While August sees a peak in warm summer days, the end of the month starts to bring a pleasant chill that steadily develops through September. And even though the hot days of August are (mostly) long gone, the September sun keeps the city warm enough for terrace meals and fun activities outdoors. I personally love this month (and October too) in Paris and have made many trips to the city of light during this month that straddles summer and fall.
September in Paris is a great time for tourists as the crowd starts to thin and prices tend to decline. The return of the locals brings back vibrant energy, and food and wine-tasting events make a comeback with festivities scattered across the city in trendy neighborhoods and cultural hotspots.
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As museums and heritage spaces open their doors to the grand public, September is the best time to dive headfirst into French culture with ‘la rentrée’ (a return to school/work) and get a glimpse of the modern Parisian lifestyle.
September also brings a collection of the year’s most anticipated cultural events, exhibits, and fairs. From fashion and interiors to music and agriculture, the month is packed with an amazing outdoor line-up to make the most of the last of the sunny days. All in all, it is a great time to take meandering strolls down quaint alleys, soak in some culture, and get inspired by contemporary, urban art.
As summer lingers for another month, let’s discover some of the best experiences of Paris as the city makes way for an explosion of burnt reds and autumnal oranges.
What can you do in Paris in September?
There is an endless number of things to do during Paris’s month of September. Among my favorite activities include walking through Paris’s large open parks, such as the Jardin du Luxembourg or the Tuileries. Paris also has many shopping streets that are perfect for buying souvenirs or just picking up something to wear for everyday life that will remind you of Paris. (My purchase of choice is always a scarf!)
The best way to see Paris in September is to get outside and explore the city. The weather is (usually) extremely good for walking around that, to be honest, I spend as little time as possible indoors. Paris has so much history to offer and it is absolutely true that one of the best ways to absorb it is by visiting one of Paris’s famous museums, but truth be told I rarely visit them when I am visiting Paris in September or October unless it rains!
Instead, I wander the streets and soak up as much of Paris as I can just be simply breathing it in, people watching on a terrace or grazing through a market or food-focused street. And you definitely can not go to Paris in September without enjoying a glass or two of wine in one of the city’s many cafés.
I know that not everyone has the opportunity to just be a flâneur or flâneuse, so if you actually want to “do” things in Paris, here is a list of the seasonal highlights.
This isn’t really a thing to do, but rather a thing to experience!
La Rentrée is a French word for return. Parisians use it to describe the end of summer when Parisian culture comes back with new exhibits and events that are open to the public. The Parisians take advantage of this time to celebrate all they love about their city – including food, wine, art, fashion, and more!
La rentrée in Paris has its origins in France’s historical school system; according to tradition children went back to school on September 1st following the Catholic calendar. It was originally used as an opportunity for parents and educators alike to get students prepared for another year at school by organizing clothes-buying trips (to replace outgrown items), preparing lessons plans, or just getting some fresh air.
Nowadays Parisians put an emphasis on Paris culture and Parisian values, and September is the perfect month to get out and enjoy it.
Music Events and Festivals
- Techno Parade is a techno parade party on the streets of Paris bringing together the electronic music culture with floats, top artists, and amazing video installations.
- Jazz à La Villette is a get-together of soul, funk, and jazz music festival at La Villette in the 19th Arrondissement. The festivities also cater to children by introducing the music genre with fun and relatable activities.
- Silhouette Festival is an open-air event made up of nine evenings of concerts and film screenings at the Parc Buttes du Chapeau Rouge in the 19th Arrondissement.
- Electro Night Fountain Show at Château de Versailles gives you a chance to enjoy the mesmerizing beauty of the musical gardens of the Versailles Palace, wrapped up with a grand firework display at the end of the night.
Events, Festivals, and Experiences
- Paris Design Week is the trendiest event to discover everything new in the world of interiors with workshops and trade shows all across the city.
- Maison et Objet is the source of inspiration for all things interior. Held twice a year at the Parc des Expositions, it introduces international players in the world of decoration, design, and the art of living
- Paris Fashion Week is known to be a stylish event showcasing womenswear all across Paris with fashion shows and buyer presentations.
- Christo Wraps the Arc de Triomphe is a temporary artwork installation where the Arc de Triomphe is wrapped up like a present for 16 days in the memory of Christo and Jeanne-Claude. (Finished in 2021)
- Traversées du Marais is a big cultural festival in the fashionable district of Marais in the 4th Arrondissement.
- Livres Rares & Objets D’art is an exhibit for old, rare books and works of art at Grand Palais Éphémère in the 7th Arrondissement.
- Journées Européennes Du Patrimoine, also known as the Open Days of Historic Monuments, is an event when many private Parisian locations and museums have open access to the grand public.
- Fête des jardins et de l’agriculture urbaine is dedicated to a weekend of workshops, meetings and guided tours to get a glimpse of the urban agriculture in the 17th Arrondissement.
- Festival D’Automne à Paris is a grand event dedicated to contemporary arts (theatre, music, dance, visual arts, and cinema) from September to February.
- Urban Week is an art festival, designer market, and a musical program paired with food trucks and dancing at Parvis de Paris La Défense.
- La Grande Classique – Paris to Versailles Run & Walk [Cancelled for 2021] is an exciting racing event of 25,000 runners between the two most iconic monuments of Paris- the Eiffel Tower and the Château de Versailles.
- Funfair at the Bois de Boulogne was originally called the Fête à Neuneu, and is the oldest funfairs of Paris, held in the 16th Arrondissement.
- Le Grand Feu de Saint Cloud [Cancelled for 2021] held in the Domaine National de Saint Cloud, is known to be the biggest firework display in Europe.
- Formula Bula is a grand comic festival with workshops, exhibitions, meetings, and editorials in the 10th Arrondissement.
Culinary Delights of September in Paris
Paris has an excellent culinary scene ANY time of the year. There are plenty of Parisian restaurants that offer a special prix-fixe menu or indulge in all your favorite dishes at once – often paired with wines from France’s famous vineyards. Another possibility is to find some of the many delicious street food options. September offers some great opportunities to enjoy seasonal delicacies.
Paris is a city that is as delicious as it is beautiful. The culinary scene in this city continually evolving with the constant introduction of new chefs mixed in with the old favorites. The result? There is something for every palate. All that with an underlying emphasis on seasonal and local ingredients and you have all the making for some good eating!
First and foremost, it is important to mention that the best way to enjoy a meal out in France is by taking your time. Meals are supposed to be slow experiences that allow you, as well as your company to relax and catch up on one another’s lives. That being said, feel free to relax! There is no need to rush your way through a three-course meal! (Here is more dining etiquette.)
What to eat in Paris in September
To help you make the most out of your time here are some delicious highlights to be looking forward to this month. The first one is a classic that should not be missed. This month marks the start of the oyster season! Be sure to get your hands on these briny delights while they’re in season.
September 21st marks the first day of fall and also the beginning of the grape harvest. Celebrate this event by drinking some wine!
What you will find in season and in restaurants in September:
- Fruits in season: grapes (raisins), starfruit (caramboles), mirabelle plums, Solliès AOP figs, quince are the stars along with: apples, raspberries, melons, greengages, damsons, pears, peaches, blueberries, blackberries (mûres), blueberries (myrtilles).
- Vegetables in season: cèpe mushrooms, endives, and artichokes are the big stars of the month, but also in season: turnips (nave), cauliflower, leeks including poireaux de Créances, Brussel sprouts (chou de Bruxelles), broccoli, romanesco, carrots, celery, beets (betterave), red peppers (poivron), chard (blette), cucumbers, oseille, frisée, onion, lettuce, potatoes, eggplant (aubergine), and chantrelle mushrooms.
- Seafood is in season: carp (carpe), sole (sole), John Dory (Saint-Pierre), dogfish and skate.
- Did you know that there are seasonal cheeses (fromages)? It’s true! Try Reblochon AOP, cabécou (soft goat cheese), Fourme d’Ambert AOP (soft blue cheese), Bleu du Vercors-Sassenage AOP (cow’s milk blue cheese), Chevrotin AOP (goat), and Livarot AOP (soft cow’s cheese).
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. 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.
In September Parisians celebrate the end of summer by indulging in one last picnic before fall sets in. In the spirit of this tradition, be sure to pick up some food from markets (here’s the etiquette) and enjoy! Buy at the local market and head to one of the 9 ideal picnic spots in Paris.
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:
- While the summer crowds have left, the first few weeks of September, and for sure the weekends can be crowded with Parisians who are getting together with friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc. after being away for parts of the summer. Plus the weather is so good, the Parisians are out enjoying it as well! For popular sites, you should still try to book in advance.
- With the good weather, you will be doing a lot of walking in Paris. Make sure to pack comfortable travel shoes. Resist the urge to bring flip-flops, they are a no-no. Plus the streets are dirty and the sidewalks aren’t any better, good luck with the dog poo and ugh dirty feet by the time you are done walking anywhere!
- There are no public holidays in France in September so everything should be open!
The Weather in Paris in September
September is the perfect time to visit Paris. It has surprisingly comfortable temperatures during the afternoon and early evening hours. However, it can get chilly late at night so pack a jacket!
What to Pack
And speaking of packing, it is important to plan for layers that can be mixed and match over your trip and peeled off if it gets too hot and put back on if it gets chilly (it can get cold at night). I always take scarves, but then again I sometimes just buy them when I get to Paris too!
You will also want comfortable walking shoes (it can get quite hilly!)and an umbrella if rain threatens your days out exploring. Pack comfy clothes like jeans and sweaters (lightweight ones) as well as smart-casual clothes for going out to dinner. Paris is a very stylish, sophisticated city so you want to dress up if you go out at night but that’s not required.
Read more suggestions in my What to Wear in Paris: Tips for Packing for Paris in the Summer (+ Packing List!) post. And because sometimes September can feel more like autumn, here is my What to Wear in Paris: Tips for Packing for Paris in the Fall (+ Packing List!) post.
Is September the best time to visit Paris?
September is considered the shoulder season and in my opinion, really is one of the best times to visit because it’s not too hot and it has all that Parisian charm. Perfect for sightseeing, shopping, eating, and drinking wine on a patio overlooking Paris’ beautiful skyline! It is the Paris that Parisians know and love!
You should definitely consider planning a trip during this month!
Have you ever visited Paris in September? What was your experience? Did you go to any events? Do share!
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