London, Normandy and Paris in February

Hello Fellow Travelers, I am planning a trip to London, Normandy and Paris with my Teenage son. I've been to other parts of Europe before in the summer but this will be my first time to England and France. Due to his school schedule we are leaning towards late February 2014. How is the weather? I checked on several sites and they say it will be cold but are vague on getting around? Will walking places be an obstacle? Are many of the major sites closed? I tried booking a hotel in Normandy in February to find they are closed. Any advise would be great.
Thank you

Posted by Philip
London, United Kingdom
1698 posts

It will be cold and may be wet. There are also relatively few hours of daylight. There shouldn't usually be snow heavy enough to make walking or transportation a problem, but there have been some unusually heavy snow falls in the last few years. City attractions will definitely be open all year round but some open-air rural attractions close down altogether or have restricted opening times.

Posted by Dina
Fontainebleau, France
893 posts

Honestly, February is a pretty lousy time to plan a visit to Normandy if your purpose is to visit the D-Day sights. The daylight hours are quite short, the weather can be miserable for walking around outside, and a lot of smaller B&B's and tour guides don't do the winter season. But there's also a chance you could have halfway decent weather one day. It's unlikely museums will be closed in February (at least one I know of closes for January, though), but they may have limited hours. Paris is do-able any time of year. Same conditions with regards to daylight hours and potentially miserable weather exist. Last winter, Paris saw way more snowfall than they usually do. As long as you're not driving on the peripherique, it shouldn't really be a problem for you. If you go, bring nice long underwear, moisture wicking socks, a hat and scarf if you plan on being outdoors a lot.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8755 posts

London doesn't usually have heavy snow in mid winter but the last few years have been anything but normal. Nobody has a crystal ball - or we'd all be millionaires - but if I were a betting man I would put a farthing on the weather doing anything but normal again this winter. That's about the time we have had head heavy snow, or ice, or warm or extremely cold. It is a bit variable. Two years ago we had a low amount of winter precipitation that reservoirs dried up and homes were unable to water the gardens. I can say it will often be unpleasant in England at that time of year, and the Normandy beaches would likely be even worse. They get plenty of wind at most times - coming off the Channel - but in winter it is often much worse, and wet and blowy and cold when you are trying to sightsee can be less than perfect.

Posted by Kira
Seattle, WA, USA
956 posts

Well, everyone so far has been accurate. But I can't imagine letting a little potential cold and blustery weather, or shorter days, get in your way. I frankly LOVE the northern coast of France in winter. I think it's incredibly romantic and compelling! What you lose in sun you more make up for in raw, almost cinematic ATMOSPHERE. London and Paris are awesome every time of the year, and nothing is cozier than a neighborhood pub when it's chilly outside. I've been in northern Europe in winter many times, and can't remember even once when there was enough snow to make walking places even a little difficult. Of course, I don't live there, and it absolutely might happen - but if so, what an adventure! Seriously, if February is your only option, you will still have a blast.

Posted by John
Canton
129 posts

Stacey, our experience with weather in Paris in February 2000 was this; we had little rain and the temperatures ranged from the high 30s to low 50s. We were there in the second week and we found it to be comfortable for walking all over the city. Our last day there we spent at Versaille and the weather was beautiful. You will find statutes covered and fountains turned off for the winter in places. As for limited daylight that was not a problem for us. Besides, correct me if I'm wrong, isn't Paris known as the city if light? Go and enjoy, you will have a great time no matter the weather.

Posted by Dina
Fontainebleau, France
893 posts

"Paris is the City of Lights" - This makes me chuckle. We joke that it's because the sun never shines there in winter. This past winter was dark. Meaning very little sunlight. The newspaper reported that in January of this year, there was only one day with full sun, and I think it was 25 with completely gray skies. Things didn't get much better in February, or even March for that matter. People were joking that summer and sun had been cancelled due to the economic crisis. Like others have said, winters haven't exactly been "typical" lately. Weather is more unpredictable than ever, period. We were wearing jackets in June, hardly typical summer weather.

Posted by Norma
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
3409 posts

Paris is the City of Light (referring to the age of enlightenment), not the City of Lights.

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
2608 posts

I agree with Kira... if that is when you can go, plan for terrible weather, dress in layers and be happy when you have the surprise of a nice day. Overcast days (despite what many think) are great for photography...so have a ball photographing and enjoying Paris when there are fewer tourists and lo long lines are nonexistent. I would still go to Normandy, regardless of the weather. I have been two years end of Nov. first of Dec...one time beautiful weather and we were almost alone there... one time windy and colder, but I would not have avoided it because of the weather. I think one goes for the historical value and what it means. I love the shorter days as it means all the lights of the cities are on much earlier. Make numerous stops in cafes or pubs to warm up and know that you will be seeing these cities in a way that very few tourists will ever see them. I am sure that a big part of this trip will be about spending time with your son and enjoying his company. Have a great trip.

Posted by Stacey
Pinole, CA, USA
17 posts

Thank you everyone for your tips, it is greatly appreciated. I think I am going to try and still go in February. I love over cast days and the cold doesn't really bother me. Thanks again.

Posted by Tara
Sarasota
142 posts

I've always gone in summer, but last year had some friends go in January, and they had a blast in Paris. My feeling is...it's Europe! Traveling to Europe is always going to be an adventure. Better than staying at home and not traveling. :-) Have fun@

Posted by Bets
Bloomington
1970 posts

Obviously there's no problem going to a large city in winter. As others have said, the Normandy coast facilities will be pretty much closed for the winter. But if you find open hotels, restaurants, and a guided tour to the D-Day sites, then you are good to go. On the other hand, you can't judge what the weather will be like in any of the three places based on one or two person's single experience. It varies every day of every year; a couple of years everything has come to a standstill under snow in France, particularly deep snow in Normandy, while another year, you might hit a warm day. We had fifty-degree weather in Normandy, in July.