The days are shorter and the air is crisp, yet Paris events are heating up for the fall season. The Paris Opera & Ballet companies are starting out their new season with a bang with performances at Opera Bastille & Palais Garnier. Also popular in October are classical music concerts at the newly refurbished stained-glass wonder, the Gothic church of La Sainte Chapelle.
October is also a great month to explore beyond Paris to Versailles or the Loire Valley to see the French landscape in its autumn glory. It's the last month of the season to catch the spectacular fountain shows at Versailles, and to see the gardens in bloom at Giverny.
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You only live once, make sure one of your days includes the best of Paris nightlife. Dine at the Eiffel tower: check. Seine River Cruise: check. Cabaret at the world famous Moulin Rouge: check. The evening starts with dinner high above the city at restaurant Eiffel 58, then to the river for an illuminations cruise. Finally, Moulin Rouge for champagne and the hit cabaret.
It's no secret that the Louvre is the world's most popular museum. Do you want to wait in line to see the best art in the world? Or do you want to zip ahead of the long line with fast access tickets and join a fascinating walking tour where your expert guide will personally take you right to the highlights — Venus, Mona, and other influential pieces.
Another place you want to try to avoid the long lineups is the Eiffel Tower — and this 2-in-1 activity can help out. Your guide whisks you past the ticket lines at the Tower and takes you up to viewing platform, your ticket also includes access to the top, third level. Afterwards, hop on a bateau berthed on the river at the foot of the tower for a cruise along the Seine.
Everything looks better from a boat cruising down the Seine. On this relaxing ride you see Paris from a different perspective. All the famous landmarks will pass by as you enjoy a multi-course French meal. If you want to splurge, book the Service Premier option that gets you at the front of the boat with your own private table.
You're in luck! October is the last month of the season that this 2-in-1 tour is offered. Cycle the countryside near Versailles — through forests and pastures. Shop at local markets, then lounge in the gardens of Versailles eating grapes, nibbling on cheeses, while drinking in the history of the place. After le picnic, use your VIP skip-the-line pass to explore the Chateau de Versailles.
In the country that practically invented the art of scent, join an everything-perfume workshop led by an industry expert who also teaches at the Ecole Superieure Du Parfum (school of Perfumery) in Versailles. First on the agenda is learning the basics of perfume including the characteristics of distinct families of scents. Then you dive in to make your own unique perfume to take home. How cool is that?
Bundle up a little from the slight nip in the air — and from the chills you'll get during this tour of the ghostly, the eerie, and the downright creepy! Your guide leads you down cobblestone streets and winding alleys as you learn about the darker side of the City of Light. The Black Plague, the Nazis, and the unexplained.
In the city that invented nightlife, let our Paris Concierge create the perfect night out in Paris for you. This is not a run-of-the-mill, wandering-around-to-find-a-restaurant evening. No! This is a unique night in Paris created just for you from mix-and-match ideas — like a Grand Cru wine tasting, a fabulous dinner on the Eiffel Tower, drinks at an iconic jazz club, maybe adding a late-night cabaret in Montmartre.
Of all the Paris travel advice we give, this is perhaps the most useful and appreciated. Simply, arrange for your ground transportation from the airport into central Paris before you leave home. Then, when you arrive tired and jet-lagged, you'll avoid the often long wait at the taxi stand. Readers have liked to book this shuttle van service right to their hotel.
But, wait a minute, here's our very best advice! It costs more, but it's just the pampering you deserve after a long flight. The Insiders Secret way to get from the airport is to have a private, luxurious Mercedes S-Class booked before you leave home. If you're like us, you'll appreciate the extra comfort of a private ride after the long flight. We highly recommend Manu, our Paris friend and professional driver, to meet you at the arrivals gate and whisk you into the city!
Your driver/guide whisks you from your Paris address to the royal estate. Included in your dossier are priority, skip-the-line tickets. Go directly inside (past the angry mob) to experience the grandeur of the chateau on a guided tour that includes the best of Versailles. Then stroll through the gardens until lunch (included) on the Grand Canal. Aprés lunch — the Grand Trianon & Marie Antoinette's farm.
You will feel like royalty as you slip past the guards and the velvet ropes to to see Versailles' secrets that are usually reserved just for dignitaries. Here's what's in store on this VIP tour — Louis XVI's apartments, his personal library, the Royal Chapel (built for the wedding of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette). You also get to view the Hall of Mirrors before the palace opens, before the crowds arrive. Your priority ticket gets you inside the palace with your small group for a leisurely, relaxing afternoon.
During October, grab the last chance of the season to experience the magnificent Versailles fountain show (on weekends only). The dazzling water display is carefully choreographed to music from the court of Louis XIV. This full-day activity includes a complete guided tour of Versailles with lunch at the Petite Venise restaurant (included) and a visit to the Queen's Hamlet.
We've saved the best for last. Here, our Paris Concierge has curated VIP private tours to Versailles, (both half-day and full-day). The day starts with your driver/guide meeting you and your party at your Paris address. Voila! You're whisked past the ticket lines for a custom, extensive tour geared to your interests. The full-day tour includes a lavish lunch, (that's partly why we highly recommend it)! Choose one of these options if you really want to feel special.
October, and the gardens of Claude Monet are still dazzling, and less crowded than during the peak summer months. A visit to the lush gardens and sprawling mansion of this Impressionist master should be an essential on your Paris itinerary. At Giverny you wander to the lily pond, pause at the Japanese bridge and reflect on the artist's sublime creations.
A visit to the nearby Loire Valley is one of those things you don't want to miss during your time in Paris. While its moniker, Valley of 1000 Chateaux, may be a slight exaggeration, you'll be amazed by the number and the splendour of the castles, such as Château de Chambord and Château de Chenonceau. Everything is arranged for you on this day trip from Paris.
One of our favorite things to do while we're in Paris is to spend a day sampling champagne in the region it comes from. Champagne country is only an hour from Paris and it's easy to get to with day tours that pick you up right at your hotel. You spend the day focusing on the bubbly as you visit both small producers and grands maisons.
The day trips recommendations we can fit on this page are only a few of the wonders within easy reach of Paris. It's worth it to plan for a day or two to explore beyond the city gates to visit the D-Day beaches of Normandy, stunning Mont-Saint-Michel and other sites. Read our further recommendations for favourite day trips.
• Private Day Trips in France…
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What we like about the Paris Pass is that it saves money & time. You get into the museums for free and ride the Metro for free. But the big advantage is that you get to bypass the ticket lines. If you've ever stood in line for hours at the Louvre or d'Orsay, you'll appreciate how nice it would be to just walk up to the door and show your Paris Pass
Now, we're able to offer a special discount, exclusively for our readers, that gives you an additional 10% on all 4-day and 6-day passes. What used to be just a good deal is now a great deal. And, since the clock doesn't start ticking on the Paris Pass until you first use it, you can buy it up to a year in advance. Be sure to use the discount code: INGUIDE10.
Attend a concert fit for a king at this historic chapel in the heart of Paris on Île de la Cité. Built on the order of Louis IX in the 13th century, it has recently undergone an extensive seven-year, €9.5 million restoration to the rose stained-glass wall. The scaffolding is now down, revealing the sparkling glass windows! Combine a visit to the must-see chapel with a classical music concert.
Experience the classic opera by Saint-Saëns, starring Aleksandrs Antonenko as Samson & Anita Rachvelishvili as Dalila.
• Opera Bastille
• October 4 to November 16, 2016
Donizetti's opera was first performed in 1835. It's based on Sir Water Scott's historic novel. Performed in Italian, with English and French surtitles.
• Opera Bastille
• October 14 to November 16, 2016
Catch the last dates for Puccini's masterpiece in three acts. In Italian, with English and French surtitles.
• Opera Bastille
• Ends October 18, 2016
Four works with music by Philip Glass, choreography by Justin Peck, Tino Sehgal & William Forsythe.
• Palais Garnier
• September 26 to October 9, 2016
Music by Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Brahms, Schoenberg, set design by Karl Lagerfeld, choreography by Balanchine.
• Palais Garnier
• October 22 to November 15, 2016
Paris is as much about music as it is art, fashion,and food, for that matter. Here've presented just a few of the classical concerts being presented in October in venues throughout the city. It's a great time to give your feet a rest and take a break from the crisp autumn nights. And what better place than inside a classic Gothic church or a new, ultra-modern concert hall…in Paris?
In the most knowledgable wine bar in the city, only steps from the Louvre in central Paris, a professional sommelier will guide you through tasting of wines from the most iconic vineyards of France — from Champagne to Sancerre, from Bordeaux to Burgundy, from Alsace to the Rhône. We recommend the 2-hour tasting sessions
This is pure Paris luxury! Take a three-hour cruise along the Seine aboard the luxury yacht, Don Juan II, as you are served a traditional French meal prepared by a 2-star Michelin chef. Combine romance, fine dining, and a tour of the City of Lights from the River Seine. It's all arranged for you by our Paris Concierge. Tip: also ask about transportation to and from your hotel.
Any calories you eat in gourmet food sampling will be burned off by the 3-hour walking tour! You begin on the famous Boulevard Saint-Germain, the center of the Left Bank, at a traditional fromagerie. But this gourmet tour is about so much more than just cheese — freshly baked baguettes, fine French wine, chocolate, foie gras. It's a gourmet's dream hike!
How could we not like this one? Chocolate, pastries and Paris — together at last! And it's not just us, this is also one of our readers' fave food activities. They love getting behind-the-scenes in a world of sweetness and goodness — with plenty of sampling, including regional specialities.
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This fantastic event is the brain-child of former Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë. His idea was to create a Paris all-nighter with monuments, museums, and theaters kept open from dusk to dawn. Fourteen years later, Nuit Blanche is more popular than ever. Expect to be one of thousands that stay awake all night exploring the artistic side of Paris. At dawn, revellers enjoy a free breakfast compliments of the Hôtel de Ville.
• October 1, 2016
Chocolate lovers unite! If you're in Paris and a chocolate lover, this event will plug you into the latest choco-trends with plenty of tastings, demonstrations and symposiums. Meet the growers of cocoa, taste delicacies from the best Paris chocolatiers, and attend the famous Chocolate Dresses Fashion Show.
• Paris Expo Porte de Versailles
• October 28 to November 1, 2016
Vintage car enthusiasts gather round! Days before the famous annual race from Paris to Deauville begins, all the cars are on display at Place Vendome. The ritziest square in Paris (it's home of the hotel) is transformed into an outdoor museum of vintage cars, coupes and cabriolets.
• Place Vendôme, 1st Arrondissement
• September 26 to October 2, 2016
Join the festivities at Montmartre's town hall (Mairie) as locals harvest the annual crop of grapes to produce 500 bottles of Clos Montmartre. It's the last working vineyard in Paris and Montmartians celebrate with parades, tastings and wine-related festivities.
• Montmartre Mairie
• October 5 to 9, 2016
• Website (French)…
It's a world of wonderful art — displayed at the fabulous Grand Palais.
• Grand Palais
• October 20 to 23, 2016
See a rare collection of Second Empire paintings, sculptures, photographs, drawings, objets d'art and jewellery at the Louvre. While you're there, also catch the Bouchardon exhibit — he was King Louis XV's royal sculptor. You can see his work in the Rue de Grenelle fountain, Eglise Saint-Sulpice, and the equestrian monument in the center of Place de la Concorde.
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