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11 Ways to Make the Most of Fall in Paris [2020]

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Paris in the Fall

Arc de Triomphe Paris 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.

Paris is always a good idea but Paris in the fall is an especially lovely area to visit in the fall season. Follow our Fall in Paris quick guide with what to wear, what to see, and our best tips, and get the most out of fall in Paris.

Paris in the Fall

Fall in Paris corresponds to the months of September, October, and November. Check out our specific quick guides for these three months.

1.SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER ARE STILL HIGH SEASON IN PARIS

Not many people realize that September and October are still high season in Paris. Sure, the summer crowds are gone but the weather is still good which makes of September and October two great months to visit Paris. If you decide to visit Paris in the fall, especially in September or October, it is a good idea to book hotels and main attractions well in advance.

Below we list the Paris main attractions you will need advance tickets for and have added links to my favorite trusty providers for your convenience.

2.LEARN ABOUT THE FALL HOLIDAYS IN FRANCE

calendar

With November, the low season starts in Paris. The long lines disappear, people are more relaxed, and you can even get some smiles. However, there are some periods where it is still necessary to book things in advance:

School holidays from 19 October to 4 November 2020 (vacances de la Toussaint). It is common that families from other parts of France travel to Paris in the fall for a cultural trip.

1st November 2020 La Toussaint (All Saints) is a public holiday in France and other parts of Europe (great for a weekend getaway to Paris!)

11th November 2020 Armistice WWI is also a public holiday in France.

Out of these periods, it is still a good idea to make hotel reservations early to score the best deals. Fall in Paris is more affordable than the busy summer months but hotel prices tend to rise if you book at the last minute.

3.USEFUL ITEMS

Paris Packing List Fall Winter

What to wear in Paris in the fall? Our main tip is to dress in layers and wear comfortable closed shoes or sneakers with socks (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 2020

Have a look at our fall in Paris packing lists for men and women, with some tips for a more local look.

4.CHECK OUT THE WEATHER FORECAST

If you visit Paris in September or in October you can expect warm-mild temperatures, shorter days but good hours of sunshine. As the season progresses, the temperatures get cooler and the weather starts to be hard to predict.

Before leaving home, it is a good idea to check the weather forecast and review your packing list accordingly. And remember, dress in layers to be comfortable day and night.

5.KNOW WHERE TO FIND THE MOST BEAUTIFUL FALL FOLIAGE

Luxembourg Garden Paris

Paris is a beautiful city to explore any time of the year but it is especially remarkable in the fall. The vibrant Paris fall colors provide a stunning backdrop to the city’s many sites and also around the Seine River and canals.

October tends to be the best month for fall colors and you can find great photo opportunities just walking around the city. The banks of the Seine are gorgeous too.

So where are the best places to see fall foliage in Paris? Visitors can enjoy the changing colors of fall with a long walk in the Luxembourg Gardens, the Tuileries Gardens, or the lesser-known Promenade Plantée (Paris 12), Parc Buttes-Chaumont (Paris 19), 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.

6.ESCAPE INTO THE FOREST FOR MORE FALL COLORS

Autumn in the Forest

September and October are the peak months for fall foliage, and forests near Paris like Fontainebleau, Compiègne, or Versailles are some of the best spots to visit as temperatures drop from their humid highs and the trees explode with hues of red, orange, and gold.

Go beyond Palace of Versailles, or Château de Fontainebleau, and explore their forested areas on a day hike.

7.PARIS BY BIKE

Canal de l'Ourcq by Bike

Fall in Paris is the best time to explore the city on two wheels. Check out this Paris by Bike Quick Guide with all the do’s and don’ts to navigate the city on a bike plus some ideas of bike itineraries.

If the traffic in the city looks too chaotic for you, we recommend doing Versailles by bike or the wonderful trail along Canal de l’Ourcq.

8.HAVE A B PLAN

Things to do when it rains in Paris

It is true that fall in Paris can come with some showers but according to statistics there’s not much more rain in Paris in the fall than in winter or in spring.

However, if you had planned a great day exploring Paris in the fall and it starts to rain, you may want to have a B plan in mind as rainy days in Paris are better spent in a museum or doing something indoors.

You can decide to explore the beautiful covered passages of Paris or have a look at one of the free museums in Paris which don’t need any kind of reservation. If you are in need of ideas, have a look at this list of cool things to do on a rainy day in Paris.

9.SOAK IN FALL FESTIVALS

Lantern Festival Paris
Lantern Festival in November

With the return of normalcy to Paris after the summer holidays come a number of great cultural and gastronomic festivals. Les Journées du Patrimoine (the Heritage Days) in September, the Nuit Blanche in October, or the Museums’ Night this year in November, are only a few examples of fun Paris fall festivals and events to keep locals and visitors entertained. For more seasonal festivals and other fun things to do in Paris in the fall, check the articles about Paris in September, Paris in October, and Paris in November.

While you’re at it, why not taste your way through Paris and try to tick off several traditional French dishes? Fall in Paris also come with many French food festivals where you can taste and also buy food.

10.TIME FOR WINE

Montmartre Harvest Festival

Fall truly is wine time in France. Grapes are harvested between September and October so oenophiles should take advantage of this auspicious season to sample some wines of the best wine regions in France at the many autumnal wine festivals and fairs like the Montmartre Harvest Festival (October), Le Grand Tasting at Grand Palais (November) or the Beaujolais Nouveau Day (November) all around France.

And if you have a couple of spare days, the wine regions of Alsace, Bourgogne or Champagne, make excellent weekend getaways from Paris by train or on a road trip.

TIP: Don’t forget your wine suitcase or wine tote bag to bring your best findings back home!

11.USE THIS PARIS FALL TRIP TO RELAX

Gardens Rodin Museum

From the beginning of December to New Year’s Eve, your schedule will be nonstop busy so it may be a good idea to use this trip to Paris in the fall to hit refresh on your mind and body before the celebrations begin with a holiday.

In Autumn, the cold temperature and the soothing ambiance of nature gives you the opportunity to spend time and calm your senses, even if you are exploring a new city like Paris. Sure, when you visit Paris in autumn, you want to visit some of the main tourist sites but you can also take long strolls or take a break in a pretty cafe terrace to enjoy the Paris fall colors with a hot drink.

Fall in Paris: Conclusion

Fall in Paris means lesser crowds, lower prices, and more quality time. If you’re a person who looks forward to details and enjoys traveling based on emotion, then Paris in the fall is the perfect season for you to start.

Have you visited Paris in autumn? What are your favorite things to do in Paris in the fall?

Click here to read about other Seasons in Paris

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Check our Fall in Paris Bucket List, with the best things to do in Paris in the fall


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