Autumn in Paris is a magical time. There are still plenty of sunny days left in the year, with a crisp, cool breeze reminding you that summer is just about over. The weather is mild with temperatures ranging between 6-21–degrees between September and November. It’s a great time to visit world-famous museums, stroll along the Seine on a clear day and celebrate the annual wine harvest. And of course, what better time is there to hop aboard an open-top bus tour.
You know it’s autumn in Paris when you see the locals who abandoned their city during the hottest summer months return. September’s la rentrée is almost considered a second new year. The leaves might be falling, but the city gets a second wind of energy and excitement.
If you plan to be in Paris in autumn, we’ve rounded up our top picks of things to do:
A walk in the park
The autumnal palette only enhances this beautiful city, and the best spots to enjoy it are away from the hustle and bustle. Take a walk in the park and let the autumn leaves crunch beneath your feet. Stroll along the River Seine at dusk or dawn and see how the soft light bounces off the water. The Jardin des Tuileries, Places des Vodges and Luxemburg Gardens all have fabulous foliage. Grab a take away coffee and simply breathe in the fresh autumn air.
For Jardin des Tuileries:
Classic Route – Red, Stop: Musée d’Orsay
Visit an exhibition
Réntree also kicks off the new season’s cultural calendar, that lasts well into winter. A line up of new plays, performances and exhibitions debut, along with festivals of the arts. There’s the Annual Autumn Festival offering a mix of theatre, dance, music and film, and the International Contemporary Art Fair showcasing the works of over a thousand international artists. These events spread out across the city over autumn in Paris, in beautiful venues to match.
Browse the many museums
If the weather forecast looks a little grim and you’re looking for an indoor activity, now’s the time to explore the many world-famous museums this city is known for. And the best bit is, in September during Journées du Patrimoine, entry is absolutely free. Autumn in Paris is the time new temporary exhibits open that you can enjoy without the summer crowds. There’s the classics like the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay and Petit Palais, but also lesser known places like the Musée Cognacq. With a Museum Pass you’ll have access to more than 50. Here’s our 10 Best Museums in Paris we think you have to visit.
In October, celebrate Nuit Blanche along with the locals. One of the biggest nights in Paris’ cultural calendar that takes place on the first Saturday in October, it’s an all night-festival. Featuring art installations and performances, with late night opening and free entry to the museums and galleries taking part. Fun from 7pm – 7am with free public transport to get you between venues.
For a different kind of cultural activity, Paris is well known for its cafes, and autumn in Paris is a great time to pitch up and enjoy a hot chocolate. Check out our guide on the Ultimate Afternoon Tea in Paris to find your perfect spot. There’s Angelina Paris, where the African Hot Chocolate is so thick you need a spoon to drink it. Carette Paris, an authentic teahouse with an art deco inspired setting as beautiful as the macaroons. And Odette Paris, offering hot drinks and pastries with a view.
Celebrate the wine harvest
A special event in autumn in Paris is the annual Montmarte wine harvest, a five day arts and wine festival. Perched on the hill of Montmartre lives a tiny private vineyard and every year the locals come together to celebrate the wonderful vintage its grapes produce. Restaurants, markets, bookshops and theatres all get involved to put together a calendar of fun. It closes with a spectacular firework display along with a night of dancing.
So there you have our list of must-do activities during autumn in Paris. A time when summer starts to fade, the locals flock back to the city, and the energy for fun and festivities is high. And on a sunny day, grab a top-deck seat on a Big Bus tour and we’ll take you to see the best sights and attractions Paris is famous for. For more inspiration on how to fill the rest of your time in the City Of Lights, check out our guide to the Top 10 Things to do in Paris. Or, for more ideas on where to visit during the autumn months, check out our guide on Europe in Autumn: Our Top 3 Cities.