In France, everything seems to be elevated to another, and surely better, plane of existence; from haute couture to haute cuisine, France might be the land of the one and only haute vie. With its romantic cities, unparalleled cuisine, and rich history, it should come as no surprise that France is the number one tourist destination in the world. In fact, every year France welcomes more tourists than it has French citizens! With so much to see and do with a France rental car in this wonderful country, you want to make sure you do your homework and discover the best time to visit France before you finalize your plans.
Unlike the climate in many other countries, don't bother planning your France trip around the weather. France has a number of climate zones within its territory, ranging from mountain to Mediterranean, but throughout most of the year, France is unlikely to get unbearably hot or cold. Despite the lack of extremes, the weather in much of the country is quite unpredictable. The Brittany coast is the wettest region of the country, and showers can drop in for an hour or a day, or not for a whole week. Along the Atlantic Ocean, the weather is generally mild and enjoyable, but the region is occasionally subject to fierce storms. The southern coast has hot summers and mild winters, and the alpine region has mild summers and cold winters. No matter where you're going, don't let the threat of bad weather deter you or the promise of good weather lure you in; in France, expect weather that isn't too extreme with sporadic bouts of bad weather. Fortunately, France's countless restaurants and museums guarantee you won't be bored even if you have to spend a day indoors.
In the past, it was easier to find discounted hotel rates from November to February, but winter tourism and business travelers are taking away the incentive for owners to lower their prices. Nevertheless, airfare will still be considerably cheaper in the off season for those traveling on a budget, and Nice, for example, is one of the best places to visit in Europe in December. Traveling in the off season is also a great idea for art lovers and foodies. The weather outside might not be ideal, but you'll be able to spend more time with the Mona Lisa or savoring your second glass of wine. If you want to avoid large crowds but you're craving nice weather, travel to the southern coast in the spring or fall. The spring will offer longer days, but the fall will boast warmer Mediterranean water.
Many travelers are curious to know about the main tourist destinations and would like to determine the best time to travel to Paris and the best time to visit the south of France. Both places are beautiful and filled with plenty to do year-round, but there are a couple times of year when tourists should think twice before traveling. If you're traveling to Paris, the last two weeks in August when nearly the entire country goes on holiday, can be a visitor's dream or nightmare, depending on your taste. Many shops, restaurants, and museums either close or have restricted hours, but if you can work around the limited hours, the city is quite charming without its usual crowds. However, most travelers would be wise to avoid the popular beach towns during these two weeks in August; they will be filled to the brim not only with tourists from abroad, but also all the vacationing French! Unless you are attending the Paris Motor Show, held biennially in Paris every October, make plans to go somewhere else in France. The show attracts over a million visitors, and the city becomes even more hectic than usual. Conversely, Paris is one of the best European cities to visit in February due to the city's romantic, charming feel.
For so many, France is the ultimate travel destination, the stuff of dreams, and fortunately, there really isn't a bad time to visit this beautiful country. To make the most of your vacation, just ask yourself a few questions about what you'd like to do while you're there, and you'll easily figure out the best time to visit France to get exactly what you'd like out of your trip. Before you travel, learn all you need to know with advice and tips in our France Travel Guide, or find inspiration in our France Road Trip Planners.