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Best Time to Take a Seine River Cruise (France)

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At a Glance:
  • Busy season: June-August
  • Shoulder season: March-May, September-December
  • Avoid: January-March
There are few bad times to experience the chic Parisian atmosphere and scenic beauty along the Seine River, cutting through central and northern France. A delightful contrast between the quiet countryside and the buzzing capital city - aptly deemed the City of Lights - capture the authentic French charm that travelers hope for on a river cruise in this historic country. 
Each season has its own advantages and disadvantages, so consider what you want to experience on your Seine River cruise:

The most popular time to plan a Seine River cruise is during the summer months from June-August. It’s worth noting that temperatures reach their peak in France in August, so many local families are on vacation during this month. Some travelers enjoy the lighter traffic, warmer weather, and more relaxed feeling when many locals are away, while others hope to visit France in the shoulder months when the cities seem more lively. 

Cruises during the pre-Christmas weeks in late November and December (while quite chilly and occasionally very cold) offer cultural adventurers a chance to experience the beating heart of France in its festive celebrations of the season. These cruises are harder to come by since most travelers prefer the warmer summer and autumn months. 

Should I worry about high water in the spring?
While there is a moderate risk of high water in early spring when the melting snow and rains raise the river level, the Seine River is actually a pretty safe bet for travelers. Depending on the winter/ spring season, it’s possible that certain sections of the river will be too high to clear lower bridges, but more often than not, the Seine does offer a good springtime alternative to other central European rivers like the Rhone and Rhine* (among others) that are poor choices during early spring. 
*Note that the signature Rhine River tulip cruises in the Netherlands happen in the spring, and most travelers love the experience. 

Avoid traveling to France from late December through early March, when temperatures dip below freezing. Cruise operators are generally in their off season from late December through March.

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