Paris in September: What to See, What to Do, and What to Pack

View of the Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower in fall

L. Toshio Kishiyama / Getty Images 

September has always been a cherished and exciting time in the city of light. There's a sense of transition that many people find exciting and stimulating, as summer laziness culminates and a surge of energy from la rentrée—a very French concept that translates roughly as "back to school" but concerns adults too—falls over the city. At this time of year, everything comes out of summer vacation mode, from shops reopening to politicians getting back to work and newspapers grinding out thicker editions again. More than the calendar New Year in Paris, September is the city's de facto nouvel an.

Paris in September

Why to Visit Paris in September

With the peak tourist season winding down, air and hotel fares take a dip, but the weather is just as nice, if not nicer, than during the summer months. The laid-back, summer-vacation ambiance is still lingering around the city, but most Parisians are back in town, creating an interesting mix of fun and authenticity. Those wishing to avoid the cramped conditions of peak season may find September to be one of the best times of the lower season to visit. Late September is probably the better choice for avoiding the tail-end of high season, however.

September can also be an ideal time for experiencing a cruise on the Seine river or on Paris canals and waterways, especially on hot days when breezes off the water offer a welcome reprieve. Alternatively, if you wish to explore the city by foot, our 2-day Paris itinerary will show you both classic and hidden nooks of the city.

Paris Weather in September

If you've already decided to schedule your Parisian sojourn in September, you're probably wondering what the weather's likely to look like-- and how to pack your suitcase accordingly. The following information and tips should go a long way in helping you to prepare for typical weather conditions. 

September in Paris is generally on the moderately warm and damp side, with average temperatures at around 24 degrees C/75 F. Rain is common and it isn't unusual for autumn-like conditions to foil plans for outdoorsy activities.

In recent years, however, unusually hot temperatures have been known to strike Paris in the summer months, and extreme spikes in temperature may continue well into September. Elderly visitors, visitors with medical conditions, and parents with infants and small children should remain especially alert to possible spikes in temperature, and take necessary precautions. Reserving a hotel room with air conditioning is one of them.

  • Minimum temperature: 13 degrees C (55.4 degrees F)
  • Maximum temperature: 21 degrees C (69.8 degrees F)
  • Average temperature: 15 degrees C (59 degrees F)
  • Average rainfall: 53 millimeters (2.1 inches)

What to Pack

  • Keep plenty of water on hand and drinking regularly, even when there is no sensation of thirst, is another.
  • Make sure to pack a sturdy umbrella and at least one pair of waterproof shoes.
  • Bring along good, sturdy pair of walking shoes. Visits to Paris usually involve lots of strolling, and the Paris metro is notorious for its seemingly endless tunnels and stairs. Who wants blisters and aching feet to ruin what would otherwise be a fantastic trip? 
  • Since September is the tail-end of summer in Paris and warm, sunny days are still probable, pack clothes for both cool and sunny conditions. You should also think about bringing a hat or visor and other gear for sunny days when you wish to spend time lounging in one of Paris' best parks and gardens.
The Neptune Fountain on the grounds of the Château de Versailles, seen in Autumn
Fred Romero / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Events in Paris in September

  • Through October: "Musical Waters" show at the Chateau de Versailles-- experience the mingling of light, water, and classical music in the gardens of the world's most famous chateau, perfect for a mid-summer stroll. (Read more)
  • Last days of Paris Plages: Paris Plages, the pop-up beach operation that takes over a stretch along the Seine River and the Bassin de la Villette in the city's northeastern 19th arrondissement, wraps up early in the month. In 2019, the operation extends through September 1st.
  • The Autumn Festival: Since 1972, the Paris Autumn Festival or "Festival de l'Automne" has brought in the post-summer season with a bang by highlighting some of the most compelling works in contemporary visual art, music, cinema, theater, and other forms. Through mid-January 2019. Consult the official website for program details (in English).
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