Europe Travel, Featured

10 Things to Know Before Visiting Paris in the Fall

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Paris is a hot destination year round, but Paris in the fall is particularly stunning! With all of the colors of the changing leaves, more temperate weather, and slightly smaller crowds, it’s easy to fall head over heels for the City of Love!

So whether you’re visiting Paris for the first time, or just visiting for the first time in the autumn season, there are 10 things you’re going to want to know before you go. 

You May Also Like: 12 Best Things to Do in Paris For First-Time Visitors

Bring an Umbrella (Or a Raincoat)

No matter which month you’re going in the fall, be prepared with an umbrella! It’s not uncommon to see everyone walking around with an umbrella in hand in October and November, as rain showers tend to rush in without much warning and then quickly move back out. 

When we visited Paris at the very beginning of November, we weren’t shocked at the chilly weather but rather the speed and intensity of the rain showers! It would be completely temperate one minute, then the next a complete down pour, just to be gone again 10 minutes later. 

Be prepared and have an umbrella or a trusty raincoat with a hood, as I tend to opt for – though it’s a little less chic than the rest of the women wearing cute coats in Paris! They dress so gosh darn classy!

Bring a Warm Jacket

News flash: Paris is chilly in the fall. Bring a warm jacket, and even better, layers to wear with your jacket. Between the wind that whips through this city’s winding roads, or the cold rain showers you’ll find frequently happening in the fall, it’s best to err on the side of warmth. Paris was beautiful in the fall, but I have to say that if I didn’t have my down jacket and was nice and toasty warm, I would’ve been an unhappy camper!

Bring a Scarf

Just like with a warm jacket, you can’t go wrong packing a scarf. Not only does it add a little visual intrigue to your outfit, it can also help keep you warm. There was one day in Paris on our November trip that was so windy and chilly that my warm coat was barely cutting it. I threw on my flannel scarf, felt very trendy for fall, and actually managed to feel warm that day. Thank you scarf!

I wore this one from Amazon. Nothing fancy but it was super cute and the perfect warm, cozy outfit addition I needed.

Guided Tours Are Your Friend

While there may be a few less tourists in the fall, there’s still going to be quite a lot of people visiting and exploring the city. You should still expect lines (albeit probably not as long as you’d find in the summer).

That’s where guided tours come in! Most guided tours have skip-the-line access or enter through another door entirely, saving you tons of time and giving you a great experience. We made the mistake of not doing guided tours on some of our stops in Europe and while it was cool to go at our own pace, it was hard to really understand what we were seeing and I don’t feel like we got the most of our sightseeing activities.

Tour iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and the Palace of Versailles, or do a full guided tour of the city via boat and bus to soak up all of your time in Paris!

Be Prepared to Walk A Lot

Paris is a big city with a lot of walking in between each landmark. If you’re not doing a guided bus tour, and don’t want to shell out for expensive Ubers, be prepared to walk quite a bit here. It wasn’t a big deal, and it was much easier walking than places like Rome where there are a lot of cobblestones, but definitely wear a good pair of shoes! There’s a reason why you’ll see everyone here dressed nicely but wearing sneakers.

To give you a frame of reference, we walked everywhere from where we stayed near the Opera and we were consistently doing 20,000-25,000 steps per day. Though it probably wasn’t the most efficient routes we were taking as ew got off track here and there!

Enjoy All the Food (Including Dessert!)

Of all the places we visited in Europe, I’d have to say Paris had the best food by far. I’m not a foodie by any means, but I know good food when I taste it! And while I think most meals we’ve had and Europe are a little bland compared to what I’m used to at home in the US (Ok, maybe I just over-season everything), Paris had some excellent dishes. 

After spending 8 days in Italy, we were so sick of carbs and anything pasta or pizza related – we pretty much had steak and burgers for every meal! And it. Was. Amazing. 

So enjoy the culinary experience, and definitely get the creme brûlée after dinner, at least one of the nights. You won’t regret it!

Don’t Skip On Enjoying the Fall Colors!

While you’ll see beautiful leaves throughout the city, it’s particularly fun to take a walk through Jardin du Luxembourg and Jardin des Tuileries to really enjoy all of the fall colors. 

Do a Day Trip

While we enjoyed Paris, after we saw the big sights, we were ready to experience something different. Not to hate on Paris, but it felt like it was getting a little monotonous! If you’re staying for more than a couple of days, definitely plan on doing a day trip that helps you to experience something totally different close by. Check out our post on the 15 most amazing day trips from Paris to find the perfect destination for you!

Give Yourself Extra Time At the Airport

I wouldn’t say we’re the best at getting to the airport with loads of time to spare… I loathe having to hang around airports when I could’ve been sleeping longer or seeing more of the city! And while flying in November, we got to the Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport 2 hours before our flight back to the states, right when their baggage check opened.

We walked all over the terminal trying to find the right place to drop our luggage. The “helpful” workers told us this desk, then that one way over there, and then finally, the right one… right in the middle. And while I’m not complaining, it didn’t take a ton of time. It’s important that you plan for little things like this that can eat up your time.

Once we got the bags dropped, we headed towards the security checkpoint. The line to security looked short enough… until we realized that wasn’t actually the line to security. We waited in line for almost half an hour to have our passports checked by machines, that then didn’t work. And we had to wait in another line to have them checked by people. Before getting on a train to go through actual security.

I’ll just say, we were thankful for the extra time! So plan ahead for instances like this, especially during busier travel months as it would’ve taken much longer to get through all of that had it not been November!

Double Check Your Baggage Weight & Dimensions

If you’re hopping around, country to country in Europe, make sure you’re careful about your baggage weight and dimensions! Different carriers have different requirements. When we went from Manchester to Venice, we flew Ryan Air which differed in their baggage rules from EasyJet which we took from Rome to Paris. 

It’s a lot to keep track of, write it down if you need to. But if you’re going to be doing any shopping (or just cutting it close on that baggage weight), it’s important you bring a baggage scale to check the weight so you’re not frantically moving stuff from bag to bag or into your carry-on at the airport!