Autumn in France: 15 Magical Destinations to Visit in Fall 2024

Curious about what Autumn in France is like and which places are best to visit in the fall? I’ve got you covered!

As the leaves start to change and the air gets a bit crisper, there’s no denying that France in autumn is magical. This is one of the most beautiful times of year to visit this country, with its charming villages and breathtaking scenery showcasing all the colours of fall.

France in the fall becomes more cozy. Most of the tourists have come and gone. And France returns back to her joie de vivre (enjoyment of living) self again. And, I’ve seen that change, as I travelled to France in September, October, November, and December.

There’s just something je ne sais quoi about French autumn. The light becomes more golden. The swosh of the wind as it rustles through the trees. The swirl of the leaves underfoot as you stroll the streets. Even the coziness of sitting in a cafe or a bistro with a warm delicious meal and drink. Magical.

In this article, I’ll take you to some of the best places to visit in France in autumn. From the east to the west and from Paris to the south let this be your inspiration to plan your next trip. So grab a scarf, don your beret and let’s dive into all things autumn season in France!

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Top 8 Reasons Autumn in France is the Perfect Time to Visit

ferris wheel, fall foliage, park in autumn in france
  1. Scenic beauty: The autumn colours in France are simply breathtaking, with a palette of golds, oranges and reds that paint the countryside and cities alike.
  2. Mild weather: September and October are still relatively warm without having to bundle up against the cold.
  3. Fewer crowds: Unlike summer when tourists flock to France in droves, autumn is a quieter season with fewer crowds jostling for space at popular attractions.
  4. Lower prices: Since it’s shoulder season between peak summer and winter travel periods, you can often find better deals on flights, accommodations and attractions during autumn.
  5. Festivals and events: autumn is the festival season in France, with plenty of cultural events such as art exhibitions, food festivals, and more taking place across the country.
  6. Delicious cuisine: autumn brings an abundance of fresh produce including mushrooms, chestnuts, truffles and game meats which are incorporated into traditional French dishes making them even more delicious.
  7. Wine harvest: Late September into October marks grape harvesting time, or vendange where many regions of France hold plenty of wine-tasting events.
  8. Quaint small towns: The charm factor goes up a notch during fall when quaint little towns transform into picturesque settings adding even more romance to your holiday experience.

The only drawback of the autumn season in France is the days are shorter. C’est la vie!

1. Paris (Île de France)

Paris, the City of Light, is one of the most iconic and romantic destinations in the world. Known for its stunning architecture, world-class museums, delicious cuisine and charming streetscapes, Paris is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the best that Europe has to offer.

One of the things that Paris is most famous for is its stunning landmarks. From the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral to the Arc de Triomphe and Sacré-Cœur Basilica, there are countless awe-inspiring monuments dotted throughout this beautiful city.

Paris is also renowned for its rich artistic heritage. The city boasts some of the world’s finest art collections, with highlights including Musée d’Orsay’s Impressionist masterpieces and the Louvre Museum with the famous Mona Lisa.

Beyond the famous landmarks, some of the best ways to experience Paris include:

  • strolling the Paris streets – from the famous ones to the quaint cobblestone ones that are off the beaten path. When visiting Paris in autumn, the area to stroll is along the river Seine as the tall linden trees turn into gold
  • visiting the parks and hidden gardens – where you’ll fall in love with fall in Paris as the bright summer flowers are replaced with orange, yellow and deep red chrysanthemums
  • it wouldn’t be autumn in Paris if there weren’t those inevitable rainy days and the best thing to do is to explore the 19th-century secret covered passages dotted around the city

⭐️One of the best places to visit in France in October is Paris! The city hosts so many festivals in the month of October – two huge city-wide celebrations of art and culture are Nuit Blanche (White Night) and ParisArtistes. There’s also Jazz sur Seine, the famous Paris Fashion Week, and the annual grape harvest festival at a historic vineyard in Montmartre.

I love the River Seine Cruise for it’s a relaxing way to see the fall foliage check prices and book your dates

2. Épernay (Grand-Est)

champagne barrel in autumn in france epernay
Photo and contributed by Megan Starr of Megan & Aram

Epernay is a gorgeous little town located in the idyllic countryside and is still easily accessible at just a 90-minute train ride from Paris, or 40 minutes from Reims. In the heart of Champagne country, this town is most well known for its history with the region’s famous bubbly wineEpernay and the surrounding area will appeal to many visitors, whether you’re a wine connoisseur or not.

For champagne lovers, you can enjoy champagne tastings, vineyard tours, and discovering the region’s Champagne Route. One of the town’s main streets, the Avenue de Champagne, is lined with some of the most famous champagne houses and underground cellars that house over 200 million bottles of champagne. For others, Epernay’s history, quaint historic center, cozy cafes, and walking trails in the beautiful surrounding countryside offer a relaxing and interesting trip.

Here are some of the best things to do in Epernay:

  • explore the charming old town center, where you can marvel at the gorgeous Notre Dame Cathedral of Epernay
  • visit the Chateau Perrier, a stunning example of Late Romantic Era French architecture. This chateau and garden is now a fascinating museum about champagne and regional history
  • learn more about the history of champagne, in the nearby village of Hautvillers to see the Abbey of St. Pierre, where Dom Perignon, a monk who greatly contributed to champagne production, is buried

⭐️Autumn is the best time to visit Epernay because the grape harvest happens between mid-September and mid-October; you’ll get to see the bustling region in action. It’s a great time to get the full experience, learning how champagne is made from harvesting the grapes to production to exporting the finished product.

Day Trip From Paris to Champagne with 8 Tastings & Lunch Tour: visit a Champagne House in Epernay and have a leisurely lunch followed by a vineyards tour in Hautvillers. Check prices and book your dates.

3. Strasbourg (Grand-Est)

lake with boat and trees in yellow and orange in autumn in france
Photo and contributed by Jen Ciesielski of Dabbling in Jet Lag

As the capital of France’s Grand Est region, Strasbourg beckons visitors from around the world. It’s known for its rich cultural heritage, stunning architecture, and savoury cuisine. But that’s not all. Here you’ll find one of the most magnificent Gothic cathedrals in all of France, Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg. It sits at a staggering 465 feet and took more than 300 years to build.

Then there’s La Petite France. This quaint neighbourhood is full of colourful half-timbered houses decorated with hanging baskets of red, white, and pink flowers. Strasbourg is also home to a ton of museums, including the Musée Alsacien and Musée des Beaux-Arts. So, whether you want to learn about the history of the region or marvel at local artwork, there’s a museum for you. And, if those are not enough reasons to visit, Strasbourg, is both the seat of the European Parliament and one of the four capitals of the European Union.

There’s no shortage of things to do in Strasbourg. Here is a list of some of the top sites and attractions to visit while you’re here.

  • Tucked away in Strasbourg’s Notre Dame Cathedral is the Astronomical Clock. The engineering marvel took a team of scientists and clockmakers to build. It not only tells the time but also shows the location of the planets. Then, every day at half past noon, figurines hidden within its walls exit and put on a show. It’s definitely something to see!
  • While this region of France is known for its wine, Strasbourg is known for housing the oldest wine in the world. Located in the Historic Cellar of the Strasbourg Hospices, here you’ll find barrels from 1472. You can tour the wine cellar, which dates to 1395, and learn about the history of this fascinating place.

⭐️One of the best times to visit Strasbourg is in Autumn. During this time of the year, the city is filled with vibrant golden hues. The best place to spot this beautiful fall foliage is in Strasbourg’s largest park, Parc de l’Orangerie.

Alsace Half-Day Wine Tour: There’s no better time to visit 2 wineries and learn about the 7 types of Alsace wines than during autumn harvest time! Check prices and book your dates.

4. Colmar (Grand-Est)

golden tree as its france in autumn with old fairytale building
Photo and contributed by Melanie Ferguson of Postcards & Places

Colmar is located 65 kilometres south of Strasbourg, between the Vosges mountain range to the west and the Rhine River border with Germany to the east. It’s best known for its colourful, fairytale-like half-timbered houses and as the hometown of French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, who created the Statue of Liberty.

Also, it’s considered to be the capital of the Alsatian wine region and a key stop on the Alsatian Wine Route, which goes from Marlenheim in the north to Thann in the south.

This cute Alsatian city is worth at least a day trip to visit some of its highlights:

  • Take time to wander the streets, especially the neighbourhood of Vieux Colmar. The most-photographed area is La Petite Venise, where the half-timbered buildings are painted in candy colours and tourists pass on flat-bottomed barques (boats).
  • Visit the Bartholdi Museum and, if you have a car, drive past Colmar’s own Statue of Liberty. Musee Bartholdi is located at the sculptor’s birthplace, 30 rue des Marchands. It has artifacts related to the artist’s life and works, including plans and models of his most famous sculpture, the Statue of Liberty. Colmar’s own version of the statue, a 12-metre replica created for the 100th anniversary of Bartholdi’s death, stands in the centre of a roundabout on Route de Strasbourg/D83, just south of Lac de Colmar. 

⭐️In autumn, it’s harvest season, which makes it a great time to follow the Alsatian Wine Route and stop in Colmar for a taste of the white wines it’s best known for. The grape harvest in the region generally takes place between late September and late October, and in September it’s possible to spend a day picking grapes at some vineyards to help out.

4 Wonders of Alsace Day Tour: Along the Alsatian Wine Route visit the 4 picturesque villages of Eguisheim, Kayserberg, Ribeauvillé, and Riquewihr for some wine tasting. Check prices and book your dates.

5. Chamonix (Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes)

yellow tree tops with mountain peaks in autumn in france
Photo and contributed by Claire of The Fearless Wanderess

Chamonix is a paradise for adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Nestled in the French Alps, this charming mountain town is famous for its breathtaking scenery, outdoor activities, and world-class ski resorts.

Chamonix has been a popular destination for mountaineers since the 18th century, and it continues to attract visitors from all over the world today. The town is renowned for its access to Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Western Europe, and the surrounding mountain ranges.

Aside from mountaineering, Chamonix is a hub for all kinds of outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and skiing. The town has a vibrant culture and rich history that is reflected in its charming streets, architecture, and cuisine.

Wondering about things to do in Chamonix, here are three ideas.

  • Take the Aiguille du Midi cable car: The Aiguille du Midi is one of the most famous peaks in the French Alps. The cable car ride to the summit takes visitors up to 3,842 metres, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding peaks and glaciers. There’s even a restaurant at the top!
  • Hike the trails of the Aiguilles Rouges Nature Reserve: The Aiguilles Rouges Nature Reserve is a protected area of the French Alps that offers some of the most stunning hiking trails in the region. There are trails suitable for all fitness levels, so everyone can enjoy the beautiful views.
  • Explore the town of Chamonix: The town of Chamonix itself is a charming destination that offers a unique blend of culture, history, and natural beauty. With its streets lined with traditional Savoyard buildings, bustling markets, and art galleries, there’s plenty to explore here. Don’t miss the chance to sample some of the local raclette and tartiflette!

⭐️Chamonix’s high altitude and diverse terrain, including a mix of deciduous and coniferous forests, create ideal conditions for a unique fall foliage display. These conditions result in an explosion of colours, contrasted against the snow-capped mountains for a stunning visual experience that can only be enjoyed in Chamonix!

6. Nice (Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur)

pink clock tower with yellow buildings in nice autumn in france
Contributed by Linda of Looking for Linda

If you’re looking for a destination to spend the fall in France that offers a stunning coastline, picturesque hillsides, and plenty of sunshine, then head to Nice in Côte D’Azur. Located on the French Riviera, this city is renowned for its vibrant culture and easy-going atmosphere. From world-class art galleries like the Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain to incredible Michelin-starred restaurants like Pure & V, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Besides the gorgeous year-round Mediterranean weather, Nice is a prime destination for its idealistic location on the French Riviera. You can easily see other noteworthy locales like Cannes, Antibes, Èze, and Monaco on a quick day trip. There are even tours that offer to see a few of these cities in one day! So if you are looking for the perfect central location to access and enjoy all the French Riviera has to offer, look no further than Nice.

There are lots of wonderful things to do in Nice, but here are a couple that might entice you:

  • relax on the Promenade des Anglais or one of the private beach clubs and enjoy a classic Aperol spritz like a true local. But if you’re feeling adventurous you can try your hand at the many local watersports activities offered such as water-skiing and windsurfing, or simply taking a dip in the Mediterranean Sea.
  • If you are looking to venture outside of the city, there is no shortage of exciting day trip options to enjoy. The medieval hilltop town of Èze is a truly romantic daytime getaway. Be sure to stop into the show-stopping Hôtel Château de La Chèvre d’Or perched on the hillside for a fabulous lunch at their restaurant. The world-famous Fragonard Perfumery is also located in Èze, see where some of the world’s most iconic fragrances like Chanel No. 5 were developed!

⭐️Autumn is the perfect time to visit because you can easily take a day trip to see the spectacular Monaco Yacht Show that only takes place in September every year. Boat enthusiasts from all over the world descend on the French Riviera to showcase what they’ve got and trust me – this is not a show you want to miss! And, for movie buffs, visit in October and attend the Nice Film Festival showcasing films from around the world.

French Riviera in One Day Tour: Visit Eze, Monaco, Antibes, Saint Paul de Vence and Cannes! I love this tour as it’s a way to see the best of the French Riviera. Check prices and book your dates!

7. Antibes (Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur)

sea with boats in france in autumn
Photo and contributed by Clotilde from A Princess Travelling with Twins

Until you visit the French Riviera you can’t understand all the buzz about the area; people planning to move or retire there, people that keep going back. Then you visit and you are hooked too, immediately becoming one of them.

The French Riviera is dotted with incredibly charming and picturesque villages, but Antibes stands out as one of the prettiest. Antibes is a little coastal town nestled between Nice and Cannes with the Nice airport only being a 30-minute taxi ride.

Antibes attracts many for its rich history, stunning beaches, and quaint Mediterranean village charm but with modern-day allure. Even if Antibes is a small town it still offers many things to do and see to fill your days, here are a few ideas.

  • Fort Carré, an impressive fort from the 16th century built just outside the town harbour
  • Picasso Museum which houses an impressive collection of the artist’s work
  • Marché Provençal, the bustling daily market, to experience the local flavours and fragrances
  • Port Vauban, is home to an impressive array of yachts and provides the perfect setting for a leisurely evening stroll

⭐️Antibes in autumn is when you’ll get the best out of your visit. After the tourists are gone the market returns back to its origins of fulfilling the everyday needs of its locals. You can buy local specialties, like hot, tasty socca and plenty of bread, cheese and wine for those autumn picnics. Or take a stroll along the coastal path of Chemin de Tirepoil. Visit in early November and attend the Jammin’ Juan Jazz Festival to hear some incredible jazz music.

8. Avignon (Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur)

Avignon is a charming city located in the South of France, known for its rich history, stunning architecture and vibrant cultural scene. One of the main reasons why Avignon is worth visiting is because of its famous Palais des Papes (Palace of Popes). This impressive Gothic palace was once the residence of several popes during the 14th century and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can explore the palace’s grand halls, chapels and courtyards while admiring breathtaking views over Avignon.

Other top sightseeing sites in Avignon include:

  • the iconic 12th-century medieval Pont Saint-Bénezet (Saint Benezet Bridge), which spans across the Rhône River
  • maze of narrow streets in Old Town with a 14th-century Clock Square or Place de l’Horloge and 19th-century Opéra Grand Avignon, as well as Musée Angladon-Dubrujeaud and Musée du Petit Palais – two museums that house impressive collections of European paintings from medieval times up until the present day
  • take a day trip to see some of the best villages in Luberon which is home to 7 Provence villages awarded the prestigious title of Plus Beaux Villages de France or The Most Beautiful Villages of France

⭐️Avignon is a hub for art enthusiasts! Visit Avignon in autumn and attend the annual Parcours de l’Art (Contemporary Art Festival) from October 7 to 22, 2023. This free event promotes contemporary painting, sculpture and photography. Visit the daily market in Avignon and you will see pumpkins (la Courge) everywhere in mid-October. A lot of food stalls will sell food made with squash, such as soupe à la courge, jams, cakes and more.

Half-Day Great Vineyards Tour: Visit villages and vineyards of the famous Côtes du Rhône! I love this tour as it’s a way to see and taste local wine right a peak harvest time. Check prices and book your dates!

9. Carcassonne (Occitanie)

pink sky with castle turnet in autun in France
Photo and contributed by Nicola Lavin of All About RosaLilla

Carcassonne is a city that’s divided in two by the meandering Aude River. On a hilltop overlooking the Aude River and the Ville Basse (Lower Town) is the Cité. It’s worth visiting Carcassonne just to see the impressive La Cité with its 52 turrets and 3km of ramparts waiting to be explored. It’s no wonder La Cité is considered one of the most exceptional examples of medieval fortifications in Europe.

Apart from visiting the fortifications and castle of the medieval Old Town, the city has a bustling market and a large number of interesting museums to visit. Best of all the city centre is relatively small so it’s easy to get around by foot and there are lots of historic sights to visit for free.

Although most tourists come to see the medieval citadel there are lots of interesting things to do in this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some of the best things to do in the city are:

  • a visit to Comtal Castle
  • walk across the beautiful Pont Vieux bridge
  • explore the farmer’s market at Bastide Saint Louis

⭐️Visiting Carcassonne in autumn is the perfect time to admire the beautiful shades of orange on the tree-lined Canal du Midi. There are many wine festivals in nearby vineyards. Starting in late August, the nearby village of Castelnaudary hosts a Cassoulet festival. This annual 5-day festival includes concerts, free street shows, growers’ markets, a gala meal and, of course, cassoulet served in every restaurant in town. 

10. Toulouse (Occitanie)

trees, building in autumn in france
Photo and contributed by Kristin of Global Travel Escapades

Within the Occitanie region of France, a lovely place to visit during Autumn is the capital city of Toulouse! This lively city is known for several different things. For one, Toulouse is commonly referred to as “the pink city” since several of the buildings display a pinkish hue as a result of the colour of the bricks that the buildings were made out of. And what’s neat is that the buildings take on a different shade of pink throughout the day based on where the sun is.

Another thing that makes Toulouse a great destination for visitors is the fact the city is home to France’s National Centre of Space Studies and the European Airbus headquarters. Both of these large aerospace institutions contribute to the city being regarded as the space capital of France! So, if you enjoy seeing lots of colourful buildings or have a love for space, Toulouse is worth spending some time exploring around.

Here are a couple of interesting things to do around Toulouse.

  • Capitole de Toulouse – a massive building dating back to the 12th century and functions as Toulouse’s city hall. Visitors can go inside for free and see beautiful murals on display, but the hours of visitation are limited.
  • Basilique Saint-Sernin – is the largest Romanesque church in France. This church is free to enter, and you’ll find lots of benches that you can sit on outside.

⭐️Visit Toulouse in September when it hosts the Piano aux Jacobins. This is an almost month-long Piano festival that takes place at the Couvent de Jacobins, another historic building in Toulouse.

11. Saint Emilion (Nouvelle-Aquitaine)

view of stone village with church steep in france in autumn
Photo and contributed by Bronwyn Townsend, travel writer and photographer

Perched high on the hills of the Saint Emilion appellation is the charming medieval town of the same name. Best known for its exceptional quality wine, this UNESCO-listed town is also iconic for its beautiful limestone architecture and as a stop on historic pilgrimage routes in France

Just 35 minutes by train from Bordeaux, it’s the wine that brings visitors to the verdant hillsides of Saint Emilion. Vineyards line the countryside as far as the eye can see, while wine bars and chateaux are filled with wine lovers looking to sample some of the region’s finest vintages. 

While wine is the drawcard for this enchanting hamlet, its collection of historic sights, tasty restaurants, and tranquil surroundings make it worthy of an entire weekend escape. If you’re looking for somewhere beyond the wine bars of Bordeaux, then Saint Emilion is the ideal place. Here are a few things to do in Saint Emilion.

  • Visit some of the nearby chateaux for wine tastings and be sure not to miss sampling some of the finest wine on offer – the Saint Emilion Grand Cru.
  • Explore the Monolithic church, a reminder of the Middle Ages. Take a tour of the church and underground, before climbing the stairs to the top of the bell tower for a view across the appellation.
  • Stop by Fabrique de Macarons to pick up some of the original recipe Saint Emilion macarons, a delectable fluffy sweet treat made of almonds, egg and sugar.  

⭐️For a truly magical experience in Saint Emilion, visit in Autumn during the harvest season. Starting in September, the winemakers pluck ripe, juicy grapes from the vines to prepare the season’s best vintages and bottled collections. Later in autumn, the leaves around the village will transform into shades of orange and red making for a beautiful contrast against the limestone architecture.

Guided Grand Cru Winery Tour & Tasting: visit 2 wineries during the fall harvest season to taste the finest wine in the region! Check prices and book your dates.

12. Angouleme (Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region)

buildings with street art in autumn in france
Photo and contributed by Kylie Lang at Life in Rural France

Angouleme is like taking a trip back in time to an era of knights, castles, battles and ramparts. With winding cobbled streets, breathtaking views of the Charente River and beautiful old buildings, you’ll be drawn in by the colourful past of this town. The town’s nickname is the “balcony of the southwest” as it sits high up on a hill overlooking the beautiful Charente countryside.

This off-the-beaten-path France destination is known as the cartoon capital of Europe, there are 83 murals around the city with over 30 of them commissioned by the French government in an initiative called CitéCréation. Every year Angouleme plays host to the Comic Strip Festival in January which pulls in over 250,000 visitors. 

Whilst you’re there three things you should do in Angouleme are:

  • Visit the Hôtel de Ville said to be the birthplace of Marguerite de Navarre who married Henry II of Navarre. Originally called Château d’Angoulême it was built as a fortified castle to protect the town in the 10th century. Sitting in the middle of the town its architecture is stunning and a fantastic focal point.
  • The covered market, Les Halles, was built on the site of an old prison dating back to the 13th century. It was designed by the architect Victor Baltard who modelled the design on the famous Les Halles market in Paris.
  • If you enjoy Romanesque architecture then the Cathédrale Saint-Pierre is a great example and has a wonderful collection of treasures that are often on display for the public.

⭐️One of the biggest events, the Circuit International des Remparts, takes place in autumn. This vintage car race is held annually on the third weekend of September and is a popular event among vintage car enthusiasts and racing fans. The race takes place on a street circuit that winds through the centre of the town, including the city’s ramparts, hence the name “Circuit International des Remparts”. 

13. Loire Valley (Centre-Val de Loire)

leaves on grounds of castle in the fall loire valley
Photo and contributed by Alison Browne of DreameratHeart

The Loire Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a stunning region in central France known for its picturesque landscapes, charming towns, and historic castles. The region is located along the Loire River, the longest river in the country.

The Loire Valley is renowned for its stunning châteaux scattered throughout the countryside and along the banks of the Loire River. These magnificent buildings, which range from medieval fortresses to elegant palaces, each have its own unique story to tell.

A visit to the Loire Valley is an opportunity to immerse oneself in the history and splendour of these magnificent buildings. The Loire Valley is also famous for its exceptional wine, delicious cuisine, and rich cultural heritage. Planning an itinerary through France’s Loire Valley be sure to visit the castles and the surrounding vineyards and hit up the 559 miles (900 km) of bike trails through the region. The Loire Valley is sure to make unforgettable memories. 

Visitors from around the world flock to the Loire Valley. Here are three noteworthy chateaux in the Loire Valley to add to your itinerary.

  • The Château de Chenonceau: this magical Loire Valley castle spans the Cher River with elegant arches that are reflected in the water below. The interior is exquisitely decorated. Known as the “Ladies Château”, Chenonceau has always been owned by women. Beautiful female energy is still felt in the castle today. 
  • Château d’Azay-le-Rideau: this magnificent Renaissance castle set in the River Indre provides magnificent reflections making it a photographer’s dream! Wander the grounds, admire the turrets soaring to the skies, and the castle’s delicate stonework. 
  • The Château de Chambord: the largest and grandest of the Loire Valley châteaux, Chambord is truly spectacular. Its famous intertwined staircase leads to the lantern tower and the rooftop of chimneys. It’s a remarkable sight. (Note: Chambord was having its turrets maintained in Oct 2022 but will be finished for your 2023 fall Loire Valley visit.

⭐️With the crunch of leaves underfoot and the golden leaves framing the chateaux, autumn is magnificent in the Loire Valley. Hop on a hot air balloon to view the castles from above or hit up the Vignes Vins Randos weekend, a festival celebrating winemaking in the Loire Valley.

Loire Castles Day Trip from Paris, Paired With Wine Tasting: Visit 2 castles Château de Chambord and Château de Chenonceau for some wine tasting, along with free time and lunch in Blois. Check prices and book your dates.

14. St Malo (Brittany)

sea with pier and light house when in france in autumn
Photo and contributed by Coralie of Grey Globetrotters

The stunning harbour city of St Malo, on Brittany’s Emerald Coast, has some of the best – and least busy – beaches in Northern France. This ancient city was once a welcoming refuge of ruthless pirates and was besieged by German forces during the Second World War. Today, St Malo is a thriving and exciting city to visit, with history and culture to explore at every turn.

In fact, St Malo is so popular with day-trippers from Jersey in the British Channel Islands that its nickname is the “13th parish”! 

The best things to do on your visit to St Malo include: 

  • Browsing the Intra-Muros area. Take a bracing walk along the ancient city walls, for amazing views out to sea and over the rooftops of the city 
  • Visit the stunning Gothic and Romanesque Cathédrale de St Malo which towers high above the iconic city skyline 
  • Explore the pretty offshore islands of Le Grand Bé and Le Petit Bé at low tide 

⭐️In the autumn months, the best thing to do in St Malo is to follow the tempting aromas wafting out from the restaurants and settle down for an unrushed meal of delicious local seafood. Oysters are a local specialty, and the oyster season runs from late September until April! 

15. Mont Saint Michel (Normandy)

island with cathedral in france in autumn
Photo and contributed by Victoria of GuideYourTravel

Normandy, located in the northwestern part of France, is known for its rich history, stunning landscapes, and world-class cuisine. This region has been important in shaping European history, particularly during the Second World War. Normandy is renowned for its picturesque countryside, charming towns, and exquisite beaches.

The region offers an array of cultural and historical experiences, including exploring the D-Day beaches, visiting the Caen Memorial Museum, and touring the Bayeux Cathedral. The Normandy coastline is also home to numerous seaside resorts that offer visitors the chance to relax and soak up the sun. The culinary delights of this region are its delicious cheeses, seafood, and apple-based products like cider and calvados.

It is an ideal destination for travellers who wish to explore France beyond the usual tourist hotspots. Places like Rouen, a charming city boasting a rich history and stunning architecture, and Bayeux, famous for its medieval tapestry. But, the most famous attraction in Normandy is Mont Saint Michel. Visit here for its:

  • 11th-century abbey perched dramatically above the sea
  • breathtaking views and stunning Gothic-style architecture
  • Island where you can explore the abbey, wander its narrow streets, and indulge in fresh seafood

⭐️Fall is a great season to visit Normandy for those who want to witness the breathtaking natural display of autumnal colours that paint the surrounding landscape. The region hosts various food festivals, such as the Festival de la Pomme in Caudebec-en-Caux, where visitors can taste local cuisine and drinks while enjoying the stunning fall scenery. 

Mont Saint Michel Guided Day Trip from Paris makes this the best way to enjoy this UNESCO Heritage Site. Check prices and book your dates

FAQ

What is fall called in France?

Fall is called “l’automne” in French and this season in France is characterized by crisp air, vibrant foliage, and a harvest of seasonal fruits and vegetables such as apples, pears, mushrooms, and chestnuts.

What months are autumn in France?

The autumn months in France commence on the autumn equinox in mid-September and go into October, November and mid-December. The foliage peaks in late October into early November.

Is autumn cold in France?

No, autumn in France is very pleasant with average temperatures between 16-25°C (61-77°F) although there are slight regional differences.

What month is autumn in Paris?

The month in Paris that is considered autumn is mid-October to mid-November when the foliage is at its peak and the weather is pleasant.

Is it good to visit France in October?

Yes, October is a good month to visit France. The weather is generally cool and crisp and the crowds of tourists are starting to thin out, which can make for a more relaxed travel experience.

More France Inspiration

Be sure to check out my Travel Guide to France, your one-stop-shop for all my articles about visiting Paris, and other places in France along with travel planning resources like accommodations, car rentals, train travel and more.

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As a Holidaymaker

The autumn season in France is a truly magical time of year. From the changing colours of the leaves to the delicious seasonal cuisine and exciting cultural events, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re seeking a relaxing getaway or an adventure-packed trip, this beautiful country has it all.

So why not plan your next French autumn escape today? With so much to see and do, you won’t be disappointed! Bon voyage!