Want to Explore Paris? Visit in Autumn!
Why You Should Visit the French Capital After Summer
I first discovered Paris in the summer months. It was the middle of July and temperatures were soaring in the mid-30s. I found the city incredibly beautiful and I was thrilled to finally be able to discover the French capital, but I wasn’t particularly pleased to be part of the masses of tourists flocking to explore the City of Love.
Summer can get particularly hot in France, and it’s not uncommon to see temperatures in the mid to even high 30s in Paris in July or August. It’s a popular destination, so monuments, shops and popular sightseeing spots can get really crowded in those peak months.
In Paris in summer, it’s not uncommon for temperatures to reach mid to high thirties, so be prepared to endure the heat if you’re visiting then.
Avoiding Summer Crowds
The summer months equal high season in the tourism industry. From French families coming to visit the capital to guided groups from all over the world, Paris is a busy place—particularly in July and August.
With schools starting back in September, this makes it the best time to travel, as most people go back to school or work after enjoying themselves during the summer. The city returns to a more natural rhythm and you blend in more easily with the locals.
Summer is also the main holiday period for most Parisians, which means that some shops or restaurants can be closed for a few weeks on end. If you’re visiting after summer, chances are you won’t be disappointed because the place you wanted to go to is closed for the holidays. Watch out for Sundays and Mondays, though, as some places shut on these days.
Don’t get me wrong, Paris is always busy—it has over 2 million inhabitants after all—but, if you’re keen to check the most popular sightseeing spots, they should be a lot quieter in September and October. Enjoy a better view of Mona Lisa, a quiet walk in the Jardin des Tuileries and a shorter queue to get up the Eiffel Tower.
Avoid the crowds and enjoy the bustling city along with the locals while most of the tourists have gone back home.
Enjoying the Indian Summer
The weather doesn’t suddenly change at the end of August; in fact, summer lingers so much in France that you can sometimes still reach between 15 and 20 degrees at the end of October. This Indian summer makes Paris an ideal city to visit later in the year as it’s not unreasonably hot and you can wander along the quais de Seine in a t-shirt.
I also personally enjoy the mix of summer and autumn that typically happens around those months. The warmth of summer lingers while the leaves have started to turn shades of orange and gold, easing you into the colder months while retaining that summer feel.
Attending Events and Festivals Galore
Plenty of people will want to visit Paris in summer with so many events and festivals going on. Whether you’re into music or sports, there is a plethora of events taking place from June to August, including the Solidays festival, Roland Garros (The French Open) and Rock-En-Seine.
However, the events and festivals don’t suddenly stop after August. There are plenty of fun things to attend in August and September. If you’re looking to discover new, lesser-known events, Paris has much to offer during these months.
The Autumn Festival aims to make arts accessible to all with a program rich in music, theatre, film and dance, while those looking to spot the next fashion trends can enjoy the Paris Fashion Week. Other typical events in September include concerts from world-famous bands and singers as well as more ‘niche’ shows, so you are sure to find something that appeals to you.
October is a particularly exciting time to be in the capital as people celebrate La Fête Des Vendanges, also known are the Grape Harvest Celebration. If you’re a wine connoisseur, you can attend prestigious auctions as well as wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, and meet regional food and wine producers. A must for all foodies and lovers of French cuisine and culture.
At the end of October, foodies can also attend the Salon du Chocolat—ideal for chocolate lovers looking to try and get their hands on some of the best chocolate you will ever taste!
Saving Money on Your Trip
By choosing to travel in September or October, you’ll likely save some money on your trip, as flights, trains and hotels are generally cheaper when booked in advance. You might also be able to find some great deals on hotel rooms and other accommodation options, as establishments want to avoid having too many empty rooms.
Trying Tasty Food
An added bonus to traveling a little later in the year, you’ll no longer feel it’s too warm for a cup of tea, coffee or a hot chocolate, perfect to enjoy alongside a delicious pastry or cake. You really don’t have to wait until after summer to sample all the treats and delicacies that Paris has to offer, but I couldn’t write an article about Paris without mentioning the food!
As a self-proclaimed foodie, I always enjoy trying out new places and the city has so much choice that you are bound to find your new favourite place there! From French bakeries and patisseries to brasseries and Michelin-star restaurants, the French gastronomie is more than well-represented. You’ll also find many restaurants from countries all over the world, including Thailand, India, Lebanon and Japan, so you can expand your culinary horizon beyond French cuisine.
Paris is a dream destination for foodies, music lovers, art aficionados and even those looking to attend sports events or video-game conventions. I would highly recommend trying to visit outside of the peak months to discover the capital in a different way. I would love to hear about your experiences in Paris and some of your tips to explore the city in new ways.
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© 2019 Ellie Campbell