Visiting Paris in November
Paris in November is all about embracing the short, cozy days of early winter. As the daylight reduces with every passing day, the city slows down before gearing up for Christmas festivities. November is a great time to discover Paris without the endless strings of tourists.
With colorful foliage beginning to turn into shades of grey in the city of light, you'll find calmer moments on the city streets. Airfare is cheaper, there are shorter lines (or shorter queues as the European would say), and a mixture of autumnal and winter traditions, Paris goes through a mini hibernation phase before getting ready to bring out the big guns for December.
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I like to think you can uncover the authentic Paris in November when the city and the visitors pause before jumping into the merriment of the festive season of Christmas. And while day trips or outdoor activities might not seem very pleasant, the city more than makes up for it with intimate, laid-back events under the warmth of heat lamps of cozy cafes. Or grab a good book and a hot chocolate or vin chaud and enjoy the heat lamp alone! November is one of the calmest months of the year so enjoy it.
It really is a unique time of year. I have been to Paris in early November, generally the first week. And the rest of my trips have taken place towards the end of November during the week of Thanksgiving. I feel confident that you'll get some tips from my experiences and will enjoy your visit during this whole month no matter if it is at the beginning of the month, late November, or the end of the month.
What can you do in Paris in November?
While November brings shorter days and steadily dipping temperatures, the cold, rain, and sleet bring people together in traditional indoor activities with beautiful events that soothe the soul. Picture wine bars and warm cafes, or poetry readings with free-flowing conversations. The main attractions are conviviality and comfort.
The chilly atmosphere is a great excuse to rush into the covered passages and take a step back in time to admire the charming window displays or to spend a lot of time in museums (like my favorite, Musée d’Orsay), Paris has so many! Make sure that you check out what special exhibitions are on at the Grand Palais it is a great place to spend time indoors.
And the grand department stores on Boulevard Haussmann are waiting for you! Depending on what you are buying, they may have lower prices than some boutiques but check around as that is not always the case.
As the nights will be the coldest part of the day so if you are looking for indoor entertainment, try Moulin Rouge, I suggest everyone sees a show there at least once in your life, it's the perfect place to see the traditional French can-can. If this is not your style there is a lot of live entertainment options.
Paris is FULL of interesting things to do ALL year-round. Here is a list of things going on and the top events for November:
- All Saints’ Day – November 1. Halloween isn’t widely celebrated in France except as an exotic import. However, All Saint’s Day (la Toussaint) is observed on November 1st. Families gather in cemeteries to remember their loved ones and traditionally bring a potted mum (one of the reasons I don't recomment bringing French people these types of flowers when visiting their home).
- Armistice Day Celebration is a ceremony on the 11th of November at the base of Arc de Triomphe where the nation pays respect to the soldiers of World War I and II.
- Salon de la Photo is a grand photography trade show at Parc des Expositions in the 15th Arrondissement to witness the latest international photography trends.
- Paris Photo, the largest international art fair dedicated to photography makes its appearance at the Grand Palais Éphémère in the 7th Arrondissement.
- Salon du Cheval de Paris is a horse show featuring national competitions, demonstrations and exhibits.
- Salon du livre et de la presse jeunesse highlights the field of literature for young adults with presentations of new publications and meetings with authors and publishers.
- Paris Manga & Sci-fi Show is a weekend-long event at Parc des Expositions in the 15th Arrondissement for all things related to pop culture. It focuses on a variety of themes such as Japanese culture, comics, video games, cosplay and more.
- Le Salon du Made in France introduces the well-known French savoir-faire in every craftsmanship sector, from cosmetics, textiles and leather goods to decoration and gastronomy.
- Le Salon du Do It Yourself, in the 15th Arrondissement, is an exhibit trade show featuring a series of workshops dedicated to discovering the savoir-faire of DIY crafts.
- Rolex Paris Masters, (also known S ATP World Tour Masters) is an important tennis tournament promises exciting matches in the Accor Hotels Arena at Bercy, in the 12th Arrondissement.
- Lantern Festival, organized by Parc de la Villette in the 19th Arrondissement, begins with a lantern-making workshop which can then be released into the sky as you stroll along the park canal.
- Le Grand Tasting Paris offers a selection of wines from more than 400 winemakers. It not only focuses on tasting legendary wines but also helps promote the wines of young winemakers.
- Fête du Beaujolais Nouveau is a festival across the wine cellars and bistros in France to welcome a young red wine (vin primeur), Beaujolais Nouveau. This annual event is celebrated on the third Thursday of November, the festival gathers people for dinner parties, tasting events, concerts, and more. Not sure about this vintage, get a single glass of wine and try it out. There are also bar à vin throughout Paris will you can do some wine tasting to try out a few different Beaujolais, not just the Beaujolais Nouveau.
- Christmas Window Displays– by the second week of November, the famous Parisian department stores unveil their mesmerizing Christmas window displays with dazzling decor and elaborate scenes.
- Paris Christmas Markets, a tradition since Medieval times, start emerging across the city with bright, cheerful lights, hot mulled wine, holiday foods and hand-crafted decorations.
- Enchanted Christmas at Disneyland Paris brings a magical experience to the Disney village with immersive night-time extravaganza, festive Christmas parades, and carol singing with popular Disney stars. It all starts the second week of November.
- Pitchfork Music Festival showcases diverse and quality music and exclusive concerts in iconic venues across the city.
- Go see the new Ritz Bar Lantern in the Ritz Hotel in Place Vendôme. You may not be able to afford to stay there, but you can have a drink in the bar and check out the new Belle Époque lantern hanging over it, an ode to César Ritz.
- I really enjoy the Musée Rodin at this time of the year, the air is crisp and (usually) clear and it is perfect for taking photos of the statues up towards the sky.
- You may not be able to get into Notre Dame, but there are many churches to visit and their seasonal decorations are beautiful sights at this time of the year.
Culinary Delights of November in Paris
Fall is a wonderful time to visit Paris because the cultural flavors and tastes of the city come alive during this season! There's nothing like getting a taste of France and enjoying what they produce.
Fall is mushroom season in France (one of the best things about autumn) and you can find many varieties of mushrooms in the markets, the traiteurs, and on your plate in restaurants. Pumpkin and squash show up in delicious soups.
The month of November is the time that Parisians enjoy all kinds of seafood. Whether it's oysters from the Atlantic, lobster from Brittany, or mussels from La Rochelle, there's nothing better than a fresh seafood dish in France, so why not November?
When it comes to desserts though, this month brings out all the best pastries. You can enjoy baked apples and pears with the scent of cinnamon and spices as well as pistachio, hazelnut, and of course, chestnuts.
Celebrate the release of the Beaujolais Nouveau on the third Thursday in November. (Although you don't need to wait an entire year to enjoy Beaujolais!). To combat those cold weather, seek out a salon du chocolat for a chocolat chaud, it is a magical elixir!
Lastly, if the weather forecast is good see what Paris has to offer, gastronomically speaking, past and present by doing a culinary tour. I have done the several from Context Travel like the Bobo Palate and Baguette to Bistro, but there are many fantastic food tours in Paris!
What to eat in Paris in November
While all of these events are fun opportunities to immerse yourself in French culture (and gastronomy), the most important thing is to eat and drink locally. Check out more about what's in season below.
What you will find in season and in restaurants in November:
- Fruits in season: Tons and tons of apples. Kiwis, oranges and clementines, avocado, figs, persimmons, lemons, and limes.
- Vegetables in season: Beans, especially the white bean Mogette de Vendée. Brussels sprouts and parsnips which are great fall side dishes. Périgord AOP walnuts and AOP Grenoble Franquette walnuts. Tons of mushrooms including: cèpes, chantrelles, bolets and oysters. And all in season: red and green cabbage (chou rouge and vert), cauliflower, butternut squash, turnips, pumpkins, Jerusalem artichoke (Topinambour), spinach, celeri, mâche and frisée (lettuces), onion, beets, carrots, leeks, hazelnuts.
- Seafood is in season: Whelks from Cotentin. Oysters, mussels, and scallops.
- Did you know that there are seasonal cheeses (fromages)? It’s true! Try Abondance (from the Alps), Saint Agur, Roquefort, Boulette d’Avesnes, Maroille and Munster.
Game meat is widely available during this time of year, one of the reasons I love fall in Paris! If you haven't tried game before, this is the perfect time to give it a try. If you are a fan of rabbit, November is a good time to see it in restaurants or try a pâté de lapin at a butcher.
Save on food costs by visiting the local markets and shops.
Restaurants in the French capital 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 be the best way to save you from “tourist rates” and will definitely have good food. You will get a good deal if you stick to the “menu of the day” and a great deal on lunch instead of dinner.
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:
- Sunrise and sunset shooting are a really good idea in Paris and in November the short days and reduced daylight hours mean that those mornings aren't so brutal nor those evenings so late!
- You will want to maximize each of your precious minutes of daylight. The average length of the day is short so have a plan for where you want to go each day. Use my arrondissement guide to help you figure out what your possibilities are in each of the area you visit.
- Towards the end of October through early November (depending on the year) there is an All Saints' break (Vacances de la Toussaint) which may impact your plans.
- November 11 is Armistice Day Celebration, a national holiday and places will be closed.
- If you are planning to visit Sacre Coeur and want to visit the dome, it is outside of the Basilica and NOT open in November.
- Don't pay general admission prices! 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! Paris museums are an excellent way to spend time inside if you encounter some rainy days. Make the most of your time with a private tour. As I mentioned, I love the Musée d’Orsay and did a Context Travel tour there focused on 19th Century painting.
- You can get free admission to many museums too! Depending on the location the dates and time will vary. Be sure to check out this list form Paris Info.
- There are special exhibits running in museums, galleries, and other events spaces (including libraries like the Centre Pompidou) that can really make your trip unique, but make sure to check out the websites (or the city hall of Paris website) to understand when the exhibition runs (hours, days, etc.) these special events can have their own quirky schedule that is different from the venue they are exhibited in. I have seen plenty of temporary exhibitions that were such a delight, but if the exhibition runs for only a brief amount of time you may be out of luck.
- Bad weather outside? Check Paris's beautiful glass domes from the inside. The glass dome at each of the main department stores on Boulevard Haussmann, Galeries Lafayette and Printemps are stunning.
- If you are the area of Boulveard Haussmann, stop by the Musée Jacquemart-André (in the 8th arrondissement) for an insta-worthy double-helix staircase (usually in high demand) inside this museum with beautiful works of art (beaux-arts et d'arts décoratifs)
- I know it sounds crazy, but consider checking out a rooftop bar! If you dress warmly then you can take advantage of “low” season for these types of places. There are some sunny days in November so you won't feel as cold if you are layered up. Besides the ones on top of the above-mentioned department stores, consider the Le Perchoir Porte de Versailles in the 15th arrondissement, it is a little off the beaten path so won't be as crowded as some of the rooftop bars in central Paris.
- If you do want to do a day trip, you'll find the best weather in the south of France like Cannes or Nice.
Weather in Paris in November
Okay, so the average temperature in November is not super high, the weather tends to be on the chilly side (I am certain you are not expecting it to be the warmest month, that's July). It is the last month of autumn, winter is just waiting its turn. You haven't reached the shortest days of the year (that's in December) and November weather conditions can be depressing with all the cloud cover (you might be missing the longest day of the year after several days outside).
Paris weather at this time of year has an average high temperature is around 51 °F degrees (10.6 °C). The maximum temperature during the day is 60 which I have personally experienced during Thanksgiving week even if high temperatures are not the norm. The average low temperature is 42 °F (5.7 °C).
In November you will have some wet weather, with about 12 days of rain, it can be one of the wettest months, but December is the actual wettest month (I have had some rainy Christmases in Paris!) and has the highest rainfall (March has the least rainfall). It may be cold but is calm when it comes to the wind (October is the windiest month)
You'll have average sunshine of 4 hours a day so spend them wisely! The good news is there is PLENTY to do indoors!
It will be a bit cold on top of the Eiffel Tower, so dress warmly. I don't recommend walking along the Avenue des Champs Elysée, instead seek out an indoor shopping area (like Chatelet or Passage du Havre).
What to Pack
One of my favorite things about this time of the year is fall clothing! With a little bit of planning and organization, you will be able to pack appropriately so that you can enjoy the city comfortably – there is nothing worse than being cold!
First of all, remember that if you're going to be visiting Paris in November, it's going to be cold. Chilly weather means you need to think about warm layers. Bring sweaters and scarves! Paris is a walking city and the colder weather shouldn't prevent you from taking those long walks where you can burn off some of those pastries! You just need to pack the right clothes.
A rain jacket is a great idea for this time of the year, particularly if it is more like a trench coat. If you have a small umbrella consider bringing it. I am 5 feet tall and hate walking on sidewalks with an umbrella. Make sure you have a waterproof bag for your belongings and any shopping you want to do. Paper shopping bags will be destroyed in the rain, carry canvas ones instead.
Now with the latest trends in footwear, one of the best things about Paris is you can wear tennis shoes without standing out as a tourist! BUT don't forget the boots! Make sure to pack some high-quality, stylish boots they are going to be your best show option for this time of year. You might also want to bring a pair of warm slippers, nothing worse than cold feet in your hotel room or rented apartment. This is an item that I never think I need, but always regret not having. In fact, as I am typing this I am in Paris wearing a new pair of slippers that I will be taking home because I decided not to bring my pair from home!
Make sure to bring all of your necessary toiletries with you, as Paris is an expensive city. Inexpensive to buy in Paris: shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. Expensive to buy in Paris: good face cleanser and moisturizers! I don't like toothpaste or deodorant in France, so I never forget that. It is very difficult to find make-up remover wipes as they are not considered “green,” so if that is something that is part of your beauty routine, bring plenty. Certain vitamins are hard to find as well.
Read more suggestions in my What to Wear in Paris: Tips for Packing for Paris in the Autumn (+ Packing List!) post.
Is November the best time to visit Paris?
The autumn is unlike the summer vacation season, with fewer tourists this time of the year is calm.
You should definitely consider planning a trip during this month!
Have you ever visited Paris in November? What was your experience? Did you go to any events? Do share! Should you need any additional information about Paris, ask away!
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It sounds like there’s lots to do in November. I’d be happy to visit Paris whenever. I’d still to tennis shoes though. I never care about being stylish.
Paris is on my list of travel places. That produce market looks like a great place to shop at.
Wow what an amazing article I really would love to take a trip to Paris!
I’m totally loving these posts. I don’t imagine I will ever get to Paris in the summer, but fall and spring have potential!
Great points. Paris is so beautiful, I think I would enjoy visiting anytime of the year.
Paris is one of the places I dream to visit in the future, and definitely on my bucket list.
This looks like a fun time to visit. My mom loves seafood I bet she would enjoy visiting in November and trying everything.
Sounds like a great time to visit since it’s not as busy with tourists.
I think the weather and foods in season are similar to those here in Upstate NY. I would probably prefer to go during somewhat warmer weather, but it would still be a nice time to go.
I so have to get to Paris! It is my top 5 paces to visit bucket list. I am so overdue for a good vacation and Paris may be the ticket for my birthday month 😉
Thank you! That was a very organized, thorough article. I would consider going back to Paris during November.
Hi there! Under the header “Culinary Delights of November in Paris”, the last paragraph is missing something. You mention culinary tours and seem to be about to mention a specific one. I’d be interested to know what you recommend!
Thank you my friend, I hope you are well! I completed my thought!