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Paris in the Fall
It’s no secret that we love Paris in the fall. In fact, we think that fall in Paris is the best time to visit Paris if you can get the time off.
As the summer crowds disperse and the leaves turn golden and red, the city’s parks provide a colorful backdrop for fall strolls and you’ll be able to walk through the city with plenty of room to breathe.
Also, as the masses clear out and the hotels empty, it’s easier to find cheaper flights and lower accommodation prices throughout the city. As an added bonus, lines for the main tourist attractions are shorter and patience is higher as the city quiets down in preparation for the winter holidays.
September and October in Paris are usually warm enough to enjoy many of the typical summer activities, but with lesser crowds while the seasonal chill of November and the first days of December offers the perfect excuse to take shelter in some of Paris’s world-class museums, galleries, annual food festivals, and (of course) the quintessential Parisian cafes.
Paris is always a good idea but it’s an especially lovely area to visit in the fall season. To get you off to a good start, here are our favorite things to do in Paris in the fall.
Weather in Paris in the Fall
Fall is in our opinion the best time to go to Paris also from a weather point of view. The colors of the trees are gorgeous, temperatures are still nice (maximums of 11C° to 21C°) and there are definitely fewer people around. It is true that fall can come with some rainy days in Paris but according to statistics not much more rain than in winter or in spring.
In the last couple of years, we could organize outdoor activities until mid-November, with nice and sunny days.
READ MORE – Cool things to do when it rains in Paris
What to Do in Paris in the Fall
Here’s the list of our favorite things to do in Paris in the fall. From fall festivals in Paris to food and wine, there is something for everyone.
1. Get outside to soak in the colors of Paris
With such a pleasant climate, fall in Paris is the perfect time to explore Paris outdoors, beyond the main attractions.
Visitors can enjoy the changing colors of fall with a long walk in Luxembourg Gardens, Tuileries Gardens or the lesser-known Promenade Plantée and La Petite Ceinture of Paris just to name a few. Get a hot drink at a café in the park, walk in the leaves or simply take a stroll to enjoy the fresh autumn air.
Locals in Paris love treasure hunts and adventure games and there’s no better playground for such games than the Parks of Paris. Have you tried our Treasure Hunt in Paris Luxembourg Gardens or the Tuileries Garden Quest? Well, both are a great way of learning about the most popular parks in Paris while having fun!
TIP: Some of the best places to see fall foliage are Luxembourg Gardens, Park Buttes Chaumont, and Bois de Vincennes
2. Paris by Bike
Another great way to enjoy autumn is by exploring Paris by bike or Paris on an electric kick scooter. If the traffic in the city looks too chaotic for you, have a look at our favorite bike ride along Canal de l’ Ourcq, with interesting industrial architecture, street art and far from the cars.
READ MORE: Paris by Bike
3. Photography in Paris
The quality of light this time of year is a photographer’s dream and makes for breathtaking views of Paris’s main attractions. So pack your camera bag and head to the best photo spots in Paris for an amazing photoshoot.
4. Visit the Paris Tourist Attractions without the Crowds
It’s no secret that the best time to travel to Paris to avoid the crowds is during the shoulder seasons. First-timers in Paris willing to visit Paris main tourist attractions will find shorter lines in a city which quiets down in preparation for Paris in December with its winter holidays.
However, places like the Louvre Museum, Château de Versailles or the Eiffel Tower never get exactly quiet and it is a good idea to have in mind the dates of the school holidays in France (from 19th October to 4th November in 2019) and the best time to visit Paris Tourist Attractions to avoid the longest lines.
5. Paris in September – Celebrate the European Heritage Days
This is definitely one of our favorite cultural events in Paris in September and always a great opportunity for us to discover a couple of attractions which usually are closed to the public.
During a weekend (this year from 21 to 22 September 2019) some of Paris’ best museums, tourist attractions and other places that are usually closed to the public take part of this fantastic cultural event which usually includes free access to the sites accompanied by conferences, guided visits, and other activities.
Needless to say, this is an event which attires the crowds, especially around the main tourist attractions. However, lines are definitely shorter on non-existent if you leave the beaten path.
Beware that some of the proposed activities need a reservation in advance, you can read the full program for Paris and France here.
6. Visit an Exhibition
The réntree is also the start of a new cultural season in Paris, the time when many museums launch their top exhibitions.
To begin with, there is the Autumn Festival of Paris, a well-established festival which runs until the end of the year. It has a mixture of different theatre, dance, music, film and visual art events, and performances at over 40 different venues across the city.
This year, fall in Paris looks very promising from an exhibitions point of view, with exhibitions dedicated to Francis Bacon (Centre Pompidou), the Golden Age of British Painting (Musée du Luxembourg), Edgar Degas (Orsay Museum), Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (Grand Palais) AND other fantastic painters like El Greco (Grand Palais) and Leonardo da Vinci in the Louvre Museum.
7. Eat at the Local Food Festivals
The best time to visit Paris is when the food is the best, and if you like harvest festivals and food festivals then Paris in the fall will be a kind paradise on earth for you.
After a couple of sleeping months, locals and visitors can find in the fall dozens of food festivals featuring fall specialties, cheese and wine throughout all the arrondissements of Paris. If you want a more guided intro to French Food Festivals in Paris, check out our dedicated post.
READ MORE – Best French Food Festivals in Paris
8. October in Paris – Celebrate the Wine Harvest in Paris
A glass of wine is never a bad idea in Paris and the city always celebrates the new wine harvest with a couple of special events.
First, there’s the Fête des Vendanges, a five-day celebration of the grape harvest at Montmartre’s one remaining vineyard. This popular festival takes place each October (9–13 October in 2019) in the streets around the Sacré Coeur in Montmartre. The Montmartre wine (Clos Montmartre) is ridiculously expensive to buy but there are lots of other tasty food and drink stalls with great deals and also music and street performances. Beware that this is one of the most attended festivals in Paris so we recommend not going during the weekend if possible, especially on Saturday night.
There’s also the Beaujolais Nouveau Day to celebrate (21 November in 2019), when you can taste the latest vintage of this wine everywhere in the city. Not that Parisians like the Beaujolais Nouveau particularly (actually we don’t know any Parisian who likes it) but it makes just another excuse to toast and celebrate with friends and family.
READ MORE – French Wine Regions Quick Guide
9. Paris in October – Don’t miss the Nuit Blanche if you are in town!
Another of the most popular events in Paris in October is the Nuit Blanche (the sleepless night), based on the Saint Petersburg White Nights.
It usually takes place on the first weekend of October (5th October in 2019), when contemporary artists take over the City of Light from dusk till dawn: huge artworks, light installations, sensory experiences and a great atmosphere for a night to remember.
This year the Nuit Blanche is dedicated to “movement” and “circulation”, with many artists moving around the city with dynamic performances and shows.
10. Paris in October – Halloween in Paris
We cannot say that this is a typical French celebration but with the increasing number of Americans visiting Paris, there’s always something haunted or creepy to do for Halloween in Paris.
Disneyland Paris always offers a special show for Halloween so get ready for a scary Disneyland Paris Hallowing night with Ursula and all the other Disney’s witches and bad guys.
Also, the Catacombs of Paris and other underground sites in Paris can be the perfect setting for a creepy Halloween in Paris.
11. Paris in November – Visit a Cemetery in Paris
During All Saints day in Paris and France (1st November), there is the tradition of visiting the cemeteries to lay flowers on the family tombs. Apart from this tradition, cemeteries are always beautiful places to visit in Paris, especially when the tombs and sculptures are ornated with the fall leaves.
The most popular cemetery in Paris is Père Lachaise, in the 20th Arrondissement of Paris. Père Lachaise is the resting place of many celebrities like Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrisson or Chopin.
We suggest visiting Montparnasse Cemetery instead, the final resting place of many artists and definitely without the Père Lachaise crowds or other more intimate cemeteries like the one of Montmartre.
12. Paris in November – Experience the magic of the Lanterns Festival
Feel like experiencing a magical moment in Paris? Then, head to the Parc de La Villette on November 30 for the Lantern Festival, a beautiful celebration of magic, love, and hope.
Light up your handmade lantern and join the lantern parade along with musicians Zalindê and Doubayabi. After the lit parade across the park, the celebration will wrap up over some Christmas and spicy tea to warm up.
13. Hot Chocolate & People Watching in a Parisian Café
If the weather is good, enjoy lounging at one sidewalk terrace café in Paris for people watching. It’s as simple as that.
14. Explore the Surroundings of Paris
Fall is also the perfect season to visit the surroundings of Paris, especially the small towns near Paris. First-timers in Paris will probably want to admire Versailles Palace and its Gardens which are even more amazing with the fall colors.
For those thinking about easy weekend getaways from Paris, Champagne Wine Region and Alsace Wine Region are cool places to explore, especially during the wine harvest season.
Other great day trips from Paris in the fall include the town of Sceaux with its beautiful park and Fontainebleau Castle and forest.
What to Wear in Paris in the Fall
What to wear in Paris in the fall? Our main tip is to dress in layers and wear comfortable shoes (you are going to walk a lot!). Don’t forget to pack a travel umbrella and a light scarf for the seasonal rain and chill.
Paris Wear Fall 2019
Have you visited Paris in September, October or November? What is your favorite activity in Paris in the Fall?
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