September has always been one of my favorite months in the city of light. There's a sense of transition that I've always found exciting, as summer laziness culminates and a surge of energy from "la rentrée"-- that very French concept that translates roughly as "back to school" but concerns adults too-- falls over the city. Everything comes out of summer vacation mode, from shops reopening to politicians getting back to work and newspapers grinding out thicker editions again. More than the calendar New Year in Paris, September is the city's de facto nouvel an.
Why to Love Paris in September:
With the peak tourist season winding down, air and hotel fares take a dip, but the weather is just as nice, if not nicer, than during the summer months. The laid-back, summer-vacation ambiance is still lingering around the city, but most Parisians are back in town, creating an interesting mix of fun and authenticity. Those wishing to avoid the cramped conditions of peak season may find September to be one of the best times of the lower season to visit. Late September is probably the better choice for avoiding the tail-end of high season, however.
September in Paris can also be an ideal time for experiencing a cruise on the Seine river or on Paris canals and waterways, especially on hot days when breezes off the water offer a welcome reprieve. Alternatively, if you wish to explore the city by foot, our 2-day Paris itinerary will show you both classic and hidden nooks of the city.
A Few Highlights in 2013:
Through October: "Musical Waters" show at the Chateau de Versailles-- experience the mingling of light, water, and classical music in the gardens of the world's most famous chateau, perfect for a mid-summer stroll. (Read more info...)
- The Autumn Festival: Since 1972, the Paris Autumn Festival or "Festival de l'Automne" has brought in the post-summer season with a bang by highlighting some of the most compelling works in contemporary visual art, music, cinema, theater, and other forms. Consult the official website for program details (in English)
The September Thermometer
- Minimum temperature: 13 degrees C (55.4 degrees F)
- Maximum temperature: 21 degrees C (69.8 degrees F)
- Average temperature: 15 degrees C (59 degrees F)
- Average rainfall: 53 millimeters (2.1 inches)
How to Pack and Prepare for a Trip to Paris in September
September in Paris is generally on the moderately warm and damp side, with average temperatures at around 24 degrees C/ 75 F. Rain is common and it isn't unusual for autumn-like conditions to foil plans for outdoorsy activities.
In recent years, however, unusually hot temperatures have been known to strike Paris in the summer months, and spikes in temperature may hit in September. Elderly visitors, visitors with medical conditions, and parents with infants and small children should remain especially alert to possible spikes in temperature, and take necessary precautions. Reserving a hotel room with air conditioning is one of them. Making sure to keep plenty of water on hand and drinking regularly, even when there is no sensation of thirst, is another.
Cloudy, rainy conditions are frequent in September. Make sure to pack a sturdy umbrella and at least one pair of waterproof shoes.
Bring a good pair of walking shoes.. Visits to Paris usually involve lots of strolling, and the Paris metro is notorious for its seemingly endless tunnels and stairs.
- Since September is the tail-end of summer in Paris and warm, sunny days are still probable, pack clothes for both cool and sunny conditions. You should also think about bringing a hat or visor and other gear for sunny days when you wish to spend time lounging in one of Paris' best parks and gardens.
Compare Travel Packages and Book Your Trip:Lock in a good deal on flights and hotels early by consulting sites like Expedia (book direct).
Readers Respond: When is your favorite time of the year to visit Paris?