A couple share a kiss beneath the falling leaves of the Jardin de Luxembourg
Ian Packham

Visiting Paris in September

Paris in September is synonymous with la rentrée – the return of Parisians who have spent the summer on the shores of the French Riviera. For visitors, their return brings an added sense of authenticity to streets still warm enough to want to be out in.

Also heralding the beginning of fall, the city’s parks and gardens become a blaze of oranges and reds with the turning of the leaves. But if that wasn’t enough, Paris in September hosts a myriad of events casting a new light over the City of Light. Ready to discover Paris as summer turns to fall? Don’t miss your chance to visit in September!

September in Paris

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Daytime temperatures of over 20°C make getting out and about in Paris a joy in September, with light, quickly moving showers the only fly in the ointment. In short, September is perfect weather for being on the water.

Few are able to resist the allure of a River Seine cruise at any time of day, although sunset remains a firm favorite with us. Evening temperatures linger around 13°C, meaning you’ll probably want a sweater to keep the chill at bay.

You can also take advantage of the great weather to delve into the side streets of the Montparnasse neighborhood on foot. Lying just a short distance from many of Paris’s world-famous landmarks, the area has long been the bastion of the city’s café culture and intellectual conversation.

Notable fans of the area have included Hemingway, Dali and Jean-Paul Sartre, who’s buried in the cemetery which dominates as much as the Tour Montparnasse – the only skyscraper in the Paris city limits.

Outdoor adventures

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Equally impressive are the large-scale sculptures that appear in the La Défense district and the gardens of La Seine Musicale performing arts center at this time of year, creating an outdoor exhibition space with few challengers.

When it comes to outdoor public spaces, the Bois de Boulogne is rarely absent from the conversation for long. It’s 2000-plus acres incorporate several individual parks and gardens, as well as September’s Fête à Neuneu. Instigated by no less a figure than Napoleon Bonaparte as Emperor of France in 1815, it’s a funfair filled to bursting with traditional rides and candy floss stalls.

The festivals in fact come thick and fast, with the Fête des Jardins (Garden Festival) weekend hot on its heels. Though lasting just two days, it sees parks across the city holding special events. They include live bands, food stalls and guided tours. All are put together to help visitors get the most out of the city’s 150 public green spaces.

Indoor marvels

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With such an array of history on display, you wouldn’t think Paris would be in need of its European Heritage Days. However, this September weekend grants visitors free access to many of Paris’s museums, alongside attractions usually off-limits to the general public.

The Élysée Palace, official residence of the French President, behind the scenes areas of the Paris Metro and Hôtel Drouot – an auction house equivalent to Sotheby’s – have all opened their usually closed doors for previous editions.

Attractions reopening their doors – this time after the summer hiatus – are the shows that provide entertainment late into the night, including those of the cabaret clubs of Montmartre and Paris’s two main opera houses, the Palais Garnier and Opera Bastille.

Get your lips tingling and toes tapping

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You certainly don’t have to be an opera buff to enjoy a night out in the French capital. To start with, there is no shortage of rooftop bars, still very much usable spaces thanks to the sunny weather of Paris in September.

Combine a little panoramic sightseeing with a classic cocktail at the likes of Bar le Perchoir for views of the Sacré-Coeur and Le Georges atop the Pompidou Center for vistas taking in much of the city from seven stories up.

Always a focal point for those of a musical bent, with structures including the Paris Philharmonic Hall and the Zenith and Trabendo live music venues, Parc la Villette takes on extra significance in September when it hosts Jazz à la Villette and the Jazz for Kids mini-festival.

EDM lovers are also catered for, with the one-day Techno Parade taking over streets in the heart of Paris. Attracting audiences numbering north of a quarter of a million people, the good-time atmosphere sees DJs play a long list of crowd favorites from decks situated on slowly moving floats.

Admire the latest trends

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One of the most stylish cities around, design can be seen everywhere from the Pompidou Center to the fashion shows of the Galeries Lafayette department store.

If a single event brings together that je ne sais quoi of apparently-effortless Paris style it’s the city’s Design Week in the first half of September. Schools, workshops and studios all show off their latest collections in an event that could well see you rubbing shoulders with a buyer from any of Europe’s high-end stores.

The end of the month also sees the year’s second installment of Fashion Week, with venues across the city turned over to brands big and small.

Landmarks are always keen to get involved with the Paris Autumn Festival too. It begins in September and runs through the rest of the year with dance, variety performances and film screenings all part of the program.

Save on September Paris attraction admission

Is September a good time to visit Paris? We have little difficulty in saying it is. There’s a huge range of events to look forward to and weather conditions which most parts of the world would die for at the beginning of fall.

Whether you plan to spend your days scouring the backstreets of Montmartre or delving headlong into the collections of the Paris museums, exploring with Go City will help you keep costs under control. Our pre-paid passes give those visiting Paris in September substantial savings on admission to a long list of major attractions.

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