5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Paris in Fall

Beyond the practical reasons of lower crowds and costs, Paris is actually fantastic in fall.

You know the saying: Paris is always a good idea. But Audrey Hepburn’s beguiling smile notwithstanding, why should you visit Paris in fall?

There are plenty of practical reasons to visit Paris in fall. The summer crowds have gone home. Paris feels more chic when you have a nice scarf. The cost of travel in general, from accommodations to flights, has gone down from summer highs.

Let’s go a little deeper! We have a few reasons why Paris isn’t just cheaper in fall, but actually spectacular on its own merits.

Views like this: just one reason to visit Paris in fall. Photo by Anthony DELANOIX on Unsplash

Views like this: just one reason to visit Paris in fall. Photo by Anthony DELANOIX on Unsplash

A Delicious Fall Festival

Harvest festivals are as common in Paris as in any U.S. city with a farming tradition, but don’t expect scarecrows and pumpkins at Montmartre’s Fête des Vendanges. This mid-October Harvest Festival is all about the gourmet.

Fresh crepes on offer at Fête des Vendanges. Photo: Flickr/KasiaWyser-Pratte

Fresh crepes on offer at Fête des Vendanges. Photo: Flickr/KasiaWyser-Pratte

Celebrating the annual grape harvest in the middle of Paris might seem a little out of place, but Montmartre was once a small village with plenty of vineyards. Those agricultural pursuits may have been replaced with trendy shopping and hip cafes, but that’s no reason to give up a perfectly good party. After all, there are still other grapes around France to be celebrated. With fireworks, a grand parade featuring plenty of fantastic costumes, wine-themed events and a sprawling food festival, this is not your hometown’s harvest festival.

Fête des Vendanges takes place in mid-October each year.

Cafes Get Cozier

Cozy luxuries like cuddling up a window seat seat with a book and a hot chocolate don’t lend themselves to warm summer days. And that’s a shame, because Paris’s wealth of cafes, used bookstores and rich desserts shouldn’t be missed.

So while a sunny summer day is perfect for picnicking by the Eiffel Tower, you can wiggle your toes in your comfiest socks while you survey your steaming cup of rich drinking chocolate. Or settle in for a while with a pot of tea and fresh-baked goodies. And don’t forget your book! You’re going to be too comfortable and content to dash out anytime soon.

Gardens Grow Brighter

Fall leaves give Paris an even brighter color palette than summer. The autumn colors brushing the sky and littering the pavement suit the city’s marble, stone and brick edifices. And the red, orange and yellow leaves give every park a subtle new makeover.

Wander through the Jardin des Tuileries, near the Louvre, and admire the way the changing leaves on the symmetrical trees throw their stiff summer march into sudden colorful chaos. Scuff through yellow leaves on the sidewalk as you stroll through historic streets. Suddenly, you’re going to be glad you skipped the prim green summer season.

Paris in Fall: Leaves add a new palette to the city. Photo: Flickr/Daxis

Paris in Fall: Leaves add a new palette to the city. Photo: Flickr/Daxis

See the Sunrise Over Paris

There’s nothing quite like watching a quiet city stretch and come to life in the morning. The golden light sweeping over the towers and terraces seems to tap on the doors of neighborhood shops and cafes: wake up, it’s time to start your day! 

Why, you might ask, can’t you do this in summer? Well, you can, but you’d better be a real early bird, because the June sunrise in Paris is as early as 5:46 in the morning. Sure, it’s on par with early sunrises in New York City and some other American cities–but do you really want that kind of wake-up call on your vacation? Of course you don’t. The sun snoozes to a leisurely 8:30 AM before the clocks change in late October, giving you plenty of time to lie abed, dreaming of all the delicious things you’re going to eat for breakfast, and still not miss a single sunrise.

Sunrise over Montmartre. Photo: Flickr/Christopher Smith

Sunrise over Montmartre. Photo: Flickr/pixelpyro

Perfect Museum Weather

When you come right down to it, you’re probably not heading to Paris for the sunbathing opportunities. But it’s hard to give up a sunny day strolling through uniquely Parisian neighborhoods and devoting yourself to the pursuit of the perfect ice cream. And that’s a real problem, because Paris is home to some of the world’s most fantastic museums, and you need all the browsing time you can get.

Churches, cathedrals, castles, dungeons, art galleries, engineering museums, medieval museums. There’s so much to see! Contemplate the medieval Lady and the Unicorn tapestry, on display in the Cluny Museum. Descend underground to the archaeological site in the crypt of Notre Dame, where 2,000 years of history is unveiled, layer by layer. Admire centuries of art in the Louvre before seeking out its medieval foundations in room seven of the lower ground floor.

"La dame à la licorne " – XVIe

A post shared by Louis-Cyprien (@louis_cyprien) on

Are you ready yet? Visit Paris in fall with us this year! With Virgin Vacations, you can book independent city stays, escorted tours with enlightening itineraries and plenty of free time to explore on your own, and multi-city vacations. It’s  the perfect way to enjoy a trip to Paris you will never forget.