This is it! My FAVORITE month for being in Paris. Paris is always a good idea, but Paris in October is hands down the BEST time of the year to visit the city of light! I have been to Paris more than 50 times, every month of the year, but the month I choose over and over again, is October.
In October, you avoid the big crowds and high airfares that you experience in the summer months. Although la rentrée takes place n September (when French people experience “the return” to wok and school), October still has a feeling of retransformation. It is the launch of a new cultural season. the French capital re-focuses itself on art reconfirming its position as a cultural mecca with its exciting line-up of contemporary events one after another, showing off why it remains one of the most popular destinations in the world.
And don’t get me started on all the delicious seasonal fall foods! Between the mushrooms and the game meats, it is glorious!
The weather is fickle. You can have gloriously warm and sunny days. Or rainy days. Or even cold weather. All of it in my experiences over recent years is mild. Not too hot, not too cold, it is like Goldilocks finding baby bear’s bed to be just right! Unlike the summer or winter months, the average temperature, is well, averagely good! Packing may be a challenge, but I’ve got lots of experience so I will share all my tips for your Paris packing list.
If you’re still not sure whether or not this is the right time of year to visit Paris, I’ve got some reasons why October might be perfect for you! Whether you’re planning a trip filled with inspiring art and design events or a slow-paced cultural getaway, or you just want to eat(!) here is my full post with ideas to make the most of early autumn in Paris.
What can you do in Paris in October?
Because the weather can be unpredictable I always reserve fall and winter month visits for catching up on my museum visits, shopping, and other indoor activities (theater is a good option too). That is a good thing! I feel less guilty about being inside when there is colder weather. That doesn’t mean I don’t spend time outside as well!
The fall foliage in Paris in the trees along the Seine, the gardens (a good choice is the Luxembourg or Tuileries Gardens), and the parks are a sight to behold. Like a tapestry of red, orange, and yellow. The trees along the Seine are particularly stunning with their reflections in the river. Walking is really the best way to see them and in my opinion, one of the best things to do in general (good news: more steps means I get to eat more!). I do so much walking this time of year, spending a lot of time in the crisp fall air (usually under the beautiful blue sky) gives me so much energy to stroll the streets of Paris, dreaming of being a full-time flâneur!
Here is a list of the highlights. I try to keep this post evergreen, please make sure to do additional research on local and season events that may be taking place in the month of October.
Events, Festivals, and Experiences
- Paris Fashion Week (started in September) a stylish event showcasing womenswear all across Paris with fashion shows and buyer presentations.
- Nuit Blanche, also known as the Sleepless Night, is a single night made up of a series of contemporary art events scattered all across the city.
- FIAC Art Competition is an annual art fair focused on international contemporary art. It is held at the Grand Palais Ephemeral in the 8th Arrondissement.
- Foire d’Automne [Postponed to 2022] is a series of exhibits and workshops to discover home decor, furniture design, and gastronomy at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles in the 15th Arrondissement.
- Salon du Chocolat. The world’s largest event dedicated to chocolate and cocoa, held at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles in the 15th Arrondissement. This is top of the list for my favorite events after the Salon International de l’Agriculture (which takes place in Feb/March)
- Tous Au Restaurant [Cancelled for 2021] is a 15-day event in restaurants where two diners can dine for the price of one.
- Fêtes des Vendanges à Montmartre. An event of daily tastings, art expos, dancing, and films in Montmartre (18th Arrondissement) where you can taste wine produced in the only remaining vineyard of Paris.
- Paris Motor Show [biennial – Next in 2022]. A perfect event for car lovers as it debuts production automobiles, prototypes, and concept cars.
- Paris Artistes. A city-wide art show that takes place on odd-numbered years (2017, 2019, 2021, etc) featuring the best contemporary art.
- Qatar Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe. A horse racing event (celebrating its 100th edition in 2021). Held at the Paris Longchamp Racecourse in the 16th Arrondissement.
- Mon Premier Festival. A great festival that gives children above 2 years a chance to discover cinema.
- Asia Now is an art festival held in the 8th Arrondissement that features artistic talents from China, Vietnam, Singapore, and Korea.
- Comic Con, [Cancelled for 2021] a great place to be for comic lovers. It is filled with exhibits, conferences, and a whole lot of Cosplay. It is held at the Grande Halle de La Villette in the 19th Arrondissement.
Halloween in Paris
- Halloween Decorations at Disneyland Paris. Although the Parisian streets offer minimal Halloween decor, Disneyland goes all out and brings out a variety of Disney villains, witches, and wicked characters along with spooky adventures. (If you are going without kids, here is my guide to Disneyland for adults!)
- Halloween Evening at Le Grand Rex. An annual tradition of screening the Halloween horror cult classics on the 31st at the Le Grand Rex in the 2nd Arrondissement. The schedule is usually available one week before the event.
- Le Manoir Halloween Festival. During the last week of October, walk through 4 haunted houses at La Villette in the 19th Arrondissement for a perfect Halloween experience.
Music Events and Festivals
- Jazz Sur Seine is the traditional jazz music festival across the city, organized by The Jazz Clubs of Paris and Ile de France.
- MaMa Festival brings together a wide range of musical genres in the Pigalle and Montmartre districts of the 18th Arrondissement.
Culinary Delights of October in Paris
Paris is one of the major food capitals of the world and visitors couldn’t ask for a better time of year to explore the food scene! The crisp air builds an appetite and it is a great time to indulge in many of the seasonal ingredients, and dishes and drinks with unique autumn flavors. To get a true taste of food in Paris, you need to know what to buy, what to eat and where to go.
What to eat in Paris in October
The food of France puts a lot of emphasis on using what is in season. The French prefer eating seasonally and will often seek out vegetables, fruit, and cheese that are in season, sometimes only for a few weeks. It is a good opportunity to really appreciate and embrace the cyclical nature of agriculture and the whims of Mother Nature!
What you will find in season and in restaurants in October:
- Fruits in season: apples of all shapes and sizes (there are 400 varieties sold in France), pears (Louise-Bonne, Comice and Beurré Hardy), grapes (Muscat de Hambourg bleuté, l’Alphonse-Lavallé and the Chasselas de Moissac AOP, and Muscat du Ventoux AOP), chestnuts (marrons), figs, uince (coing) and hazelnuts.
- Vegetables in season: squash (France produces over 100,000 tons a year), [white] Paris mushrooms (champignons de Paris), also girolles, oyster mushrooms and cèpes, pumpkins (potiron), potimarron (small winter squash with a flavor like chestnuts) carrots, beets (betterave), turnips (navet), parsnips, Jerusalem artichoke (sunchoke), green and red cabbage, white cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, romanesco, celeriac (celeri rave), Brussel sprouts (chou de Bruxelles), watercress (cresson), spinach (épinard), leeks (poireau), celery, fennel (fenouil), shallots (échalote), endive, chard (blette).
- Seafood is in season: herring, oysters (especially Marennes Oléron), red mullet (rouget grondin), bream, and (my favorite) scallops (coquilles St. Jacques).
- Did you know that there are seasonal cheeses (fromages)? It’s true! Try Roquefort AOP (MY favorite! blue sheep milk cheese), Ossau-Iraty AOP, (sheep milk cheese from Basque country), Marsauceux or Dreux à la feuille (cow milk cheese from Eure-et-Loir), Abondance (from the Alps), Fourme de Montbrison AOP (cow’s milk from the Massif Central), Mont d´Or, or Vacherin du Haut-Doubs AOP (cow’s milk from Jura), Pouligny Saint-Pierre AOP (goat’s milk from Centre-Val-de-Loire).
In restaurants, be on the lookout for a plateau royale or plateau de fruits de mer (plate of the fruits of the sea), a tower of raw and cooked shellfish served cold on a platter or plates of fresh oysters. A great scallop dish this time of year is a carpaccio of scallops. Other starters to try are soups with root vegetables, squash or pumpkin, or chestnuts, so good!
A wonderful seafood main course this time of year that is one of my favorites because I love Roquefort is steamed mussels with Roquefort melter over it. When you finish the clams and dip a large chunk of bread into the sauce that is my idea of heaven! I know that cheese and seafood are not supposed to go together, but this combo works!
A great lunch dish is a mushroom quiche, the abundance of mushrooms at this time of year means a very earthy (hearty) quiche. Look for pasta dishes that feature mushrooms as well.
On the dessert side, look for apple and pear tarts and lots of hazelnut-filled treats.
The cool evenings of October bring the perfect excuse for a glass (or two!) of red wines. Another great event is the grape harvest festival where the entire city comes together for wine tastings and evening parties.
Save on food costs by visiting the local markets and shops.
Paris restaurants can be expensive, and while it’s worth splurging on one good meal, you don’t want to blow your entire travel budget just on food. Luckily, you can find a lot of treats at the local markets (here’s the etiquette). You can also ask the hotel staff or locals to recommend small cafes and bistros that they go to. This may save you from “tourist rates” and will definitely have good food.
Important tips to remember
A trip to Paris is wonderful but there are some tips to make it even better. Here are a few things to remember:
- During some weeks and weekends, there are some Western European countries (including France!) where schools are on break from the middle to end of October until the beginning of November – which means more people! It’s called All Saints’ break (Vacances de la Toussaint) which may impact your plans.
- Consider the Paris museum pass if you are going to visit several museums, please investigate the Paris Pass thoroughly to make sure that you will actually save money, it is a great way to save money if you use it a lot!
- I don’t write about finances, but before coming to Paris make sure you check with your credit card company to ask about foreign transactions fees, those can be a gotcha that surprises you when you get back home and see your bill! I am not sure how much cash you will want to have on hand (ATM fees, etc.) but Mr. Misadventures and I do try to pay for as much as possible this way so we don’t have the shock of fees! Even just a little bit of cash is beneficial for cafés and such.
- If you are thinking about a weekend trip outside of Paris, think about southern France on the French Riviera, like Cannes or Nice in the South of France. More northern regions like Brittany and Normandy begin to have gloomier weather and low temperatures will arrive to them faster this time of year.
- If you are going to visit the Eiffel Tower, visit in the early morning, buy your ticket ahead of time, and be prepared for it to be a bit brisk at this time of year!
- If you are visiting Paris for the first time, here are my general tips. For Paris for the second time as well!
The Weather in Paris in October
The weather in Paris in October varies from day to day…hey, isn’t that just like everywhere else in the world? Generally (I like to put this disclaimer because I feel as each year passes, there are no norms when it comes to weather) the month begins on a sunny note, but clouds gradually increase during the second half of the month.
As I mentioned a few times, temperatures in Paris are among the mildest with average high temperatures of 55°F (13°C) and average low temperatures of 46°F (8°C). Temperatures seldom dip below 41 °F (5°C), whereas they can climb up to 64 °F (18 °C). The reason that I love to be in Paris at this time of year is that I have personally experienced so many fantastic trips where the days are in the mid-’60s with sun and that is just perfect!
What to Pack for Paris
The all-important question! The first thing you should know is to relax! I know there is a mystic around French women, Parisian women, in particular, so figuring out your Paris outfits might bring a certain level of stress, but trust me when I say that one of the secrets to Parisian style is simply not caring what others think!
As is often the case when you are packing for a trip abroad especially at this time of year, it’s important to take into account the possibility of shifting Parisian weather. If you’re traveling to Paris in October, chances are that temperatures will still be relatively nice with warm days, but don’t count on it! As I mentioned before, the weather forecast for October is persnickety.
October is not the coldest month in the city, but It is possible to experience cold weather in Paris (December, January, and February are colder months) during the latter half of October. And you will definitely have a cold night or two any time of the month, and likely a day or two of wet weather.
The following packing list and packing tips will help ensure that you have the appropriate shoes and clothing for a range of weather conditions.
Clothing + Accessories
- No matter what you pack, the most important thing to consider is that comfortable clothes are going to serve you best, it doesn’t do you any good to look great if you don’t feel great! That is top of the list in my book.
- When packing for a trip to Paris during autumn, it’s a good idea to go for neutral colors that will match everything. Pack at least one neutral light sweater, some basic t-shirts in light and dark shades, at least one long sleeve shirt, maybe a button-down shirt that you can wear on top of the tee, and several pairs of pants, including nice jeans with comfortable shoes.
- Be sure to add a lightweight coat, scarf, and travel umbrella just in case the weather takes an unexpected turn.
- For chilly stretches, you’ll find yourself wishing you had a warm coat, but I think the most practical type of coat is a trench coat or a light jacket that’s water and wind-resistant. It should be a lightweight coat or lightweight raincoat that’s both warm and water-resistant. I would rather dress in layers under the coat and peel them off as needed than be too hot in a heavier coat.
- You may not need gloves or a hat once you arrive in Paris, but it’s still wise to bring along a few different scarves. I never leave home without 2 or 3. I bring at a least light scarf (usually 2) and one of heavier material that will come in handy if the weather takes a turn for the worse and it can change the look of your outfit. Silk scarves go a long way to make an outfit look fancier. Simply add it to a dressy top and you are ready for the evening!
- The little black dress is a classic for a reason (every French woman I know has one) and your scarf will add a touch of color to change the look over multiple nights.
- Or opt for a lightweight dress that will be appropriate for daytime affairs, but can also transition into night with the addition of some tights and boots.
Shoes, oh heavens. This is the one that keeps me up at night! You don’t have much space (or weight allowance) in your average suitcase, so figuring out the best shoes for your outfits can take a little thought.
- Like your clothing, having 1 or 2 pairs of comfortable walking shoes is going to be far more important to you and your feet. If you have been reading Misadventures with Andi for any length of time you will know that I am a huge fan of Jambu shoes which allows me to wear stylish shoes that are comfortable. There is a wide selection. From sandals and heels to boots and athletic shoes.
- I recommend waterproof shoes (which many of the Jambu are) because of the possibility (however slight) of rain.
- I do not recommend high heels unless the heel is a chunk or wedge heel. All the cobblestone streets make high heels a nightmare!
- I stick to closed-toed shoes. Paris is a big city and the streets are dirty. In the gardens, the paths are dusty stones (you can rarely walk in the grass) and by the end of the day, your feet are very dirty if you wear open-toed shoes (in my experience!).
- There was a time when I would have said not to tennis shoes, but times they are a-changing! Now it is okay (does the left hand talk to the right, sometimes I wonder…but that is fashion what is a “no” today, may be a “yes” tomorrow!) and there are new French brands (like Veja) that have become very popular. White tennies are a thing, but if you read the bullet point above you’ll likely understand that keeping them white will be a struggle!
- If you are bringing boots, wear them on the plane as they are likely your heaviest and most awkward shaped shoe.
Jambu shoes are an essential, daily part of my wardrobe, check out the other styles that I have, and adore (and all still available on Amazon!):
A few things to avoid
While there is no dress code, there are a few items that I would avoid.
- The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) may be able to get away with a fanny pack, but unless you want to scream tourist, please don’t wear one of these! (I know fanny packs tried to make a comeback and crawl their way back into our closet, but that was only in America!)
- Shorts are frowned upon but you can dress them up (although not likely in October) but short shorts are a no-no.
- While t-shirts are a great layer to have in your arsenal, I don’t wear a lot of graphic tees while in Paris, okay, I never wear graphic tees while I am in Paris. I prefer solid neutral colors or my beloved stripes. If you are going to bring graphic tees, try to avoid any “I love Paris” ones – they scream TOURIST! A lot of French women wear graphic tees dressed up with either a leather jacket or sport coat, it is the incongruence of the 2 together that makes it cool.
Read more suggestions in my What to Wear in Paris: Tips for Packing for Paris in the Autumn (+ Packing List!) post.
Is October the best time to visit Paris?
So, it’s finally that time of year again, one of my favorite times to visit the city of love, can you see why? The leaves are changing colors and the air is crisp (at least for a few more weeks). And that means it’s a great time to get your Parisian travel plans sorted!
You should definitely consider planning your next trip during this month!
Have you ever visited Paris in October? What was your experience? Did you go to any events? Do share!
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