If you are planning a trip to France in July, well, you’re not the only one. However, while July is definitely high tourist season in France and you are sure to find higher hotel rates and more expensive airfares, July is actually a great month to be traveling in France. While you may encounter some crowds at popular tourist spots, you’ll also get plenty of warm, sunny days, be able to shop at the biggest and best outdoor markets and choose from a plethora of great festivals, events and celebrations that happen throughout the country. Those traveling to France in July may find crowds, but at least you won’t run into many closed down restaurants and shops like you often do in August (August in France can be just as packed with tourists, but it is also a month when many French people take their own vacations—meaning many businesses are shut down during this time).
What to do in France in July
With summer in full swing, July is a great month to visit the many outdoor markets in France. Whether you are in Paris, Provence or Brittany, you will have no problem finding outdoor markets almost every day of the week that are stocked full of great seasonal produce, fresh cheeses and meats and even clothing items and kitchen wares.
Articles on Markets in France
Beaches in France are also packed with both international and local tourists, who flock to the French coastlines during the summer months to soak up the sun, eat fresh gauffres (waffles) on the boardwalk and swim in the ocean.
- >>Check out the Best Beaches in France!
Museums in France also have extended hours during most of July to accommodate the extra tourists and locals. There is a rumor floating around that museums are now free for those under 25 in France (which is good news to some and doesn’t mean a thing to many of you).
- >>Not sure what museums you should hit up? Check out Paris’ Top 50 Museums
Holidays, Festivals and Events in France in July
Tour de France – This 3-week cycling event is the sport’s most prestigious and watched events. Cyclists battle over mountain passes and on country roads throughout the country and the following for this event is considerable. Watching these cyclists shoot by can definitely be a fun addition to any trip to France, and many travel to France just to watch the Tour de France.
Articles about the Tour de France:
- Tour de France Visitor’s Guide
- Tour de France 101
- Tour de France spectator tips
- Tour de France Vacations
- Getting around France during the Tour de France
- Allez! 2011 Tour de France information
- Best places to watch the 2011 Tour de France
- Three interesting things about the 2011 Tour de France
Bastille Day – July 14 marks the day French mobs stormed the Bastille (a prison and symbol of tyranny and the monarchy) and tore down the prison brick-by-brick at the beginning of the French Revolution. Today, this day is celebrated much like Independence Day in the U.S. with fireworks, parades and special events across the country.
>>Learn more about how and where to celebrate Bastille Day.
Avignon Festival – Avignon is one of my favorite cities in France, especially during the month of July. Since 1947, Avignon has hosted a festival that has become an essential summer stopover in the cultural life of France. Not only can travelers check out the famous pont d’Avignon and the old papal palace, but during July a veritable tidal wave submerges the City of the Popes—theatre and living art besiege the town, animate the streets and perform in even some of the most improbable places.
>>Discover 8 enchanting villages in Provence, all close to Avignon.
Cannes International Golf Festival – Cannes is most famous for its international film festival, but this French Riviera city is also home to the Cannes Golf Festival during the first week of July. Though not a festival for the budget traveler, golfing enthusiasts can enjoy hitting drives and putting on greens overlooking the blue waters of the Mediterranean. 2009 will mark the inaugural Cannes Golf Festival, which was created to pay tribute to Cannes as one of the premier golfing and resort cities in the world.
>>Read more about the Cannes Golf Festival on the PGA web site.
Carcassonne Festival de la Cité – The medieval walled city in southwestern France is a tourist attraction in itself during all months of the year, but the city becomes an especially alluring place to visit during the month of July, when the entire city celebrates with special music and theatre performers. In 2009 the festival features performances by Vanessa Paradis, Diana Ross, ZZ Top, the National Orchestra of Lyon and more.
>>Read more about visiting Carcassonne.
Weather in France in July
While the weather in France can be inconsistent during much of the year, July is consistently warm to hot across the country. While the south heats up to close to 100 degrees some days, it will be dry, whereas Paris and some northern French cities tend to be quite muggy.
>>Check out average temperatures across different regions and read more about Weather in France.
What to Pack
Depending on where you are planning to be in France during July will determine how you pack. Despite warm or hot temperatures almost everywhere in the country, keep in mind that it can still be chilly in the Alps, especially in the evenings or if you head high into the mountains.
>>Read more about what to wear in the summer in France.
Getting to France in July
While you are likely to have beautiful weather and plenty of great festivals to go to in July in France, you are also not the only traveler who has realized July is a great time to be in France. More tourists mean more crowded attractions and higher hotel rates and airfares. However, with enough searching, it is possible to a decent deal on airfare to France for July. Booking far in advance can also help land you a cheap flight to France, even in the peak summer months. If you will be arriving in France from another European city, you’ll probably be arriving by train or ferry. For those coming from London, taking the Eurostar between Paris and London is easiest and fastest way to get between France and UK, though there are other transportation options for getting from London to Paris.
>>Read more about getting around France.
Where to Stay
Make sure you book your hotels in France early as July can be a tough time to get a room. With the great weather in France during this time of year and lots more people flooding into this popular tourist destination, even finding a hostel in France can be hard during July. Plan ahead and book early and you’ll have a better shot at getting a room. For those traveling to France in July to watch the Tour de France there are also come great Tour de France Vacations that arrange your accommodations for you. If you find yourself hanging out along the Mediterranean coast, Nice’s best hostels (including the famed Villa Saint Exupery) offer great accommodations on the cheap.
>>Learn everything there is to know about accommodations in France.