Golden leaves, crisp mornings, and all sorts of beautiful scenery: fall may well be the best time for you to explore France. After all, it’s cool enough for exploring but the daylight is still so that exploration can go on all day. Here’s where you can see fall in France; jaw-dropping destinations you need to visit this autumn!
Why you should visit France in the fall
There are countless explanations why you might think about a trip to France throughout the autumn. Hotels, B&Bs, and other accommodations can all be found at lower rates compared to peak season (summer time), while flights are also often cheaper.
Though the elements is not as warm as in August, days in September and October are usually hotter and more than later on in the year. Fewer crowds while everything remains open just increases the ever-growing list why you may consider fall in France.
Along with lots of pretty fall foliage and long golden hours, there are numerous festivals and activities which just take place during the autumn. For instance, the vendange (grape harvest) happens at the end of September/ October and there will always be events celebrating the harvest.
One of the best activities during this time period occurs in Clos Montmartre in Paris high is an auction of wine bottles to raise money for the community. Other wine harvests worth noting are Heralding the Harvest (September in Saint-Emilion), Feria des Vendanges (September in Nimes), and Fete des Vendanges (October in Banyuls-sur-Mer).
What you should pack for Fall in France
Your wardrobe and what you should pack for the trip to l’Hexagone within the autumn depends positioned on which region you’re likely to visit and the month you’re likely to go! For instance, if you’re visiting the South of France in fall, you'll be able to expect the weather to become sunnier and warmer for considerably longer in September and frequently well into October.
However, if you’re visiting Brittany, Normandy, and indeed Paris, then expect the nights to become cooler, the days to become shorter, and undoubtedly windier compared to the summer months. Wherever you decide to visit during autumn in France, be sure to pack an umbrella and some kind of waterproof shoes as rain can be quite common.
To combat the uncertain weather and grow even while stylish, I recommend packing a capsule wardrobe of sorts, with plenty of layers like sweaters, skirts, and tights. Personally, i love these boots as they’re super cute and could be styled for evening dinners and drinks en terrasse.
Paris, ^Ile de France
If you are making it your pursuit to just visit one French location when it comes to fall in France, allow it to be Paris. In the end, the French capital is definitely one of the best fall destinations in Europe. And not just because of the fall foliage, either! Instead, there are many events occurring, not to mention that all of the museums remain open and therefore are empty of holidaymakers, making them ideal for exploring.
Read more: How to locate the very best fall foliage in Paris
Often dubbed the ‘pink town of France’ thanks to its many brick buildings, Toulouse is worthy of a visit all year ’round. With this particular being said, the city’s position towards the south of the country implies that it can get pretty hot in the summertime, not to mention incredibly busy! As a result, the best time to visit Toulouse is just after peak season when the weather remains warm and the crowds are fewer.
Read more: The best great finds of Toulouse
Nestled in the shadow of Mont Sainte Victoire, for those looking to take in the last of the summer sun and enjoy the last of the wine, Provence is where to visit. Surrounded by vineyards and full of the haunts of many a famous artist, there's perhaps no better place to base yourself for exploring the Provencal region than in Aix-en-Provence. While in the city, make sure to check out the local markets as well as follow the town’s self-guided Cezanne walking trail.
Read more: How you can spend a week in Provence
Underrated, from the beaten tourist track, and frequently overlooked in favour of popular French destinations, the town of Metz is really a historical gem just waiting to become explored. Perfect for a weekend break from Paris or Lyon, highlights of the Grand Est Region’s capital include an incredible modern art museum, in addition to plenty of Rhenish-Romanesque-Revival architecture.
Read more: Quick tips towards the best things to do in Metz
Situated in Eastern France and acting as a gateway to Burgundy of sorts, Lyon makes for an ideal French fall destination because of the sheer number of activities obtainable in the city, many of them suited to the indoors once the weather conditions are cooler and it’s raining outside!
From the numerous great finds and forgotten traboules (covered passages used by the silk traders) dotted around the city to the magnificent churches and basilicas (such as Notre-Dame de Fourvière), you certainly won’t be disappointed in the event you choose to visit this sparkling French city.
Read more: Why you should visit Lyon on your next French trip!
Upon visiting Montpellier for the first time captured, the initial question I had to ask myself was this: just why had I not visited this stunning Southern French city before? Wonderful architecture (as well as an Arc de Triomphe), combines with a great foodie scene, and a historical city centre that’s easily navigable on foot makes Montpellier the perfect fall escape.
If you've got a a bit more amount of time in the town, you might well consider a visit to the city’s outskirts, where you’ll find Ch^ateau de Flaguergues, a fairytale mansion which is often cited as among the most beautiful of French Ch^ateaux found any place in l’Hexagone.
Read more: A totally free & self-guided walking tour of Montpellier
Bordeaux, Nouvelle Aquitaine
One of the largest cities found in France (and the settlement which Parisians would most wish to live in whenever they choose to leave Paris) can be found in the type of Bordeaux. The French capital of wine is located in South Western France and is the place to find several wine museums, in addition to plenty of history.
Known in Roman times as ‘Burdigala,’ this incredible city is now one of the top foodie destinations in France and it is best places to visit if you want to discover all things grape-related. Came from here, it’s easy to take excursions to the medieval town of Saint-Emilion, as well as the largest sand dune in Europe, Dune du Pilat.
Read more: Some incredible secret spots in Bordeaux you need to know about
Loire Valley, Pays de la Loire
The ch^ateaux remain open but the tourists are fewer than in the summertime months: there is perhaps no better time for you to see the Loire Valley than when the leaves begin to change colour and the days start to shorten. Personal favourite French Ch^ateaux of mine include Ch^ateau de Chambord and Ch^ateau Chenonceau.
While the Loire Valley is easy to visit as a day trip from Paris (you can even take this tour excursion), it’s really worth making a weekend of the visit and dedicating your time to truly obtaining a feel for the region. The very best places to base yourself for an extended trip include Blois and Chartres.
Read more: Why you should go to the Loire Valley
Nice, C^ote d’Azur
Of course, everyone thinks of the glittering and glitzy city of Nice as a Summer destination. However, if you’re looking to benefit from the delights of the French settlement with fewer crowds, then you might consider visiting the South of France throughout the fall.
After all, visit during September or Early October and also the weather conditions are prone to be warm enough to wander around without heavy winter jackets or coats. This, coupled with lower hotel rates makes Nice among the best places to go to in France come autumntime!
Once in Nice, the best things to do include searching for hidden gems (and from Roman ruins to a Russian Orthodox Church, there are lots of!), sampling the local socca while sipping on a glass of crisp rosé, and taking in the late-year sun alongside one of Nice’s many beaches.
Read more: Your perfect French Riviera Itinerary
Brittany Coastline, Brittany
There is probably no better time for you to visit the windswept shores of Brittany than in the autumn months. Although the weather could be a little rainy sometimes, fewer crowds and beaches to yourself (to be honest, it’s never really warm enough to swim- even in the summer!) make the rugged coastline and charming villages of Brittany a great fall destination.
While in Brittany, be sure to visit the walled city of Saint-Malo. Medieval history can be found in abundance, while tales of seafaring pirates are never too much away. Near by, the fairytale town of Dinan is so picturesque you can barely believe it’s real. Though technically in Normandy, make sure to go to the Gothic island of Mont Saint Michel while in the area!
Read more: How you can spend 72 hours in Brittany
Just over an hour or so and a half from Paris around the train, the charming city of Dijon can be found in the heart of Burgundy, which is also known as Bourgogne in French. And thanks to its fantastic transport links towards the remaining region, Dijon creates an excellent base to explore the wider area, such as the wine town of Beaune and also the picture-perfect cities of Besancon and Dole.
What minus the coupon-clipping is that the mustard capital of France, i.e. Dijon, also is actually the birthplace of none other than Gustave Eiffel (whose company designed the Eiffel Tower). Which means that you can observe the birthplace of Eiffel in Dijon, as well as certainly one of his earliest creations, the covered grocery store hall.
Read more: Fundamental essentials best-kept secrets of Dijon
I first visited the highly underrated town of Nantes earlier this year, after a long weekend discovering the best this Western French city has to offer, it’s safe to say that the city ought to be much more frequented than it already is.
Home to some plethora of authentic French restaurants, great finds, and also the world-famous Machines of the Isle (i.e. Jules Verne locations become more active), the city creates the perfect autumnal escape. And that’s not every! Because of Nantes’ easy transport links, it’s incredibly easy to take day trips into the Loire Valley, permitting you to see the best fall foliage in Paris!
Read more: How you can spend the perfect weekend in Nantes
The fairytale city of Rouen is the capital of Normandy and it is countless cobbled lanes are just oozing with history. In the grand Gothic cathedral where Richard the Lionheart is buried towards the square where Joan of Arc was reputedly burnt in the stake, there’s no shortage of historical locations found there.
Elsewhere within the city, you’ll soon discover that museums and timber-framed houses should be present in abundance. Though you can invariably see Rouen as a day trip from Paris, I personally recommend visiting the city over the course of a long weekend in order to see all the main attractions and soak up the ambience of the place!
Read more: Best things you can do in Rouen