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Best Time to Visit France

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Lavender fields in Provence, France

France is familiar and fashionable, charming and surprising, and you can experience its splendor and chic appeal during the best time to visit.

Whether discovering traditional cuisine in new ways or watching the lavender blossom, lounging on the pristine beaches of Cote d’Azur or sampling a delicate wine in view of a luxurious chateau, each region of France unveils a unique personality throughout the year.

Each season in France brings new opportunities and the following guide will help to demonstrate why France is an enticing year-round destination.

  1. Best Time by Travel Season
  2. Best Time to Visit Southern France
  3. Best Time for Sightseeing
  4. Best Time for Wine Tasting
  5. Best Time for Grape Harvesting
  6. Best Time for French Food Experiences
  7. Best Time for Gardens
  8. Best Time for Hiking
  9. Best Time for Cycling
  10. Best Time for Fashion
  11. Best Time for Families with Children
  12. Best Time for Couples or Honeymooners
  13. Best Time for Spring & Summer Activities
  14. Best Time for Fall & Winter Activities
  15. Book for the Best Time to Visit France

Best Time by Travel Season

Colmar town in northeastern France

High Season: June • July

The summer days in France are long and vibrant, with June and July giving you the best chance to bask in warm weather, summer markets, and refreshing sea breezes.

Summer unveils sensational festivals and lively villages, with reliable weather. The longer stretches of daylight mean stores, shops, and street vendors stay open later, which only adds to the energy that filters through the cities.

Whether sitting at an outdoor cafe, lounging on the beach, or listening to an outdoor concert, France comes alive in summer.

Shoulder Season: April • May • September • October

The shoulder seasons of spring and fall are beautiful times of the year to visit France, with April, May, September, and October giving you the best opportunities for good weather and small crowds across the country.

In spring, the sunshine bathes the majority of France in enough warmth to make the beaches along the French Riviera comfortable, while also bringing cherry trees into bloom. In fall, the lingering energy of summer continues with activities including concerts, until fading to the indulgences of the culinary scene with chocolate shows, grape harvests, and inspiring celebrations of traditional French cuisine.

Low Season: December • January

Visiting France in winter shows an entirely different side of the country. With Christmas markets providing gourmet delicacies and villages filled with holiday lights, the lingering cheer flutters into January.

Tourists are practically non-existent in winter and the shopping is exceptional, in addition to renowned alpine destinations hosting some of the world’s best ski resorts.

Festivals continue across the country with locals celebrating the new year, showing how France can make beautiful a simple pleasure.

Best Time to Visit Southern France

Sunset view of Nice, France

Best Months: June • July • September

The best time to visit the South of France, specifically the French Riviera, is in the summer from June to early September.

The warmer the days, the more people flock to the South of France’s coastline to enjoy the pleasant sea breeze, pristine views, luxurious marinas, and charming historical centers. The combination of warm weather and salty air helps make the gorgeous panoramas and beautiful architecture stand out above the azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea.

Summer in the South of France is busy, reiterating why people love the sand, sea, history, and heritage of the region.

Learn more: Southern France Tours & Vacations

Best Time for Sightseeing

Paris, France

Best Months: April • May • June • September • October • November

France has four distinct seasons, with noticeably shifting weather patterns and changes in the crowds that visit across the country, especially in popular places like Paris and the French Riviera.

Spring and fall, specifically between April and June and September to November, are the best times to visit France for sightseeing. The changing seasons bring stunning green in the spring and layered colors in fall, a variety of fresh ingredients, and a remarkable showcase of regional cultural heritage across the country.

Learn more: Best Places to Visit in France

Best Time for Wine Tasting

Vineyards in southwestern France

Vineyards in southwestern France

Best Months: January • February

Winter, specifically in January and February, is the best time for wine tasting in France because the winemakers have more time to visit with guests.

Spending time in a vineyard is an entirely different experience when you spend time with the winemakers for an in-depth insight into the process, the history, the family connection, and the goals of each.

Best Time for Grape Harvesting

Grape harvest in France

Best Months: September • October

The ritual of the grape harvest in France is best experienced in fall, between September and October. The wine regions can turn into frenzied festivals across the more than 1,853,290 acres of vineyards as winemakers harvest nearly 3,000 different types of grapes.

Visiting a vineyard during the harvest can be charming, as the properties are frenetic with energy. The harvest time can change depending on the region, but mostly falls between September and early October.

Best Time for French Food Experiences

Veal Carpaccio in Solutré-Pouilly, Burgundy, France

Best Months: September • October • November

Fall is the best time of year to visit France to experience the breadth of culinary history and heritage.

While each season reveals something different about traditional French cuisine, fall often offers fresh and delicious ingredients, among them plump grapes and wild mushrooms, wild game and gourmet cuisine.

Regional dishes showcase specific flair found in the diversity of France’s terrain, from Burgundy to Lyon, Paris to Bordeaux, resulting in mouthwatering displays of classic dishes steeped in the flavors of fall.

Learn more: Food & Wine Tours in France

Best Time for Gardens

Chateau and Gardens of Villandry in the Loire Valley, France

Best Months: April • May • June • July

Mid-spring to early summer is the best time to visit France’s glorious gardens. They reveal vast networks of color, manicured topiaries, regal fountains, and stunning flowers from April to July.

The landscape and climate dictate the time of year in which the gardens blossom across France, especially from north to south and along the foothills of the Alps, but mainly the spring and early summer are when they reach their height of beauty.

Best Time for Hiking

Hiking in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France

Best Months: April • May • June • September • October • November

Spring and autumn are the best times of year to hike in France, specifically from April to June and September to November.

Temperatures are cooler and more comfortable to manage across the country, without the possible extremes of heat or cold that can occur in summer and winter. France has a surprisingly extensive network of trails available year-round for different activities.

In the spring and fall, you can watch the inland landscape change colors or enjoy the coastline's warmth along the French Riviera. The mountains are best explored on either side of summer.

Best Time for Cycling

Cycling thru Beaune in the Burgundy region of France

Best Months: April • May • June • September • October • November

Spring and fall are the best times for cycling in France, especially on either side of the Tour de France, from April to June or September to November.

Spring and fall are more comfortable than summer and winter for those wanting cycling experiences across the diverse landscape.

It is also wise to check the dates of the Tour de France, which can shut down roads and towns, significantly impacting your routes.

Best Time for Fashion

Galeries Lafayette in Paris, France

Best Months: January • August • September

Winter and summer are the best times for shopping in Paris, Paris Fashion Week, and fantastic sales that have become world-famous, specifically in January and between August and early September.

Fashion Week takes place twice a year and celebrates new styles and coming seasonal perspectives. The sales in France are state-regulated and therefore occur once in summer and once in winter.

Department stores, boutiques, and designer outlets offer fantastic deals on the previous season’s styles as they make way for new lines.

Best Time for Families with Children

The clock at Musée d'Orsay in Paris, France

Best Months: April • May • June • September

Spring and fall are the best times to visit France with your family, mainly from April to June and then in September.

France is always a fantastic destination for kids of all ages, with year-round activities abounding. You can take river or canal tours, explore historical catacombs, discover iconic history and art, or lounge on beaches on France family vacations.

The spring and fall give you the most moderate and reliable weather, making it much easier to travel with children for an adventure through time, culture, and dramatic scenery, without the summer crowds.

Learn more: Top Things to Do in France with Family

Best Time for Couples or Honeymooners

Château de Sully-sur-Loire, France

Best Months: April • May • June • September

France is an exceptional destination for couples in spring and fall, with April to June and September veiling the country in romance.

Famous architecture, seductive cuisine, and marvelous history highlight the passion of the French, with romance around every corner on France tours for couples or honeymoons.

The temperate weather and absent crowds of spring and fall give you a much more romantic ambiance in which to indulge in the spirit of art de vivre.

Learn more: Most Romantic Places in France for CouplesMost Romantic Things to Do in Paris and France for Couples

Best Time for Spring & Summer Activities

Gardens of Claude Monet in Giverny, France

Best Months: April • May • June • July

The spring and summer, from April to June, are lovely for visiting France, giving you the best chances of great weather and small crowds around the country.

With access to celebrated beaches and dramatic coastal cliffs, blossoming wildflowers and lavender fields, France is idyllic in spring and summer, giving you endless chances to discover Parisian elegance, beautiful gardens, and azure waters.

Activities: Hiking • Cycling • Beaches • Wine Tasting • Market Tours • Garden Excursions

Best Time for Fall & Winter Activities

Skiing Val Thorens Ski Resort in the French Alps. Photo courtesy C. Ducruet/Val Thorens

Best Months: October • November • December • January

The fall and winter months in France can give you a new and exciting perspective on the culture, scenery, and action-packed excursions.

France has luxurious ski resorts and soothing hot springs, enticing festivals and world-famous fashion. The cool and comfortable weather in October and November leads to the colder months of December and January.

The beaches and cities, including the best places in France for the winter, are practically empty of tourists and offer new adventures for you to enjoy.

Activities: Snowboarding • Skiing • Cycling • Hot Springs • Winter Festivals • Fashion Sales

Book for the Best Time to Visit France

Christmas market in Strasbourg, France

France’s seasons experience rich colors, fresh ingredients, and alluring activities. Knowing what activities each season holds can help you narrow down where you should visit based on the experiences you want. Each season hosts great cultural immersions and beautiful scenery, with plenty of things to do, like watching the Tour de France or walking the Way of Saint James.

You can find further helpful information with our France travel guide or explore our featured collection of France vacations and tours to start planning your trip.

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