France- spring vs. summer?

My boyfriend and I are planning on taking Rick's "Paris and the Heart of France" tour in 2014, though are debating what time of year to go. I have done Europe in the fall (inc. Paris), so I'd like to go either in the late spring or summer this time. Because of 2 weddings we have to attend in June, our options are either the tour that runs from May 23-June 2 or one in July (most likely July 8-18). I think my main concern is the weather. Since this is northern France, I know the weather can be unpredictable even at the end of spring. I don't mind cooler temperatures, but I would really hate for it to be cloudy or rainy for a lot of it. Unless there's a heatwave, from my research it seems like July should have great weather (average high in the mid 70s). However, will the crowds be awful in July? I read an article from Rick that Paris is actually more crowded in June than July. And since we're going on a guided tour, the guides should help with avoiding the crowds. I know weather is always a gamble and there's no way to be sure, but I want to try to make the smartest decision. Any insight would be greatly appreciated! -Lauren

Posted by Adam
Boston
2628 posts

In terms of weather, I think there might be a slightly greater chance of rain in Normandy in lat May versus July. I doubt there's much difference anyplace else, and of course you could encounter rain anywhere at any time. On the other hand the weather will generally be more temperate and comfortable in May. If that matters to you, the probability of that difference is high.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7820 posts

Lauren if weather matters, then go in July. I have been at end of May and been just plain old cold.. and yes, you can have less then steller weather in July, but you will never be really "cold". I usually go in july, august or september, but 4 years ago went earlier to attend a wedding just outside Paris.. think I arrived May 24th or so.. and the weather was cool and rainy, and at one point I remembering layering all my clothes , ( long sleeved t shirt, pullover and rain jacket and still being cold and damp).. BUT ,, that said, I stayed for 3 weeks and weather did change suddenly to great weather about 1/2 way through first week in June. The tour will be fun regardless of weather though. As you said, the tour takes care of any long line issues , and frankly I didn't find the "crowds" alot lighter at end of May anyways,, Paris is popular april thru october anyways.

Posted by Cynthia
Gig Harbor, Washington, USA
1202 posts

Do you enjoy the hot muggy weather you get in Washington in July? Because you could get the same in Paris in July with a lot less air-conditioning. We have been to Paris several times, enjoyed most trips, but not the 90 degrees we got once in July. Our early June trip had pleasant weather , a bit of rain. Check weatherbase.com for the monthly averages.

Posted by Christina
New York, NY, 10025
365 posts

On the other hand, I went a few summers ago and the weather in July was rainy, gray, and on the cool side in Paris. You never know these days. But May is more likely to have rain traditionally, though.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7820 posts

Reality is there is no weather guarantee,, I took a friend to Paris once.. her first time abroad,, our trip was in August.
I told her to pack clothes for warm weather. I told her how hot and muggy it could be.. blah blah blah... For the nine days of our visit , 7 were rainy and cool,, cool enough that we ran out of things to wear , each having packed only one long sleeved shirt, long pants, and light jacket. We ended up buying warm clothes!!!

Posted by Sean
New York
148 posts

Go in July. More sunshine, less chance of rain and longer days.
Don't worry about the heat. Paris rarely gets "unbearably hot". I had to buy a jacket and an umbrella when I went there in August.

Posted by Dick
Olympia, WA, USA
659 posts

Aren't you glad you asked this question? My vote would be for May, pleasanter weather more likely, fewer crowds, flowers everywhere. But, as you can see from all these responses, there's no "right" answer. Chances are you'll have mostly fine weather either time, with a few not-so-great days. Just have a good trip and don't worry about the weather!

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
2600 posts

Lauren... I have actually gone in May at least 6 or 7 times and had beautiful weather each time. Only times it was unbearable hot for me was in July... sweltering. However, I am really lucky with the weather and even if I do have a bad day or two I tend to forget it immediately...(so I could have had lots of bad weather:))...I am a photographer so I like variety in the weather, but I seriously do know that I have had beautiful weather ever time I have gone in May and early June.

Posted by Susan
Sausalito, California
3198 posts

We've spent 6 Julys out of the last 12 in Paris and it was unbearably hot.. in the 90's and 100's. Not always the entire month, but for 2-3 weeks. If I had a choice, I would go in May.. b/c I hate hot weather.. I'd rather be cold than hot.

Posted by Sean
New York
148 posts

Some weather history from last year: 13 May 2012: 16°C-4°C 15 May 2012: 12°C-8°C
17 May 2012: 17°C-3°C I'm not sure this qualifies as "great weather".