Climbing the Eiffel Tower. Strolling down the Champs Elysees. Drinking wine and eating croissants in picturesque street cafes.
It’s easy to see why so many people dream of Paris. It is Europe’s cultural capital and is frequently described as the most romantic city in the world.
But Paris in the summer of 2023? It just might not be worth visiting!
Here are five reasons why you shouldn’t visit Paris this summer:
Paris Is Full
Paris is set to be one of the biggest European victims of over-tourism this summer. In fact, Paris is so crowded that the French Tourism Minister, Olivia Gregoire, has asked tourists to stay away from the country’s most popular tourist attractions.
Ms. Gregoire believes that this approach is for the benefit of “the environment, the quality of life for locals, and the experiences for its visitors”.
According to Ms. Gregoire, 80% of tourists in France visit just 20% of the country. And the most popular tourist destinations in France? They’re all in or around Paris!
Statista research shows that the five most visited attractions in France are Disneyland Paris, the Louvre Museum, the Palace of Versailles, the Eiffel Tower, and the Pompidou Centre.
Unless your dream vacation involves standing in line or jostling through crowds, you might want to avoid Paris this year. The city is full.
Why not follow Ms. Gregoire’s advice and explore a lesser-known part of France instead?
Demand Is High
If you do make it to Paris, you might be disappointed to find that some of the city’s major attractions are hard for you to access. This is because demand is high, but the number of tickets available is low.
To improve the visitor experience, for example, in February, the Lourve limited the number of visitors who can enter the gallery to just 30,000 people per day.
Visitors have often complained that the overcrowding in the famous gallery has made it difficult to explore the art in a meaningful way. But now tourists face a different problem: it’s hard to secure tickets!
In a similar vein, tickets to climb the Eiffel Tower are released just six weeks in advance. But at the time of writing, high demand means that e-tickets to ascend to the top and second floors of the Eiffel Tower by elevator are already sold out until the end of July.
If you visit Paris in the low season, however, it is possible to buy a ticket at the gate and ascend to the top of the Eiffel Tower on the same day.
Workers across France have been walking out throughout 2023 to protest low pay and poor working conditions. Unions in France have been engaged in an ongoing protest against the Government’s plans to increase the retirement age from 62 to 64.
Strikes have been ongoing since January and have been heavily impacting travel both to and around France. The last strike, on June 6, saw more than 400 flights canceled.
Unless an agreement is reached between the Unions and the Government, further strikes are expected across the country throughout the summer, but the dates of these are yet to be announced.
The combination of the impact of strike action with the already crowded airports due to the increased number of passengers visiting France this summer means that, for many people, flying to France this summer will be nothing short of a nightmare.
Demand drives prices upwards. And because the demand for flights, accommodation, and attractions is so high this summer, visiting Paris will be expensive.
Hotel prices are always higher in the City of Lights than in many other European capitals, thanks to a combination of high demand, limited supply, and the city’s popularity with tourists. But the problem will be much worse this summer.
According to a Bloomberg report, average hotel prices in Paris are being bumped up by free-spending American tourists with deep pockets and a desire to explore Europe no matter the cost. This is good news for the French economy but bad news for travelers hoping to see the world on a smaller budget.
For this reason, consider traveling to a French destination with a less iconic reputation, and you’ll see your dollar stretch further.
During the summer months, Paris has a very unpleasant odor.
National Geographic even completed a study about why Paris smells so bad and what the Parisian authorities are doing to counteract it.
When the weather is cooler, the smell diminishes, and you can barely notice it, but during the heat of the summer, it is unavoidable in some parts of the city.
By contrast, if you visit Provence in the summer, then you will be greeted by the overwhelming smell of fresh lavender. A much more pleasant olfactory proposition if you want to spend the summer in France.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com