Ah Paree: the City of Love, the City of Light, and one of the best places to see the fall foliage in Europe. Well, that is, if you’re planning to visit Paris in October, of course! Here’s your guide to the French capital in the early autumn; what to wear, where to go, and all that you simply must see (as well as the top events taking place in Paris during October)!
Is October a good month to visit Paris?
If you’re a fan of fall in Europe, then a visit to the French capital during this time of the year is an absolute must. After all, the fall foliage is best during October in Paris, meaning plenty of pretty photo opportunities and lots of excuses to cosy up in quaint cafés or take yourself on strolls around otherwise forgotten museums.
With this being said, if you’re a fan of long days, summer clothing, and warm weather, then October is not the month you should be staying in the City of Love! Instead, opt to plan your visit for early September or late May when the crowds are fewer than in the summer but the weather is actually warm!
Paris in October weather
Shorter days, frequent cloud cover, and cooler weather are the only two guarantees when it comes to the weather in Paris in the early autumn. Average temperatures are around 12 degrees Celsius… But don’t let that put you off! After all, this is one of the European shoulder seasons, meaning fewer crowds and much lower prices than in the summer months.
What to wear in Paris in October
With the winter just around the corner comes a guarantee of ever-changing weather and that in-between summer dresses and winter jackets phase. As such, should you plan on visiting Paris in the fall, I recommend packing lots of layers. That is to say, jackets, cardigans, paired with shorter sleeves. While the air is crisp outside, museum spaces and the Paris metro can get pretty toasty!
I personally love this company’s ones and layer them with cute jackets and sneakers worn together with little ankle boots work like these ones well in this kind of weather. Be sure to also bring along a pair of waterproof boots and a light rain jacket. Though Paris may be pretty when the leaves begin to change, wind speeds can pick up rapidly and light showers throughout the day are not unheard of.
Though you’ll soon discover that most people you meet will have a fantastic level of English, it’s only polite to learn a few words of the local language, in this case, French. Bring along a simple phrasebook like this one to help you get by. I also recommend bringing along a travel adapter like this one so you can charge all of your electronics during your stay!
What to do in Paris in October
Visit one of the less-known museums of the city
Everyone has heard of the Mona Lisa in the Louvre and of the clock in Musée d’Orsay. But did you know that you can see one of the finest Italian art collections in the Musée Jacquemart André? Or that you can visit the most Instagrammable staircase in Paris in the form of Musée Gustave Moreau? Want more information? Check out my guide to the best secret and small museums in Paris.
Vendanges de Montmartre (Montmartre wine harvest)
Every year, a wine festival and bottle auction is held in Le Clos Montmartre (i.e. the best vineyard in Paris!) This year, the fête will be taking place between the 10th and 14th of October. As such, be sure to head to the 18th arrondissement to enjoy the wine festival and get the rare opportunity to enter inside the vineyard for yourself! In 2019, the Féte des Vendanges will be taking place from Wednesday 9th – Sunday 13th October 2019. Check for full wine harvest details here.
Explore the city on your own
Now that the crowds are fewer, this is the perfect time to go it alone and get to know the city on a local level… All by yourself! So pack up your day bag, grab your camera and head out to one of the lesser-known corners of the French capital. After all, it’s in these moments which Paris truly reveals itself to you… For more solo inspiration in Paris, check out my solo traveller’s guide to Paris.
Search for fall foliage
From the parks of Paris to the creepers growing up the buildings along the wide boulevards, there are pretty autumn leaves and fall tones to be spied around nearly every corner. So grab your camera and head out on an adventure to see the best autumn leaves in the French capital! Helpful hint: I particularly love the fall foliage in Canal Saint-Martin around this time of the year, as well as the ever-beautiful Place des Vosges.
Stay up all night at the Nuit Blanche
Another annual tradition during Paris in October is that of the ‘Nuit Blanche’. Literally translated as the ‘white night,’ on the 5th October quite literally hundreds of Parisian attractions, museums, and cultural centres will remain open all night.
On this night, there will also be other installations for you to enjoy. Four landmarks/ areas of the city (Île Saint Louis, La Villette, La Porte Dorée, and Invalides) will all have open-air displays to enjoy and will be known as ‘constellations’ on the night.
Marvel at some art at the International Contemporary Art Fair
Known as ‘FIAC’ for short, the 46th version of the art fair will be held at the Grand Palais from the 17th of October until the 20th 0f October 2019. Featuring all kinds of installations, modern art pieces, and contemporary design from all over the world, this is a can’t-be-missed for all fans of art exhibitions.
Enjoy Halloween at Disneyland Paris
If you’re a fan of all things costume-related and dressing up for Halloween, then you may well want to head out on the ReR A and take the train to Disneyland Paris. After all, the entirety of the month of October is dedicated to all things spooky in the land of fairytales. And, if you want to purchase your ticket in advance, then you can do so here!
Take a Seine River Cruise
Though it may be a little too chilly to enjoy a Parisian picnic along the River Seine come October time, that doesn’t mean that the famous French waterway doesn’t have plenty more to offer. Whether you’re looking for a romantic experience, or you simply want to see another side to Paris, consider embarking on a river tour during your time in the French capital. For a full break down of tours (as well as which cruise you should personally choose), check out this guide to choosing the best Seine River Cruise.
Salon du Chocolat
As its name suggests, this festival is dedicated to all those with a sweet tooth! From the 30th of October until the 3rd of November, the salon is an annual trade fair comprising of some 500 participants from over 60 countries. As a result, you definitely shouldn’t miss this 20,000-metre squared exhibition space if you’re a fan of all things chocolate! Discover more details about the Salon du Chocolat here.