I’m going to put it out there and it may be controversial, but I think Paris in Autumn is the best season to visit the French capital. Paris in spring is very, very close behind it, but there’s something about Paris in autumn that takes the City of Lights to another level.
I’m not sure if it’s the color of the changing leaves, that distinct autumnal smell (you know the one; it’s smoky, leafy with a hint of rain).
And there’s a good chance that you’ll be caught in a rain shower; this is Paris in Autumn after all. But the great thing about Paris is that it’s beautiful in the rain (and trust me I am so over the rain after living in Belgium), and there are endless things to keep you indoors and entertained.
The Weather in Paris in Autumn
September is a great time to visit Paris, as the weather is typically pleasant and mild. Here’s what you can expect:
- Average high temperature: 21°C (70°F)
- Average low temperature: 12°C (54°F)
- Rainy days: 7
The beginning of September can still feel like summer in Paris, with warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine. However, as the month progresses, the weather starts to cool down, and the evenings can be quite chilly. It’s a good idea to pack layers, such as a light sweater or jacket, to adjust to the changing temperatures throughout the day.
September is also a relatively dry month in Paris, with only an average of seven rainy days. This means you can expect plenty of sunny days to explore the city’s attractions and outdoor spaces.
Overall, September in Paris is an ideal time to visit, with mild weather, fewer crowds, and plenty of events and festivals taking place. Just be sure to pack clothing that can be layered to adjust to the changing temperatures throughout the day.
The weather in Paris during the months of October & November can be quite chilly, but it’s also a beautiful time to visit the city.
- Average high temperature: 17°C (62°F)
- Average low temperature: 9°C (48°F)
- Rainy days: 11
October in Paris is typically mild with crisp mornings and evenings. The foliage in the city is beautiful with the fall colors, making it an ideal time to stroll through Parisian parks and gardens.
- Average high temperature: 10°C (50°F)
- Average low temperature: 5°C (41°F)
- Rainy days: 12
In November, the weather starts to cool down significantly in Paris. You can expect shorter days, more rain, and occasional wind. However, this is also a time when you can experience fewer crowds and have more affordable options for accommodation.
Things to do in Paris in Autumn
Honestly, the list of things to do in Paris is endless. By now you’ve already earmarked a visit to the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre & have chosen your amazing accommodation.
If you’re looking for something a little bit different or off the beaten path. I’ve got you covered. But don’t worry I’ll also keep you very much on the touristy path too, I’ll cover all my bases!
1. Shakespeare & Company
One of the most famous book shops in the world, the quaint Shakespeare & Company is every bibliophile’s dream. Dating from the 1950s, when American George Whitman established the bookstore on the Left Bank of the River Seine, and has become an unmissable stop for literary lovers for decades.
If you’re a burgeoning writer, you can even stay in the rooms above the store; the only requirement is to help out in the shop for a couple of hours each day. Absolutely divine.
Open 10 am – 10 pm daily, it’s best to visit early in the morning or just before closing. A perfect way to pass an evening when visiting Paris in the fall.
2. Catacombs of Paris
While not on everyone’s itinerary, exploring the catacombs of Paris can reveal one of the most captivating aspects of the city’s history, as it is believed to house the remains of over 6 million people.
With the expansion of Paris came a dire situation: the burial grounds within the city were quickly becoming overpopulated with the remains of the dead. Additionally, several diseases were rampant during the 17th and 18th centuries, further exacerbating the need for additional space to accommodate the deceased.
It was during this time that the catacombs came into the picture, providing a solution in the form of a vast network of subterranean caverns spanning over a 200-mile radius beneath the city of Paris.
There are sections of the catacombs that you can explore on your own, however, the best way to experience the Catacombs of Paris is to take a guided tour and learn more about their history, special chambers that include a church and former movie theater!
3. Père Lachaise Cemetary
I know, I know! At this stage of reading, you’re like Missy why are you obsessed with suggesting dead people things? Well, Autumn in Paris to me means spookiness and Halloween. And really visiting catacombs and cemeteries during the summer months doesn’t usually appeal to readers. They want to know about the best rooftop bars in Paris.
But you, dear reader, during a beautiful autumn visit to Paris should definitely visit one of the most famous cemeteries in the world. The number of infamous characters buried in Père Lachaise cemetery is long and lengthy.
Buried in Père Lachaise Cemetary are the following: Jim Morrison, lead singer of The Doors and OG member of the 27-Club, Oscar Wilde, Maria Callas, Edith Piaf & Gertrude Stein.
Even if you have limited interest in any of the notable people buried in Père Lachaise Cemetary, the burial plots are worth visiting for their unique designs.
At the entrance of the cemetary you’ll find vendors who sell maps to some of the notable burial plots.
Ok, I’m done now with catacombs and cemeteries.
4. Museums of Paris
Spending an afternoon in one of the many excellent museums whilst exploring Paris in autumn surely has to be one top thing to do.
Paris is filled with some of the world’s most famous and recognizable museum names, such as the Louvre & Musee d’Orsay.
Tip: Stuck on tip, read my guide on what to see in the Louvre in 2 hours or less.
However, you’ll also find an eclectic mix of museums that veer from super-weird to ‘Oh I didn’t know that was a thing’. If you haven’t visited the Louvre before, make sure you prioritize that as it really is an incredible (and very large) space.
But if you’ve ticked off the notable museums then consider the following options for something a bit different.
Fans of the graffiti artist Banksy should visit this permanent exhibition of one of the most influential artists of our generation.
Mémorial de la Shoah
Free entry to the holocaust museum that documents the devastation the Jewish community of Paris experienced during World War 2.
The Gallery of Paleontology and Comparative Anatomy
Dinosaur bones. All kinds of bones and fossils. If you like bones, this is the place for you (aside from the catacombs).
Musée des Arts et Métiers
One of the largest collections of science and industrial innovations. Anyone with an interest in how things work should not skip this fascinating museum that celebrates the achievements humans have made over the past couple of centuries. Some weird innovations too.
Paris Sewer Museum (Musée des égouts de Paris)
Head beneath the city and learn about the city’s sewage system. I did a similar tour in Antwerp and it was absolutely fascinating learning about the history of the city and what life was like before a sewer system (hint: disease. Lots and lots of disease and death).
5. Walking around Paris
One of the most appealing aspects of Paris in autumn is the changing of the leaves. It’s one of my favorite things about autumn is the end of the summer heat and going for a long cozy walk bundled up.
Walking around Paris is one of the best parts of visiting the City of Lights, you’ll never know what you’ll stumble upon. Choose an arrondissement (Paris is divided into sections known as arrondissements) and explore until you’re ready to sit down in a typical Parisian cafè and indulge in fantastic people-watching.
Some of the most beautiful areas to wander around are Montmartre, Le Marais, and Ile de la Cité.
Notable parks worth visiting are;
Jardin des Tuileries
Jardin du Luxembourg
Jardin des plantes
Parc des Buttes-Chaumont
6. Grape Harvest Festival in Montmartre (Fête des Vendanges)
The annual Grape Harvest Festival in Montmartre runs from the 11th of October 2023 to the 15th of October 2023. During the festival, Montmartre celebrates the year’s grape harvest by setting up tents promoting restaurants, bars and wineries, all in the name of the humble but delicious grape.
Sit on the steps of Sacre Coeur with a plastic cup of wine and marvel that even in Paris you can experience a grape harvest.
There are endless possibilities of things to do in Paris, and even when you think you’ve scratched the surface, there is still something left to do. Enjoy Paris in autumn and all that it has to offer.