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France in September

Late Summer Days, Great Festivals and the Grape Harvest Beckon

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vineyardcaix

Vineyard in Caix, France, owned by Prince Henrik and Queen Margrethe II of Denmark

© Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

The days are warm but the air is fresher, the autumnal colors are beginning to show and there’s a wonderful feel of the last of the summer. France in September is one of the year’s best months to visit. You benefit from few crowds, the attractions are still on their main opening hours, the harvest is under way and the sea is still a good temperature. And the grape harvest is getting under way with all its attendant festivals. Paris is getting back to business after the long break. France in September ticks all the right boxes.

Why Visit France in September

These are just some of the reasons for a September trip to France:

  • Enjoy the peace of the streets and the beaches, particularly along the Cote d'Azur as most European and American tourists return to work and school
  • The weather is usually warm and mild and is settled in the south
  • All museums and attractions are open, usually still with extended summertime hours
  • Many of the museums, like the Pompidou Center in Metz are starting their big autumn exhibitions
  • Rates start to go down on lodging and airfares
  • Short trips from Paris are much easier to arrange with less travellers on the roads and the trains

Events and festivals in September

  • The Braderie de Lille, the largest fleamarket and brocante fair in France, takes place in Lille in the first weekend of September.
  • The Basque Country Music Festival, one of France's premier music festivals takes place at the end of August and beginning of September along the Atlantic coast in places like St-Jean-de-Luz and Biarritz.
  • Piano aux Jacobins (in Toulouse), a festival devoted to classical piano music, features numerous concerts in the atmospheric Jacobins cloister.
  • The Feria du Riz or Rice Feria, (in Arles) is a showcase of bullfighting traditions in Southern France. The fans may leave the arena but the party continues into the night in this Provence city, famous for the running of the bulls and the spectacular Camargue horses.
  • The Paris Autumn Festival or "Festival de l'Automne" is one of the best showcases for contemporary visual art, music, cinema, theater, and other forms.
  • Jazz a Beaune, (in Beaune), celebrates two great French passions -- the local Burgundy wines and jazz music. Also on offer are classes on wine tasting and the jazz masters.
  • Heralding the Harvest in St Emilion marks the start of the harvest in one of France's key wine-producing areas. Don't miss the solemn mass and a torchlight evening tour of the town.

Calendar of Current Events in France in September

Weather

In September the weather is usually warm and settled though the air can be crisp and fresh. The evenings are cooler and the leaves start to turn with the beginning of autumn. Here are weather averages for some major cities:

  • Paris:
    Temperature ranges from 13 degrees C (55 degrees F) to 21 degrees C (70 degrees F
    Average temperature is 15 degrees C (59 degrees F)
    Average number of days with some rain is 12

  • Bordeaux:
    Average temperature ranges from 12 degrees C (54 degrees F) to 23 degrees C (73 degrees F)
    Average temperatures is 16 degrees C (61 degrees F)
    Average number of days with some rain is 13

  • Lyon:
    Temperature ranges from 12 degrees C (54 degrees F) to 23 degrees C (73 degrees F)
    Average temperature is 18 degrees C (64 degrees F)
    Average number of days with some rain is 11

  • Nice:
    Average temperature ranges from 17 degrees C (63 F) to 25 degrees C (77 degrees F)
    Average temperature is 20.2 degrees C (68 degrees F)
    Average number of days with some rain is 7

  • Strasbourg:
    Average temperature ranges from 9 degrees C (48 degrees F) to 20 degrees C (68 degrees F)
    Average temperature is 15 degrees C (59 degrees F)
    Average number of days with some rain is 12
Find out more: Weather in France

What to pack

September is generally settled in both north and south. But while the south can still be hot and dry, Paris and the north are unpredictable. You can get rain, you can get heatwaves. So, depending on where you are travelling, include the following in your packing list:

Find out more on Packing Tips

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