Paris in Autumn
Hot chocolate in cafés that have a warm glow at dusk, golden leaves floating gently down on wide avenues and rosy sunsets. Rainy days when museums beckon, steaming hot coffee and croissants and walking on frosty cobble stones. And don’t forget Nuit Blanche, the big event of the season held every first Saturday in October – an incredible arty part festival that’s free for all. Autumn in Paris is awesome.
One of the most fun things to do in Paris in the Fall is to wander – the French have a word for it – flaner, it means to stroll just for the pleasure of it. And to flaner in the famous Jardin des Tuilieries located between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde is a joyful event. The park was opened to the public in the 16th Century. It has terraces and a central vista which runs down the Grand Axe through circular and hexagonal ponds and the gardens are dotted with beautiful statues. Or perhaps Jardin du Luxembourg will float your boat. It’s a true family park with is merry-go-round, pony rides, ice cream sellers, puppet shows and more. Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is a hidden gem. Located in the 19th arrondissement it is one of Paris’ most magical spots. The park is full of twisting paths, waterfalls and temples. With 421 municipal parks and gardens in Paris – you’re spoiled for choice.
If you are staying in Paris for a few days it would be worth taking a mini cruise along the Seine to Giverny to see the wonderful Monet gardens (they close at the end of October).
Bordeaux in Autumn
Half the city of Bordeaux is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The centre of Bordeaux, flanked by its three boulevards is a hive of activity with the focal point being Place de la Comedie. Here you’ll find the imposing and architecturally stunning Grand Theatre which has a glorious façade. The huge square, Esplanades Quinconces, is host to statues of local Philosophers such as Montaigne and Montesquieu. Along the riverfront is the bridge of Pont de Pierre from where the view of the buildings with their arches and thin chimney stacks is seriously impressive. A visit to the famous vineyards of Bordeaux is easy to do from the city centre (the tourist office can help organise). Don’t miss St Emilion, the town of which is built like an amphitheatre.
Through most of Autumn, there’s plenty of sunshine, warm enough to eat outside. It’s the perfect time for trying a Canelé, the little cake from Bordeaux that’s delicious with a hot drink!
Lyon in Autumn
Lyon, the capital city in France’s Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region (formerly Rhone Alpes), sits at the junction of the Rhone and Saône rivers. With 2,000 years of history the city is a melting pot of architectural styles from Roman through to the modern Confluence district with its huge new Museum of history. The old town with its cobbled streets is the perfect place to wander on an Autumn day. Traboules, covered passageways between buildings once used by the famous Lyon silk makers, connect Old Lyon and La Croix-Rousse hill.
Known as the gastronomic capital of France, there are more restaurants in Lyon per capita than anywhere else in the country. Wander the old town and take your pick of gorgeous places to eat at or sip a glass of wine and watch the world go by.
Three more fabulous places to visit in Autumn: Le Touquet Paris-Plages, Haute-Marne, Champagne and Aveyron, Midi-Pyrenees