When is a bad time to visit Paris? The answer is, there isn't one. But there are certain times of year when the City of Light shines a little bit brighter. November is one of those times. With cooler, generally mild weather, a relaxed vibe, and fall colors, it's normally quiet and tranquil - and much less busy than peak times. That's why it appeals to families who want stress-free, affordable breaks, and couples looking for romance without distractions. So let's have a closer look at the weather in Paris in November, and how to make the most of it.
Firstly, don't expect scorching hot temperatures from the weather in November. While mid-summer highs can hit 100 degrees, November's average is cooler. Expect temperatures between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit on most days (although seasonal heatwaves and cold snaps are always a possibility). November is also a time when daily temperatures vary a lot. The mornings can often be crisp and frosty, while afternoons can be mild - almost warm. Rain is pretty regular in November as well, with an average of 15 wet days and 22mm of rainfall. Make sure you pack the right umbrellas and coats.
A month of contrasts
Aside from those basics, there are some other quirks of the weather in Paris in November that visitors need to know about. For instance, the temperatures in early November usually differ greatly from those at the end of the month. While November 1st averages around 60 degrees, November 30th averages just 42 degrees. This can make a big difference for visitors, especially those with young children. As with any northern hemisphere destination, the day shortens as November progresses and Paris' day is one hour 17 minutes shorter by the end of the month. So if you need more daylight, a break in early November could be more suitable. Finally, late November is usually cloudier than the start of the month, so even though the day is shorter, the sun will struggle to break through.
How does the weather compare with the rest of France?
Being in northern France, the weather in Paris is very different to southern parts of the country like Provence or Languedoc. Just to take one example, Aix-en-Provence has average highs of almost 60 degrees Fahrenheit in November, and it's a generally brighter place to be. Paris is noticeably colder and wetter, but that doesn't make it less appealing. It's just that the difference between north and south widens in the fall, after almost universally warm conditions in the summer. But don't expect snow. While the Alps and mountains in the Midi might have snow in November, Paris should avoid blizzards. If you want beautiful, snow-bound snaps of the Sacré-Coeur or the Eiffel Tower, January is probably a better bet.
What about rain? Is November generally wet?
If you're the kind of traveler who hates to fill their cases with waterproof coats and umbrellas, November could be problematic. For most people, however, the weather in November should be dry enough to make the trip a pleasant experience. And don't forget, you can always dodge into cafés or museums when showers pass by. On average, Paris has 15 days of rain in November, compared with 10 in August. This means that there's a 50:50 chance on any given day of a spot of rain. And when rain comes, it doesn't tend to come in storms. The fall rain is gentler, less violent, and often a beautiful addition to the Paris cityscape.
So, we've now introduced some general aspects of the weather in Paris in November, but it all seems a bit abstract. We talk about average temperatures and days of rain, but how does that actually translate into on-the-ground experiences of what Paris is like? Let's take a typical Parisian November day and lead you through what to expect, from morning to nightfall.
Make the most of misty fall mornings
When Paris wakes up in November, it creates one of the most beautiful sights in the city's annual cycle. The night takes its time to lift, leaving a blanket of mist on the Seine, which rises and covers the inner districts. It then snakes its way through the alleyways of neighborhoods like Montmartre, giving the city a mysterious, almost Film Noir look. The mornings are cold but crisp. The air is a joy to breathe and the city slowly comes to life. You can observe Parisians bustling past in chic coats and the sun glinting off marble walls and cobblestone streets. So getting up early is definitely recommended.
Enjoy crisp afternoons
As morning gently transitions into afternoon, the weather in November becomes ideal for wandering and sightseeing (unless it's pouring with rain, of course). When the fall skies are clear, the sun has a wispy, artistic quality that makes sights like Notre Dame or Versailles seem even more beautiful. And it's not too cold to explore on foot. In fact, many people prefer November afternoons to summer, when the heat can be a little bit too much. And because there are fewer tourists, you can really feel like a Parisian when you walk around. You can share a bit of the city's magic and elegance, instead of battling with fellow travelers for space in bars or tickets to major attractions.
Escape when showers arrive
But, as we've said, you can surely expect a couple of showers during your time in Paris. Typically, the weather delivers showers in the late afternoon, and the weather can switch abruptly from bright mornings to cloudy, wet conditions. But the beauty of Paris is that rain is never a problem. Let's say you're walking around the Jardin des Tuileries and it starts to rain. Instead of getting drenched, you'll be a five-minute walk from the Musee d'Orsay, the Louvre, the Museum of Decorative Arts, or the Impressionist works in the Orangerie. Similarly, the Jardin des Plantes is next door to the Museum of Natural History. Those promenading along the Seine can seek refuge in endless cafés and attractions.
Every season in Paris has its own attractions. Seeing the Eiffel Tower from the Champs de Mars is a classic summer experience. The flowers of the Jardin du Luxembourg are also at their most brilliant when the sun shines brightest. Late fall has its own magical experiences, both indoor and out. And there are some things that you can only really enjoy in November, such as the first tasting of the year's Beaujolais vintages on the third Thursday of the month. For those with a sweeter tooth, November hosts the Salon du Chocolat, possibly the world's greatest chocolate festival.
Explore masterpieces and magical museums
However, one thing's for sure: The weather in Paris in November makes indoor attractions some of the hottest tickets in town. That's not because staying outside is unpleasant. It's just that now the hordes of peak-season tourists have gone, you can have the museums and galleries to yourself. In fall 2018 alone, you could visit the exhibition at the Grand Palais dedicated to music star Michael Jackson. Or why not find out about superstar engineer Gustav Eiffel at the Musee d'Orsay? You might even get some quality time with the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, without wrestling with visitors to catch a glimpse of Leonardo's masterpiece.
Districts like Montmartre look fabulous in the weather in Paris in November
November is also a wonderful time to join walking tours around the most famous arrondissements of Paris. For most people, Montmartre will be at the top of the list, and it's probably at its best during the weather in Paris in November. As the trees lose their leaves, the rich colors combine with the whitewashed walls of this hilly, picturesque neighborhood. You can still find painters plying their trade in the Place du Tertre. Anyone wanting to pay their respects to Jim Morrison at Père Lachaise, or cultural greats like Stendhal, can also do so without the distraction of huge crowds milling around. And, of course, the cafés and bars will be more relaxed and classically French, with fewer tourists to serve. It all makes a magical district even more enchanting.
Places to enjoy the fall colors during November
Color is something which marks out, and it's probably the most appealing aspect of the city in late fall. Paris is a city of romance and beauty - the lush greenery of summer even somehow seems less fitting than the rich, multi-colored spectacle of the fall. It's a matter of taste, of course, but when you enter the Jardin des Tuileries or the less-frequented but gorgeous Buttes Chaumont, you'll instantly reach for your camera. Few cities have ever been as photogenic as the French capital, and many of the best shots have been thanks to the weather in Paris in November.
Attend some amazing events
November is also a time for the staging of grand events. For gamers, Paris Games Week hits the Porte de Versailles at the start of the month and is a showcase for France's booming games industry. The Autumn Festival brings a feast of dance, theater, and art to venues across the city. Sports fans can see the world's top players at the ATP World Tour Masters, which takes place early in the month at the AccorHotels Arena. There are jaw-dropping fireworks at the Disneyland Paris Bonfire Spectacular in the second week of the month, while the Grand Palais hosts Paris Photo soon after. This is probably the world's premier photography event. And if you're in town at the end of the month, the Salon du Cheval is a spellbinding equestrian show. Held at the Paris Nord Villepinte exhibition center just outside the city, it culminates in the Nuit du Cheval, a wonderful display of horse-riding skills.
Not everyone who visits Paris will want to stay in the center of the city. This is a bonus for November trips, as late fall is a fantastic time to arrange day trips to attractions in the nearby area. But what can travelers expect when they head to tourist hotspots like Disneyland Paris or the Palace of Versailles? Is there anything special to remember when heading to these attractions?
What to expect from the weather at Disneyland Paris
Disneyland Paris is only a few miles east of the city itself. This means that you can expect the weather in Paris in November to be pretty much identical to conditions at the amusement park itself. When you go, it always makes sense to pack for rain. If you have young children, take a couple of pairs of mittens and a warm cap. And take sturdy shoes, as the sidewalks in the complex dry fairly slowly when it rains (and you don't want kids with wet shoes all day long). If you visit later in the month, you might also catch the festive Electrical Parade. With thinner crowds, November could be the perfect time for a holiday vacation with a Disney theme.
The weather in November makes Versailles even more attractive
As for Versailles, there's never a bad time to visit this incredible architectural achievement. All of the attractions will be open in November. The guided tours of the palace itself, the Grand Trianon, Petit Trianon, and the gardens will be easier to book and less well attended. So if you have questions for the guides, November is a great time to ask them. The only drawback is that the fountains won't be running in November. Don't worry, though, as this is compensated by the gorgeous fall colors, which really come into their own in the huge, landscaped grounds. Culture fans should also note that opera and classical performances continue into the fall. For these performances, however, make sure you book tickets in advance as they are in high demand even out of season.
Ways to escape
Sometimes, the weather can be a drag. Just like in any city, traffic, noise, and rain can combine to make you yearn for a day trip far from the center of town. We've just mentioned Versailles, which is a great (and nearby) day trip, but what about other destinations? Well, there are plenty. Some of the most appealing are the chateaux (castles) located around Paris. From Chantilly to Fontainebleau, there are tens to choose from, and all will be sublime in the late fall. Touring Champagne country is another option. The harvest will be over by November, so many producers will be happy to welcome visitors. And cities like Reims, Orléans or Chartres are also within an hour or two of Paris. All of them are gorgeous cities, and the train journeys pass through some scenic countryside that really shows off the beauty of the season.
If you're planning a trip to Paris, you could do worse than November. The weather in Paris in November is not for sun-seekers. Instead, it's a time for couples to walk arm-in-arm along the Seine, to gaze at timeless works of art, or shop at flea markets at your leisure. Or you can book the finest restaurants without competition, and enjoy stunning vistas of one of the world's most attractive cities. So pack your raincoat, charge up your camera, and get ready to experience Paris without distractions. You'll be dying to tell us what an amazing time you had.