So there you are, trying to decide where to go, when to go, on a specific month or a specific season, researching, googling, the best flight deals, accommodation and best spots to see. As with most things, when it comes to travel, timing is everything. What makes it the best time to go on a trip? Is climate agreeable? Which season is best to avoid overcrowding? For frugal spenders, finding the cheapest time to go globe-trotting is always the deal breaker!
The Best Month To Go
Before I embarked on my first trip to Paris, I did my due diligence researching when and where I want to go, the convenience of commuting and how accessible some places are by foot if I want to do a day trip. All my research paid off and it was one of the best first solo trips I’ve done which have given me memories to last a lifetime.
The best time to visit Paris is from June to August and September to October. Both summer and fall have its ups and downs. From June to August the weather in Paris is just about perfect. Average highs are in the high 70s and there are long days of sunshine. Unfortunately, summer is also the most crowded time – and the most expensive. For lower travel rates and significantly shorter lines at attractions, plan a visit in the fall. (My first trip to Paris was during the fall – September) The seasonal foliage is just gorgeous, a beautiful mix of gold, yellow, red and orange, though the city’s spring blooms are pretty famous too, expect occasional sprinkles though but that shouldn’t deter you from exploring the beautiful city of lights.
If a travel deal is all that you’re after, a visit during the winter will surely shave off travel expenses, but nevertheless it is still a stunning city with less foliage, although if you want to venture outside Paris in the winter – Strasbourg is the place to go.
Keep in mind though that Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world, seeing upward of 30 million travelers yearly. So no matter what time you visit, there will always be tourists and some crowds. Whatever tips the scales in your favor for the best time to travel, it’s always helpful to get advice from people who have visited the same region on several occasions. Below are some useful tips you could consider.
June – August
Summertime sees high average temperatures in the 70s, which makes strolling through the neighborhoods and enjoying your café en plein air (outside) an absolute joy. But keep in mind, you’ll be wrestling with hordes of other tourists for your place in the sun. This is the city’s high tourist season, and as such, room rates and flight prices soar. During summer, however, there is much more to do than other times of the year. The season yields free outdoor movie experiences and complimentary concerts. Not only that, but a man-made beach is formed along the Seine for sunbathers. What’s more, France’s biggest holiday, Bastille Day, takes place. While you’ll have more sunny days than not during the summer, keep in mind that July is one of the city’s rainiest months, so pack an umbrella.
Fete de St-Denis (June)
Fete de la Musique (June)
Tour de France (July)
Bastille Day (July)
September – October
If you want to experience fewer crowds while in Paris, but don’t want to give up good weather, fall is your best bet. As I have mentioned, my first solo trip in Paris was during the month of September, cool mornings with balmy afternoons, and cool – to chilly evenings depending on whether it rained the night before or not but overall, it’s a lovely time of year with fewer than normal crowds. I do suggest bringing an umbrella as the occasional rain is definitely in the forecast. The city experiences highs in the upper 60s during September then dips down to the lower 60s typically during October, with lows hovering between the low 50s and 40s. Along with shorter lines to top attractions, travelers will also benefit from the beautiful seasonal foliage. Keep in mind that September is also Paris Fashion Week, a lot of the top attraction in the city will have contraptions and enclosures for a scheduled fashion show, so make sure to plan accordingly, hotel rooms will be much harder to find but do not fret, Paris has the most amazing train system that interconnects all their top places to see, so being far from the city center will not be an issue not to mention finding a much less expensive accommodation deal!
Paris Fashion Week (September)
Fete d’Automne (September-December)
Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (October)
Armistice Day (November)
November – February
It’s layer and coat season! Temperatures dip in the 40 and an icy 30-degree range. It’s only during November that travelers may get a glimpse of 50-degree days. This time prepare to travel heavy but make it chic, you are in Paris after all! – coats, jackets, parkas are necessary this time of year or you’ll surely feel it in your bones. If traveling in the dawn of winter is not an issue, you can definitely save quite a few euro on your hotel and flight. Paris rarely receives snow and as far as rain goes, December is one of the rainiest months of the year so make sure you pack that fold-up umbrella with you. If you like it cold with less precipitation, then come during February, the second least rainy month in Paris. Paris Fashion Week typically falls in the last week of February, so expect hotel rooms to be few and far between during this time especially in the city center. Again, as I mentioned the City’s commuter system is very accessible which makes it easier for everyone whether you book accommodation within the heart of the city or around its outskirts.
Le Salon Nautique de Paris (December)
Fete de St-Sylvestre (December)
Paris Fashion Week (February-March)
March – May
Being these months are Paris’ other shoulder season, these cooler months lure travelers with slight price cuts on hotel rooms. Temperatures usually span the 40 to 60-degree range, and afternoon rain showers are to be expected especially in May. While temperatures may still be a bit chilly until April to May rolls around, travelers will be rewarded with the colorful spring flowers that permeate and splashes some radiant, bright colors in Paris’ beautiful parks.
Foire du Trone (March)
International Marathon of Paris (April)
VE Day (May)
French Open Tennis Championship (May-June)
The City of Lights
Travel deals are plenty if you are patient enough to hunt for it, having been to Paris quite a few times, I can only say that it is an absolute stunner – the personification of “larger than life”, the occasional rain in the fall can be a bummer but that shouldn’t deter you from still venturing out and exploring! There is so much to do, see and taste in the city of lights! It is a beautiful city (especially explored on foot)
I may sound like a broken record but as I have mentioned, research and planning can make or break your dream vacation! There is a myriad of places to see even in the cooler or even rainy months (seriously, Paris is so romantic in the rain especially when paired with a cup of coffee and croissant)
No matter what time of year you travel, if you have the right mind set, have a solid plan – a set of must-do’s in your itinerary – I couldn’t see why you wouldn’t have the most amazing time!