France in November - Weather, What to Pack, What to See

Fall Colors, Christmas Markets and Cheaper Fares and Accommodation

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••• Wine Connoisseurs welcome the Beaujolais Nouveau Season. © Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Why visit France in November?

Although November might seem a grey month when the weather is bad and the days short, it's a surprisingly good time to pick for a French vacation with the fall colours still lingering on and brightening up the countryside. And November has one of the most important dates throughout the country. November 11th is a public holiday to mark Armistice Day, which commemorates the end of World War I, signed in a railway carriage in a remote part of Picardy.

Both large cities and small villages have ceremonies to mark the commemoration of what was the most memorable date for the French and the Allies.

As November draws to the end, the Christmas markets spring up all over France. If you're in coming over from the UK to shop, here are the best north France Christmas markets to visit.

Most importantly, airfares are beginning to fall, plus there are good holiday and hotel prices to take advantage of.

Some Annual November Highlights

  • Armistice Day is celebrated in every corner of France. It's particular moving to visit the many World War I sites in north France. The date is always November 11th which is a public holiday with many museums and attractions closed. But don't worry if you miss that day, there are always commemorations on the closest weekend to Armistice Day as well.
  • The Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction takes place over three glorious days in Beaune, Burgundy. The tradition dates back to 1859 when the first sale to auction wines produced from the various vineyards owned by the Hospices was held by candlelight. Two candles were lit 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 is released at midnight on the last Thursday of the month. Never mind the quality; this is a great occasion for a bit of feasting and drinking, French-style.
  • The Fine Art and Antiques Fair in Toulouse sees some 300 dealers setting up shop for avid antique and contemporary art hunters. It's always held at the beginning of November.
  • Christmas markets open all over France in preparation for the annual December holiday.
  • If you want to celebrate Thanksgiving  in France, here's how to do it. 
  • Halloween has become quite a festival in France; this is how the French celebrate.

Weather

In November the weather can still be warm in the south but even here, pack for the cold. It can get really cold and rainy in the North, so err on the comfortable side and take plenty of layers to keep Jack Frost at bay. Here are weather averages for some major cities:

  • Paris:
    Temperature ranges from 3 degrees C (7 degrees F) to 7 degrees C (44 degrees F
    Average temperature is 4 degrees C (39 degrees F)
    Average number of days with some rain is 16
  • Bordeaux:
    Average temperature ranges from 5 degrees C (41 degrees F) to 13 degrees C (55 degrees F)
    Average temperatures is 7 degrees C (45 degrees F)
    Average number of days with some rain is 15
  • Lyon:
    Temperature ranges from 4 degrees C (39 degrees F) to 10 degrees C (50 degrees F)
    Average temperature is 7 degrees C (45 degrees F)
    Average number of days with some rain is 14
  • Nice:
    Average temperature ranges from 9 degrees C (48 degrees F) to 16 degrees C (61 degrees F)
    Average temperature is 11.5 degrees C (53 degrees F)
    Average number of days with some rain is 12
  • Strasbourg:
    Average temperature ranges from 2 degrees C (36 degrees F) to 8 degrees C (46 degrees F)
    Average temperature is 5 degrees C (41 degrees F)
    Average number of days with some rain is 15

Find out more: Weather in France

What to pack

Packing for France in November is a question of making sure you have plenty of layers to keep you warm. Remember it can get very wet so take good walking shoes, plus an umbrella for blustery winds. If you are going to the mountains it can snow and if snow comes early, the ski resorts will open at least for weekends. And remember all those goodies in the Christmas market and perhaps take an extra suitcase or leave room in your main one for French treats. I advise including the following in your packing list:

  • A good winter coat
  • A warm jacket for daytime
  • Sweaters or cardigans
  • Scarf, hat and gloves
  • Good walking shoes
  • Sturdy umbrella that can resist the wind.

Vacation Packing List

Also check out packing light for your trip