I once had a Parisienne professor in college who told our class that autumn is the best time to visit Paris. Maybe it’s because of the subtle change in the leaves in the gardens. Or the feeling of excitement with the return of the hustle and bustle after the quiet of August when everyone is on holiday. It could also be the weather! No more worrying about a “canicule” with no AC and sweating on the metro. It gets rainy, but there are still lovely sunny days in between and plenty of golden sunsets.
Autumn is also my personal favorite season ; last year I even wrote a blog post all about the fall season in France! In today’s post, I’m going to tell you all the wonderful things you can do during the fall in Paris. I also want to note that I have only slightly enhanced my photos; I have tried to keep the integrity of the natural colors by not overly saturating them so you can have a more accurate idea of what fall in Paris actually looks like.
Leaf Peeping in the Parks
Part of Paris’ charm lies in the vast array of gardens and parks spread out throughout the city. In the world’s most popular tourist destination and largest metropolis in France, it literally feels like a breath of fresh air when you step into one of its green spaces. I won’t exaggerate and tell you the fall foliage in Paris is the most beautiful I have ever seen. It’s hard to be impressed when you’ve been to New England in the fall! The leaves in Paris begin to demurely change colors in October and you can find shades of orange, yellow, as well as the occasional red.
The Jardin des Tuileries is my probably my favorite because of the chestnut trees, which get a bit more orange than the other trees in the garden. The terrasse du bord de l’eau, which is the the part of the park closest to the Seine is a particularly lovely spot for photos because of the Louvre in the background. The Jardin du Luxembourg is also a close second for enjoying fall in Paris because of the addition of mums to the flower pots smattered across the park.
Another exciting reason to visit Paris during fall is the number of events that take place this time of year. One of the reasons I love living in Paris is the number of events going on here all the time!
European Heritage Days
The European Heritage Days is an annual event that takes place every year on a September weekend in France. On these days, monuments and places that are not typically open to the public open their doors for free! It’s probably a good idea to do a little research beforehand to see what you want to visit, otherwise it can be overwhelming and certain places could have long lines. If you do decide to go the spontaneous route, you’ll still be able to discover some interesting exhibits.
La Nuit Blanche
A nuit blanche is a French saying, which means “all-nighter.” During this night in October there are free art installations all throughout the city during the wee hours of the night. When I went in 2018, I saw modern art in an old church, an interpretive dance, and a DJ on the Pont Alexandre III!
Fall Fashion Week
When I think of Paris, I usually think of cafés, parks, and iconic art museums. It’s also a luxury fashion capitol and hosts fashion weeks in the Fall and Spring. I honestly do not know much about this event, but it could be something to look into if you are a designer fashion enthusiast.
The Fêtes des Vendanges de Montmartre
In the 18th arrondissement there is a wine festival each fall in honor of the grape harvest and release of the new vintages from the Clos Montmartre, a tiny historical vineyard. If you are planning to visit, make sure to go early because when I tried to visit the grand parcours, I arrived a little too late! It was way too crowded for comfort and the line to get in wasn’t worth the wait. However there are different events that go going on as well including a free guided visit to the vineyard. I wasn’t able to snag a ticket this year, but I did book a tour a guided tour (only available in French) and tasting + a museum visit through the Musée de Montmartre. If a tour isn’t on your itinerary you can still get a glimpse of the vines by sneaking a peak through the gate.
Even if you aren’t an oenophile, a place you absolutely must visit during fall in Paris is Montmartre! Last year I saw everyone going crazy over this ivy covered wall with a lamppost on the rue Saint-Vincent. That’s not the only place you can find this magical color changing leaf though. You’re sure to spot more ivy-clad walls and houses simply by strolling through this quartier.
How could I write a post about Paris without mentioning food? Pumpkin is more of a savory ingredient in France, but you can sometimes find fall inspired lattes in trendy coffee shops. A flavor you’re more likely to find in France this time of year is apple! Try ordering a chausson aux pommes, which is like the French version of an apple turnover, from a bakery and thank me later! Another one of my favorite places for fall treats is Boneshaker, an American-French donut shop which offers pumpkin, apple, and many more flavors of plant-based donuts. When it starts to get colder in November, and closer to the holiday season, vin chaud and anything chestnut flavored are both heavenly.
Have you been to Paris in the fall? What’s your favorite season? Let me know in the comments! As always, thanks for reading.
À la prochaine,