France and Paris in September - Weather, What to pack, What to see

Late Summer Days, Great Festivals and the Grape Harvest Beckon

vineyards in autumn
••• Gevrey-Chambertin Vineyard in autumn. Getty/Patrick Aventurier

The days are warm but the air is fresher; the autumnal colors are beginning to show and there’s a wonderful feel of the last of the summer. France in September is one of the year’s best months to visit. You benefit from few crowds, the attractions are still on their main opening hours, the harvest is under way, and the sea is still a good temperature. Plus, the grape harvest is getting under way with all its attendant festivals.

Paris is getting back to business after the long break. France in September ticks all the right boxes.

Why Visit France in September

These are just some of the reasons for a September trip to France:

  • Enjoy the peace of the streets and the beaches, particularly along the Cote d'Azur as most European and American tourists return to work and school
  • The weather is usually warm and mild and is settled in the south
  • All museums and attractions are open, usually still with extended summertime hours
  • Many of the museums, like the Pompidou Center in Metz and the great Louvre-Lens in north France are starting their big autumn exhibitions
  • Rates start to go down on lodging and airfares
  • Short trips from Paris are much easier to arrange with less travellers on the roads and the trains and hotels relatively easy to book

Events and festivals in September

  • The Braderie de Lille, the largest fleamarket and brocante fair in France, takes place in Lille in north France on the first weekend of September and fills the city.
  • The Basque Country Music Festival, one of France's premier music festivals takes place at the end of August and beginning of September along the Atlantic coast in places like St-Jean-de-Luz and Biarritz.
  • The Feria du Riz or Rice Feria, (in Arles, one of the great Roman cities of France) is a showcase of bullfighting traditions in Southern France. The fans may leave the arena but the party continues into the night in this Provence city, famous for the running of the bulls and the spectacular Camargue horses.
  • Jazz a Beaune, (in the fabulous city of Beaune), celebrates two great French passions -- the local Burgundy wines and jazz music. Also on offer are classes on wine tasting and the jazz masters.
  • Heralding the Harvest in St Emilion marks the start of the harvest in one of France's key wine-producing areas. Don't miss the solemn mass and a torchlight evening tour of the town.

Check out different wine tours and wine routes to follow throughout France during the grape harvest

See more with this Guide to September Events and Festivals

Weather

In September the weather is usually warm and settled though the air can be crisp and fresh. The evenings are cooler and the leaves start to turn with the beginning of autumn. Here are weather averages for some major cities:

  • Paris:
    Temperature ranges from 13 degrees C (55 degrees F) to 21 degrees C (70 degrees F
    Average temperature is 15 degrees C (59 degrees F)
    Average number of days with some rain is 12
  • Bordeaux:
    Average temperature ranges from 12 degrees C (54 degrees F) to 23 degrees C (73 degrees F)
    Average temperatures is 16 degrees C (61 degrees F)
    Average number of days with some rain is 13
  • Lyon:
    Temperature ranges from 12 degrees C (54 degrees F) to 23 degrees C (73 degrees F)
    Average temperature is 18 degrees C (64 degrees F)
    Average number of days with some rain is 11
  • Nice:
    Average temperature ranges from 17 degrees C (63 F) to 25 degrees C (77 degrees F)
    Average temperature is 20.2 degrees C (68 degrees F)
    Average number of days with some rain is 7
  • Strasbourg:
    Average temperature ranges from 9 degrees C (48 degrees F) to 20 degrees C (68 degrees F)
    Average temperature is 15 degrees C (59 degrees F)
    Average number of days with some rain is 12

Find out more: Weather in France

What to pack

September is generally settled in both north and south. But while the south can still be hot and dry, Paris and the north are unpredictable. You can get rain, you can get heatwaves. So, depending on where you are travelling, include the following in your packing list:

  • Light cotton clothes for sunny days
  • Light windbreaker or cardigan for chilly evenings outdoors
  • Hat or visor or sun gear for sunny days
  • Good sun screen with high protection
  • Bathing costume
  • Good walking shoes.

Find out more on Packing Tips

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