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I love Paris in the fall. There’s an energy of renewal as Parisians return from their August holidays and school starts up again. There is a buzz in the city and by the end of October, off-season travel has really begun with fewer visitors to the city. Sunny days and some crisp temperatures see the foliage turn from deep green to yellows and oranges. And don’t be surprised by the rain. It’s Paris in the fall. There’s lots of it!
Paris In The Fall: The Practicalities
Paris In Autumn: The Weather
Paris in the fall Oh là là! It’s a full-on mix of glorious sunny days, driving rain (even your shoes can get completely soaked), cold winds, and a wide variety of temperatures. Already this October (2021), I’ve been too cold and too hot!
|Month||Min. Temp||Max. Temp||Rain|
|September||13 °C|55 °F||21 °C|70 °F||16mm | 0.63in|
|October||10 °C|49 °F||16°C|61 °F||25mm |0.98in|
|November||6 °C|42 °F||11 °C|51 °F||22mm |0.87in|
|December||3 °C|38 °F||8 °C|46 °F||26mm |1.02in|
There is plenty to do in Paris so keep your plans flexible. Enjoy walking and exploring on the lovely autumn Paris days and heading into museums and covered passageways when it is pouring.
Paris In Autumn: What To Wear
With the Paris fall weather so variable, it is a good idea to pack clothes that can be worn in layers. In September and October, a trenchcoat that can be layered with a warm sweater is ideal. Definitely bring a travel umbrella. Bring comfortable walking shoes as strolling in Paris is the best way to get to know the city. You might even want to try to flâner as the French do.
In November and December, temperatures dip and the wind is cold. Pack a warmer coat that can fit a sweater underneath. Be sure to bring gloves, a scarf, and a hat.
Paris In Autumn: The Holidays
If you are in France, a public holiday or bank holiday or statutory holiday is called a Jour Ferié. This means that businesses will be closed.
The other French phrase you may hear tossed around is “faire le pont.” The French “faire le pont” when they add extra holiday days to extend a public holiday.
November 1, La Toussaint (All Saints’ Day)
November 1 is the Catholic holiday called All Saints’ Day. On this public holiday, the French visit graveyards bringing fresh flowers to the gravestones of the dearly departed. It’s on a Monday in 2021 so you can be sure many people will take a 4-day weekend.
November 11, Armistice Day (WWI)
With one minute of silence at 11 am, France commemorates the armistice signed on November 11, 1918, to end the fighting of WWI. Look for military parades, wreaths laid at war monuments and church services to honour the soldiers lost.
Paris In The Fall: Events & Festivals
Paris in the fall, like all Paris seasons, has a multitude of festivals, exhibitions and events. Here are a few highlights to inspire you to visit Paris in the fall. Be sure to check specific museums sites for current exhibitions.
Jazz à la Villette: September 1 – 12, 2021
Calling all jazz lovers! Every September, Jazz à la Villette, co-produced with the Paris Philharmonic, fills the air with fabulous strains of jazz music. Head over to La Villette for two weekends of jazz, soul, Great Black Music and funk.
Taste Of Paris: September 16 – 19, 2021
Calling all foodies…Get your taste buds ready for some sensational fun! At A Taste of Paris, you can sample dishes from top Parisian chefs, hit up the artisanal food market to find something new for the chef in you, and don’t miss the cooking demonstrations. You’ll be sampling throughout your visit!
Heritage Days (Journées du Patrimoine): September 18 – 19, 2021
At the beginning of September each year, Heritage Days is the chance to get behind closed doors into places that are not usually open to the public. In 2021 for example, one could get in to see the heart of the work in Notre Dame Cathedral. What about a peek into the Elysées Palace where the president lives? Or seeing how the maintenance is done on SCNF trains? There is something for everyone.
Eiffel Tower and Breast Cancer Awareness Month: October 1, 2021
The Eiffel Tower twinkles in pink once a year on October 1. It kicks off Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a pink celebration. Head to the Champ de Mars where you will find festivities, including a fashion show with breast cancer survivors on the runway.
Nuits Blanche (White Night…Sleepless) in Paris: October 2 -3, 2021
On the first Saturday of October when night falls, Paris welcomes you to explore the city with free concerts, exhibits and open museums. The metro runs all night or in 2021 until 2 am.
Montmartre Grape Harvest Festival (La Fête des Vendanges): October 6 -10, 2021
This 4-day Paris fall festival is back this fall from October 6 – 10, 2021. The Montmartre Grape Harvest Festival celebrates the grape harvest and wine production from the little, ancient vineyard in Montmartre. This is a popular event with wine tasting, tours of the vineyard (book in advance), and 1500 bottles of wine auctioned off for local charities.
Hallowe’en at Disneyland Paris: October 1 – November 7, 2021
From October 1 – November 7, Disneyland Paris is all decked out for Hallowe’en. If hanging out with Cruella de Vil in Paris (does she speak French?) is on your bucket list, don’t miss the grand Hallowe’en party on October 31! Check out a one-day entry ticket here or a one-day flexible entry ticket here.
Salon du Chocolat: October 28 – November 1, 2021
The world’s most famous chocolate event, Salon du Chocolat, runs from October 28 – November 1, 2021. Calling all gourmands… for someone who loves pâtisseries, I can’t miss an event dedicated to chocolate and cocoa!
Paris Photo Exhibition: November 11 – 14, 2021
From November 11-14, 2021 Paris Photo exhibits up to 200 photographers from around the world. If the photographic medium is dear to your heart, this 24th year of Paris Photo, held at the Grand Palais Ephémère, is definitely one not to miss.
Beaujolais Nouveau: November 18, 2021
Fall in Paris is always marked by the arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau. Make note of the third Thursday of November. This is the release of the new batch of Beaujolais Nouveau. Order it at a bistro or buy a bottle to share at home.
Le Grand Tasting: December 3 – 4, 2021
This year on December 3 and 4th in the Carrousel du Louvre is the Grand Tasting. Tasting what exactly? Oh, just a little vin! Mark off these two days on the calendar if you are a wine lover!
Christmas Markets and Cheer
Fall in Paris (and everywhere else) technically goes until December which means we dip into the Christmas season! Oh là là!!! The store windows are magnificent and Christmas markets abound in Paris. Some start as early as mid-November while others begin at the end of November. The markets run until the end of December or January 6. Clearly, this needs its own post because Christmas in Paris is magical!
Paris In The Autumn: Enjoy The Foliage
Being a Canadian, fall is synonymous with colourful leaves. I haven’t found any luxuriant reds (we’ll leave that to the wine in Paris), but there are gorgeous displays of yellow and orange hues. Add some crisp air, clear blue skies and a glass of vin chaud and you have the perfect fall day in Paris.
Stroll by the Seine for lovely colours or head to one of the parks such as the Jardin of the Palais Royal, the Jardin du Luxembourg or the Jardin de Tuileries. Walk the old railway line of La Coulée Verte for some beautiful fall colours or enjoy the gardens of the Parc de Bagatelle.
If you are keen to go on a day trip, Giverny has an array of fall colours awaiting you in its spectacular gardens and decidedly fewer crowds than in the summer months. (Open until November 1). This tour takes you directly there.
Paris In The Fall: Rainy Days
Planning a trip to Paris in the fall? You can count on this. It’s going to rain. Maybe like cats and dogs. And with the rain comes the wind. Bring a travel umbrella and keep your eye on the weather. Head out when the sun is shining and plan some indoor activities during the rain. I, personally, love the museums in Paris and wrote this museum article highlighting some of the best ones.
Alternately, rainy days are great for shopping. Explore the dazzling La Samaritiane which recently reopened, Le Bon Marché or Galeries Lafayette. Love old-style shopping? Track down the Paris passageways. A few favourites include Galerie Vivienne, Galerie du Grand Cerf and Passage Jouffroy.
If you really want to hunker down, why not head to an old-style movie theatre and watch a French movie with English subtitles. The cinema group Lost in Frenchlation has regular screenings at the Luminor Hotel de Ville in the 4th arrondissement.
A rainy fall day in Paris? Thoughts go straight to Angelina’s and a steaming cup of the most delicious hot chocolate you’ve ever tasted. It literally, tastes like a chocolate bar melted and ready to drink. Heavenly.
Paris In The Fall: Gastronomy Galore
Last fall I was ordering a soup from Thierry Marx Boulangerie and the flavour of the day was topinambour. I knew right then and there that autumn in Paris was going to be a taste sensation. Turns out topinambour is Jerusalem artichoke. And was the soup good? More in line with to die for!
Fall in Paris sees chestnuts everywhere and fresh figs galore. Mushrooms of every shape and colour spill from market baskets befuddling the traveller with how to cook them up. I’ve had my share of the delicate, golden, floral-shaped girolles, also known as oyster mushrooms and chanterelles. This year I’m trying cèpes (cep or porcini). I swear a fairy could live under some of the enormous cèpes I’ve seen in the markets!
And the oysters are back. Just the other day, I had a chat with a vendor who gave me the rundown on the freshwater oysters, the saltwater ones and the Gillardeau, the king of the oysters. Here’s how to eat oysters like the French!
Be sure to pop into a fromagerie (here are the best fromageries in Paris) and see what is the best in the fall. I was shocked when I learned that cheeses actually have seasons. If you love cheese, here’s the low down on some of the very best ones to savour while in France.
Paris In The Fall: Under A Heat Lamp
Rain or shine, a trip to Paris in the fall is not complete without sitting on a terrasse under a heat lamp enjoying an apéro or a meal. Parisian cafés are perfect for people watching, satisfying your taste buds and feeling a little French. It is the Parisian culture, after all, sitting at a café. Go to one of the famous Parisian cafés in the fall or simply one that is close to your hotel. There’s always a story to tell after passing time at a café in Paris.
I hope you have the opportunity to enjoy Paris in the fall.
Until next time,
More Travel Info…
Paris Travel Resources:
All my Paris resources are right here on this page.
If you love that village feel in Paris these areas might interest you:
Montmartre, much like Ile Saint- Louis, feels like a small village. This post on Montmartre leads you to the most popular sites as well as some lesser-known places on the hill.
Le Marais is one of the oldest areas of Paris. Once marshland, it is hopping with boutiques, cafés, gorgeous old mansions and museums. Read my full guide to le Marais and also insider Marais tips from a local.
Ile Saint-Louis is still one of my favourite spots in Paris. On Pont Saint-Louis, you’ll almost always find some street music.
And Montparnasse. Most people think of the tall black tower looming over the Paris skyline or the train station. This guide on Montparnasse uncovers some marvellous things to discover in the 14th arrondissement.
If you like being by the water, Ile aux Cygnes in the Seine might be for you! The Statue of Liberty, views of the Eiffel Tower and locals walking their dogs!
If you are looking for food suggestions, read about where to find the best croissants in Paris. And, if you have a sweet tooth like me, check out these best pâtisseries to try. There are also plenty of café suggestions for the Marais area in this post: Tips from a Local. And if you are exploring the area around Canal Saint-Martin, here are the best places to stop for a bite or to find the fixings for a picnic.
Travelling to Paris alone? This article on navigating Paris alone is full of tips and tricks for the solo traveller.
This page has all my articles on Paris that will help you plan out your trip, including day trips from Paris. I hope you subscribed to my newsletter to get my free download – An Amazing 2-day Itinerary in Paris.
If you are going further afield in France, make sure to check out my page on France.