Late September signals the coming of autumn. Days grow chilly, nights draw in, Parisians unfurl their umbrellas, leaves take on a hues of dark red, orange and russet so that trees assume a mantle of breath-taking splendour. The Boulevard Haussmann becomes fragrant with the enticing aromas of hot chestnuts and roasted corn. In Paris the fall is, indeed, a feast for all the senses, but also a time of cultural effervescence, with trade shows, fairs, exhibitions and other events taking place with renewed energy. Here are some you should not miss during the Parisian autumn.
You can enjoy free access to the historic monuments of Paris each year on the third weekend in September, courtesy of the Journées du Patrimoine (Heritage Days). Around 16,000 public and private sites take part in this hugely worthwhile event that allows everyone to experience places that are usually out of bounds to the general public. A multitude of activities is arranged for all ages, including walks, guided tours, exhibitions and workshops. A fine first course for your autumn cultural feast.
The season of mists is also brightened by the International Contemporary Art Fair (FIAC). Over several days, the Grand Palais, the courtyard of the Louvre and the Tuileries welcome an event that is one of the three most important art fairs in the world. Artists, dealers, galleries and collectors gather in the capital and there’s a golden opportunity to view a vast array of contemporary art.
Another essential event for serious contemporary art lovers is Art Elysées and Design Elysées, taking place in the 1st and 8th arrondissements, the Petit Palais and the Place de la Concorde. Some 70 galleries display the works of 185 artists during an event of global prestige and immense popularity encompassing modern art, contemporary art and furniture design.
All this builds up to the autumn’s key cultural event, the Nuit Blanche (White Night), a free annual arts festival that runs from dusk until dawn. Since 2002, this event has taken place on the first Saturday in October, when artistic creations take over the streets, squares, museums and other public spaces, allowing everyone to engage with the vitality of art.
The third Thursday in November is a significant date for wine lovers as it heralds the arrival of the new Beaujolais and a perfect excuse to celebrate the event in the bars and cafés of Paris. Tying in neatly with this is the wine-makers trade fair held each year during the last weekend of November at the Porte de Versailles exhibition centre. Here, wine enthusiasts can taste a multitude of different wines ... in moderation, of course!
Tennis fans receive their turn for excitement when the world’s greatest players gather for the Paris Masters in Paris-Bercy. This takes place every year at the AccorHotels Arena during the second week in November.
Music lovers should mark early September on their calendars, as this is when the Cité de la Musique and the Parc de la Villette move to the cool or hot sounds of jazz in a series of concerts by international performers at the Jazz à la Villette festival.
Finally, the Autumn Fair, a comprehensive trade show for consumers, takes place each year for ten days in late October and early November. Showcasing all the latest innovations and trends in a wide diversity of areas including fashion, gardening, décor, cooking, household appliances and leisure, this is where you can not only see, but also try out, all manner of consumer goods. A great day out for family or professionals, it offers the chance to get some great gift ideas before the Christmas holiday rush.