrospect, we would have been much happier out in the country for more of the trip, visiting small towns, with a rental car as a warm rolling refuge along the way.
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 08:18 AM
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YOu do understand that what is fresh in November in the markets isn't the same as in the Spring or Summer? What kind of fresh food are you expecting, you may be disappointed. Of course there is always bread and cheese, etc., but vegetables and fruits aren't going to be the same at all.

I personally don't think that is the best time for someone to go who has never been there, says it has to be some very memorable, outstanding trip, and doesn't plan on returning, unless you don't care about the outdoors that much, of course.
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 08:19 AM
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I don't think one can predict the weather one year to another. My last trip to Paris was in the early part of November and I loved it. We had partly cloudy to sunny parts of the day. The only day it rained was my last day there and it was just showers, not a hard rain.

I loved the temps, in the 60's, perfect for me and the trees were turning and starting to loose their leaves but mostly still had foliage so it was not "bleak" at all.

There's weren't crowds and we had no problem getting into the museums we wanted to see. The stores were putting up their Christmas decorations and I was sorry to be leaving before I could enjoy seeing them.

There were several markets we visited, not really a plan, but ran into them during our wanderings, and I just found it to be a great time. I wore layers because the weather was changable. There's a difference in comfort level between low 60's to high 60's. Personally, I would never go in the summer.
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 08:26 AM
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The best time to go is the time you are able to go.

Being in France is better than not being in France!

Ignore any naysayers... if November is the only time you can go... go and have a great time!
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 08:28 AM
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We always travel in March or the last half of October, and Paris has been brisk but nothing that would limit almost any activities in October. You should plan on layering, and always have some kind of rain gear. Some days were sunny and very mild, others needed an extra layer and scarf, or rain coat and umbrella.
Getting into the various places we wanted to visit was not a problem. In fact, the only line we encountered was the Eiffel Tower at night.
We were also in Normandy and Brittany, along the coast, and were very comfortable with layers and rain coats, though the rain was light and sporadic.
I personally would go when it works best for you, but know the weather is definitely changeable.
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 08:36 AM
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I was in France the third week of Nov 2003. Rainy with some sunny episodes. A bit dreary. Not too crowded, when the sun was out, it was great. That said, I would not place a lot of expecations for great walking weather. If you are going to France for beautiful scenery in Nov, you need to recalibrate your expectations and maybe even, change your plans. If your plans involve a lot of museums, then you should be OK.
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 10:13 AM
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One of the lovelier things about Paris is just sitting and watching the people go by. When it is too cold and wet to sit outside, either on a bench or at a cafe, then you have missed one of the best parts, IMO. I am not saying "don't go" but rather "be prepared" and maybe spend a little more time in the country.

I do think we were unlucky. Late Oct/Nov could possibly be much better than what we experienced.
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 11:06 AM
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Weather is weather..Last November in Paris was lovely. I was there from the first til the middle of December. It was unseasonably warm. Didn' need heavy coat until 2 days befoe I left when it did turn cold.

They then had a lousy winter, as most of the world did, it seems. I had planned to go for month of February, but cnacelled due to some family health problems. PAris friends said weather was terrible, anyway. February here was amonth to forget, too!!

I will be watching it for a trend to what it might be. I am pretty well packed. Just do layering..the name of the game!!

Enjoy your planning....

Joan
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 11:19 AM
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No way are you crazy! Your attitude is the only thing that actually counts.

Our very first "on the ground" experience in Paris was early a.m. markets, mid-December, in drizzle and we totally fell in love with Paris. Understand what it can be like and just take it in. It's a town for all seasons, and that's why Paris is constantly rated so highly in travel memories. As to France, ParisAmsterdam's post has it all down.

We've been to Paris in bad or good weather over 20 times now and have enjoyed all experiences. As long as you understand that the seasonal produce in the markets will not be the same as mid-summer and as long as you understand you are going to have to layer and provide some sort of rain gear for eventualities, you're not going to have a problem.

Fact: Paris is often gray, windy and rainy. Take a look at its geographical positioning and Google weather stats. What makes that specific fact great is that city cafes are prepared for it--plastic covers and heat lamps abound. No going inside without a struggle for these inhabitants!

You don't have to pack heavier. Again, layers. Cheapie "one-size-fits-all" gloves. Scarf that can be used as head gear or decorative accessory. Arm yourself against the wind along the Seine, because you are going to WANT to walk it, not matter what. We pack silk underwear, polartec vests, good shell coats and are always armed with an umbrella. We walk non-stop no matter what--we just walk MORE if there's less rain.

I am so excited for you.
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 12:46 PM
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Yes you are crazy unless you have unlimited spending potential then go for it. May or September are it for me. Weather decides everything no matter where you go unless of course you are going spelunking or shopping at the mall. i would reconsider and go somewhere else less costly and then go to Paris/Europe. The market will not be what you want it to be at that time unless you are into foreign grown produce or seasonal greens. We are in Paris as I write this and the Bastille ( richard lenoir ) was awesome today. Cooking osso bucco with a side of chanterelles/porcini/shallots/garlic and haricot vert. I never cook dessert as Paris has to much to offer in that regard. Anyway have fun in whatever you choose.
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 07:12 PM
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I've been to Paris in all seasons, most recently in December 2008. Don't let the weather get you down. It can rain at any time, as my daughter learned last month (August).

GO.
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 08:18 PM
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I was in Paris in late November of '09 and although it was rainy, I loved the pre-Christmas preparations. It also seemed that it was less touristy and more real regular people out on the streets. Lines were reportedly shorter. There are lots of cafes with heat-lamps, where you can sit and sip a glass of wine and watch locals. Enjoy! I am so envious.
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 08:37 PM
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Are you a person who can have a good time no matter what the weather? Are you prepared for some cold?

We went in Feb and had a great trip. If you like architecture, you'll be able to really see the bones of a building without the foliage in the way. Of course, someday we'll go back to see the garden and the fountains. If that's when you can go, enjoy.
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Old Sep 24th, 2010, 09:40 AM
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Many thanks for all the great advice and suggestions and reassurance. I think we're going to do it! Trying to get there just a bit earlier - late Oct. That said, the weather doesn't usually make it or break it for me (I liked Warsaw in December...) ; I just wanted to be sure we weren't blowing a great trip by going at this time. So we will go, believing that somehow, sometime we will be back. Lovely hearing from all you France regulars - inspiring.
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Old Sep 24th, 2010, 10:32 AM
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I was in Paris over Thanksgiving in 2007. Cold but not intolerable. Dress appropriately (i had leather jacket and scarf) and you will be fine. Paris is a city to enjoy in any kind of weather. And if you get cold, a perfect excuse for ducking into a bistro for a glass of wine or coffee to warm up.
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Old Sep 24th, 2010, 11:10 AM
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It is a lovely relaxed time to visit France. You weren't planning on working on your suntan, were you?
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