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Your Ultimate Guide to Paris in Autumn (Fall things to do)

Burnt umbers, golds and ruby red leaves carpeting the cobbled roads: could the scene be any more picturesque?! The wind whips, even more, leaves are thrown into the sky and thoughts of being cold are soon forgotten. Paris may well be one of the most beautiful cities in the World… But even Paris becomes more beautiful come fall time! And if this scene hasn’t already convinced you to visit, here’s your ultimate guide to Paris in autumn, including insider tips and a packing guide!

Le Clos Montmartre: a hidden and secret vineyard in the heart of Montmartre, Paris, France

What’s the weather in Paris in the fall?

If you’re looking to visit Paris this autumn, then you should know that the weather during your stay will depend entirely on which month you’ll be in the French Capital. For example, while the highs in September are as high as 22 (with lows of 13), October highs are more like 17 (with lows of 10), while November highs are 11 (with lows of 10).

Whichever month you visit, your best bet in terms of wardrobe is to bring plenty of layers, as well as waterproof shoes and a warm jacket. Bring layers so that you can remain warm while outdoors, but maintain a comfortable temperature when you’re on the metro or in a museum.

What's the weather in Paris in the fall?

Things to do in Paris in the autumn

One of the most beautiful places to enjoy fall in Europe has got to be Paris. Between vin chaud (that’s hot wine- or mulled wine- in English) shared among friends, pretty as a postcard fall tones, and the chance to wear the chicest of outfits, you won’t want to miss out on an autumn-inspired trip to the French capital this year.

#1 Enjoy Paris coffee culture!

The iconic tree-lined boulevards and bursting with colour and it’s time to switch your sandals for scarves. There’s no better time to pick up a warm drink and people watch from one of the many terraced cafés that litter France’s capital. You could order a spiced wine, a standard espresso (for as little as €1), a herbal tea- the possibilities are endless!

Besides, any season that gives you a good excuse to head to one of the many Parisian coffee shops littered throughout the city has to be a good one, right? Think: creamy hot chocolates, generous helpings of cake and a chic atmosphere. For a greater insight into Parisian coffee, check out my local’s guide to coffee in Paris.

The Broken Arm Coffee Shop in Le Marais, Paris, France

#2 Take a stroll through the city

Of course, one of the best things to do in Paris is simply to get a little lost and let your feet guide you where they may. This way, you’ll soon discover the best of hidden gems and forgotten corners that the City of Light has to offer. Coupled up with the beautiful fall tones, there’s no better time to enjoy one of the free and self-guided Paris walking tours.

mysteries of Montmartre: sunset at Montmartre from in front of the Sacré Coeur

#3 Enjoy the Montmartre grape harvest festival

For well over seventy-five years, autumn in Paris has been celebrated in Montmartre in a particularly curious way! After all, each year, at le Clos Montmartre, a harvest celebration takes place, allowing visitors access to the vineyard for one exclusive weekend only.

During the annual event, dances take place, as do talks about wine, and even a wine auction where bottles produced from the locally grown wine is sold with the profits going into community-based projects.

Montmartre Walking Tour: Clos Montmartre

#4 Hide away from the rain

If you’re visiting Paris during the autumn, then chances are that it will rain at least once or twice during your visit! Luckily, there are plenty of things to do in Paris when it rains.

Between shopping along the secret passageways of Paris and discovering hidden gems dotted around the city, there’s a wealth of activities worth doing in the city, even when the weather is less than perfect!

Passage des Panoramas 9th arrondissement: How to visit the Oldest Covered Passage in Paris, one of the best rainy day activities in the City of Light, France

#5 Snap photos of the fall foliage

If you’re in search of capturing some of the prettiest photos in Europe, then you’re in luck: Paris in the fall boasts some of the prettiest fall foliage thanks to the sheer number of wonderful day trips available to take from the city. Otherwise, check out my fall foliage in Paris guide for the insider scoop on the best of autumnal leaves in the City of Love.

how to spend three days in paris

#6 Enjoy hot chocolate!

When the days are cooler and the weather is worse, there’s perhaps no better way to shelter from the autumnal chill than by cosying up with a ‘chocolat chaud’.

Many say that the cafés of Paris serve some of the best hot chocolates in the world, and they’re probably not wrong! Hands down, the best place to head to is Angelina, where you’ll remember the creamy rich chocolate for decades to come.

angelina paris

#7 Visit a Parisian museum

When the weather gets colder and the rain more frequent, why not take yourself to one of the dozens of museums that Paris has to offer? With over a hundred museums to choose from, you’re sure to find one that you like!

From unusual selections (a house museum in Montmartre- Purchase your Musée de Montmartre ticket here– and even a museum dedicated entirely to counterfeiting) to top cultural institutions such as the Louvre, there’s no better time to visit museums in Paris than during the autumn!

Experience the Louvre by night

#8 Enjoy free museum entry during the Nuit Blanche

And while we’re on the subject of museums and galleries, note this down in your diary: each year, there’s an event called ‘Nuit Blanche’. On this night- and this night only- museums and galleries are free across Paris and open all night, allowing art and culture enthusiasts alike to enjoy late nights at their favourite cultural spaces.

10+ Things to Know Before Visiting the Musée d'Orsay

#9 Stroll the streets of Montmartre

Though, of course, fall foliage can be enjoyed all the way across the French capital city during the fall, the one place where you can experience the prettiest of the leaves is in the 18th arrondissement, i.e Montmartre.

Of course, there’s the trees surrounding the Sacré-Coeur Basilica, but there’s also more off the beaten path destinations like rue de l’Abreuvoir and rue Cortot. For a full guide to the best of Montmartre in the fall, check out this Autumnal Montmartre photo guide.

rue de l'Abreuvoir & Place Dalida

Why you must visit Paris in the Autumn

And if the best things to do in Paris in autumn haven’t convinced you that a trip to the French capital should be imminently planned come fall, then these reasons to go to Paris late in the year will surely convince you that ‘Paris is always a good idea’

Fall Fashion

Is there anywhere more chic than Paris? And as the cooler nights draw in, you can really start to make the most of fall fashion, layers and scarves all the way! And besides, how often do you really get to go out dressed in duvet-like clothes!

For recommendations of what to wear in Paris during the fall, I recommend bringing along plenty of layers (think cardigans, jackets, tights, and skirts), as well as chic ankle boots like these ones.

Parisian parks have never been lovelier than in the autumn!

Although it’s often said that compared with a city like London, Paris is severely lacking in green space, this most definitely isn’t the case! The thing about Paris is that you have to really look for parks and green spaces to visit.

It doesn’t mean that the small and secluded park spaces aren’t there, it just means that you have to search a little harder to find them! A personal favourite of mine is Parc Monceau, in the 8th-arrondissement.

Constructed during the 19th-century and complete with little follies and even its own Parisian carousel, you can’t go wrong by dedicating at least a little time during your stay to discovering this wonderful space!

10 reasons to visit paris in the fall

You’ll get to enjoy Paris like a local!

Now that tourist season’s over, there are fewer people than ever in the city of lights. You’ll get a feel for what it’s really like to be a local in the city of lights. Not only this, but a large proportion of shops, businesses and cafés shutter their doors and go on holiday for a month in August.

You only have to walk around a less touristic area to realise that no boulangeries are open! By the time October/ November rolls around, the city is back up and running like clockwork! For more insider tips, check out my guide to visiting Paris like a local.

Sunrise is actually at an acceptable time.

No more setting your alarm for 4am. No more excuses for not brushing your teeth! In the Autumn, sunrise in Paris can be as late as 7:30 A.M. This means that it’s incredibly easy to see the sunrise every day (and hopefully capture a fantastic one).

Getting up for sunrise rather than heading somewhere for sunset means that you’ll likely miss all the tourists that flock to touristic sites as soon as breakfast is over! My go-to spot in Paris for capturing la dame de fer at sunrise is Trocadéro.

Raised on a platform and eastward facing, it’s the perfect place to watch the sunrise up above the horizon and behind the Eiffel Tower. If you don’t feel like checking out the Eiffel Tower, then there are plenty of other places to catch the sunrise from. What about Notre Dame or the Sacré-Coeur instead?

eiffel tower hyperlapse

Taking day trips from Paris has never been easier

Paris in the fall happens to be one of the best times to experience day trips from the city like a local.  Versailles without the crowds, no crowding on public transport and fruit picking in rural France, Autumn is a fantastic time to visit France.

And the best part of all this? Fewer queues! In the summer, you can spend up to four hours queuing to enter the Château of Versailles. For this reason, alone, I definitely prefer Paris in the fall! As a bonus, it’s also worth mentioning, for the most part, fewer crowds mean lower prices! Think: cheaper accommodation and cheaper restaurants!

Just make sure that you check the opening times of an attraction/ château before you visit! Many places close at earlier hours or are completely closed on more days throughout the European shoulder seasons. Otherwise, check out these fall-inspired day trips from Paris to further ignite your wanderlust!

FRENCH FRUIT PICKING IN VERSAILLES: A QUIRKY DAY TRIP FROM PARIS

Fall Day trips from Paris

Cooler weather, golden leaves, and all the hot beverages: autumn in Paris and its surrounds is simply magical and there may well be no better time to visit the French capital.

Here’s a complete guide to fall day trips from Paris you’ll love! Complete with plenty of fall foliage, Châteaux and oodles of history, you’ll most likely struggle in deciding which trip you’d like to take first…

Fontainebleau: Forest & Château

Complete with a forest which transforms into a beautiful tapestry of oranges, reds, and yellows in the autumn months, Fontainebleau finds its roots as a palatial hunting lodge. Dating all the way back to the 12th century, today Fontainebleau is a grand Château akin to Versailles without the crowds.

As such, the French Château makes for the perfect day escape if you want to experience more of the French countryside, love history and are looking to head somewhere a little different.

Highlights of the last location from where Napoleon spoke to his soldiers includes a magnificent horseshoe staircase, as well as a beautiful lake where you can rent rowboats by the half-hour.

Purchase your Fontainebleau entrance ticket here in advance

fontainebleau day trip from paris: what to do in paris in september

Chantilly: Domaine & Château

Of all the fall day trips from Paris on this list, a trip to Château de Chantilly and the Domaine de Chantilly ranks as one of my top three. Beautiful and magical, the castle is located just a half hour train ride away from Paris’ Gare du Nord. If you time your trip right, be sure to make your way to the château for sunrise when candy colours dance across the sky and the light is just right.

Once there, you’ll find a Château dating all the way back to the 16th Century, and the very ‘Hameau’ (hamlet) which inspired that of Marie Antoinette’s ‘Hameau de la Reine’ at Versailles.

Elsewhere on the grounds, the Musée Condé is home to one of the largest art collections in France, second only to the Louvre. There is also a forest and formal gardens to explore, as well as the nearby town.

Purchase your Chantilly ticket here in advance.

Paris day trip to Chantilly, France

Bois de Vincennes & Fortified Château

Complete with a French Château, you can’t go wrong by dedicating a few hours to exploring the Bois de Vincennes and its surrounds. Commissioned by Napoleon in the 19th century, the park is the second largest in the city.

Vincennes can easily be reached at the very end of Metro line 1, making it an incredibly easy day trip from the city centre. In the woods, you’ll find plenty of green spaces, as well as a fortified French Château complete with one of the last remaining ‘Sainte Chapelle’ churches in France and graffiti from prisoners which dates back to the middle ages.

Purchase your Château de Vincennes entry ticket here in advance.

Château de Vincennes day trip from Paris, France:

Bois de Boulogne

Fall is your final opportunity to rent a boat and spend the afternoon (or at the very least, an hour or two) paddling along the Bois de Boulogne Central lake. And with views over to the Eiffel Tower (yes, you can really see the Iron Lady from the middle of this lake), you can’t go wrong by spending a few hours enjoying nature and admiring the fall colours.

You can even pack a picnic and enjoy your food atop of the lake. Other Bois de Boulogne activities include the architecturally interesting Louis Vuitton Foundation and the Jardin d’Acclimitation (both are worth checking out).

bois de boulogne boat rental

Versailles: Palace, Fruit Picking & Town

With fewer tourists and shorter queues, now is the best time to visit Versailles before the winter chill sets in. While the crowds are fewer in the summer and the light is still pretty good for snapping photographs, some of the best places to snap photos at Versailles are in the Hameau de la Reine and around the Grand Trianon.

And you don’t just have to head to Versailles to see the Château either. Instead, there are plenty of things to see in the rest of the town that doesn’t involve the royal palace at all. In the town of Versailles itself, you’ll find plenty of galleries, museums, and formal gardens. Nearby, you’ll also find the perfect opportunity to go fruit picking in Versailles at La Cueillette de Gally.

Provins: Medieval Town

Located about an hour and a half from Paris city centre, you’ll find the wonderful medieval town of Provins. Once home to a great medieval fair (where merchants from all over the country would meet and trade), today it is designated a UNESCO world heritage site and is even home to some medieval tunnels of unknown origin.

Once in Provins, you’ll find gems such as the Tour Cesar (a well-preserved medieval tower), as well as the remains of the medieval fortified wall. Best visited in the autumn, when the fall colours provide a pretty backdrop to the town, Provins has all the atmosphere and very few people around, making it the perfect day trip from Paris.

Provins to Paris: a medieval city day trip from Paris, France for if you love history and architecture. Day trip from Paris to the Île de France region: medieval ramparts

Towns of L’Isle Adam & Auvers-Sur-Oise

Final resting place of Van Gogh, as well as his brother Theo, Auvers-Sur-Oise is often overlooked in favour of more famous French towns. However, once there, you’ll find a grand Château complete with perfectly manicured gardens, an ancient church and a museum dedicated entirely to Absinthe. Even if you’re ‘not a museum person’ the history of Absinthe is well worth discovering.

Just along the River Oise, around a fifteen-minute drive from Auvers-sur-Oise, you’ll find the charming settlement of L’Isle Adam. This riverside resort town has a beach and is ever popular with Parisians and tourists alike. Both towns can easily be combined to make a lovely, but alternative, fall day trip from Paris.

l'isle-adam val d'oise france day trip from paris

Blandy Les Tours & Château Vaux le Vicomte

Due to their close proximity to one another, a trip to Blandy Les Tours and Château Vaux le Vicomte can easily be combined to form one magical fall day trip from the City of Lights.

While Blandy Les Tours is a heavily reconstructed medieval Castle and fortress, Château Vaux le Vicomte has all the trappings of a Versailles like Palace. And, in fact, is a cautionary tale in never boasting about your wealth. Both castles look lovely set among acres of woodland and farmland. And even more so once the fall colours are upon us.

Chateau de Vaux le Vicomte: a beautiful French mansion and an easy day trip from Paris, France

Meaux: The Foodie Trip!

The quaint town of Meaux is easy to reach via train from Paris and is famous for two foods which taste delicious (though not necessarily together!). Brie de Meaux and Meaux mustard are both specialities of the French settlement and can be found in stores throughout the area.

Other highlights of Meaux include a rather impressive history dating all the way back to Roman times when the city was known as ‘Latinum’ and its nickname was ‘Meldi’. Included within this line-up is a beautiful Romanesque-Gothic cathedral and the Musée de la Grand Guerre (this WWI museum also happens to be the largest of its kind in Europe).

Best things to do in Meaux, Île de France, day trip from Paris, France: pretty street

London: The all-out fall foliage inspired day trip from Paris

If you’re visiting Paris in the fall and wish to see the pretty fall colours of another European capital, although London is a little further than most fall inspired day trips from Paris, it is totally worth the journey. This is especially the case if you’re running a little short on time.

The best way to visit London as a day trip from Paris is via the Eurostar, a tunnel which runs under the English Channel (which is interestingly known as ‘La Manche’- literally ‘the sleeve’- in French).

Once you’ve arrived at King’s Cross St Pancras International, some of the best photo spots for autumnal tones can be found in London’s many parks, as well as in the mews streets around South Kensington and Chelsea.

Meandering the mews streets of London: St Lukes Mews, London, England

Pin the ultimate autumn in Paris guide now, read it again later:

Paris autumn/ Your Ultimate Guide to Paris in Autumn (Fall things to do)
Your Ultimate Guide to Paris in Autumn (Fall things to do in the French capital), of Paris, France
10 Reasons to visit Paris in Fall- Why you should take a trip to Paris, France in autumn!

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Chrissi

Sunday 22nd of July 2018

I’m so glad i saw this, I’m going to Paris in November and can’t wait! Beautiful pictures!

David

Monday 18th of December 2017

Great article. Read it in one breath. Here is my two cents. I love Paris, its like a pretty woman who doesn't care what to wear. She's always beautiful, that's why it doesn't matter when you visit Paris.

Ken Toong

Saturday 11th of February 2017

I love Paris in the summer when it sizzles. I follow the footsteps of the Lost Generation and visit and dine in the haunts of Hemingway. Also, an ardent fan of Edith Piaf and Mirelieu Matthieu-the new Edith Piaf..

Jan Michael

Wednesday 2nd of November 2016

Paris looks very colourful during Fall but i prefer to visit Paris for the first time during Spring time. :) anyway, i think this city is an all year round destination.

Maja | Mexatia

Wednesday 2nd of November 2016

Hahaha sunrise at the acceptable time - I love it! Autumn is such a wonderful time of the year and it is so romantic - we chose it for our wedding day also (even though my husband says it is only cold and nothing else lol)! I would love to visit this romantic city in autumn to make it even more romantic! And to have more excuses to drink hot chocolate in those cute cafes. :)

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