October in France: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

Autumn vineyards

Matteo Colombo/ Getty Images

October is a magical month in France. The autumn colors are at their best and the often warm weather allows glorious days walking outdoors. The grape harvest season is in full swing in France's wine regions, and the French love of festivals continues with a host of events to enjoy. Many attractions are open but without the crowds of summer, and hotels tend to offer low shoulder-season rates. In the evenings, you can sit in front of a crackling open fire sipping a glass of wine and watching the sunset.

France Weather in October

During October the weather in France can be very variable, although temperature averages in the 50s. Most days are sunny, but about 12 days a month get rain or light showers (especially in Paris).

Average Low Temperature Average High Temperature Average Rainy Days
Paris 50 F 64 F 12
Bordeaux 46 F 64 F 14
Lyon 45 F 61 F 12
Nice 63 F 70 F 11
Strasbourg 43 F 57 F 13

What To Pack

Packing for France in October is not straight-forward. You should definitely prepare for cold weather at some stage during your visit unless you are in the south of France at the beginning of the month. But even there, you may experience a few chilly days.

In the north, the weather can be glorious, but it's equally as fickle. Pack layers like sweaters or cardigans, a waterproof windbreaker, a warm jacket for the evening, and good walking shoes. If rain is in the forecast, bring waterproof boots and a sturdy umbrella that can resist the wind.

October Events in France

October brings a host of events and festivals to France ranging from film festivals to music and art.

  • Nuit Blanche (white night) is celebrated in many French cities, usually on the first Saturday of October. The annual arts festival is a time when attractions, museums, and parks stay open all night. The annual event is especially festive in Paris. Admire the art, talk to your fellow culture lovers, then breakfast the next morning in a cafe over a steaming cup of cafe au lait and a buttery croissant.
  • Lumière Film Festival is held in the city of Lyon where film started with the Lumière brothers. For over a week each October, more than 400 screenings showcase 174 international films. The Lumière Award is given to honor significant people in the film world.
  • Amiens Rederie, one of the country's biggest flea markets and fairs, takes over Amiens in early October. This is the second biggest brocante (vintage market) fair in France after the Lille Braderie market, which is on the first weekend of September. 
  • Jazz Between the Two Towers in La Rochelle on the Atlantic coast welcomes around 100 international musicians to stages around the city center. The multi-day festival is held in early October.
  • Montmartre Grape Harvest Festival, held over several days in early October, is a time for prestigious wine auctions and provides the opportunity to participate in wine tasting, see cooking demonstrations, and enjoy regional foods. Over 40 bars and restaurants in the 18th arrondissement (Montmartre area of Paris) take part in this event that attracts visitors and wine connoisseurs.
  • The Dijon International Gastronomic Fair draws a crowd of over 200,000 people and 600 exhibitors to Dijon, France the end of October running through the first two weeks of November. There are booths for home cooks as well as professional chefs, tasting opportunities, and cooking demonstrations.
  • Oktoberfest in France is a German-style harvest celebration in Paris and Marseilles with a Barvarian-style beer tent in the Paris Event Center and at Marseilles Chanot in Marseilles. The ten-day event features plenty of beer, German cuisine, and Munich-style oompah bands.

    October Travel Tips

    • Although most of France has beautiful weather during October you can anticipate lower hotel rates in the latter part of this shoulder season outside of Paris except during large scheduled events.
    • Paris can be dry or experience just light showers in October. The average rainfall in October is usually one of the lowest of the year, so it's a great time enjoy Paris.
    • Smaller monuments and attractions as well as restaurants in high tourist areas may close or reduce their hours after the majority of summer tourists have departed.
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