Below are my notes for visiting France. These travel tips, such as the best time to visit France are obtained from a variety of sources including some of the following: my first hand observations, personal conversations, magazines, newspapers, websites, books and so forth. Whenever I hear something that interests me about France, I jot it down here. Hope this comes in handy.
Best Time to Visit France
Short Answer: April, May, early June, September, October
Longer Answer: France is good to visit pretty much all year, although summers in popular spots in Europe are best avoided in my opinion. France also has two sale seasons – roughly January and July. January in Paris during the sale season, in my experience, has been fine weather-wise and other-wise.
Alsace: go in Autumn, cabbage harvest, wine harvest. November weather can still be nice but crowds are gone. Late spring and summer busy. Early spring (April, excluding Easter) good.
Summer in Marseille was quite nice. It wasn’t inundated with tourists.
Miscellaneous Travel Tips for France
Buy huile et cumbavas (lime oil) at Epices Roellinger in Paris
Paris Tip: If you have light-luggage, take a moto-taxi to/from the airport for a different, and quick, experience. Otherwise, the train works just fine unless you have a ton of luggage whereby a normal taxi might make the most sense.
Paris Day Trip: Fontainebleau is a good daytrip or weekend getaway. Food, pastries, parks, walking. Great food market on Tuesdays, Fridays, Sundays. Nearby village of Nemours produces poppy syrup and confit poppy petal candies.
Drinking in Alsace: Distillerie Mette (fermenting pear, raspberry, plum, etc.). Great whites (including gewurztraminer) at Domaine Weinbach monastery. Another great gewurztraminer (Spiegel) at Domaine Dirler-Cade. Other good whites from this region include muscat, pinot gris and riesling.
If you can find it, Amer Picon derivatives. Sauvelle Vodka?
Always visit the cheese dealers (fromagerie) in France if you like cheese. Banon à la feuille is a great goat cheese (wrapped in chestnut leaves) in southern France which I was introduced to while visiting Marseille. You can also buy great butter (like Bordier butter, which I suggest you try if you have the chance) in the fromagerie which is much more special than buying from the supermarket.