It’s been another record-breaking year for tourism in France.
And the City of Lights is one of the most visited cities in the world. Paris is considered a ‘love it or hate it’ destination, but it’s a city of history, culture, and romance like no other.
The French tourism minister has projected that spending by overseas tourists will reach between 64-67 billion euros by the end of the year. And American travelers have visited Paris in droves this summer.
But here’s why this iconic city is actually best visited in the fall:
A More Relaxed Experience
Paris in the summer can be a roasting hot nightmare with local residents replaced by crowds of tourists.
But when the visitors have dispersed and the locals are back in Paris and back to their everyday lives, it is a much more relaxing and authentic time to discover this special city.
The temperatures are more manageable and the days are shorter.
During the fall months, you will spend less time queuing for attractions and experiences, you’ll have more space to explore the most popular museums and galleries such as the Louvre at your own pace, and you’re much more likely to get a table at your favorite restaurants or cafes without a long wait.
Fall is also a great time to immerse yourself in local pastimes such as exploring local produce markets or buying pastries and taking them for a stroll around the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont in the 19th arrondissement.
I love exploring the flea markets in Paris, particularly the Sunday market in Saint-Ouen. With over 2,500 stalls, this is a huge street market where you can hunt for all manner of unusual and unexpected vintage pieces. Fall is the perfect time to visit.
It’s true that most European cities are a riot of beautiful red and orange foliage during the summer months, but the colors make fall a great time to visit Paris in particular.
The gardens of the Palace of Versailles are vividly colored with the autumn foliage, and the crisp cool of the fall air makes it much easier to explore at your own pace.
Taking a cruise down the River Seine is also a fun experience in the fall. Foliage aside, it’s one of the most laid-back ways to explore the heart of the city.
You can see some of the most iconic landmarks in Paris, such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Grand Palais, and Musee D’Orsay without getting off the boat.
Seine cruises are a popular way to see Paris, particularly for visitors who are short on time but want to see as many attractions as possible. During the fall, they tend to be less crowded, and the breeze of the river is very pleasant.
River cruises vary in price, but the hop-on, hop-off Botobus Paris is a no-frills budget alternative that offers all of the attractions without the fuss for travelers on a budget.
Bustling With Events
Finally culture vultures will be interested to know that the best and most interesting events in Paris tend to take place in the fall.
September sees the arrival of the bi-annual Paris Fashion Week, and while the shows and events are invite-only the sight of fashionistas posing around the city only adds to the glamor and je ne sais quoi that makes Paris one of the most popular cities in the world.
During the fourth week of October, the annual ‘Contemporary Art Week’ takes over the city and attracts art fans from all over the world.
For foodies, the Salon du Chocolat will arrive in the city at the end of October. An opportunity to sample some of France’s most delicious artisanal chocolates in one place.
One of the most interesting and bohemian districts in Paris is Montmartre. In the fall, a traditional event called the Montmartre Grape Harvest Festival brings the area to life with parades, concerts, wine tastings, and more fall-themed activities.
It’s a great way to step outside of the traditional tourist attractions and celebrate all that is eclectic and exciting about fall in Paris.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com