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France Travel in November

Fall Colors, Christmas Markets and Cheaper Fares and Accommodation

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nbeauj

Wine Connoisseurs welcome the Beaujolais Nouveau Season

© Spencer Platt/Getty Images
The exterior of the Hospices de Beaune in Burgundy

The exterior of the Hospices de Beaune in Burgundy

© Mary Anne Evans
reimsxmas

Reims at Christmas

© Reims Tourist Office

Although November might seem a grey month, it's a surprisngly good time to pick for a French vacation with the falll colours still brightening up the countryside. The most important date is November 11th,  Armistice Day which commemorates the end of World War I. Both large cities and small villages have ceremonies to remember. As we approach 2014, the museums and tourist offices are getting together a huge program of visits, walks and ceremonies. As November draws to the end, the Christmas markets spring up all over France.

Most importantly, Airfares are beginning to fall, plus there are good holiday and hotel prices to take advantage of.

Some Annual November Highlights

  • Armistice Day is celebrated in every corner of France. It's particular moving to visit the many World War I sites in north France. The date is always November 11th, but there are commemorations on the closest weekend as well.
  • The Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction takes place over three glorious days in Beaune, Burgundy. The tradition dates back to 1859 when the first sale to auction wines produced from the various vineyards owned by the Hospices was held by candlelight. Two candles were lit at the beginning of the sale of each batch and the sale went to the person bidding last as the candles went out.
  • Beaujolais Nouveau is released at midnight on the last Thursday of the month. Never mind the quality; this is a great occasion for a bit of feasting and drinking, French-style.
  • Le Salon des Antiquaires in Toulouse sees some 300 dealers setting up shop for avid antique hunters.Held at the beginning of November.
  • Christmas markets open all over France in preparation for the annual December holiday.
  • Weather

    In November the weather can still be warm in the south but even here, pack for the cold. It can get really cold and rainy in the North, so err on the comfortable side and take plenty of layers to keep Jack Frost at bay. Here are weather averages for some major cities:

  • Paris:
    Temperature ranges from 3 degrees C (7 degrees F) to 7 degrees C (44 degrees F
    Average temperature is 4 degrees C (39 degrees F)
    Average number of days with some rain is 16
  • Bordeaux:
    Average temperature ranges from 5 degrees C (41 degrees F) to 13 degrees C (55 degrees F)
    Average temperatures is 7 degrees C (45 degrees F)
    Average number of days with some rain is 15
  • Lyon:
    Temperature ranges from 4 degrees C (39 degrees F) to 10 degrees C (50 degrees F)
    Average temperature is 7 degrees C (45 degrees F)
    Average number of days with some rain is 14
  • Nice:
    Average temperature ranges from 9 degrees C (48 degrees F) to 16 degrees C (61 degrees F)
    Average temperature is 11.5 degrees C (53 degrees F)
    Average number of days with some rain is 12
  • Strasbourg:
    Average temperature ranges from 2 degrees C (36 degrees F) to 8 degrees C (46 degrees F)
    Average temperature is 5 degrees C (41 degrees F)
    Average number of days with some rain is 15
  • Find out more: Weather in France

    What to pack

    Packing for France in November is a question of making sure you have plenty of layers to keep you warm. Remember it can get very wet so take good walking shoes, plus an umbrella for blustery winds. If you are going to the Alps it can snow. And remember all those goodies in the Christmas market and perhaps take an extra suitcase or leave room in your main one for French treats. I advise including the following in your packing list:
  • A good winter coat
  • A warm jacket for daytime
  • Sweaters or cardigans
  • Scarf, hat and gloves
  • Good walking shoes. See the list of Top Travel Walking Shoes for Women or Top Travel Walking Shoes for Men
  • Sturdy umbrella that can resist the wind. Buy it now.
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