Paris is a magical place. But Paris in the fall, she is stunning. The atmosphere of fall with changing leaves mixed with cooler weather paired with the jaw-dropping beauty of Paris’ architecture. It’s easy to fall in love.
So when we went for the first time in 2019, I’d say we were moderately prepared. Thanks to several instagram stories, well-traveled friends, and the resource that is google, there was a lot we got right. But we know I’m all about learning and expanding at even a micro level so today I’m rounding up the bits I didn’t quite know in my first go. Let the Paris in the fall content commence!
10 Things To Know Before Visiting Paris In The Fall
Monet’s Garden Closes In November
We were fortunate enough to start our 8 day trip with a tour of both Monet’s house and garden along with a tour of Versailles. Highly recommend doing both. But on our way out, we were told that the gardens would only be open for a week longer and they are truly the best part of Monet’s house.
If you do go, it’s tucked in a small town with a cute little cafe and a few other shops. I would highly suggesting opting for the tour guide version as well otherwise the experience isn’t quite the same. However, the scenery is stunning. The picture above is from one part of the property.
Bring An Umbrella
I tend to be the girl who doesn’t remember to bring umbrellas when she travels and always regrets it. This is one thing you definitely want to have because Paris loves to rain. I think of our 8 day trip we had a few with and a few without. Whether you’re doing Paris in the fall or another time, it’s worth being prepared!
Bring A Warmer Jacket Than You Think
I have zero regrets for the fact that I under packed my warmth for this trip. My gorgeous fur coat came from this expedition. But with night activities and weather that felt just a bit colder than we were used to, a thick jacket and/or a scarf & gloves became a necessity. And a good excuse to shop.
On our Paris agenda, we included things like a night time Champagne cruise plus an Eiffel Tower visit. We did Moulin Rouge and a very wet day at Disney. For which I found all of the above required warmth. Pack comfortably chic my friends!
The Vibe Is A Lot Slower
I am a hustle girl who has learned to incorporate slow living into my routine (thank you 2020). But I very much struggled to make the transition during our trip. If like me, you’re used to an early morning routine and jumping into your day. Be prepared to take a step back or 5. And embrace the night life. Also, it’s a great time to practice patience – whether you like it or not.
Guided Tours Will Save You Every Time
All the praise goes to those of you in my community who told me to do this. You are the real MVPs of Paris in the fall because this was a game changer for a few reasons Firstly, tourism is a big deal in Paris. Touring companies employ some of the most educated individuals and they are an official deal. Which means you, as well prepared and paying tourist, get to skip lines. We love that for us!
Secondly, you will get 10x more out of it. We signed up for 5 tours during our trip (one of which we accidentally missed). But of the ones we made, 3/4 were incredible simply because our guides we SO good. They brought history to life in ways that otherwise would have made these large, extravagant and easily overwhelming spaces not much fun. I honestly would do every guided tour but Versailles again – if we had a different guide it would have been a 4/4. If you want to play tourist in Paris, opt for a guide.
Plan A Day To Just Explore
I’m a planner. I often throw the plan out the window. But having a plan gives me a direction. And of course, I planned for us to have a gap day or two just to wander. A brilliant idea when you suddenly need an extra suitcase to travel home. We used Uber quite a bit during our trip which really allowed us to soak up the Paris vibes.
But a day of exploration led us to finding new stores, amazing cafes, my favorite fur coat in Anthropologie while chatting with the sweetest Australian girl. We did flea markets, stores that have limited shops in the US, a gluten free bakery and of course, Shakespeare and Company because I am book lover through and through. Let me know in the comments below if you’d like our full itinerary!
Double Check Your Carry On
I’m not sure what led me to check the luggage sizes for our trip but I’m so glad I did because Air France has the strangest carry on sizing. It’s so small. And at the time, my options for luggage felt non-existent.
Thankfully, I discovered the Monos Carry On Pro since then (full review here). But it’s worth noting they will check this. It was an after thought flying out of the US but on the flight back they were watching like hawks.
Give Yourself Extra Time For The Airport
I am very much the get to the airport super early girl. My anxiety and I have an agreement on what we need to function in life. But even I wouldn’t have thought to leave as early as we did. We hired a driver via our hotel for both pickup and return. I would absolutely suggest doing this. However, if you’re unsure on the time, check with your hotel’s front desk.
Do The Louvre With A Tour Guide
Have I mentioned how much I loved all our tours? No? Let’s talk about THE tour. Like the one everyone needs to do whether you’re visiting Paris in the fall, spring or dead of winter. This was the one tourist spot where our guide used his official tourism weight to move us through block of people and unnecessary lines.
But there’s also just SO much to look at in the Louvre. You could be here for hours and still not see it all. We got a brief albeit highlighted version of things. The Mona Lisa, several phenomenal statues, the painting that inspired Les Mis, etc. But our guide made me appreciate it all so much more. And if you’re wondering, Mona is quite small but still impressive. I was awesome in total awe of the Les Mis painting. To see it and think that so much of a story came from that moment is humbling and inspiring.
Be Prepared To Walk A Lot
If you’ve been to New York, I’d expect the same-ish amount of walking for Paris. Of course, touring Versailles was a lot plus the days we really did wander. Out of curiosity, I scrolled back to check my step count for the days we were there and on our busier days, I average 10,000 – 15,000 steps. And while I’m a heels girl at heart, I would absolutely recommend packing your favorite walking shoes for all the gorgeous things you’re going to see when you go to Paris in the fall.
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to let me know in the comments below. If you’d like my full guide for everything we did day by day along with things I would change, you can find it here. And if you want a post on the things I would not do when visiting Paris again, let me know that as well. I’ll be dropping more fall Paris content such as outfit and packing guides so make sure you’re signed up for the newsletter. Also, if you want more regular travel content, I post it across the socials – Instagram, Tiktok, Pinterest and Youtube. So come follow me on your favorite! Until next time. Xoxo, Savvy
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