Last Updated on 19th November 2020 by Sophie Nadeau
I love Paris in the morning and I love Paris in the evening. I love Paris on a Monday and I love Paris on a Friday. But most of all, I love Paris in the fall… There’s something so magical, and ever so inviting about the city when the fall foliage in Paris is in abundance, the leaves turn golden and the evenings are crisp.
Here’s a photo diary that will inspire you to visit the French capital city, as well as spots and locations where you can really see the fall foliage in Paris! So whether you’re looking for an escape from the city or a secret and secluded park to enjoy pretty fall leaves and tones, we have you covered!
When do the leaves start changing colour in Paris?
If you’re in search of capturing pretty photos of the French capital, then you should know before you go that the exact timing when the leaves change each year varies on an annual basis and is entirely dependant on the weather of that year!
Typically, the leaves begin changing colour towards the end of September and are best seen through Paris in October, right up until the beginning of November. When looking to visit exact locations, I recommend regularly checking up on social media to monitor how much the leaves have changed. Otherwise, planning your trip in mid-October will ensure that you get to enjoy at least some of the fall foliage!
Alongside Canal Saint-Martin
Located in the 10th arrondissement alongside one of the last remaining open-air canals in Paris, Canal Saint-Martin is a picture-perfect area best-known for its wealth of bars, cafés, and quaint cobbled side roads. I particularly recommend visiting in the fall since the water is even prettier when reflecting the beautiful fall foliage!
Home to the ever-so-iconic Colonnes de Buren and situated close to the Louvre Museum, Palais-Royal is so-called thanks to its status as a former Palace in the 1st arrondissement. Behind the building, there’s a park of the same name which is home to a plethora of beautiful trees which turn golden come autumn time.
The forest of Fontainebleau as a day trip from Paris
Fontainebleau is easily one of the best fall day trips from Paris and is where you should head to if you want to find a version of ‘Versailles without the crowds’. The royal palace started out life as a hunting lodge, and its horseshoe staircase is even the last location from which Napoleon addressed his troops.
Today, a visit to the Palace comes complete with grand forest and large canal, providing the perfect place to spot some fall foliage. Directly outside the main Château building (which in of itself is well worth a stroll around), there’s even a picturesque lake where you can rent little rowboats with your friends by the half-hour.
Bois de Vincennes
Easy to visit as a simple day trip from central Paris (you need only to take the Metro to the end of line one and you’ll be in Bois de Vincennes in under half an hour), Bois de Vincennes is home to one of the largest parks in Paris, as well as a fortified medieval Château and one of the last remaining ‘Sainte Chapelles’ of France.
Some of the best places to enjoy the fall foliage in this expansive parkland include the pretty trees framing the Château de Vincennes, as well as those surrounding a giant ‘Paris’ sign close to the Château. Other curiosities of the park include a botanical garden and even a hippodrome.
Arc de Triomphe
I’ve said it before, and no doubt I’ll say it again: the best view of Paris is not from the Eiffel Tower and can instead be spied from the top of the Arc de Triomphe, preferably during the golden hour (i.e. at sunset). Located in the 8th-arrondissement of the city, the Parisian monument was constructed during the 19th-century.
If you time your visit just right, then climb to the top of the spiralling staircase and you’ll be rewarded with postcard perfect views of the autumnal trees lining the streets leading towards the Eiffel Tower, making for a wonderful photo opportunity. Purchase your Arc de Triomphe tickets here in advance.
Parc des Buttes Chaumont
The pretty park of Buttes Chaumont is to be found in the 19th arrondissement of the city and is where all the locals really hang out. Commissioned by Napoleon, the hilly space boasts waterfalls, grottos and even a Romanesque temple. Plus, the abundance of green spaces in this park means that you’re sure to spot some beautiful fall colours!
The vineyard of Butte Bergeyre
Located near Buttes Chaumont, you’ll find an exclusive vineyard in the very heart of Paris, not to mention one of the most secretive spots in the city. Head to Butte Bergeyre if you want to see a side of Paris that few people even manage to see, even the locals…
Jardin des Tuileries
Located nearby to the Louvre Museum and filled with well-sculpted trees, no trip to Paris would be complete without a wander through the Jardin des Tuileries. Once the site of a tile factory, today the garden is one of the best spots to see the autumn leaves fall from the trees in the City of Love.
The clock of Musée d’Orsay
One of the best museums in Paris is that of the Musée d’Orsay. Formerly a train station and now turned art institution, head up to the very top floor of the museum (where many of the best 19th-century paintings are to be seen) and you’ll soon discover that the view through the clock offers fantastic views towards the Sacré-Coeur, and of course of all of the beautiful fall leaves on the trees in Paris!
Place de la Sorbonne
Situated in the very middle of the Latin Quarter, an area so-called because during the Middle Ages students of the nearby Sorbonne university would have conversed with one another solely in Latin, today Place de la Sorbonne is home to a handful of bars offering heated terraces and the chance to enjoy a selection of hot and cold beverages.
In the autumn time, the square of Place de la Sorbonne also happens to be one of the most beautiful spots in the city in which to enjoy the pretty fall tones. It’s also worth noting that if you want to follow in the footsteps of the Romans in Paris, then Place de la Sorbonne was where several Roman houses and part of a road were discovered during an archaeological dig in the early 2000s.
Around the city of Paris
Stroll around the City of Love for any given time during the autumn and you’ll soon spot a plethora of beautiful little squares, secret parks, and tiny forgotten corners where beautiful photos can be snapped. One of the best ways to allow Paris to reveal itself to you is simply by letting your feet guide you where they may and simply soaking up the ambience of the city. Otherwise, check out my free and self-guided walking tours for greater insight into the history and highlights of various arrondissements.
Leafy and green, Montmartre is always worth a visit, especially so during the autumn. Head to the Clos Montmartre (the Montmartre vineyard) for some extra fall vibes as well as the chance to see a real-life wine auction in the very heart of the city (the Montmartre Grape Harvest Festival), which takes place every October.
Otherwise, head to Place Dalida to capture one of the most iconic photos of the Sacré-Coeur surrounded by golden leaves. Other places in the 18th-arrondissement where you can enjoy the best of the fall foliage include in Square Marcel Bleustein-Blanchett, and along rue Lepic.
Place Dalida & rue de l’Abreuvoir
Perhaps the prettiest street in Paris, rue de l’Abreuvoir links Place Dalida to the iconic ‘La Maison Rose’ café on the other end of the road. Comprising of picture-perfect buildings and more trailing vines than you could hope to see within a single photoshoot, I couldn’t recommend visiting this beautiful Parisian location more come autumn. For more Autumnal photo spots in Paris, check out my guide to fall in Montmartre.
Place des Vosges
The oldest public planned square in the city gets an extra splash of colour come autumn time. Head to the square to see the likes of Victor Hugo’s House (now a small museum) and to see the best of what Le Marais has to offer! Place des Vosges is also home to a series of wonderful cafés and eateries, making it a great place for a lunch stop or dinner break!
If you’ve ever seen a photo of a lamp set against a burning red set of fall leaves on Instagram, then you’ve almost definitely seen a photo of the iconic post along rue saint-Vincent. For exact directions on how to find the lamppost (and the best time to visit), be sure to check out my lamppost of Montmartre visitor’s guide.
Wander along the Seine
Here’s a thought: both banks of the Seine river are lined with deciduous trees. This means that stroll along the river and you’re sure to be rewarded with some of the best autumnal colours that the city has to offer. If you’re looking for an extra special and unique experience of the city, then you might consider booking one of these Seine River Cruises for a brand new perspective of Paris.
Bois de Boulogne
Embark on one of your final lakeside boat trips of the year at Bois de Boulogne. Soak up the last of the sun and enjoy the leaves as they turn a deep golden colour from the unique perspective of a rented rowboat. Otherwise, enjoy the last Parisian picnic of the year and escape the crowds of the capital by heading to the expansive parkland to the East of the city.
Jardin du Luxembourg
Hands down, one of the best places to enjoy Paris in the fall (and, as a result, the best of the fall foliage) is in Jardin du Luxembourg. A delightful garden filled with little green chairs where you can sit and watch the world go by, plenty of beautiful flower borders, and lots of greenery (as well as the Medici Fountain), the Luxembourg garden is to be found in the 6th arrondissement of the city.
Square du Vert-Galant
If there’s one place in the city that I enjoy most when it comes to scouting out a Seine picnic location, or the spot for a first date, it’s Square du Vert-Galant. Situated just below the illustrious Pont Neuf (which is ironically the oldest still standing bridge in Paris, despite being called ‘New Bridge’), the Square du Vert Galant is characterised by its weeping willow tree and sweeping vistas over the River Seine, as well as the left and right banks of the city.