Paris in Autumn 2020 – everything you need to know for your fall trip to Paris
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Last updated on 9th of September 2021 by Lena
If you are wondering if Paris in autumn is worth the trip… I can just say YES, YES, and YES.
Good reasons to visit Paris in the fall
Content of this post
There are many reasons for a trip to Paris in autumn. I know that many travel sources are suggesting that autumn is low season and just perfect if you want to experience Paris without the crowds.
Honestly – it sounds nice, but it’s just not exactly true.
Paris is never cheap and we are having tons of visitors all year round. Especially the beginning of fall is very popular amongst European visitors for weekend trips and short getaways before winter. In fact, the number of nights booked in September and October is just a minimal lower than in summer.
If you want to visit Paris without the big crowds, your best bet is November – just before the busy Christmas season begins and right after the French autumn holidays, that are usually taking place around all saints.
However, even though things are calming down, Paris is still under the effect of COVID-19 and if you are planning to travel to Paris in autumn 2021, you will most likely find lower hotel rates, but definitely fewer people.
Covid-19: Book your tickets in advance!
Due to the ongoing measurements and, I strongly recommend purchasing your entrance tickets for popular sights like the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower in advance. Many sights are not selling tickets on the spot anymore. Often, the ticket booths are even closed.
Social distancing is one of the measurements in Paris in fall 2021. Hence, sights and museums are limiting the available timeslots and require an advance reservation. So, even if you have the Museums pass or are eligible for free entry in museums, you need to secure your spot.
For your convenience, find below the most popular sights that you need to reserve in advance.
Alright! Expectations are set, let’s talk about why Paris is a great destination in fall.
First of all, chances are high that you are gifted with amazing weather, particularly in the first half of the fall season. If you visit Paris in October, you have a high chance to be lucky. The evenings are chill though and excellent to enjoy cozy dinners and comfort food.
Autumn is the culinary season in France – it’s the time of wine harvest festivals, food markets, and the high season of many typical french products.
The days are shorter in Paris in autumn – it means you have less time for daylight sightseeing, but it makes sunset and evening panoramas easier to plan.
Are there cons about a Paris trip in autumn?
A few, yes.
Many sights and activities are shortening their opening times from mid-October on. Seine Cruises or Hop on Hop off are running on a low season schedule which means fewer rounds a day.
While the good weather chances are high in September until mid-October, it’s usually getting colder and wetter as fall progresses. November and December in Paris might be nasty. Well, it could be 55°Fahrenheit (13°Celsius) and sunshine as well, but it’s just less likely.
Continue to read to know more about the weather in Paris in the fall!
How is the weather in Paris in the fall?
The seasons in Paris are pretty distinct – summer is generally warm and winter cold, but spring and autumn can be a bit of both.
If you are prepping for a trip to Paris in the fall, the weather will depend a lot on when in autumn you’ll be visiting. The later, the colder – and the wetter! The precipitation in Paris is the highest by the end of the year.
September 13° – 22°C (55° – 71°F)
October 10° – 17°C (50° – 63°F)
November 6° – 11°C (42° – 51°F)
Visiting Paris in October or September might spoil you with some warm late summer season. However, be ready to prepare some inside activities if you visit Paris in November or December.
10 best things to do in Paris in the fall
Autumn in Paris is a lovely season to have walks and admire the foliage, but also to enjoy a nice cuppa afterward. Or wine. Or food. Or both!
Is it your first time in Paris? Check out the itineraries below that cover the main sights and hot spots:
Visit the Père Lachaise Cemetery
The Père Lachaise is undoubtedly one of the most famous cemeteries, and also the world’s most visited!
The old cobbled stone lanes, ancient trees, and of course countless mausoleums and tombs are especially atmospheric during fall. Some graves are sunken in, some are forgotten and many are so old, that you can barely read the inscription. The autumn sun and fall foliage are playing their part, too, for creating a mystic vibe that might give you some chills!
Look out for the graves of Edith Piaf, Chopin, Oscar Wilde, or Jim Morrison – and as well for the ethnic diversity that many graves are showing!
Visit one of the many Parcs and see the autumn foliage
Paris is not known for Indian Summers or impressive colorful forests. However, the Parisian autumn foliage is still nice, especially when enjoyed in one of the many beautiful Parisian parks!
The best – and most popular – places for an autumn stroll are the Jardin Luxembourg and the Tuileries. They are both the most iconic and classical gardens in Paris. If the weather is nice, which is quite possible during October, grab one of the free chairs and enjoy the last warm sun rays!
But there are of course more greens and squares that are gorgeous during fall. My favorites are:
- Place des Vosges
- Parc Monceau (read more about it here)
- Butte Chaumont
- Palais Royal (known from the Netflix Series Emily in Paris)
- Parc Floral
- Jardin d’Acclimatation with the Foundation Louis Vuitton
Attend a vine harvest fest, taste the latest Beaujolais Nouveau
Autumn is wine harvest season in France, hence it’s not surprising that you find vine harvest fests and vine tasting all over Paris. The most popular is the Vendange de Montmartre.
Wait… Montmartre? Yes Montmartre!!
Montmartre is home to one of the about 10 Parisian vineyards. The Clos Montmartre (or the Vigne de Montmartre) is the oldest vineyard in Paris and hosts OF COURSE a vine harvest fest. It’s a lovely event – with plenty of French food, music, and loads of wine.
Even though many wineries from all over France are offering their product during the festival, the highlight is obviously the wine of Montmartre! It’s entirely made with Montmartre-grown grapes and aged in the cellars of the district’s town hall.
In 2021 the festivities are held from the 6th to the 10th of October.
Fête de Vendange in 2021: so far the Covid 19 measurements are allowing the event up to date info
Eat comfort food
As I might have mentioned around 100 times before, autumn is perfect for sampling food in Paris. Not only is it the high season for many French products, but it’s also ideal to try all sorts of yummy treats. French comfort food is often quite heavy and rich, you wouldn’t want it during hot summer. But fall is perfect to relish Fondue, Raclette, cold cuts, hot chocolates.. you name it!
Covid 19 info – at the time of writing bars and restaurants are running normally. It is necessary to have a pass sanitaire in order to be served, or actually enter a bar at all.
Visit all the museums
Paris has more than 130 museums and while you most likely actually won’t be able to visit all of them – autumn is a great season to at least try. Especially on colder days, indoor activities are always great to fall back to!
♥ My tip: Get the Paris Museums Pass and enjoy free priority entrance to more than 60 museums. Visit museums without worrying about ticket queues; simply hop in and out without fuss! Just check in advance which museums require a reservation!
If you are in Paris on the 2nd and 3rd of October 2021, you are lucky to visit during the Nuit Blanche. This cultural event hosts free exhibitions, concerts, and installations all over Paris, all night long. Nuit Blanche is going as planned despite Covid-19!
Celebrate Halloween in Paris
The most popular place to celebrate Halloween in Paris is of course Disneyland Paris! The theme park is known for its massive decorations and events around this holiday and it’s best to reserve your tickets for the Disney Halloween Festival soon! Click here to see all available options and timeslots!
Visit a wine region
Autumn is the wine harvest season in France. Depending on the Region, grapes are picked between August and October, and there are wine festivals all over Paris. But did you know that 4 of the most famous wine regions are a perfect day trip from Paris’ destination?
• Bordeaux and St. Emillion
I know that sounds a tad crazy, but even though Bordeaux is roughly 600km southwest of Paris, it does take only 2h by train. Perfect for a day trip to one of the world-leading wine regions. If you have a bit more time, think about making it a weekend trip from Paris!
Check this post and learn in detail how to easily plan a day tour to Bordeaux!
• Loire Valley
The Loire Valley is not only known for its wine, but also for its beautiful castles. The combination of the two makes the Loire region one of the most popular – and easily accessible – day trip destinations from Paris.
However, as the Castles are not all in the same place, I recommend booking an all-in-one tour from Paris to be sure to have everything covered!
• Champagne Region
Every fan of exclusive Champagne will be pleased to hear that the headquarter of the most famous Champagne Houses is just a short 40-minute ride away! Hop on the train to Reims, visit the Cathedral, and enjoy a tour of 1 or more Champagne Houses – for example, Veuve Cliquot, Mumm, or Tattinger. You also can set off with a guide and visit the Vineyards outside town.
Explore Paris’ speakeasies
Autumn is on most days still mild enough to enjoy your drink outside, but it’s good to have some indoor options as well – it can also get chilly, wet, and windy. There are plenty of bars and restaurants in Paris and you won’t have to search long if you just wanna go for a drink, but if you are up for something special, discover some of Paris’ finest speakeasies! The prohibition-style bars are super cool – find out more here
COVID-19 update – at the time of writing, bars are opening, as usual, however, you require a pass sanitaire in order to be served.
Take a cooking class and market tour!
As the weather isn’t as predictable as in summer, it’s best to plan some activities that are independent of temperature and season. One of the nicest – and most memorable – things to do is taking a cooking class with a french chef!
Autumn is a great time for taking a cooking class in Paris. It’s high season for many signature ingredients of French cuisine, for example, truffles. And can there be anything better than not only eating french food but learning how to prepare it? Click here to see all the cooking classes in Paris
What to pack for Paris in autumn?
Fall is a shoulder season – it can be warm, or not. It could be raining, maybe even snowing.. or not. This is not making it easier to figure out what to pack for Paris in the fall, but there are a few items that definitely shouldn’t be missing in your luggage.
- a down jacket to wear under your regular jacket as an extra layer click here to see the one I use
- a scarf – always good to have when it gets chilly
- long pants or jeans
- a travel umbrella, these ones are small and handy
- good shoes that keep you warm and dry – click to see my walking shoe recommendations for Paris
As a general packing recommendation for Paris in autumn, be prepared to dress in layers. It can be cold in the shadow and warm in the sun. Temperatures can vary a lot between day and night, and inside and outside!
Pack a long sleeve shirt to wear under your sweater and take a legging to wear under your jeans if needed. Have a down jacket handy as an extra layer for the evenings and a scarf to protect you from the chilly winds.
If you visit at any other time of the year, also take check my seasonal Paris guides!
Things to know about Paris in Fall 2021 related to Covid-19
We don’t know how things are evolving but I will *try* and keep this post updated so you have all information at hand when planning your trip to Paris in autumn 2021.
At the time of writing, masks are not mandatory outside. However, they are obligatory in a few places:
- metros and stations, trains, busses, trams
- Supermarkets, shops, doctor offices, post offices, hairdressers, etc.
- museums, galleries, events where the pass sanitaire is not required
When visiting shops, restaurants, etc. you are encouraged to use gel to disinfect your hands. Usually, you find a dispenser next to the entrance.
Covid-19: Book your tickets in advance!
Most sights are not selling tickets on the spot anymore. The ticket booths are closed and reservations are mandatory!
If you are visiting Paris this fall, make sure to reserve the sights you want to visit well in advance!
Do you have any questions or need more information? Join the Salut from Paris Facebook group!
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