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Paris in October: recommendations and tips for enjoying the city

A quiet month, with unique events and festivals and the beauty of autumn accompanying. October is a great time to visit Paris and in this post I'll tell you why.

Carlos Bleda

Carlos Bleda

10 min read

Paris in October: recommendations and tips for enjoying the city

View of the Louvre Museum | ©Shubhagata Sengupta

If you are thinking of organizing your trip to Paris and you have not yet decided which dates are best to visit Paris, today I am going to tell you the virtues that Paris offers in October and the best activities you can do in that month. If you are one of those who can't stand the big crowds in the tourist monuments, in October you can rest assured.

Being in Paris you can't avoid queues and tourists but you can minimize it in those dates. The end of the high season and the lack of big holiday periods are noticeable in the streets of Paris. Although the weather is a bit cold, autumn looks spectacular in the Parisian streets and offers a postcard backdrop that greatly enhances the experience of visiting the city of light.

Finally, October brings unique events and festivals that are reason enough to organize your trip around them. Want to know what are the best parties, events and activities in Paris in October? Find out below:

1. Celebrate the Harvest Festival in Montmartre

Montmartre Harvest Festival| ©ViajaaFrancia
Montmartre Harvest Festival| ©ViajaaFrancia

In October takes place one of the most special and particular festivals in Paris, known as the grape harvest festival in the Montmartre district. A festival that focuses on a gastronomic festival and activities such as parades, dances or fireworks.

The district, famous for its bohemian atmosphere and for hosting the Sacré-Coeur basilica, is made up of several hills that were once full of vineyards. Today, some of these vineyards are still preserved and after the harvesting season in October, a festival is held that is more than 100 years old.

After the grape harvest, the first or second weekend of October, this festivity is organized and thousands of visitors flock to it. All the activities take place around the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, with four main highlights in the festival program:

  • A gastronomic festival where you can taste the French gastronomy always accompanied by a good wine. For this purpose, a flea market is set up with hundreds of stalls throughout the neighborhood.
  • The grape harvest parade through the streets of Montmartre with bands, brotherhoods and the float carrying the queen of the grape harvest.
  • A great popular dance of all styles and for all tastes that serves to close the festivities.
  • The culmination is put with a fireworks display with the Sacré Coeur in the background.

You can take advantage of this festival to see the Montmartre district in all its splendor and especially to enjoy the food and wine. All events are free and everyone is welcome.Check the official schedules and dates before traveling to Paris and make sure you have the chance to live a unique experience.

Book a guided tour of Montmartre

2. Experience a special Halloween at Disney or a terrifying one in the catacombs

Catatombs of Paris| ©MykReeve
Catatombs of Paris| ©MykReeve

Halloween is celebrated practically all over the world and Paris is no exception. In fact it is lived with special dedication. Throughout the city, its museums and parks, there are endless activities related to this day. If you want to live a terrifying day, in the best aspect, I leave you a couple of recommendations of the best activities you can do in Paris on October 31.

The first one is to celebrate Halloween at Disneyland Paris. Every Halloween the park is decorated according to this day and there are activities where the most evil and terrifying characters take center stage. A highly recommended Halloween for young and old. If you want to live this day at Disney you will have to organize it in advance and buy your tickets as soon as possible because the demand is very high.

If you want to get into the atmosphere of this holiday, the best thing to do is to visit the catacombs of Paris and its cemeteries. In the former you will see bones and skulls piled up in the depths of the French capital. The cemeteries of Paris are very beautiful, in their own way, but they can also be terrifying, especially on Halloween. The most famous of them is Père Lachaise, where figures such as Jim Morrison, among other celebrities, rest.

Book tickets for Disneyland Paris

3. One of the most special nights of the year in Paris, the night in white

Nuit Blanche de Paris| ©Hervé
Nuit Blanche de Paris| ©Hervé

If you visit Paris the first weekend of October you can experience one of the most special nights in the city. And is that every first Saturday of October since 2002 is celebrated as the white night or Nuit Blanche.

Culture is the protagonist and throughout the night the streets are filled with artists of all kinds, many museums and halls open at dawn and hosts unique exhibitions that day. Music concerts and festivals are also common on the white night. In addition much of the public transport to get around Paris runs late into the night. If your trip is more cultural than anything else, you will greatly appreciate being in Paris that night.

4. October is the month of culture thanks to the Autumn Festival

Autumn evening| ©Paola Breizh
Autumn evening| ©Paola Breizh

We can safely say that October is the month of culture in Paris. In addition to the white night, the autumn festival or Festival d'Automne à Paris is celebrated throughout October. Although it begins in September and ends in November, the bulk of this festival is in October.

During these dates the more than 45 locations attached to the festival host a host of cultural activities. Plays, music concerts of all genres, dance performances, film screenings... the list can be endless. The Pompidou Center, the Odeon theater or the Musée d'Orsay are some of the places that host special activities on these dates.

5. Run the 20 km of Paris

Participating in a Marathon| ©Edward Gebuis
Participating in a Marathon| ©Edward Gebuis

Athletes also have a great event to participate in or watch in Paris. In October, one of the most relevant popular races in the capital is held. The 20 kilometers of Paris. A race that has been held since 1979 and currently brings together around 30,000 runners from all over the world. The race starts at the Pont de Léna and ends at the foot of the legendary Eiffel Tower.

Participating in this race allows you to run through many of the emblematic monuments of Paris while doing sport and also contribute to social purposes, since the proceeds of the race go to charity. And if running is not your thing, you can always watch the participants reach the finish line in a unique setting under the Eiffel Tower.

6. Experience the best horse race in the world. Qatar, Arc de Triomphe Prize

Longchamp racecourse| ©Wikimedia
Longchamp racecourse| ©Wikimedia

While we're on the subject of sport, did you know that in October, Paris hosts what is considered the best horse race in the world? That's right. The Grand Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe is held on the first weekend of October at the Longchamp racecourse and is quite a spectacle.
The event is attended by the best thoroughbred horses in the world and the best jockeys in a race surrounded by activities and above all a lot of glamor. If you have already seen everything in Paris is a different way to enjoy during your stay in the capital of France.

Visit the Conciergerie de Paris and remember the figure of Marie Antoinette

La Conciergerie or the courthouse| ©Ricardo André Frantz
La Conciergerie or the courthouse| ©Ricardo André Frantz

La Conciergerie or the Palace of Justice is a must-see in Paris. This historic building is best known for housing the Sainte Chapelle, one of the most beautiful churches in Paris and the world for my taste.
one of the most beautiful churches in Paris and in the world for my taste. But it is not for the chapel that visiting this complex in October is most recommended. The person responsible is Marie Antoinette. This famous queen of France was imprisoned in the same building, which became a prison during the French Revolution, in her last days.

And what does this have to do with the month of October, you ask? Well, it was in this same month but in 1793 when Marie Antoinette was executed in the square now known as the Place de la Concorde. In the Conciergerie is preserved the dungeon where she spent her last days now converted into a chapel and samples of guillotines as the one used in the execution of the queen and that was one of the key points of the French Revolution.

8. Enjoy the spectacle of the fountains in Versailles

Enjoying the Spectacle| ©FranceTourist
Enjoying the Spectacle| ©FranceTourist

Autumn gives us one of the most photogenic postcards of the year to visit the gardens and parks of Paris. Being the gardens of the Palace of Versailles one of the most beautiful. In the gardens of the palace there are more than 50 fountains of mythological theme and that serve as a lure for visitors, since from May to October there is a night show of light and music.

Every Saturday and Sunday night this show is performed in which the water moves to the beat of the music accompanied by a play of lights. It can only be seen from May 22 to October 31, so in the tenth month of the year we have one of the last chances to enjoy the famous fountains of Versailles. And, as an added bonus, the gardens of Versailles look especially beautiful in autumn.

Book an excursion to Versailles

9. Stroll and enjoy the autumn in the Tuileries Garden.

Tuileries Garden in Autumn| ©Jim Lukach
Tuileries Garden in Autumn| ©Jim Lukach

As I said, autumn is an ideal time to stroll through the parks and gardens of Paris. It is true that those of Versailles are on the outskirts, but it is not necessary to go so far to contemplate a postcard worthy of photographing. In the center of Paris and next to the Louvre Museum are the Tuileries Gardens.

They were once the gardens of the palace that today houses the Louvre and today have become a beautiful park that serves as a meeting point for Parisians. If the weather is nice you can eat quietly in one of the kiosks-restaurants in the park or just stroll as once did the French nobility. It is a good place to disconnect for a while from the bustle of the city.

10. Protect yourself from the autumn chill at the Louvre or visit the Opera Garnier.

The Opera Garnier| ©Helen Simonsson
The Opera Garnier| ©Helen Simonsson

In October it is almost inevitable that we will have some cloudy, rainy or colder days in the city. These days are ideal to take advantage and visit some of the indoor treasures that Paris has to offer. My main recommendation is to pay a visit to the Louvre. You can spend all day contemplating some of the most important works of art in the Louvre museum while it's raining. And you won't even have to go out to eat as the museum itself has restaurants inside in addition to some stores.

Another alternative is to visit the Opera Garnier. If it is already beautiful on the outside, inside it is amazing. On cold days you can take a guided tour of the abode of the phantom of the opera that will not disappoint you. Of course there are hundreds of other options and you will never stop discovering new places in the city of light.

Buy tickets for the Louvre

October temperatures in Paris

Autumn in Paris| ©Cliffano Subagio
Autumn in Paris| ©Cliffano Subagio

October in Paris is a month of purely autumnal weather. Temperatures lean more towards the cold side and range between 9 degrees minimum and 16 degrees maximum. As for the rain, it usually makes an appearance between 8 and 15 days a month or so, so don't forget your umbrella. Despite this, in October we can still enjoy many hours of sunshine. Sunset usually arrives between 19:00 at the beginning of the month and 18:00 at the end of the month. Do not forget that the passage of the Seine through the capital of France contributes to a humid climate.

To sum up, in October the cold starts to appear but still the temperatures remain in a quite pleasant range to visit Paris.

The number of tourists in Paris in October

External view of the Museum| ©Pedro Szekely
External view of the Museum| ©Pedro Szekely

The month of October falls within what is considered high season in Paris, which generally runs from April 1 to October 31. But the truth is that the tourist influx begins to decline considerably in October. You will not have many problems to get hotel rooms or tables in restaurants and there will not be long queues at the tourist monuments.

The lack of major holidays and the cold autumn weather means that the number of tourists visiting the Parisian capital decreases. Consequently, prices also drop. In this sense it is a highly recommended month to organize your trip to Paris.

What to pack in your suitcase to visit Paris in October

Preparing your luggage| ©Vlada Karpovich
Preparing your luggage| ©Vlada Karpovich

Considering the cold, the humidity, the rains and the arrival of autumn, these are the things that you must take in your suitcase if you want to visit Paris in October:

  • Cotton clothes not too thick.
  • Jackets and waterproof clothing.
  • An umbrella is a must.
  • Warm and above all comfortable shoes.
  • Take something of a more elegant cut in case you go to the opera or to a show that requires formal dress.