October in Paris. Sitting at a café sipping on an espresso, watching people strolling by; brightly-colored falling leaves floating on wisps of cool autumn air. It’s a glorious time to visit the City of Light – peaceful and settling, uninterrupted by crowds of tourists. And it is so very beautiful as the city’s parks turn shades of gold and red. It may be difficult to believe, but the charm of Paris makes an undeniable ascension in the fall.
When you visit Paris in October, you can still expect milder temperatures, shorter days and good hours of sunshine. Evenings call for sweaters and light jackets. Since October is the most ideal time for fall colors, the photo opportunities are wonderful. The banks of the Seine are delightful, too.
Here are some of the things you might like to experience while in Paris during the autumn:
You can enjoy the changing colors of fall with a long walk in the Luxembourg Gardens, the Tuileries Gardens, or the lesser-known Promenade Plantée (Paris 12), Parc des Buttes Chaumont (Paris 19), and La Petite Ceinture of Paris, to name a few. Get a hot drink at a café in the park, walk on the leaves, or simply take a stroll to enjoy the fresh autumn air.
Fall weather can be unpredictable at times and if it rains on a day you envision spending outdoors, it’s always good to have a plan ‘B.’ Paris has some lovely covered passages you could explore. The Covered Passages of Paris (Les Passages Couverts de Paris) are hidden gems, a world apart from the crowded tourist attractions or busy Grands Boulevards. By the end of the 18th century, town planners created a labyrinth of commercial passages in the city with beautiful stained-glass ceilings, mosaic works, and iron latticework, all bathed in natural light. Apart from its dominating merchant role, these passages were also the new bourgeois’ favorite stroll, the place to show up and socialize in endless cafes, traditional bistros, or small theaters. Here are the best ones:
1. Galerie Vivienne Paris – 4 rue des Petit-Champs, Paris 2
2. Galerie Colbert Paris – 2 rue Vivienne, Paris 2
3. Passage du Grand Cerf Paris– 145 rue de Saint-Denis, Paris 2
4. Passage des Panoramas Paris – 11 boulevard de Montmartre, Paris 9
5. Passage Jouffroy Paris – 10 boulevard de Montmartre, Paris 9
6. Passage Brady Paris – 43 rue du Faubourg-Saint-Martin, Paris 10
7. Passage Choiseul Paris – 40 rue des Petits-Champs, Paris 2
8. Passage du Bourg-l’Abbé – 120, rue Saint-Denis, Paris 2
9. Passage des Deux Pavillons Paris – 6, rue de Beaujolais, Paris 1
Visiting Paris in autumn is the good time of the year to test out some iconic dishes such as French onion soup, Boeuf Bourguignon (beef cooked in a red wine sauce), Cassoulet (pork and bean stew), Gratin Dauphinois (potatoes cooked in a garlicky cream) or Raclette (melted cheese over potatoes), Fondue and Tartiflette (potatoes, cheese, ham, and onions). Part of the tradition is enjoying those meals this time of the year. You can also still enjoy an aperitif on a rooftop terrace. Patio heaters and blankets are often provided so you can sit out in the autumn sunshine.
Autumn is also the start of a new cultural season with the launching of new plays, performances, and exhibitions. The city’s event planning is marked with the annual autumn festival running from October until the end of the year. The first one was in 1972 and this celebration continues each year, featuring a mixture of various theater, dance, music, film as well as visual art events and performances with more than 40 different venues across the city. Besides the Louvre, other museums to discover are some classics like the Musée d’Orsay where impressionist paintings can be admired, and Rodin Museum with its authentic sculpture garden. Some uncommon spots are the Musée Cognacq-Jay, an art museum in a mansion in the Marais.
For a very amazing stay while visiting Paris for Art Basel, choose to stay at Chateau de Villette. This extraordinary palace has been under the stewardship of the French government since 1942, recognized as a site of immense cultural and historical significance. Ideally situated, the chateau is close to the City of Light, 40 minutes from the Champs Elysees. The essence of 18th century France shines in all its Rococo exuberance and aristocratic pomp. Set on 180 hectares of manicured woodlands lie two lakes, a magnificent cascade fountain, an 18th-century chapel glass home, an orangery, and more. This spectacular castle immerses guests in the unadulterated luxuries of a different era. A fairytale venue for private events, conferences, high fashion photoshoots, or lavish pool parties, Chateau de Villette offers the very pinnacle of highlife living.
Choose a nice, warm October day to do one of Parisians’ favorite bike paths – the path along Canal de l’Ourcq. This is a 4.5-kllometer ride following the Ourcq channel, completely flat and totally separated from car traffic so it is also a nice and safe activity to do if your children are with you. Do as much or as little of the path as you wish. If you don’t have your own bicycles, there is a rental place right at the beginning of the path. There are plenty of places along the way to stop and rest or to get a bite to eat.
Paris is nothing less than magical in the fall and that is exactly how your vacation should feel! We invite you to reach out to an LVH client relations associate who will begin planning your holiday right away – especially if you are looking to attend something like Art Basel in mid-October. We will build a customized itinerary for you to include only those experiences for moments that will make lasting memories. Let us know what your likes are and we will take it from there. Our prime concern is always your happiness on every journey you take with us!