Dreaming about going to Paris? Autumn is the perfect time of year to pay a trip to the French capital. The city’s dreamy tree-lined streets turn orange, French bistros serve homely comfort food and the summer queues die down making France's capital a peaceful place for a city break. Autumn is our favourite time to be in Paris so if you’re thinking of coming to the City of Love during the cosiest time of the year, here are our recommendations for what to do in autumn...
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1. Visit a Museum
Escape the chilly streets of Paris in autumn and retreat to one of the city’s wonderful museums. If you love art, then the city is home to some of the best art galleries in the world including The Louvre (where you can see the Mona Lisa), the Pompidou Center (housing contemporary art), Musée d'Orsay (home to the famous big clock) and the Paris Museum of Modern Art. We especially love Monet’s water lilies at the L’Orangerie Museum. There’s something charming about getting lost in a Paris art gallery in the middle of autumn. If you’d like to know more about Paris’ magnificent art galleries, read our article about the .
2. Drink Hot Chocolate
There’s nothing better than drinking a creamy, rich hot chocolate when it’s cold outside. Paris is home to some of the best hot chocolate shops in the world so we recommend stopping by at a local patisserie to get your fix. If you’re after the best hot choc in Paris then Angelina is no doubt a place to experience. Audrey Hepburn used to indulge in hot chocolate at this famous tea house on Rue de Rivoli. The hot chocolate is known to be thick and luxurious at Angelina, so if you’re a chocolate addict you’ll love it. What better way to celebrate autumn?
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3. A walk in the park
There’s something special about walking through a pretty Parisian park in autumn. The crunch of the crispy leaves on the path, conkers all over the ground, locals walking their sausage dogs and everyone wrapped up warm in giant scarves - we just love everything about a park walk. Paris is home to some beautiful parks, the most pretty being the Tuileries Garden which is just a short walk from the Louvre. The Luxembourg Gardens in the 6th arrondissement of Paris is also a beautiful place for an autumn stroll; the gardens actually form the grounds of Luxembourg Palace so as you can imagine there are colourful flower beds, lakes, sculptures and majestic fountains to discover.
4. Get some spooks at the Paris Catacombs
Visiting Paris around Halloween? Get into the spooky spirit and pay a trip to the Paris Catacombs where you will discover what lies deep beneath the opulent Parisian streets. So what exactly are these Catacombs? They are a series of underground tunnels housing 6 million skeletons. We actually went underground to see the Paris Catacombs and it’s definitely a unique experience and most apt during Halloween time as it’s quite eerie down there. Read all about our visit to the . You can book skip-the-line tickets for €30 (which might be handy if it’s raining as the queue is outside).
5. Eat lots of cheese and comfort food
If you’re anything like us, all you crave in autumn is comfort food and there’s no place better to enjoy it than in Paris. Whether you crave cheesy raclettes, hot traditional broths, flaky pastries or French baguettes, Paris knows how to do autumnal dishes and seriously comforting meals. Think Beef bourguignon, coq au vin, flavoursome French cheeses, macarons and real home-cooked French food. And don’t get us started on autumn-warming desserts. Parisian desserts will have you returning to the city again and again with its Tarte tatins, crème brûlée, hot chocolate crepes, éclairs - the list goes on. Basically what we’re saying is Paris wins when it comes to autumnal food.
Seasonal food in Paris during autumn includes broccoli, fennel, garlic, mushrooms, leaks, kale, celery, parsnips, turnips, pumpkins, cabbage, squash and Brussel sprouts.
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6. And drink plenty of wine
Autumn is a great time to appreciate some of Paris’ famous wines as it marks the start of October’s annual Montmartre Grape Harvest Festival. From the 9th - the 13th of October more than 40 bars and restaurants around Paris come together in the charming Montmartre district to enjoy quality wines for the 86th year. A true celebration of French grapes, the festival will involve wine tastings, music, dancing and a firework display (and it’s free entry). The historic Montmartre area is home to the only vineyard in Paris called ‘Clos Montmartre’ which will be supplying much of the produce for the festival. You can visit the vineyard any time to try the only wine produced in Paris.
7. Visit a Pumpkin Patch
Pumpkins are in season during autumn so if you want to get in the Halloween spirit and go pumpkin picking, you only have to travel 20 minutes out of Paris to the nearest pumpkin patch. Les Fermes de Gally is a beautiful agricultural farm in Saint-Cyr where you can pick your pumpkins in true American style. You can also go apple picking! While Halloween isn’t huge in Paris like it is in America, it’s still a fun novelty so pumpkin picking is a nostalgic thing to do. There are also workshops available here where you can carve your pumpkins.
8. Halloween at Disneyland Paris
Want to escape Paris for a day and get all your Halloween fever at Disneyland Paris? The theme park during autumn time is simply magic so we recommend keeping a day free in your itinerary to get the Eurostar down to Marne-la-Vallée where the park is located. For Halloween, Disneyland goes all out with spooky parades, electric fireworks, Halloween parties and eerie entertainment. You can book tickets for Disneyland Paris through the hostel reception. If you think you’re too old for Disneyland, think again and read all about .
9. A tour of Paris’ prettiest streets
Want the best autumn photos of Paris for your Instagram feed? Scope out the best autumnal backdrops in the city for a picture perfect stroll. Paris is famed for it’s beautiful streets; we recommend Rue Crémieux, a street lined with charming colourful houses. You should also get lost in Montmartre (pictured) where the autumn leaves and orange trees make for a magical scenic walk. You can get some amazing views from certain points in Montmartre too!
10. La Toussaint (All Saints Day)
The 1st November marks All Saints Day, an important holiday of remembrance for French people. If you’re in Paris you’ll get to experience this centuries-old French tradition where locals remember friends and family who have passed away, as well as those who lost their lives in the First World War. Join in and attend a local church service or remember your loved ones at a beautiful old cemetery. What started as a Catholic tradition to honour the dead, All Saints Day has now transformed into a public holiday in France where families spend time together and remember their past loved ones by putting flowers on gravestones. It’s good to keep in mind that La Toussaint is a public holiday and some shops and banks may be closed.
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