Although November might seem to be a grey month with chilly weather and shorter days, it's a good time to pick for a French vacation. With fall colors lingering and brightening up the countryside and city parks, the crisp, cool weather can be ideal for a bit of outdoor recreation or sight-seeing.
November includes one of the country's most cherished public holidays, Armistice Day, which commemorates the end of World War I that was made official in a railway carriage in a remote part of Picardy.
France Weather in November
In November the weather can still be warm in the south of France but may change, so pack for the cold as well. Northern destinations, including Paris, tend to be cold and rainy.
In addition to falling temperatures, the weather can be overcast and rainy. Expect to experience some precipitation, as rain showers are fairly common in November. It's unlikely you'll see snow in major cities unless you're traveling to the Alps or another high-elevation region for skiing.
What to Pack
When you visit France in November, depending on where you'll be traveling, pack for the average weather but be sure and include some warmer gear. Plan for layers and include a scarf, hat, and gloves so that you will be comfortable if the weather cools down, especially in evenings. If you are going to the mountains, you'll need snow and ski gear.
- Long sleeve shirts
- Medium weight jacket, preferably waterproof
- Long pants
- Closed-toe, comfortable shoes
- Light boots or day hikers
- Gloves and neck scarf
- Warm hat
Don't forget to leave some extra space in your bag (or perhaps bring an extra suitcase) so you can return home with Christmas market souvenirs and French treats.
November Events in France
If you are in a city like Paris in November, there will be rainy days where you'll want to enjoy indoor activities, such as visiting well-known museums like The Louvre. And even in small towns, spending some time sipping coffee in a little bistro will be an ideal way to dodge the rain. Some major events make November an exciting time to visit France.
- Armistice Day: This holiday is celebrated in every corner of France. It's particularly moving to visit the many World War I sites in northern France at this time. In observance, November 11 is always a public holiday with many museums and attractions closed. If you miss that day, you can always take in commemorations on the closest weekend to Armistice Day.
- The Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction: This wine sale takes place over three glorious days in Beaune, Burgundy. The tradition dates back to 1859 when the first auction of wines produced from the various vineyards owned by the Hospices was held by candlelight. Two candles were lighted at the beginning of the sale of each batch and the sale went to the person bidding last as the candles went out.
- Beaujolais Nouveau Festivals: Beaujolais nouveau is a wine that is released at midnight on the third Thursday of the month, and its release is celebrated around Lyon. This is a great occasion for a bit of feasting and celebrating this young wine. Look for special events and wine dinners in restaurants.
- Toulouse Fine Art and Antiques Fair: Toulouse sees some 300 dealers setting up shop for avid antique and fine art collectors. The event, always held at the beginning of November, attracts those new to collecting as well as seasoned collectors from all over the world. There is also a monthly market.
- Christmas Markets: Charming holiday markets open all over France in preparation for the annual December holiday. Colorful wooden stalls line the boulevards, streets, and marketplaces and with that comes a sense of excitement and anticipation. Even small villages will have an outdoor Christmas market.
- Toussaint (Halloween): Halloween was originally All Hallows Eve, part of a three-day event honoring the dead, which included saints (hallows), martyrs, and relatives. While Halloween falls on October 31 throughout the world, the French are more concerned with Toussaint, All Saints Day, which takes place on November 1. On this day, you'll come across families going to the cemetery together to light candles in little lanterns and put flowers on the graves of their relatives.
November Travel Tips
- November 1 (All Saint's Day) and November 11 (Armistice Day) are public holidays in France. Certain places may be closed, or tourist destinations may be extra crowded.
- November is an off-season month for visiting France, so look out for deals on flights and hotels.
- Christmas markets open near the end of the month and are one of the highlights of visiting France in the winter.
- As the weather cools, enjoy roasted chestnuts and hot wine—vin chaud—at one of the many stalls that pop up in cities and small towns.