The 21 best things to do in Paris during October 2023
What to do in Paris in October?
October is a wonderful month to visit Paris. Temperatures drop and crowds thin out, yet the city’s packed social calendar crackles with energy.
Popular festivals, harvest celebrations, world-class art fairs, and more combine to ensure there’s always something going on during fall. To prove it, here’s our pick of things to do in Paris in October.
Don’t forget – the clocks ‘fall’ back an hour during the last weekend of October, giving you an extra hour of vacation time!
Good to know: the 2-week school vacation, les vacances de la Toussaint (all-saints), begins in the final week of October. Expect certain attractions to fill up with jubilant schoolchildren.
The 21 best things to do in October in Paris
A cultural extravaganza during the Nuit Blanche (1st Saturday in October; October 7, 2023)Event in Paris
Nuit Blanche is a dusk-to-dawn arts and cultural event that lights up Paris every October. Museums open their doors through the night, while public spaces are enlivened with sculptures, audiovisual exhibitions, and artistic performances.
Literally translated as “white night”, Nuit Blanche more accurately means “sleepless night.” Museums are free, and many leading events are within walking distance. Even the Paris Métro joins in with free services on key lines until 2am (notably lines 1 and 12 connecting many art hubs.)
Some of the liveliest destinations are:
- Place de l’Hôtel-de-Ville – the epicenter of activity in the shadow of the imposing city hall
- Place des Vosges – the capital’s oldest planned square in the vibrant Le Marais district
- Place Georges-Pompidou – open-air arts overlooked by the enigmatic Pompidou Center.
Adding color and flavor to the dense program of events are street performers and food trucks, creating a carnival-like atmosphere that lasts until the small hours.
For more program details, check the official Paris Nuit Blanche site.
Join harvest celebrations in enchanting Montmartre at the Fete des Vendanges (2nd week in October)Event in Montmartre
If there’s one seasonal event that ripples across France, it’s the grape harvest. Wine fairs and harvest festivals pop up in sports halls, supermarket carparks, châteaux, and city squares, across the country. Paris joins the national celebration of replenished wine stocks at the Fête des vendanges de Montmartre.
Any time of the year, Montmartre is a colorful and exciting Parisian quartier. But this haunt of artists, foodies, and Amelie fans is never more charming than during its annual harvest festival, a headline event since 1932.
Hard to picture today, but Montmartre was once covered in vineyards. Today, a solitary pocket of grape vines in Clos-Montmartre survives.
The vineyard produces around 1,000 bottles of notoriously unpalatable reds and rosés. But the bottles are auctioned to fund local projects, so locals are forgiving. The vineyard opens its usually sealed gates during the wine festival, but book ahead as it’s guided tours only.
There are free daily activities around the Butte de Montmartre, many of which invite participation. In between shows, the neighborhood’s restaurants and cafés keep the festive atmosphere bubbling.
Rev up at the legendary Mondial de l’auto (Every 2 years in October; October 17-23, 2022)Shopping Tip in Paris
Paris’s bi-yearly motor show started in 1898, barely a decade after the first car was built. Occupying several vast pavilions at Paris Expo, it is one of the oldest and biggest automobile exhibitions anywhere.
Mondial de l’auto welcomes hundreds of car manufacturers showcasing their latest models and prototypes. It’s a window into the future of driving, with extensive demonstrations and exhibits for casual motorheads and industry insiders. Attracting more visitors than any other motor show in the world, it is truly a flagship October event in Paris.
Villainous Halloween thrills at Disneyland Paris (All through October)Theme Park in Paris
Disneyland might not feature on every visitor’s itinerary, but the theme park goes all in on Halloween for one of the most magical experiences in Paris.
Fittingly, the park lets the animated villains take center stage. A who’s who of baddies of Disney baddies is ready to welcome and terrify visitors.
Okay, there’s very little terror at Disneyland. But a parade of characters from Cruella de Vil to Captain Hook creates the right vibe. Add ghostly late-night light shows and a park decked out in spooky decorations, and you’ve got the recipe for a fun-filled Halloween.
Discover a world of music at the Villes des musiques des monde (October 7 – November 13, 2022)Event in Paris
October’s festivals in Paris have a decidedly international flavor, and the annual World Music Cities festival illustrates this. International performers bring myriad musical styles to several city venues, enlivening chilly Parisian nights.
The festival has been luring global talents since 1996, and it seems to get bigger every year. Headline performances take place at the festival’s spiritual home, Aubervilliers in Seine-Saint-Denis (North East Paris.) The industrial concert hall in a former military building, Le Point Fort d’Aubervilliers is a unique space to discover new music.
Supporting concerts take place in other suburban locations. If you want to hear fresh sounds in less-visited parts of Paris, check out the varied program for some compelling October entertainment.
Fall shopping at the Foire d’Automne (10 days in October; October 21-30, 2022)Event in Paris
Paris has hosted the popular shopping extravaganza, Foire d’Automne, since 2006. Housed in the busy Porte de Versailles exhibition center, the event resembles a next-level street market without the threat of rain.
Divided into three universes, the fair brings together artisanal food sellers, craftspeople, and furniture brands under one roof. With an appreciative audience, sellers dish out enticing deals and first-class merchandise.
In the gastronomie section, autumnal flavors and epicurean delights are
on offer. Appetites sated, homemakers, and discerning shoppers can explore the Maison (home) section and find good deals in the artisanal univers selling clothes, jewelry, cosmetics, and more.
Visit the official website for more information.
Get lost in composition at the Salon de la Photo (Every October)Gallery in Quartier de la Villette
Fans of photographic art will love the depth and breadth of an exhibition that aims to bring together “all the key players in the world of photography”:
Aimed at amateurs and professionals looking to hone their photographic skills, workshops and exhibits focused on specific genres: culinary, nudes, and science photography were on the 2022 program. Interspersed are manufacturer stalls promoting the latest equipment and trends in photography.
The Grande Halle de la Villette (a former slaughterhouse) is located in Parc de Villette. With urban canals and walkways nearby, the area is rich with photogenic locations to test any newfound knowledge.
Paris + par Art Basel (October 20-23, 2022)Gallery in Paris
October was once the month of FIAC (Foire Internationale d’art Contemporain), the internationally renowned contemporary art fair. But FIAC is no more. From 2023, say hello to Paris + par Art Basel.
The revamped contemporary art showpiece promises another signature Paris event for October. Artists, galleries, collectors, and other art groups from France and abroad are invited to showcase and build on the legacy of the influential FIAC.
From 2024, Paris + will take place in the stunning Grand Palais. Until then, the show happens in the Grand Palais Éphémère (temporary), built to host events while the Grand Palais is renovated for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Cheer on your horse at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (First weekend in October)Sports Event in Paris
You don’t have to wait long in Paris for a major sporting event: international soccer and rugby at the Stade de France, tennis at Roland-Garros, and the Tour de France finish among them. In October, horseracing hits the sports headlines when the richest race in Europe comes to Paris.
L’Arc de Triomphe is one of the most prestigious in the international horse racing calendar. 60,000+ spectators journey to Longchamp racecourse in Bois de Boulogne to catch a glimpse of the world’s fastest horses and best jockeys competing for a first prize nearing €3 million.
The headline race is on Sunday, but high-class races take place over the entire weekend.
Tickets go for as little as €10, making one of France’s great sporting spectacles accessible to all.
Fall shopping at the Foire d’Automne (10 days in October; October 21-30, 2022)Shopping Tip in Paris
The fabled Paris Fair continues into May. The retail spectacular was first held in 1904 and is a hugely popular place to find quality vendors and discounted goods from just about every retail sector. The event showcases the latest technologies, introduces innovative new products, and offers high-end goods with discounts. Many boast the mark, ‘Made in France.’
There are food sellers (great for gifts), home furnishings, electronic goods, and just about everything you would find in what is briefly the world’s greatest department store. If you like shopping, the Foire de Paris is one of the top things to do in Paris in May.
Enjoy a brisk fall walk in the picturesque Parc des Buttes-ChaumontPark in Quartier du Combat
Paris’s parks are a joy throughout the year, although some are especially pretty during fall. Leafy Bois de Vincennes and elegant Parc Monceau, for example. But edging them out for the most idyllic fall walk is Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, a scenic jewel often overlooked by tourists.
The imaginatively styled park opened in 1867, during the reign of France’s last monarch, Napoleon III. Centered around the striking Temple de la Sibylle towering above an artificial lake, the picturesque park is renowned for its floral diversity and eye-catching landmarks.
Lushly floral during spring and summer, the scenery changes color in autumn as lawns are coated with golden leaves.
HANDS DOWN, ONE OF THE LOVELIEST DESTINATIONS IN PARIS FOR A BRISK FALL PROMENADE
Remember a fashion icon during Paris Fashion Week at the Yves Saint Laurent MuseumMuseum in 16. Arrondissement
Paris fashion week energizes the French capital every October and January, yet access to the top shows is out of reach for most. A trip to Museé Yves Saint Laurent’s museum is a compelling alternative.
The thoughtfully curated museum reopened in October 2017. Visitors can tour the studios where the restless designer created many of his finest works. Over 5,000 prototype dresses are stored there, while an audiovisual show explores his personal life.
You leave the museum with little doubt about YSL’s lasting impact on an enigmatic industry. Sans media credentials, it might be the closest you can get to a catwalk during Fashion Week.
Spend Halloween with famous souls in Père Lachaise cemeteryCemetery in Quartier du MontparnasseOur highlight
Paris does not get fully into costume during Halloween, with only minor events to mark the occasion. But there’s no shortage of haunting destinations that capture the true spirit of Halloween, none more so than the city’s public cemeteries.
Cimetière du Père Lachaise is the most visited necropolis in Paris. It’s the final resting place for luminaries like Édith Piaf, Frédéric Chopin, Marcel Proust, Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, and many others.
Namechecking the late and the great is only part of the attraction. Curious adventurers arrive in numbers to meander around the atmospheric warren of gothic tombs that guard secrets of bygone Paris. Leafy Père Lachaise is particularly photogenic during fall and evokes the Halloween spirit without even trying.
Go next-level macabre at the unearthly Paris CatacombsCemetery in Quartier du Montparnasse
Venturing into the ghoulish catacombs lined with millions of skulls is a Halloween cheat code, as the Paris Catacombs easily outspooks any other October activity in the city.
Snaking for miles under Paris, the catacombs are a source of urban legend and dark histories. Did we mention they’re also filled with the bones of millions of Parisians, which you can see?
The estuaries stretch for 186 miles1(300 km). Perhaps with a nervous sigh of relief, visitors only get to see a 1-mile (1.5 km) section. It’s enough for a fascinating and peculiar experience tailor-made for Halloween.
Take a spooky night tour of the darker side of ParisWalking Tour in Île de la Cité
Paris has generated many mysterious tales over the millennia. One of the most evocative ways to learn about them is on a guided night tour in the dark, preferably through gothic quartiers.
Aim for a tour around Île de la Cité and the ancient Latin Quarter. Any route through the former royal island and the city’s oldest neighborhood will reveal sinister tales that paint a darker portrait of Paris.
Our tip: The City of Light hides many dark secrets, and the top-rated ‘Darkest Secrets of Paris’ tour guide knows where they’re hidden.
Sink into chocolatey decadence at the world’s biggest cocoa festival, Salon du Chocolat (October 28 - November 1, 2022)Festival in Paris
Rejoice, chocolate lovers. The world’s largest chocolate festival hits Paris in October. This scrumdiddlyumptious event has been attracting chocolatiers and cocoa connoisseurs since 1992. But mostly people who just love eating chocolate.
The 2022 event has booked 500 international and local representatives to promote all things chocolatey. Workshops, tastings, competitions, and the headline event, a chocolate-themed fashion show, are part of the program. Most importantly, stalls are heaving with artisanal confections and mountains of first-class chocolate to take home.
Salon du Chocolat typically overlaps the Foire d’Automne. For gourmands with insatiable appetites, they make ideal companion shows at Porte de Versailles.
Feast on raclette, a fall favorite, at Le Chalet SavoyardEat & Drink in Bastille & East Paris
Fall is when France falls back in love with hot, gooey raclette cheese. Sharing plates piled with charcuterie and hot potatoes and then liberally coated in molten cheese is the ultimate autumnal comfort food.
Originally an alpine dish, raclette (the cheese and the dish) is reportedly France’s favorite comfort food. Perhaps it’s the highly sociable DIY serving methods or its warming comfort. Most likely, it is because melted raclette is incredibly moreish.
To sample this beloved mountain export, you can’t beat the convivial Le Chalet Savoyard in the lively Bastille quartier. Le Chalet Savoyard lives up to its name with a menu dominated by alpine favorites from the Savoie region: fondue, tartiflette, and a selection of warming raclette plates.
Paris may sniff at metropolitan trends, but raclette food unites France during the fall. There is no better restaurant in Paris to find out why.
Savors the colors and flavors of fresh fall produce at Marché d’AligreFood Market in Bastille & East Paris
Harvest season is in full flow during October, making it a great time to visit one of the food markets in Paris. Marché d’Aligre is one of the finest.
Tightly packed stalls take on a distinct fall feel. Crisp ripe apples and pears piled alongside fresh nuts and curiously-contoured mushrooms.
Marché d’Aligre excels at making tip-top seasonal produce available to Parisians. Yet despite its fame, the market retains an authentic vibe, with something for every food shopper. All the French favorites are on sale: fromage, charcuterie, wine, and every other essential food group for a bon temps.
Two markets are crammed into the petite Place d’Aligre in the energetic Bastille quartier: a covered food hall, Marché Beauvau, and the square outside filled with food stalls and a flea market.
Combined, it’s a sensory feast for gourmands, bargain hunters, and anyone in the mood for authentic ambiance d’automne.
Raise a wurst and biere in honor of Oktoberfest at Café TitonFood Market in Paris
While cities across France embrace their neighbor’s annual beer festival with homegrown tribute parties, Paris is mostly indifferent. If you want to feel a little Oktoberfest spirit, the city’s thriving German bars and restaurants are your best option.
Café Titon is an uplifting slice of Germany in Paris. Currywurst, pretzel burgers, apfelstrudel, it’s comfort food across the menu. A selection of quality German beers on tap and many more bottled brews will appeal to curious beer drinkers.
Appropriately, there are 1-liter steins for purists and small sampling bocks for dégustation. It all adds up to an irresistible taste of Germany without leaving Paris.
Let your young ones go wild at KidExpo (October 27 – 30, 2022)Event in Paris
The annual KidExpo in the busy pavilions of Parc Expo welcomes hundreds of children every autumn to an event 100% dedicated to them.
Mixing entertainment and education, KidExpo is built around three themes – learning, moving, and playing. Parents are dragged by gleeful children through interactive games, immersive activities, educative workshops, and an endless array of entertainment for young ones.
Some activities work better with French speakers, but the halls are filled with toys and games that will be fun in any language.
Catch a classic cut-price children’s movie during Mon Premier Festival (Annually during vacances de la Toussaint. 26 October — 1 November 2022)Event in Paris
‘My first festival’ is aimed squarely at young children. Timed to coincide with the vacances de la Toussaint, families can pick from dozens of original and classic kid’s movies for €4.00 at arthouse cinemas dotted around the capital.
Like a miniature Cannes Film Festival, a jury of youngsters will pick the best film and music from a host of new releases. On the undercard are themed movies and a selection of critically-acclaimed classics. Fledgling film buffs are encouraged with workshops, guest speakers, and industry presentations.
With cheap tickets and a host of small and unique cinemas, the festival is a big hit with kids (and exhausted parents) every year.
Is Paris in October a good time to visit?
Halloween’s starts and Paris is glowing in scary little decorations. Visit the Disneyland in Paris to bring your own eyes to sparkle while riding the rollercoaster.
What to wear in Paris in October?
October is the time for colorful clothes and cozy coats for a lovely stroll through the park. Bring an umbrella to safe yourself from getting wet!
What is the weather like in Paris in October?
Is Paris cold in October? Generally, yes. Temperatures range between 47 °F (8 °C) and 61 °F (16 °C). On the upside, frigid temperatures mask the fact that there’s plenty of sunshine. And plenty of rain, with skies opening up 15 days on average in October. A warm jacket, sunglasses, and umbrellas should make the suitcase shortlist.
What to do in Paris in October 2023?
Chocolate tasting, walks in the park and festive activities at Oktoberfest tents – those are only a few things you can enjoy in your time in Paris in October.
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