We are planning a fall 2019 trip to France and wondering the pros and cons of September vs October. Any thoughts?
Never been there in October but our last trip was September 2017 and it was perfect. Paris and Normandy -- weather quite comfortable, only a couple of rain squalls. Bonus is that the Patrimonie Days are in September so you have access to see places that aren't usually open to the public. 2019 dates are 9/21-22.
Our next trip is scheduled for this September so I guess that shows my personal preference :)
Have a great time!
What part(s) of France?
We will be doing the Heart of France RS tour which has 3 days at the beginning of the tour in Paris and then one day at the end. We are thinking we will add some days ahead of the tour and also post-tour.
We did a cheaper version of your tour in mid September 2017. The temps were mostly in the 70s. Overcast most mornings but we were lucky having full sun by mid morning. I used a light jacket to start and again at night. Our nights were nice temps not dropping that much. We took advantage of the heat lamps and ate outside nearly every evening meal. Before our tour we had 5 days in Paris and 2 days post tour. We had the same weather with a bit more cloud coverage until noonish. Only one fully clouded day with some spits of rain off and on. We made that a museum day. Normandy was full sun for us but extremely windy. Walking the paths were difficult but manageable if you had no mobility issues. The beaches were easy to walk. Our only rain washed out day was when we visited Mount Saint Michel.
Better chance of warmer weather in September, plus slightly longer days. But, at least in Paris, September is a busy month with higher hotel rates than most other times of year. I've been there both months, had mostly good weather, but your experience may differ.
I am more worried about avoiding coldish, wet weather than too-hot weather, so I'd choose September. Plenty of other folks would--perfectly justifiably--take the opposite view. I assume places will be somewhat less crowded in October.
We prefer France in the month of September. Moderate temperatures, average 70-75 degrees, less rain. Lovely.
We stayed in Villefranche close to Nice in mid October 2017 and the weather was beautiful - high 60's - low 70's with no rain. People were on the beach daily the week we were there. You should have warmer weather if you go south to the Mediterranean. We loved Villefranche and St Jean Cap Ferrat.
I prefer October to September. September can be quite hot and uncomfortable. To me, in every place I've lived, October has the best weather. It's my favorite month.
Another consideration, beyond all the events in Paris that are held in September, is the school calendar. I don't know where you'll be traveling, but in some places when schools are out sites can be clogged with kids and their parents. If that's a concern for you, the school breaks depicted on the handy calendar I bought from the Sapeurs-Pompiers (firefighters) who come around each year indicates that fall break will occur from 19 October to 3 November, inclusive, in 2019.
Or recreation centers and day cares taking large groups of school kids on field trips during the fall break.
Southwest France was beautiful in October, will fall leaf colors. Not sure if the tour days but the first Saturday of October was La Nuit Blanche (not sure if spelling). Sleepless night. There were art events free around Paris all night long (although you're not required to stay up all night) and was based on transit so easy to get to around town. It was chilly but not unbearable by SoCal standards, and worth checking out if you're there.
We generally travel mid Sep to mid or later in October. By end of Oct, days are getting short and it is noticed.
Include the 3rd weekend in September in Paris - European Heritage Days and the only opportunity to see the elaborate insides of some of its palaces - including the Luxembourg, Hotel de Ville, President's official residence and the Assemble Nationale.
We have been reading all of your posts (thank you!!!) and are still in the researching mode, but narrowing down some of the options. We plan to do the Paris and the Heart of France tour Sept 6-16, a Friday - Monday. We may fly to CDG on Sept. 3rd and go to Reims, though some other Champagne towns sound interesting. I made a reservation at Continental Hotel.We can head back to Paris Thursday or Friday (9/5 & 6)and start the RS tour on Friday.
After the RS tour, we could go to Fontainbleau and/or Vaux le Vicomte as a day trip. We don't plan to rent a car and hope to figure transportation out. Maybe there are some tours that are good for the Champagne caves. I'm sure there will be Paris sights that we will want to add. We haven't bought plane tickets so the dates are a bit flexible.
October weather always hits our traveling G-spot. We enjoy wearing jackets, the changing leaves, the absence of heat waves and the diminishing likelihood of mosquitoes. TheOtherBob refers to school breaks during that month. He means the Toussaint break. Nothing wrong with September timing, mind you. Its just that outdoor markets seem more, I dunno, optimal during October. Also, some villages have a modest annual fall fete, Meursault as just one example. Deep Autumn brings a certain je ne sais quoi. One traveler's humble opinion.
Have a wonderful trip!
I am done. The end.