Before The Trip

There are many factors one needs to take into account to plan a trip to Europe and Paris. Up next, we’ve rounded up the most important factors for you to keep in mind. Remember that more precise information is available on our Practical Travel Guide of Paris or on our blog.

Airline tickets and lodging prices change from one season to another. The exact dates for the high and low season change mainly based on the weather and school vacation periods. To give you a clearer vision of that, we’ve assembled the following information:

Temporada
Fecha inicio
Fecha fin
Para tener en cuenta
Temporada Baja de la primera semana de enero hasta la Pascua en abril (o dependiendo en la fecha de la Semana Santa y de las vacaciones escolares) Todo el invierno y una parte de la primavera
de finales de septiembre al 31 de diciembre Otoño e invierno
Temporada media desde mediados de abril hasta el finales de junio Primavera y verano
de finales de agosto a finales de septiembre Verano
Temporada alta del 1 de julio a finales de agosto Verano

ATTENTION: Be careful with shoulder season when purchasing your plane tickets: the first weeks of September are back-to-school weeks for everyone, from elementary schools to Universities. Thousands of students from around the world come to study in France, and airline tickets can be very expensive due to this, up until mid-September. Take this into account when purchasing your airline tickets if you think this information applies to you.

Sacré-Cœur Paris

Airline tickets and lodging prices change from one season to another. The exact dates for the high and low season change mainly based on the weather and school vacation periods. To give you a clearer vision of that, we’ve assembled the following information:

Low Season

– All Winter and a part of the Spring: from the first week of January up until Easter in April (or depending on the school vacation period assigned that year and on what date Easter takes place)

– Fall and Winter: end of September through December 31st.

Shoulder Season:

– Spring and Summer: from mid-April through the end of June

– Summer: end of August through the end of September

High Season

– Verano: July 1st through the end of August

ATTENTION: Be careful with shoulder season when purchasing your plane tickets: the first weeks of September are back-to-school weeks for everyone, from elementary schools to Universities. Thousands of students from around the world come to study in France, and airline tickets can be very expensive due to this, up until mid-September. Take this into account when purchasing your airline tickets if you think this information applies to you.

Sacré-Cœur Paris

Spring is not the same in Barcelona, or Rome, as it is in Paris. Paris…Paris!
One of the MOST important factors to consider when selecting your travel dates is the weather. Europe has all four seasons, and each one has its pros and cons.

  • From March 21st through June 2oth
  • Spring marks the end of Winter, and the gradual return of greenery, flowers and a little more Sun.
  • The beginning of Spring remains COLD (March, April, and a part of May), between 4 and 16 degrees Celsius (39-60°F), with unexpected rains, wind, and even hail.
  • If you plan on coming around this time of year, be prepared: a good coat, umbrella and closed walking shoes. Once again: the first 3 months (meaning, most of this season) remains cold. So, it is best to bring a little more and be warm than to not have enough to bundle up with.
  • Starting around mid-May, the weather begins to improve, it’s a little sunnier, temperatures are a little more stable; however, there is still a bit of wind going around.
  • This is also allergy season, with the return of flowers and pollen in the air. If you have allergies or have a certain sensitivity towards this, prepare beforehand.
  • Attention: Something important to remember in Europe, and specially in Paris (although this does not apply to all European cities) is that sometimes you may peer out your window and see the sun, giving you the impression that it may be warm that day… DO NOT BE FOOLED BY THIS! The presence of the sun and absence of clouds during the Winter or Spring do not mean it is warm outside. Be careful with this as you may underdress due to this.
  • For more detailed information on temperatures, how to dress, holidays in Paris during the Spring and more, get our Practical Guide of Paris or visit our Blog.
Spring in Paris
  • June 21st through September 20th
  • These are the sunny days we so anxiously await when living in Europe.
  • The days are longer: the sun comes out very early, even before 6 a.m. and sets around 10 p.m.
  • The heat goes up intensely, and given that Paris has the River Seine flowing through it, the heat can be overwhelming throughout the day. The lowest temperatures in June remain around 60°F (13°C) , and high temperatures in August can reach up to 95-100°F (35-40°C).
  • How to dress: If you are planning to come in the Summer, make sure to bring comfortable shoes and clothing, a cap or sunhat, and sunblock. Make sure to stay hydrated as well. Our suggestions are shorts, capri pants, skirts, dresses, all made of light and breathable material.
  • In order to visit churches, it is possible that they ask you to cover up a bit before proceeding: you will not be allowed to enter in shorts, short skirts, or with your shoulders exposed. In some religious temples they provide you with pieces of cloth to cover up. If you don’t wish to use these, plan ahead and take something light with you (like a vest or light jacket) to cover up (perhaps even a light scarf to cover up your legs if your shorts or skirt are too short).
  • Be careful, between all the walking and the high temperatures of the summer you may develop blisters on your feet.
  • A very Parisian thing to do is to eat on the terraces of restaurants (the seating area provided on the sidewalk.)
  • ATTENTION: In France, these terraces are also smoking areas, so be aware of the fact that, in Paris, it is completely normal for you to be eating and have smokers around you. There may be countries where this is no longer acceptable, but is is here, so it is best for you to be informed before your arrival.
  • Another idea is having a picnic in a Parisian park. You may buy a salad or a sandwich at a bakery and take it with you to eat at a park or any green area that allows it. Be mindful, however, of your belonging in public spaces. Be mindful, however, of your belonging in public spaces.
Summer in Paris
  • September 21st to December 20th
  • Trees begin to change color, leaves start to fall, it gets windier, there is more rain and less sun, especially towards mid/end of October. Temperatures will begin to drop, getting us all ready for the Winter.
  • The closer we get to December the more temperatures begin to drop, for example: in September, the lowest temperature is of 53 °F (12 °C) and the highest is of 70°F (21°C), in October the highest temperature will be around 60°F (16°C), in November it should be around 50°F (10°C), and in December the highest temperature is usually around 45°F (7°C). (Pay attention to the highest temperatures, mornings and evenings will remain cold.)
  • The Fall is a lovely season, and very different especially for those who come from countries where there are no seasons.
  • During this time, the days begin to grow shorter, meaning, the sun takes a longer time to come up and sets much faster.
  • The wind also begins to be stronger and cooler, which is why a scarf, umbrella, and a good coat are indispensable for this time of year. People who get cold easily should bring a hat and gloves with them as well, the windchill factor is strongly felt during this time. People who get cold easily should bring a hat and gloves with them as well, the windchill factor is strongly felt during this time. People who get cold easily should bring a hat and gloves with them as well, the windchill factor is strongly felt during this time.
Paris in fall
  • 21st of December to March 20th
  • This is the coldest time of year, with the lowest temperatures
  • In Paris, there is little sunlight during this season, and the days are mostly cloudy and gray, with a day or two of sunlight from time to time (this does not mean the temperature goes up).
  • Temperatures tend to be between 32°F to 50°F (0°C-10°C). The most difficult part is dealing with the thermal sensation, meaning, how cold it actually feels. The temperature may be shown as 32°F but feel like 28°F. The coldest months of the year are, without a doubt, January and February.
  • In Paris, it is highly unlikely that it snows.
  • This is not the best time of the year to visit and appreciate this city. Walking throughout the city can be very difficult, especially for those who are not used to the cold. You start taking breaks every hour, or less, to warm up, or to hit all existing coffee shops and stores to hide from the cold. Either way, a city such as Paris always has tourists, and you can find people from all over the world any time of year.
  • How to dress: If you have decided to come to Paris in the winter, plan ahead and bring appropriate winter wear, such as: warm socks, non-slip water proof shoes, a good coat to protect you from the cold and the wind, a hat, gloves, and a good scarf.
  • Do keep in mind that, although it is important that you are bundled up, it is just as important that you can take off these layers easily when entering a coffee shop, store, hotels or other indoor sites as you will immediately feel the warmth from the heaters and it can be uncomfortable if you’re struggling with your clothes.
Winter in Paris

Prices go up and down depending on different factors, so you’ll need to “play” with them in order to get what is most convenient for you according to your needs:

  • The Season: Of course travelling in the Winter (except for Christmas and New Year’s) can be less expensive than travelling in June (when the Roland Garros tennis tournament is going on and summer vacations are starting, for example). The important thing to remember is to try and avoid school holiday periods in France or back to school periods for International students.
  • The area in which you’d like to stay: It is also less expensive to find lodging outside of Paris (although much less practical), as it can be much more pleasant to be able to go out for a walk and have the Eiffel Tower a few blocks away. There are also places where you can meet in the middle balancing out pricing, area, etc. depending on your personal criteria for comfort, practicality, and budget. Either way, there are also certain areas that are not recommended for you to stay in and it is important to keep these in mind as well. See Choosing your Lodging.
  • The hour and date in which you make your reservation: it may seem irrelevant, but the moment in which you make your reservation can also affect the prices. Keep an eye out for this!
  • The airline and the amount of layovers in the trip: there are certain airlines that are more expensive than others (for example, Air France) that offer direct flights (i.e. Bogota-Paris, NY-Paris). There are other airlines that come through Amsterdam (this means, of course, a longer travel time due to the layover), through Germany, and the most economic flights coming from Latin America for example, usually come through Madrid. Compare them and choose what works best for you.
Prices in Paris

You’ve packed your bags, bought your tickets, and made your reservations however, do you have insurance abroad? Forgot to print out your travel plans within Europe? All of these could have an effect on your trip later on if you don’t think about them ahead of time.

Visa or no Visa?
Citizens of certain countries may require or not a visa to enter the Schengen Space. For example, the following countries in Latin America do require a visa to enter the Schengen Space: Bolivia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador. You can check what applies for your country of nationality in the European Union website. We encourage you to consult the website of the embassy of the country you will be spending the most amount of time in during your travels so that you may proceed to processing your visa.

Some countries in Latin America no longer require a Visa for short term stays (90 days within a 180 day period) to enter the Schengen Space (as is the case for Colombia and Peru), however this doesn’t mean you can just “waltz” into Europe. Please take into account the following travel documents that may be asked of you by immigration authorities when entering Europe:

  • First and foremost, a valid passport: the passport must have at least a 3 month validity.
  • Lodging reservations.
  • Any and all itinerary-related documents: all documents pertinent to the organization of your trip.
  • Documents concerning your return: return tickets.
  • Means for sustenance for the duration of your trip: cash, credit card, travel checks, etc. The estimated amount you’ll need to be able to justify is a minimum of 165€ per day.
  • For underaged travelers: parental authorization (if only one, or neither one, of the parents is travelling with the minor).
  • To top it all of it, don’t forget medical insurance: ladies and gentlemen, as the saying goes, “Better safe than sorry”, and international coverage can save you in case of illness or an accident abroad. Try and choose the best coverage available to you.

 

ETIAS, travel authorization: Starting in 2021, travelers coming from countries outside the Schengen Space and that do not require a Visa to enter the European Union, will need to process an electronic travel permit prior to their trip, this permit will have a cost of 5€.

Tourist visa
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