France and Paris in October - Weather, What to Pack, What to See

Beautiful weather, autumn colors, festivals, events and the grape harvest

Autumn vineyards
••• Autumn Vineyards in France. Getty Images/Matteo Colombo

October is a magical month in France. The autumn colours are at their best and the often warm weather allows glorious days walking outdoors. The grape harvest is being gathered in many parts of France and the French love of festivals continues with a host of events to enjoy. Many of the attractions are open but without the crowds of summer. Hotels can offer good bargains. And as the evenings draw in, you can sit in front of a crackling open fire at the end of the day, sipping a glass of wine.

What to do

  • Book a wine tour at the height of the grape picking season.  It’s a wonderful time in the countryside with its misty mornings and beautiful trees; you meet knowledgeable winemakers and of course, sample some great wines.
  • Discover the best places to see the fall foliage in France.

Events in France

Here are some highlights from an unexpectedly long list of events and festivals throughout France in October

  • Nuit Blanche is celebrated all over France; it's the time when attractions, museums and galleries, parks and swimming pools stay open all night. Admire the art, talk to your fellow cutlure lovers, then breakfast in a cafe over a steaming cup of cafe au lait and a buttery croissant.
  • Halloween sometimes falls on October 31st. The French do celebrate this, but it's tied in with All  Saints. 
  • Lyon Film Festival, appropriately in the great city of Lyon where film started with the Lumiere brothers.
  • Amiens Rederie, one of the biggest flea markets and fairs takes over Amiens for the day. In 2017 it's on October 1st; This is the second biggest brocante fair in France after the Lille Braderie which is on the first weekend of September. 
  • Jazz between the Two Towers in La Rochelle on the Atlantic coast takes place throughout La Rochelle with international musicians. 
  • Jazz Pulsations is a festival gathering together all kinds of musicians and music in Nancy. 

Weather

In October the weather can be very variable. Expect sunny days, but perhaps cool breezes and towards the end of the month, rainy days. In Paris and the north it can be cold and rainy. Here are weather averages for some major cities:

  • Paris:
    Temperature ranges from 10 degrees C (50 degrees F) to 18 degrees C (64 degrees F
    Average temperature is 14 degrees C (57.2 degrees F)
    Average number of days with some rain is 12
  • Bordeaux:
    Average temperature ranges from 8 degrees C (46 degrees F) to 18 degrees C (64 degrees F)
    Average temperatures is 15 degrees C (59 degrees F)
    Average number of days with some rain is 14
  • Lyon:
    Temperature ranges from 7 degrees C (45 degrees F) to 16 degrees C (61 degrees F)
    Average temperature is 12 degrees C (54 degrees F)
    Average number of days with some rain is 12
  • Nice:
    Average temperature ranges from 17 degrees C (63 degrees F) to 21 degrees C (70 degrees F)
    Average temperature is 16.1 degrees C (61 degrees F)
    Average number of days with some rain is 11
  • Strasbourg:
    Average temperature ranges from 6 degrees C (43 degrees F) to 14 degrees C (57 degrees F)
    Average temperature is 10 degrees C (50 degrees F)
    Average number of days with some rain is 13

What to pack

Packing for France in October is a tricky business. You should definitely reckon on it being cold at some stage during your visit, unless you are in the south of France at the beginning of the month. But even here, there can be chilly days. In the north the weather can be glorious, but it's equally as fickle. So include the following in your packing list:

  • Light cotton clothes
  • A good waterproof coat
  • A warm jacket for the evening
  • Sweaters or cardigans to layer in case of a cold snap
  • Good walking shoes
  • Sturdy umbrella that can resist the wind.

Find out more on Packing Tips

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