Forget April in Paris—it’s all hype and hordes of tourists. Visit in October, IgoUgo’s Paris veterans say, when an all-night party and an urban grape harvest show up springtime, big time.
Frequent Paris visitor uranus2359 is quite the Francophile—he even names Le Petit Prince among his favorite books—so we’ll take his word that Paris in the fall is “heavenly, with autumn leaves falling from trees.” Besides singing the praises of the season, his ode to Paris leaves no doubt as to his preferred hour there; he says the City of Light burns brightest after dark, when buildings are illuminated for a Paris that’s perfectly “elegant and romantic…what one imagines it to be and more.”
Paris will glow especially bright on the night of October 6, when the sixth annual Nuit Blanche means that museums, galleries, cafés, theaters, libraries, pools, and more welcome visitors through the night. The cultural smorgasbord has quickly become a local favorite, and has even inspired similar nocturnal events in cities from Toronto to Berlin. Former Paris resident zahedahaidri offers up this advice for Nuit Blanche revelers: “Start early, dress warmly, bring an umbrella, and be prepared to walk home.”
Another part-time Parisian, metrogirl, says summer months are a “tourist magnet and a resident’s nightmare;” she, too, prefers wandering Paris on “a misty autumn day,” particularly if it means soaking up the “quiet village feel” of the Ile Saint-Louis (best explored with a Berthillon cone in hand).
To truly get your fill of this quaint side of Paris, head up to Montmartre from October 12 to 14 for the Montmartre Grape Harvest Festival. Local vineyards have been toasting their yields at this celebration since 1934, and, like a fine wine, it’s only gotten better with age. Montmartre’s hill has become the last urban grape-growing district around, and residents pour their pride into parades and events all weekend long. If the intimate atmosphere of the village fête doesn’t make you feel like a local, a few glasses of this year’s vintage surely will.