It is difficult to visit Paris and expect to see the city and its monuments without crowds and too many tourists. But if there is a month where the queues are shorter and where you will not have problems to book a room or get a table in a restaurant, that month is November.
In October the high season ends and the cold increases, giving the city a break before the arrival of Christmas. Also in the penultimate month of the year there are two holidays that give us the opportunity to do and see different things. I share with you my 10 recommendations to enjoy one of the quietest months of the year in the French capital.
1. Visit the Invalides War Museum
In addition to All Saints' Day, there is another holiday marked on the calendar across the country in November. November 11 commemorates the armistice that ended World War I and deeply marked the history of France and its inhabitants. In connection with this event, it is a good time to learn about and experience history at the Invalides War Museum.
Inside this spectacular architectural complex, which was once the residence of war veterans who were invalids, you can learn about the First World War and other war conflicts. The museum has original weaponry, material and exhibits about the great war.
You can and should also take advantage of the visit to see Napoleon's tomb in the church of the Dome. I leave you more information in our post on How to visit the Musée des Invalides and Napoleon's tomb in Paris.
2. Good dates to visit the Lafayette Gallery
In the nineteenth century along with the construction of the Eiffel Tower or the Moulin Rouge also prospered department stores and galleries. Considered temples of luxury and shopping in Paris, there are several that we can visit to make our pre-Christmas shopping.
The Galerie Lafayette, on Boulevard Haussmann next to the Opéra Garnier, is the most famous of them all. In November they begin to decorate these stores according to Christmas and take advantage of the dates to attract customers with attractive sales so it is a good time to know these galleries.
On the same boulevard are the Printemps department stores for luxury shopping and near the Luxembourg Gardens we have another option in the stores of Le Bon Marché.
3. Visit the tomb of the unknown soldier under the Arc de Triomphe
Also on the occasion of the feast of the armistice on November 11 you can visit the tomb of the unknown soldier. On the same November 11 but in 1920 the remains of an unidentified soldier who died in the battle of Verdun were transferred to a tomb in the triumphal arch as a tribute and representation of all the fallen during the First World War. In 1923 an eternal flame was installed and since then it is rekindled in a small ceremony every day at 18:30.
On this day a special ceremony is held and a giant French flag is hung between the pillars of the Arc de Triomphe. Many Parisians lay flowers in honor of this soldier and this holiday and tourists have the opportunity to see the Arc de Triomphe in all its splendor as a French national symbol.
4. Celebrate the Beaujolais Nouveau Festival
Every year on the third Thursday of November, the Beaujolais Nouveau festival is celebrated. This is a young French wine that is harvested in November in the Burgundy region in the French Alps and that in this festival can be tasted by all the restaurants in Paris.
The wineries and bistrots of the city do special tastings and it is the perfect excuse to enjoy a good time with your family and friends around a good French wine. As a curiosity, this day is considered the biggest wine festival in the world and sellers can not sell this famous wine until this date. In Paris the best place to enjoy this festival is the Montmartre district.
5. A good time to climb the Eiffel Tower without queues
The Eiffel Tower is the undisputed symbol of Paris and this is demonstrated by the thousands of tourists who visit it every day. That is why long queues are common. If you want to avoid them, although it is a complicated mission, the best you can do is to travel to Paris in low season. November is a very good month for this with less tourist influx than usual. There are still clear days to enjoy the views from the top of the Eiffel Tower and you won't have to queue as much to do so. A winning combo whichever way you look at it. Of course, bundling up is a must.
6. Take shelter from the cold at the Musée d'Orsay
Paris is also the city of museums as it is home to some of the most important museums in the world. In the cold days of November it is always a good option to visit them and avoid the weather by seeing works of art. The usual recommendation is to go to the Louvre museum, which of course is always a good choice, but today my advice is to visit the Musée d'Orsay.
It may not be as popular as its brother the Louvre but some of the works it houses are known all over the world. Manet's Lunch on the Grass, Van Gogh's Starry Night or his self-portrait are some of the works that can be seen in this old railroad station now converted into a museum.
7. Take advantage of the black friday to go shopping on the Champs Elysées
In addition to its beauty, the Champs Elysées avenue is known for its stores. From luxury boutiques to the most famous franchises, there is something special about shopping on the Champs Elysées. And the best time to treat yourself is during the week of November 29th with the Black Friday discounts.
In this avenue you will find some of the most prestigious and well-known brands in the world in stores that will surprise you with their spectacularity. In addition, around this time the Champs Elysées and begin to wear the Christmas lights of Paris and the first Christmas markets appear.
8. Enjoy the pre-Christmas atmosphere without the hassle
At the end of November the streets of Paris begin to wear the first Christmas decorations. Although Christmas is still far away, it is a good time to walk the decorated streets and enjoy the city and the Christmas atmosphere without the usual crowds that arrive as the December holiday approaches.
On the Champs Elysees the first lights are put on and the first Christmas markets appear in Paris. It is the most popular place in Paris to enjoy the Christmas atmosphere. As an alternative I recommend you to stroll through the Montmartre district. It is quieter and the decorations are more discreet but equally beautiful and enjoyable.
9. Visit the Statue of Liberty and celebrate Thanksgiving... In Paris?
It may sound strange but it is. The Parisian capital and New York City are more closely related than you think. So much so that the famous statue of New York was made in France and was sent to America in 1886 as a gift for the anniversary of the U.S. declaration of independence
Fruit of good relations between the two countries, the American country gave years later a replica of the Statue of Liberty to the city of Paris on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the French revolution in 1889. Today the French version of the Statue of Liberty can be seen on Swan Island near the Eiffel Tower. You can take the opportunity to see it by booking a cruise on the Seine next to the entrance to the Eiffel Tower.
Taking advantage of the fact that Thanksgiving Day is celebrated in the United States on November 24, you can take the opportunity to visit this small Statue of Liberty. In addition in the Parisian city there is a large community of Americans and the Thanksgiving holiday is becoming increasingly popular. It is not uncommon to see that on that day some restaurants prepare the traditional turkey.
10. Meet the famous cemeteries of Paris
On November 1 is celebrated in many countries the All Saints Day, a date dedicated to honor the deceased. In France the tradition is lived beyond the religious and it is common that the famous cemeteries of the cities are filled with curious. And even more so in Paris, which has some of the most famous and beautiful cemeteries in the world. Of course, day 1 is not the best time to visit them as many Parisians go to honor their relatives.
- Père-Lachaise Cemetery is the most visited cemetery in the world and houses the graves of such important people as Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison.
- Passy Cemetery
- Montparnasse Cemetery
- Montmartre Cemetery
- Pantheon of the illustrious: located in the Latin Quarter, one of the best neighborhoods of Paris, near the Luxembourg Gardens, this imposing building houses the tombs of some of the most important names in the history of France and the world as Voltarie, Rousseau and Victor Hugo, among others.
November temperatures in Paris
As you can imagine in November the temperatures in Paris start to drop. However, it is not until the end of the month when the cold starts to arrive. The rest of the month the temperatures are pleasant and hover around 11 degrees maximum and 6 degrees minimum. It is a relatively rainy month, with rainfall between 8 and 14 days on average, but it does not usually rain with extreme force. So it is best not to forget the umbrella. In short, temperatures are quite pleasant until the end of the month but certainly the cold or rain does not tarnish your visit to such a beautiful city.
The tourist flow in November in Paris
As I had already pointed out, the main advantage of traveling to Paris in November is the reduced tourist influx. November starts the low tourist season in the French capital, which generally lasts until May. Although in Paris there will never be a lack of tourists, the truth is that in the main tourist attractions you will notice the lower number of visitors. Fewer queues and less crowds.
It should also be noted that November 1 and 11 are public holidays in the country and although most monuments remain open, many Parisians take the opportunity to visit them. The start of the low season also has an impact on hotel prices, which are lower than usual. If you are looking for a quiet month, November is one of the best times to visit Paris.
What to pack for a visit to Paris in November
Be prepared for cold and rainy weather if you decide to travel to Paris in November. And if you plan to take advantage of your visit on the dates of Black Friday it would not be superfluous to take an extra suitcase. And what things should you put in your luggage if or if? I'll summarize them for you:
- Cotton clothes.
- Jackets and waterproof clothing.
- Umbrellas and waterproof boots.
- Warm and above all comfortable shoes.
- An extra suitcase for your Black Friday shopping.