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Travel to Britain and France Spring or Fall?

Hello y’all!
My mother and I are looking at traveling to Great Britain and France for 10 days or two weeks this coming year. We’ll be using London and Paris as bases and maybe take one or two day trips (Oxford, Bath, Versailles, maaaybe a long day to Haarlem).

I’m curious as to whether y’all think April, May, or September would be the best time to go. I’m also concerned about the preparations for the Olympics in Paris and how that might affect landmarks if we went in April/May just before the games.

Thanks y’all!

Posted by
7166 posts

We have visited Britain and France in the Spring, Fall and Summer. All trips were great.

Our last British visit was for almost the entire month of October and was nice, but a little chilly, especially toward the end of the month.

As far as weather, Spring or Fall both work well.

It is probably wise to avoid visiting close to time for the Olympics.

Also, avoid France in August.

Posted by
13194 posts

I think any of those months will work well as far as weather goes.

I've visited Paris, Netherlands and England multiple times in April and May. This last April I flew in to Amsterdam, spend days there, took the train to Paris, spend 10 nights there, took the train to London, spend nights there before meeting up with a tour of Northern England. I've also traveled to Paris and London in September.

For Paris next year, go ahead and take a look at hotels for April/May as prices are skyhigh the whole spring/summer/fall. I don't think the Olympics will have a huge impact on crowds in April/May but it has impacted prices. September is one of the very busy months in Paris as it is Paris Fashion week.

For London, any time will work.

I've hit heatwaves in both London and Paris in late August/early September so if you are not tolerant of heat I'd go later in the month.

I'd not really recommend taking a day trip to Haarlem although you can get a fast train from Paris to Amsterdam that takes about 3hours 30 minutes, then a local train out to Haarlem but that seems like a long way. What particularly draws you to Haarlem? If you want the "canal" experience there are closer "cute" towns....including Ghent and Bruges in Belgium and Colmar and Strasbourg in Eastern France. If you feel like you must visit Haarlem, I'd recommend booking an Open Jaw flight itinerary and flying In to Paris and out of Amsterdam or the opposite. You don't book this as 2 one-ways, you book on your airline website as "multi-city" or "multi-destination".

Posted by
6160 posts

I'd recommend May for better weather than April and more daylight than September. The upcoming Olympics might affect hotel prices and availability but probably not Paris landmarks. Apart from Olympics impact, September is generally Paris' busiest and most expensive month.

Make it two weeks instead of ten days -- get the most out of the airfare and long flights. Haarlem is a good choice on a trip that includes the Netherlands, but way out of your way on this trip. You'll spend more time getting there and back by train than you'll have there.

EDIT -- And yes, what Pam said about "open jaw" flights, even if you decide not to go to Haarlem. Fly into London and home from Paris, or vice versa, take the Eurostar between those cities. Maximize your time in each place instead of spending too much of it moving between places.