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Why the Poets Chose This Place
Ambling through lanes of trees crowned with fiery orange and yellow leaves at the Jardin du Luxembourg one fall, I couldn't help but remember the lines of some of the French Romantic poets I had come across as a literature student: the solitary, (melo)dramatic figures who revel in the melancholy ambiance of fall, as in Paul Verlaine's "Autumn Song": "The long sobs/ Of autumn/ Violins/ Pierce my heart/ With a monotone/ languor" (my translation).
As you've no doubt gathered by now, I'm an autumn kind of person. That's why I would recommend a trip to Paris in October-- assuming you, too, enjoy this traditional period of transition and release.
It may be on the wet and brisk side much of the time, but for meditative strolls in crisp air, long afternoons chatting or reading in cozy, traditional cafes, and taking in dramatic, dusky skies in picturesque settings, October in the French capital can be incomparable.
Why to Love It:
For visitors who are crowd-shy,... the top reason to love this time of year in the French capital is that it's on the quiet side. Tourist season is ebbing, and the city gets a quiet, contemplative feel to it. You'll likely have more space to wander and truly enjoy Paris' fine museums and galleries. As mentioned above, wandering through one of Paris' many elegant parks and gardens on a sunny day can be a memorable experience. Shopping in Paris is also less of a headache than during the summer months, since you won't likely have to put up with long lines and overcrowded stores. In short, if you enjoy quiet, low-key vacations, you'll appreciate an October visit to the city of light.
A Few Highlights:
- October 7th, 2017: "Nuit Blanche" (White Night) is an annual event in which hundreds of Paris sites, including museums, galleries, and monuments stay open all night, allowing for some promising cultural discoveries and surreal nocturnal itineraries.
- October 11th-15th, 2017: Witnessing the Vendanges de Montmartre (Montmartre Wine Harvest) is a fantastic way to experience the best of Paris in autumn. The village-like Montmartre neighborhood boasts vines that still produce drinkable wines-- how many other cities can claim as much?
Compare Travel Packages and Book Your Trip:
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- Lock in a good deal on flights and hotels early by consulting reliable travel sites like TripAdvisor (book direct). Taking the train? You can buy tickets and passes for high-speed rail at Rail Europe.
- Need to find the perfect accommodations but don't know where to start? You can browse thousands of reader reviews on hotels and book direct at Trip Advisor.
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How to Pack and Plan for an October Trip to Paris
You may be wondering how to pack your suitcase for your October trip in the French capital. Here are our main suggestions to ensure you stay comfortable, dry, and warm, and don't leave anything essential at home. First off, let's take a look at the mercury:
The October Thermometer:
- Minimum temperature: 9 degrees C (48.2 degrees F)
- Maximum temperature: 16 degrees C (60.8 degrees F)
- Average temperature: 11 degrees C (51.8 degrees F)
- Average rainfall: 56 millimeters (2.2 inches)
Read More: Best October Events in Paris
October in Paris is generally chilly and damp, with average temperatures at around 52 degrees F. Rain is common and October is generally best-suited for indoor activities like visiting exhibits at Paris' many fine museums, or people-watching from inside a warm, cozy cafe. While temperatures rarely dip to near-freezing in October, make sure to bring a few sweaters, warm socks, and a coat suitable for autumn conditions.
At the same time, the occasional warm day still... tends to roll around. Plan to layer cooler clothing under your sweaters and coats, just in case those increasingly common Indian summers creep into early October.
Read related: Visiting Paris in The Autumn
Cloudy, rainy conditions are frequent in October. Make sure to pack a sturdy umbrella and at least one pair of waterproof shoes. Also make sure your shoes are suitable for walking: Visits to Paris usually involve lots of it, and the Paris metro is notorious for its seemingly endless tunnels and stairs.You don't want to be caught with flimsy, slippery heels that have blister-heeled, or worse, sliding around treacherously in wet leaves.