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  • Writer's pictureMallory Warner

Top Mistakes to Avoid When Planning a Summer Vacation in France

Summer is a great time to travel to France, just be sure not to make these mistakes when booking your next trip.

Summertime is an excellent time to visit France, so many travelers like yourself fill the museums and sites. Here are some tips to ensure you have the best time in France while navigating the increase in tourists and warm weather.

Tip #1 - Don't wait to book your reservations

Summertime is the number one season to visit France, not only for international visitors but also for the French. This season's popularity means that flights, trains, and hotels are more expensive, and top sites and restaurant bookings fill up fast. So lock in your flight and lodging as soon as possible to ensure the best prices and dates.

Not a big planner and want to keep your itinerary loose? Plan your days around the major sites that require bookings, such as the Louvre and Eiffel Tower—book reservations at your top restaurants. Of course, there are always plenty of other places to see or eat, but booking in advance ensures you visit your favorites.

Tip #2 - Don't overheat

Speaking of booking your hotel: research a place with air conditioning. France has not avoided the clutches of climate change and has experienced several heat waves (vague de chaleur) over the last few years. As a result, you will need a place to cool off after a long day of site-seeing. While finding an apartment rental with AC in Paris is difficult, they are often available in other areas of the country, especially the south. Hotel AC will also not be as powerful as we experience here in the United States, so prepare to be a bit toastier.

Tip #3 - August = Les Vacances

The French know how to relax. Every August is known as les vacances, and the French take it very seriously. Many shops and restaurants take the month of August to close and enjoy some much-needed time off. In the past, this would mean that much of Paris would be shuttered, leaving the summer tourists high and dry. I am pleased to report that this is no longer the case, and there are many restaurants and shops open during les vacances, though many of my favorites often close. If you have your heart set on visiting a specific bakery, restaurant, or shop, be prepared for their closure and have a backup plan.

Tip #4 - I can't say it enough: Don't Overheat

France is hot in the summer. Make sure that you stay hydrated. Bring a refillable water bottle and take advantage of one of Paris' many public Wallace Fountains.

Tip #5 - Don't Over Pack

Remember to pack light, especially if traveling via train or public transit. Pack light, breathable clothing. I suggest packing sandals as well as a comfortable pair of trainers. Your back and your feet will thank you.

Bon Voyage

The most important advice for spending your summer holiday in France is to remember to relax and soak it all in.

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