April is unpredictable; the weather in Paris can be lovely; cool and sunny one minute, snowing the next. While we do love the early blossoms of spring, the fact is that many of the blubs and trees are still big in bloom in early – mid May.
If we had to pick our favorite time for Paris, when a likely chance of sun, cool night air, not too much rain, will bless our journey…it would be to arrive in early to mid May.
The only slight challenge with May is the sheer number of French Holidays…several, and this means closers and prices go up. The French take holidays seriously and observance means that you never know what will be running, open or having a party. May 1 is Labor Day and May Day, a National holiday and some things are closed! Never fear for sightseeing the center of the tourist districts of Paris are bustling.
May 5 is Ascension Day, church goers will be in services throughout Paris and many families fill the parks and museums; taking in the spring and often free entry. This is however, a wonderful time to find yourself outside the city!
We like to leave the night before a holiday weekend (Wednesday or Thursday) to avoid traffic and drive to the Loire Valley. Exploring the area around le Lion d’Angers is wonderful this time of year!! Chateau des Briottieres http://www.briottieres.com is by far our favorite place to stay. This is a family owned Chateau. The Broittieres family; (all six children) are reviving the property which has been in the family for over six generations and dates back to 1485. If you are a renaissance person; modern but with deep passion for the culture, history and ancestry of the past… this is a place for you!
The breakfast and dinner dining on property is charming and well suited for all ages. After dinner enjoy playing some parlor games or just linger with the family in one of the sitting rooms as you sip on your brandy.
We just adore the ambiance and familiar comfort of such a lovely home away from home. The tranquility of staying in a place with beautiful grounds, pastures, woods and picturesque architecture is such a treat.
A perfect stop between visiting Mont St Michel, the landing beaches, the Perche, Normandy and the Dordogne for example. Half way to Paris and the sea, the Brittany and the Vendée, the Briottières are a perfect place to stage your visit. The Loire Valley, is rich in history and monuments to visit, the countryside is beautiful and it is good to live and stay in. This Chateaux property and surrounding area has private assets, particularly varied and abundant.
During early May this part of France well known for its equestrian life is full of horse related events. If riding is an interest scheduling a trail ride around the many Castles in the Loire Valley is easily done and very special experience. The French are excellent equestrians, horse events are popular and equally exciting.
May 8 is Victory Day; celebrating the end of WWII. Celebrating in France is wonderful and for history enthusiast and there is no better place than Normandy. Normandy is an easy drive from the Loire Valley and can be a day trip or make it an over night to explore the region. The area is fun to explore and several historic reenactments occur to depict the encampments of the WWII period. A visit to Mont Saint-Michel should not be missed. Stop in and eat at La Mère Poulard…serving a fluffy whipped omelet that melts in the mouth. Be sure to plan ahead this restaurant stays full and very busy at all times.
May 15 and 16 are Whit Sunday and Monday, Pentecost Sunday (Pentecôte). This is a National Christian holiday and another time for many businesses and government offices to be closed. Back in Paris, it is not too difficult to enjoy these days in a park or walking the city the flowers are spectacular and the city life so sweet. This holiday is actually very quiet and it can be very pleasant to enjoy the heart of historic Paris.
Mothers Day is Sunday May 29, 2016 and like all over the world Mothers will be honored. Not a public holiday and families tend to dine in, rather than out. It is a lovely time to be in Paris and typically by this point in May the warmer days are feeling “summer like” and trees are often past peak blossom but flowers are prolific none the less.
Spring time in Paris is a glorious time to be in Paris and making excursions out into the surrounding areas. Loire Valley, Normandy makes for a wonderful journey. The national holidays may be dotted throughout the month; the pleasure experiencing them can be great. Be prepared for slightly higher rates as those from winter seasons are over the tourists are largely minimal. The sun will be out and the flowers in blossom…Paris in May.
Someone should write a song…then dance in the streets.