When is the best time to take a school trip to France?

Rachel Lewis

4 Oct 2023, 14:54
by Rachel Lewis

Dreaming of warm sunshine and a gentle breeze through your hair as you watch your class stroll calmly along the Champs-Élysées or a quaint market town in Normandy?

Now consider the crowds, the considerable price hikes, and the unsuitable accommodation because it’s July and everyone else wants to visit France.

So when is the perfect time for a school trip to France? We’ve got together some key points worth thinking about when choosing dates for your next French trip.

What are the cheapest months to cross the Channel?

It’s unavoidable… you have to cross the Channel to get to France and the two most popular options are the tunnel or a ferry. 

With either of these choices, your coach group will make significant savings by choosing travel dates in January and February,  when crossing prices are at their lowest. There are also better deals available from the ferry companies during the quieter months of October, November, December and March. Your group will pay the most for your crossing in the months between April and September. 

Let’s compare making that crossing in October with one taken in June (on a typical Monday to Thursday trip):

Difference in costs for travel to France

When is the easiest time to secure your place at our French centres?

Over 80% of schools who stay at our centres become repeat travellers and receive priority access to the same dates for their next trip. This means that it's difficult for first-timers to get access to our four dedicated school centres across Normandy from May to July. And at our flagship centre, Château de la Baudonnière, that lack of availability can stretch back as far as February.

So, if you want to sidestep the waitlist and nab your school's own designated week at our centres year after year, travel between September–February.


Availability of our centres


Groups who join us in late autumn or early spring also often benefit from having the centre all to themselves – giving students and teachers free rein to explore and use the range of facilities available. Leventhorpe School did just that and enjoyed having our Moulin aux Draps centre all to themselves.

Additionally, securing suitable accommodation for school groups in Normandy and Paris has become increasingly difficult in the summer term, as a greater number of European schools have begun taking school trips to France post-Brexit & pandemic. This means that it's best to plan your school trip to France from September–April to avoid disappointment.

Which term is best to maximise your trip’s learning impact?

It’s the new school year. You have a fresh new cohort ready and eager to learn. What better time than to whisk them away for an immersive language experience to really get the year’s learning going.

With the thought of exams in the distant summer term, Autumn is an ideal time to capture the imagination, build relationships and kick-start the syllabus – setting the tone for the learning ahead and building confidence among your students.

Taking a trip early in the school year also means that all the rich learning and experience gained abroad won’t be lost over the summer. Use your trip as a starting point and reference throughout your curriculum, and make learning relevant and purposeful for the rest of the year. Our language trips include a related workbook full of activities to refer to before, during and after your trip.

What dates to avoid when taking a school trip in France?

National holidays and festivals can be busy and can increase prices and lower accommodation availability. Beyond the Christian holidays celebrated across much of Europe, France also celebrates the storming of the Bastille on 14th July each year. The Fête nationale française sees a huge military parade along the Champs-Élysées with transport closures and large crowds - a great experience but not ideal for taking 40 students across the city and best to avoid with your school group.

July 2024 will also see the Olympics taking place around Paris and the rest of France. Accommodation prices are already being reported as 3x more expensive than the same period in 2023 and the demand on transport, both public and private, will inevitably stretch the system.

Quality and Service

With expert teams across all of our centres and dedicated trip coordinators here in the UK, our teams have the resources to respond to all school trip matters and offer every group a high level of quality and service whenever they travel.

However, with less demand for our resources during the autumn and spring terms, we're able to give groups an even more personalised service as well as offer a wider range of options that may better suit your group.

Top tips for your school trip to France

Bearing in mind the potential cost savings, availability across accommodation, activities, excursions, and the potential to extend language learning far beyond the trip itself - the evidence points towards autumn as the best time for a school trip to France.  

→ For milder temperatures and fewer crowds visit Paris or Disneyland® Paris in the months of November and March

→ Our favourite time to visit Normandy is during the apple harvest in October 

→ For the best seasonal offers visit Moulin aux Draps, near the Opal Coast, between November and Feb

Get in touch to speak to our specialists about the best French school trip for you and your group

More resources to help you plan your perfect school trip to France

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