If you are thinking about organising your trip to Paris and you still haven't decided which dates are best to visit, today I am going to tell you about the virtues that Paris has to offer in October and the best activities you can do in that month.
If you are one of those who can't stand the crowds at the tourist monuments, you can relax in October. It's true that in Paris you won't be able to avoid queues, but you can minimise them. And although the weather is a little chilly, autumn looks spectacular on the Parisian streets. Want to know what are the best festivals, events and activities in Paris in October? Find out below:
1. Experience a special Halloween at Disney or a terrifying one in the catacombs
Halloween is now celebrated almost everywhere in the world and Paris is no exception. In fact, it is celebrated with special dedication. All over the city, in its museums and parks, there are countless activities related to this day. If you want to experience a terrifying day, in the best possible way, here are a couple of things to do in Paris on 31 October.
Enjoy Disneyland Paris
The first one is to celebrate Halloween at Disneyland Paris. Every Halloween, the park is decorated according to this day and there are activities where the most evil and terrifying characters take centre stage. A highly recommended Halloween for young and old alike. If you want to experience this day at Disney, you will have to organise it in advance and buy your Disneyland tickets as soon as possible, as demand is very high.
Visit the Paris Catacombs
If you want to get into the atmosphere of this festivity, the best thing to do is to visit the catacombs of Paris and its cemeteries. In the former, you can see bones and skulls piled up in the depths of the French capital. Paris' cemeteries are beautiful in their own way, but they can also be terrifying, especially on Halloween. The most famous of these is Père Lachaise, where the likes of Jim Morrison, among other celebrities, are laid to rest.
2. Enjoy the spectacle of the fountains in Versailles
Autumn offers us one of the most photogenic postcards of the year to visit the gardens and parks of Paris. The gardens of the Palace of Versailles are one of the most beautiful. In the palace gardens there are more than 50 fountains with mythological themes that serve as an attraction for visitors, since from May to October there is a night show of light and music.
Every Saturday and Sunday night this show is performed in which the water moves to the beat of the music accompanied by a play of lights. It can only be seen from 22 May to 31 October, so in the tenth month of the year we have one of the last chances to enjoy the famous fountains of Versailles. And, as an added bonus, the gardens of Versailles look especially beautiful in autumn.
3. Take shelter from the autumn chill at the Louvre
October is almost inevitably a cloudy, rainy or colder day in the city. These days are ideal to take advantage and visit some of the indoor treasures that Paris has to offer. My top recommendation is a visit to the Louvre. You can spend the whole day gazing at some of the Louvre's most important works of art while it's raining. And you won't even have to go out to eat, as the museum itself has restaurants as well as some shops.
Another alternative is to visit the Opéra Garnier. If it's beautiful on the outside, it's amazing on the inside. On cold days you can take a guided tour of the abode of the Phantom of the Opera and you won't be disappointed.
4. Celebrate the Fête de la Vendimie at Montmartre
October is one of the most special and unique festivals in Paris, known as the Montmartre Grape Harvest Festival. This festival is centred around a gastronomic festival and activities such as parades, dances and fireworks.
The district, famous for its bohemian atmosphere and for housing the Sacré-Coeur basilica, is made up of several hills that were once full of vineyards. Today, some of these vineyards are still preserved, and after the harvest in October, a festival takes place which is more than 100 years old.
After the grape harvest, on the first or second weekend of October, this festival is organised and is attended by thousands of visitors. All the activities take place around the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. You can take advantage of this festival to see the Montmartre district in all its splendour and especially to enjoy the gastronomy and wine. All events are free of charge and everyone is welcome, so check the official dates and times before you travel to Paris and make sure you get the chance to experience something unique.
5. Visit the Conciergerie de Paris and remember the figure of Marie Antoinette
The Conciergerie or Palace of Justice is a must-see in Paris. This historic building is best known for housing the Sainte Chapelle, one of the most beautiful churches in Paris and in the world for my taste. But it is not for the chapel that visiting this complex in October is most recommended. Marie-Antoinette is responsible for it. This famous queen of France was imprisoned in the same building, which became a prison during the French Revolution, during her last days.
And what does this have to do with the month of October, you ask? Well, it was in the same month but in 1793 that Marie-Antoinette was executed in the square now known as the Place de la Concorde. The Conciergerie preserves the dungeon where she spent her last days, now converted into a chapel, and samples of guillotines such as the one used in the execution of the queen, which was one of the key points of the French Revolution.
6. October is the month of culture thanks to the Autumn Festival
We can safely say that October is the month of culture in Paris. In addition to the White Night, the Autumn Festival or Festival d'Automne à Paris is held throughout October. Although it starts in September and ends in November, the bulk of this festival is in October.
During these dates, the more than 45 venues that are part of the festival host a wide range of cultural activities. Plays, music concerts of all genres, dance performances, film screenings... the list is endless. The Pompidou Centre, the Odeon theatre and the Musée d'Orsay are just some of the places that host special events on these dates.
7. Experience the best horse race in the world. Qatar, Arc de Triomphe Award
While we're on the subject of sport, did you know that in October Paris hosts what is considered to be the best horse race in the world? That's right. The Grand Prix de l'Arc de Tri omphe takes place on the first weekend of October at the Longchamp racecourse and is a real spectacle.
The event is attended by the best thoroughbreds in the world and the best jockeys in a race surrounded by activities and, above all, a lot of glamour. If you've already seen it all in Paris, it's a different way to enjoy your stay in the French capital.
8. One of the most special nights of the year in Paris, the "Nuit Blanche" (night in white)
If you visit Paris on the first weekend in October, you can experience one of the most special nights in the city. Every first Saturday in October since 2002, the city celebrates what is known as the Nuit Blanche or White Night.
Culture is the protagonist and throughout the night the streets are filled with artists of all kinds, many museums and halls open in the early hours of the morning and host exhibitions unique to that day. Music concerts and festivals are also common on the white night. In addition, much of the public transport to get around Paris runs late into the night. If your trip is more cultural than anything else, you will greatly appreciate being in Paris that night.
9. Stroll and enjoy the autumn in the Tuileries Garden
As I said, autumn is an ideal time to stroll through the parks and gardens of Paris. Of course, the Versailles gardens are on the outskirts, but you don't have to go that far to see a picture-perfect postcard. In the centre of Paris and next to the Louvre Museum are the Tuileries Gardens.
Once the gardens of the palace that today houses the Louvre, today they have been converted into a beautiful park that serves as a meeting point for Parisians. If the weather is fine, you can have a leisurely lunch in one of the kiosk-restaurants in the park or simply stroll around as the French nobility used to do in the old days. It is a good place to disconnect for a while from the hustle and bustle of the city.
10. Run the 20 km of Paris
Athletes also have a great event to participate in or watch in Paris. In October, one of the most important popular races in the capital is held. The 20 kilometres of Paris. This race has been held since 1979 and currently attracts around 30,000 runners from all over the world. The race starts at the Pont de Léna bridge and finishes at the foot of the mythical Eiffel Tower.
Taking part in this race allows you to run around many of Paris' iconic monuments while doing sport and also contributing to social causes, as the proceeds from the race go to charity. And if running isn't your thing, you can always watch the participants reach the finish line in a unique setting under the Eiffel Tower.
October temperatures in Paris
October in Paris is a month of purely autumnal weather. Temperatures are more on the cool side, ranging from a low of 9 degrees Celsius to a high of 16 degrees Celsius.
As for the rain, it usually falls between 8 and 15 days a month or so, so don't forget your umbrella. However, in October you can still enjoy many hours of sunshine. Sunset usually arrives between 19:00 at the beginning of the month and 18:00 at the end of the month. It should not be forgotten that the Seine flows through the French capital, making for a humid climate.
To sum up, in October the cold starts to creep in, but temperatures are still pleasant enough to visit Paris. Still, I'll leave you with the article which dates are best to visit Paris so you're aware of the advantages and disadvantages of each date.
The October tourist season in Paris
The month of October falls within what is considered the high season in Paris, which generally runs from 1 April to 31 October. However, it is true that the number of tourists starts to drop considerably in October. You won't have much trouble getting a hotel room or a table in a restaurant, and there won't be long queues at the sights.
The lack of major public holidays and the cold autumn weather means that the number of tourists visiting the Parisian capital drops. Consequently, prices also fall. In this sense, it is a very recommendable month to organise your trip to Paris.
What to pack for your visit to Paris in October
In view of the cold, the humidity, the rain and the arrival of autumn, these are the things you should pack for your visit to Paris in October:
- Cotton clothes that are not too thick.
- Jackets and waterproof clothing.
- An umbrella is a must.
- Warm and, above all, comfortable shoes.
- Take something more elegant in case you go to the opera or to a show that requires formal dress.