Hi, I am planning to do the Eastern France in 14 Days tour in Sep/Oct 2015. Trying to determine the best time to go. I would like to see the fall colors, wine harvest, and do some hiking in Chamonix. I'm hoping for moderate weather and no rain. Any idea how late would be too late?
You may have more responses if you post on the France section of the travel forum as this forum is about Rick Steve tours. Yours is a specific question about France.
So sorry, I misread your question, please forgive and forget the previous posting.
We love traveling to Eastern France in mid Sept. to first week in October. We have had wonderful luck with the weather (55-75 degrees) and the crowds are so much lighter. The vines depending on the weather in the summer will be harvested mid to late Sept depending on what wine region you are in. Last year we were in Burgundy Sept 18-21 and rented bicycles to ride through the vineyards and enjoy a wonderful picnic lunch. Great opportunity to get up close. We've been in Chamonix also mid Sept. the leaves were not changing, but loved going to Mont Blanc. If you can put Alsace on your list I highly recommend it. Beautiful rolling hills, great wine, charming towns with friendly people.
The latest that this tour departs in 2014 is October 5, since we all hope for moderate weather. You will visit several wineries and wine regions. But the harvest is so unpredictable that some regions might even harvest in August, if weather has been hot and grapes are pleasingly plump.
Eastern France is a great trip! The year I went, some of the lifts in Chamomix were closing down the day we arrived. That was about Sept. 15, but you can check online to find out dates for that. We also saw some of the grape harvest. It was mostly over, but the winery visits were great. One day we saw lots of small trucks (like golf carts) lined up at a regional winery to unload grapes.