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Best Time to Travel for First Timer - September or October?

Minneapolis...
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Best Time to Travel for First Timer - September or October?

Hi all! A new traveler here. I have become addicted to these boards in the last few weeks, so I decided to finally sign up and add a question! (I apologize in advance if this question has already been posted.)

If all goes according to plan, I will be traveling to France and Italy in either September or October of 2006. (Yes, I'm a geek for planning so early!) However, being that this will be my first trip to Europe, and that I want to experience Paris (and the Provence, Riviera, Venice, Rome...) in all its glory - or as much of it as I can - which month would be better? I want no less than 4 full days in Paris (I know - it's still not enough time!) and I want to see all the major sites. I am concerned that if I go too late in the year, I won't get to experience the lush landscapes and flowering beauty. I'm certain Paris is marvelous at all times, but I have absolutely no idea what the weather/landscapes will be like in either of these months! I have no idea when or if I'll be able to get back - so I want to make the best of it the first time through! I suppose I could do more research on my own, but I've found everyone on these boards to be exceptionally helpful - and with much more first-hand knowledge than a book!

I have tons of questions brewing inside me, but I promise to continue my research, search the boards more and come back with well thought out queries - at least I hope they'll be well thought out!

Thanks in advance for your advice and assistance!

Cairo, Egypt
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1. Re: Best Time to Travel for First Timer - September or October?

September definitely, you get longer day time and for places such as the Riviera you can enjoy the beach / sea side more. I also think the same applies to Venice.

Omaha, NE
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2. Re: Best Time to Travel for First Timer - September or October?

We're going for the first time in October. The benefit to that was that our entire vacation will cost less, which is nice, and there will be less crowds. The drawback is that the weather won't be as nice--the average high is in the 60s--but that's that too bad.

I'll let you know when we get back how it was. I'm excited regardless. :D

Katie

Minneapolis...
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3. Re: Best Time to Travel for First Timer - September or October?

Thanks for your prompt responses! Katie, I would love to hear about your trip when you get back!

SFpeninsula
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4. Re: Best Time to Travel for First Timer - September or October?

AmateurTraveller,

I have visited Paris in September 2000, 2001, 2002,

2003 and will be back next month (yep-September 2005).

The weather, landscape, light (I'm a photographer) are

best for me at that time.

You mention 4 full days and seeing all the major sites.

Dubious. Make a list of what you want to see and get

back to us and we can share information as to what

is reasonable/possible.

Welcome to Paris Forum.

Minneapolis...
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5. Re: Best Time to Travel for First Timer - September or October?

Hi Randy Silver Photo! It's nice to meet you! I've seen so many of your posts (with wonderful advice!) so it's nice to actually talk to you!

I know - 4 days is very dubious! I fully expected to hear that! But who knows... a year is a long time, and plans could change... :) Paris is an absolute MUST-HAVE, DO NOT PASS location - regardless of what my husband says!

Right off the top of my head... Most definitely the La Tour Eiffel, Musee du Louvre, Montmartre and hopefully - if there's time and its really worth it - Chateau de Versailles. I still have a lot of research to do on other "must-see" sites! I am thinking that we'll find a nice, charming hotel in the 6th with quick access to the Seine and the metro - hopefully making it easier to accomplish our goals! I will also say that I want to experience Parisian culture - cafes, markets, people, wine, art, etc. I was hoping that the 6th district could help me with that in fine order! And I have already bought my French language CDs! I will probably still butcher it with my Minnesota accent, but I will try!

One other thing I am definitely excited about is photography! I don't have much experience now (not really any actually!) but I am taking a beginning photography class in October this year, with many classes to follow. Hopefully a year will be enough time to hone my skills! I want to be able to capture the best Paris has to offer - bringing it home with me so I can always cherish it! Perhaps you'll be visiting Paris in September of 2006 as well, and you can be my guide to capturing Paris on film! :)

SFpeninsula
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6. Re: Best Time to Travel for First Timer - September or October?

AmateurTraveller,

Nice to meet you. Any days you can add to your Paris trip

you will not regret .

In terms of specifics:

Eiffel - everyone has a different strategy, some wait in line-

can be up to 3 hours, others go at times when the lines

can be less (evenings)- 45 minutes. Some go over to Trocadero and look, others to the top of tall buildings and look. Then there are those who reserve at Altitude 95 or Jules Verne to get up there.

Louvre- 10 miles of corridors. Can pick out the most famous

to see and be out in 2 hours or spend all day. Definitely have

a museum pass. Can go one evening when it stays open late. My wife loves the Louvre, I'm a D'Orsay man myself.

Consider the Rodin, Cluny and Marmatton.

Monmarte- as an artist, I am facinated watching the work

done at Monmarte. Can walk around the square many times

as well as sit in a cafe and watch. Tends to be crowded at

times with bus tours.

Versailles - what can I say that hasn't been said many times

before. Public transport will get you out there. The interior

is quite something and then get overwhelmed by the "gardens".

A full day to take it in.

I have stayed in the 5th the last 4 visits. Next month

we will be staying in the 6th. Good thinking about being

close to the Seine and metro access. The 6th has great french character.

In terms of photography, there was a lengthy thread covering

almost all aspects of travel photography in Paris. If you put

"photography" in the search box and hit GO it will bring up

Randy Camera Help. There are 40 posts which should be

of help to you.

If I am not in Paris in September 2006, connect up with

Paris Photo Tours.

In the meantime continue your research, watch french movies,

listen to Edith Piaf and find a french restaurant to frequent.

Best wishes and stay in touch.

Randy

ps. My wife went to Carleton