Slow months in Paris

Old Jul 8th, 2008, 08:07 AM
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Slow months in Paris

For a visit to Paris I was wondering what the slow months are or is there such a thing. I'm sure the summer are the busiest but I was wondering around January if it got slow.
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Old Jul 8th, 2008, 08:24 AM
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What do you mean by "slow?" It's the capital city of France, a bustling metropolis; it doesn't stop being the hub of activity for the French nation.

Of course there are fewer tourists in mid-winter, but slow? No.
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Old Jul 8th, 2008, 08:29 AM
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Hi S,

Low season is Jan-mid March.

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Old Jul 8th, 2008, 08:50 AM
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I spent a week in Paris in January one year and also in February another year and loved it both times. The weather was similar to that at home for that time of year (I live in the U.S. Pacific Northwest) - some rain, a few grey days, daytime temps in the low- to mid-40s for the most part. There were also beautiful blue skies and crisp days, perfect for walking. Snow flurries one afternoon in Pere Lachaise cemetery was unforgettable. And frost limning the hedges of the parterres at Versailles also. Both times I stayed in small hotels in the 5th, near the Pantheon and Sorbonne. Few or no tourists about, no American voices heard anywhere, always warmly welcomed into the small restaurants I chose for dinners. It was lovely to be there off-season and I'd return then again in a heartbeat.
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Old Jul 8th, 2008, 09:50 AM
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People from elsewhere in Europe will be visiting Paris for weekend trips pretty well all the year round.
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Old Jul 8th, 2008, 09:51 AM
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I am not even sure that summer is high season. I believe that October might be the month with the highest hotel occupancy rate. And Paris is certainly not devoid of tourists in the winter months, either. I agree with Julia..the winter months are a a very good time to visit Paris, and many other European cities. But do not forget the fashion industry and their shows, and other business and convention travel.
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Old Jul 8th, 2008, 10:23 AM
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I lived in Paris for half a year and my favorite off-month was August, although I didn't hang out at the Eiffel Tower or in front of Notre Dame. But I did go to the Louvre every evening it was open for free and stayed until it closed, and had most galleries to myself. It was a real pleasure to walk around the oldest parts of Paris in the morning, and share the streets with the elderly walking their dogs.

Places like St Denis and other lesser known churches are extraordinary (and cool!)

Most of the Parisians simply leave in August. But there were always plenty of places open to get good food, and it even helped me get out of the "recommended" rut. I ate crepes from vendors, frites, couscous, vietnamese food, market produce -- whatever was around.

I enjoy museum going, so winter is a great time to actually see the art in Paris. However, the churches are cold, and it can be very wet (even snowy) and cold. Take silk longjohns!
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Old Jul 8th, 2008, 12:33 PM
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In my limited experience, I found February a good month for cheap airfares, cheap hotel rooms, and no line at the Louvre. The weather was gray and dreary during the long weekend I spent there to take advantage of a great last minute airfare, but all the more reason to sit in a cafe and sip vin chaud in the afternoon.
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Old Jul 8th, 2008, 12:38 PM
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For hotels the Paris Tourist Office stuff i once saw said July and August were low seasons - apparently much of the business and convention traffic is on vacation elsewhere during those dog days of summer.

But for tourists Paris swarms during those months.

I have spent the last two parts of January in Paris and think it is a fine time to visit.
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Old Jul 8th, 2008, 12:54 PM
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You can avoid the tourists in Paris even in July and August -- and still see the tourist sites in relative peace, with the possible exception of the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and Ste Chappelle. And possibly Les Invalides (I wouldn't know about that.)

Museums really do empty out after about 4pm, and have evening hours. The very major tourist sites usually don't see swarms of tourists until after breakfast. An early morning walk through Ile St Louis, or one after midnight, is preferable to one at high noon in any season. There are some tourist "traps" in Montmartre one should probably avoid all the time anyway.

One really doesn't have to go far away from the most famous sights in Paris to be among the most atmospheric streets and have them to oneself. And the parks in summertime are terrific -- and I consider them to be among the greatest wprks of art in Paris, and it would be a shame to miss them for bad weather.

I, too, like off season travel, but having experienced Paris in August, I think it's lovely, just like I think New York City is lovely in high summer. On a sunday summer morning in New York, you can walk all over the Upper East Side, and much of Riverside, Wall St, Tribeca, etc. and really have the place to yourself. So quiet! You just don't want to be in Times Square or Soho/Greenwich Village on a Friday or Saturday night, when they're filled with tourists and kids driving in from the suburbs.

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Old Jul 8th, 2008, 01:21 PM
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suze1,

I don't think you have answered what you are meaning by "slow". Do you want to know when the rates are lower for apartments and/or hotels? Or, do you want to know when there are fewer tourists/travelers to Paris?
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Old Jul 8th, 2008, 02:21 PM
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February is officially the slowest month in Paris. And, believe it or not, in terms of hotels, August is the second slowest months.

Since Paris is not only the #1 tourist city in the world but also the #1 convention and trade show city in the world, lots of the months when the weather is bad are still sold out for hotels -- just think of the fashion shows for one thing.
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Old Jul 8th, 2008, 02:36 PM
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We were in Paris the second week in October 2005 and it was lovely. There were not too many tourists at all, I mean they were there, but not like summertime or spring, hardly a wait for anything, and the weather was gorgeous 75+ degrees and sunny. May have been a heat wave that year as I don't think that's totally normal for October. This year we're going the last week in OCtober and they say this makes a very big difference weather wise. But as far as crowds go, I thought October November was ideal. Flights were cheap, half the price of summer, and rooms were less as well, although early October is the tail end of high season according to some hotels and such. IMHO I think fall in Europe is the best, the weather is not yet cold and harsh, less tourists, lower prices, etc.
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Old Jul 8th, 2008, 03:00 PM
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October is fabulous if you can get a hotel. The trade or fashion show people are not spending all of their time at the tourist sites.
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Old Jul 8th, 2008, 03:08 PM
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That's right they did tell us there is a fashion exhibition going on while we are there as well. It's easier to get an apartment than a hotel in October. We took an apartment both times. The first one was in the Marais and this year is on Ile St Louis. Paris hotel rooms are microscopic in the mid-price range, so I find that an apartment gives us more bang for the buck. Also, it's kind of fun you get as much of a "locals experience" as you can being a tourist, going grocery shopping, cooking some of your meals, making your own bed, etc. I think it's fun. Ok, not the making your own bed part, but the rest of it is fun, LOL
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