Last Updated on 23rd October 2019 by Sophie Nadeau
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!
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.
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.
#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.
#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.
#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!
#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.
#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.
#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 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!
#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.
#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.
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’…
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!
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?
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!