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7 Reasons to Travel to France in May

France is perfection all year round, but there’s something kinda special about traveling there in May.

by Emma Lifvergren
Updated April 11, 2024

Whether you’re in a group or all about a solo trip to France, this bucket-list country brings so much to the table—figuratively and literally. The sights, the culture, and the food are oh-mon-dieu amazing all year round, but springtime (or le printemps, if we’re being super French) just hits different. The weather in France in May is magical—the country reawakens with blooming flowers, chirping birds, and flitting butterflies, people emerge from their cozy winter cocoons, and sidewalk cafés buzz with life. Here are a few reasons why you should travel to France in May.

A very highly detailed manicured garden in the foreground with marble statues and a grand looking mansion in the background

Beautiful weather

In the spring, temps are mild and pleasant, making it perfect for outdoor activities like strolling along the Seine’s famous quays, shopping your way through flea markets, or plopping down for a picnic and some champagne in one of many charming parks. So much of what makes France spectacular is its outdoor spaces and landscapes, so get out there!

Blooms for days

France comes alive with beautiful flowers and blossoming trees in May, meaning you’ll have gorgeous built-in backdrops for all your adventures (and selfies). Dandelions dot lawns and fields, bright yellow forsythia blooms in many gardens, and wildflowers are rioting everywhere you turn. And if you're plagued with allergies, well...bring some tissues! France in May is too beautiful to miss.

If you're in Paris, hit the Jardins des Plantes in the 5th arrondissement, but also keep your eyes peeled for one of the many little parks that dot the city: the blooms there can be as captivating as any. Outside of Paris, flower-peeping in Provence is especially good, with poppy and tulip showing off all over the place.

A large glass pyramid with smaller glass pyramids around in situated in front of a grand looking building with a ferris wheel in the background

Cultural events

There’s a ton of cultural events happening in both Paris and France as a whole, including the social media frenzy that is the Cannes Film Festival, the heart-racing Monaco Grand Prix (okay, not technically in France but basically in France), and the Nuit des Musées—when admission to famous museums around the country is free! Smaller cities and towns around the country pick May for cultural events with a more local feel (more below), so do you research and think about venturing away from the major tourist areas.

Fewer crowds

Much like waiting to get to the front of a throng of people who are also trying to catch a glimpse of the Mona Lisa, standing in line is a total drag. Compared to the peak summer months, fewer tourists travel to France in May, so you can explore popular sights like the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, Versailles, Monet’s house in Giverny, or Notre-Dame Cathedral with relatively shorter lines and fewer crowds.

Two people's hands holding filled wine glasses about to clink their glasses together over a table covered with water glasses and a cheese plate

Café culture

When I think of France, the first thing that comes to mind is the cafés. The French take full advantage of nice weather in May, taking over the outdoor terraces of the zillion charming cafés and restaurants. Soak up the sun (and a café au lait or three), people-watch, and stuff your face with delicious French eats al fresco.

All the food

Foodies, listen up. May is a fantastic time for to visit France for the food alone. The markets are bursting with fresh, seasonal produce like strawberries, asparagus, cherries, and more, so if you’re staying somewhere with your own kitchen, make sure to hit the markets and whip up something tasty. Our favorite is the Rue Mouffetard market in Paris. Please, go. Seriously. You can see and smell and taste the best food in the world.

You can also savor the delicious flavors of French cuisine in outdoor cafes and restaurants, treating yourself to seasonal dishes like ratatouille, fresh seafood, and inhalable pastries. Eating outdoors is a tradition in France—outdoor chairs and tables at restaurants face the street so diners can people watch as they mangent. And there's no better time to do it than May.

Many identical looking rows of grape vines with a blue sky in the background

Local celebrations

May is a month when you can see unique local traditions and celebrations in France. On May 1st, the French celebrate Labor Day, or la Fête du Travail, by exchanging lily of the valley (muguet) bouquets, which are symbols of good luck. There are also local events throughout the country, like flower festivals in towns like Gordes or Arles. Immersing yourself in these traditions allows you to dive deeper into the culture and experience the authentic charm of France.

See what I mean? There are so many reasons to visit at any time of year, but traveling to France in May is a pro move. Whether you’re food-obsessed, a museum buff, or love spending time outside, springtime in France has something beautiful in store for you—and EF Ultimate Break has the trips to make it happen.

About the Author

Emma Lifvergren is a writer at EF Ultimate Break by day and a food enthusiast, bookworm, and cat mom to Ruby the rest of the time. Emma has been to 16 countries, including a semester in Paris while studying journalism at UMass Amherst. Her favorite places in France in the spring are the gardens at Versailles, Monet's home and studio in Giverny, and the Normandy coast.

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