Surviving the Summer: Alternative French Itineraries for the busiest months of the year

The summer is the busiest time of year to travel to Europe, and France is no exception. It’s one of the continent’s most popular destinations for travelers. France offers so many rich and varied experiences, from famous cities to spectacular seasides, breathtaking mountains to the charming countryside.  Not to mention the food and wine! It is no wonder that our clients return again and again.

Not all of us are lucky enough to take vacation time whenever we want to. However, that means between school, kids, work, and family, many of our clients can only take their dream French vacation in the summer months. When it can be very hot and very, very busy.

This doesn’t mean that your summer travel remains just a dream. Having an expert at your side that knows how to avoid the chaos and maximize vacation in the busiest months of the year is the best way to take the stress out of traveling this time of year. Organization, preparation, and experience are essential to making the most of summer travel in Europe. Travelers thinking of coming from July-August aren’t too late to book a holiday. But just remember that early booking ensures your choice of our hand-selected accommodations and fabulous guides.

We have put together several sample alternative itineraries that clients have done over the past few years. Ones they loved! If France has been in your travel fantasy but summer vacation is the only one you can take, consider some of these wonderful choices. We have put together itineraries specifically intended to avoid the hot cities. And our hand-picked accommodations and guides help you navigate the holidays with peace of mind.

Paris is spectacular, a city that leaves so many speechless. But it can also be a difficult place to visit in the sweltering summer. Temperatures and crowds are at an all-time high. Our first couple loves wine, good food, and wanted comfortable, luxurious accommodations. Plus they wanted to experience some of the best of what France has to offer.  We created the perfect itinerary for foodies! This included a perfect week-long summer break in Burgundy and a short visit to Paris as well. For their time in Beaune and Dijon, we organized some exclusive experiences. A highlight was visiting the finest vineyards and villages of the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits. Our clients enjoyed a sampling of the best wines, accompanied by a local wine expert and private driver along with tasting lunches of local specialties. Our clients flew in and out of Paris. To get a taste of the “city of lights”, we provided them with a beautiful room at one of our personal favorite small luxury hotels. This one is located right in the center of Saint-Germain-des- Pres. It’s a great location to absorb the ambiance of the city in a short period!

Another summer itinerary is to explore the French Riviera and the magical area of Provence. It’s at its busiest in the summer months. But for our VIP clients who wanted to experience the area, we put together a spectacular 12 nights from Nice to Provence to Avignon and Beaune and finally Paris before flying home. Staying in one of our favorite luxury accommodations in Nice ensured tranquility. Even in the busy summer, the outdoor pool and a relaxing rooftop terrace, as well as a privileged location over the city, made their trip relaxing and intimate even in the midst of the high season. It’s also a great jumping-off point to make day trips to explore places like Antibes or Monaco. We provided them with the comfort of a private driver and guide who knows how to work around the summer crowds. After, an easy private transfer to explore elegant Avignon and they escaped the hectic tourist season in the picturesque hill-top villages of the Luberon. From here, our wine-loving couple took the train to Burgundy. The wine capital of Beaune is where they had some exclusive wine tours and tastings accompanied by a private sommelier. To finish up, they spent a few nights in Paris before their departure. Though we do recommend concentrating your visit outside of hot and hectic cities in August, we were able to secure some spectacular private tours for our clients. The focus was on food and wine instead of museums and sites with long lines. They were able to “eat” their way around the city.  And sampled some of Paris’ most exquisite treats all while seeing the streets and sites of Paris as they strolled by. Like Parisians do.

For other VIP return clients traveling in the summer, we were able to arrange a special treat! The summer, though busy, does have its own special highlights that you won’t be able to experience other times of the year. In Provence, this means the breathtaking fields of lavender that spread as far as the eye can see. Even for locals, it is an amazing experience. When standing in the middle of the huge fields, smelling the delicate fragrances of this Provencal flower, it is sublime. This is a great way to experience something unique that only summer visitors will be privy to. As these very special clients headed down to the French Riviera, we were able to work in some tailor-made stops for art lovers. In the summer, these are even more special as you can see the flowers in bloom and full fields as you see depicted in the works of so many famous french painters like Monet and Cezanne. We arranged a private transfer from Provence to the French Riviera. This allowed for time in charming Aix-en-Provence. A magical experience to walk in the footsteps of the greatest French artists.

These are just some examples of what we can (and what we have) put together for several of our happy clients. As all of our vacations are tailor-made, we will be able to offer you a vacation package that is designed around your wishes. Even in the summer! If you are thinking that enjoying the French summer season is impossible in these busy months, it’s not. With some expert planning from Bella Vita, your travel dreams can come true.

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