For many visitors, autumn in Paris is the most wonderful time of year: the scorching heat of summer has faded, the colours are at their brightest, and the hordes of visitors have returned home.
Across the city, the aroma of freshly baked goods drifts out of patisserie doors and it is cool enough to begin dreaming of hot chocolate − at the very least, you can again enter a chocolate shop without worrying your purchases will melt into a mess.
Yes, autumn is definitely one of the best times to visit Paris, although there's a huge difference between Paris in September (sunny and often warm) and Paris in November (potentially cold and rainy).
There are many autumn events in Paris, with concerts and theaters reopening, but and beyond culture, there's energy in the air. Residents have rested up during the summer and brought back some of that easy feeling with them.
The problem with Paris in the fall is that there's so much to do it's difficult to choose.
Of course fall in Paris can bring gloomy days and autumn showers, but the city somehow manages to maintain its mantle of beauty, whatever the weather.
When the streets glisten with rain, the cobblestones can't help but reflect the light in a way that scintillates almost magically. As autumn edges towards winter, some of those cold gloomy days might be more frequent, but the city somehow remains bright.
You can choose to embrace the wet and damp, or you can hide from it, but either way, the joy that comes with Paris will refuse to go away.
So here we go, ideas of what you can do in Paris in the autumn.
After the slump of summer, culture emerges with force once La Rentrée (the "return") is done with, children have started school, and everyone is catching up with overflowing inboxes.
Paris is at its autumn best for culture. Whether posters in the metro or advertisements online, we are bombarded with events that have been waiting for the season to open.
The Festival d’Automne à Paris is everything wrapped into one, a kaleidoscope of contemporary culture that embraces arts from dance and theater to music and film. It's ever-changing programme is a delight for those who want to stay on culture's cutting edge − French, of course, but also from around the world.
As you do the cultural rounds, you'll also discover some of the best venues in Paris: the festival's events take place in more than 60 different venues, from the Centre Pompidou to the Jeu de Paume museum. You can browse the shows or get your tickets from the festival's office.
Some of the best things to do in Paris in autumn involve museums, and of course Paris has some of the most famous museums in the world, like the lavish Louvre.
But museums in Paris can also be smaller and less known, often covering the range of tastes, from romance to crime to art. The beauty of Paris is that it has it all: there are few interests you won't see reflected in some sort of exhibit.
A small museum not far from Montmartre, the Musée de la Vie Romantique is made for romantics and artsy enthusiasts. George Sand and Frédéric Chopin are only two of the network of creative visionaries these antique walls have seen.
Make sure you stop at the elegant fairytale garden after your visit, for a sliver of silence away from the noise of the city. If the weather is cool or rainy, take advantage of the indoor seating in the museum's Tea Room.
This is an intriguing little museum, all about fakes and counterfeit goods. It's tiny and is definitely in need of a spruce-up but that doesn't stop it from yielding plenty of surprises about the world's most popular fakes. Here's more about the Counterfeit Museum, a perfect place to while away an hour if you happen to be in the 16th arrondissement on a rainy day.
This is certainly not for everyone, but it is an interesting gallery and collection, which forms part of the French National Museum of Natural History, the first museum I ever visited as a child. Animal skeletons and bones? Go ahead, to give your Paris trip an uncanny edge.
Paris tends to coexist peacefully with the afterlife, and visiting cemeteries is a favourite Parisian and tourist pastime.
And what is autumn without a few shivers down your spine? If you want to push beyond these human cemeteries for an other-worldly experience in Paris, fall for the Cimetière des Chiens (the Dog Cemetery) for something truly unusual.
The cemetery was not created for sentimental reasons but because major European cities in the 18th century were not known for their impeccable sanitary habits. Streets were often littered with filth, and the Paris pet cemetery was created to keep the river and rubbish dumps free of deceased pets by burying them in a communal spot.
The cemetery doesn't only welcome dogs, and within its walls you'll find the graves of many other pets. In fact it's actually called the Cemetery of Dogs and Other Domestic Animals.
Should you choose to visit (and I admit it's not for everyone), it's to the northwest of Paris, a half-hour drive, or by public transportation. Perhaps take advantage of being here to visit the nearby Chateau d'Asnières.
Paris is famous for the vast array of literary figures and artists who have trekked through its labyrinth of streets, leaving their stamp on the city's bookstores. There's a whirl of reading to be done, and what better way to while away a crispy autumn afternoon than surrounded by books?
With its picture-perfect navy blue storefront, The Red Wheelbarrow is an independent literary bookstore perfect for inspiration on an autumn afternoon.
Right on the Rue de Rivoli, Librairie Galignani is continental Europe's first English-language bookstore, a book-lover’s paradise with hardwood shelves and mosaic floors. This may be your perfect France in fall moment, especially if you combine it with a glorious "African" hot chocolate (made with beans from three countries) at Angelina right next door.
Shakespeare and Company needs no introduction, but only a reminder that such luminaries as Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce once haunted its aisles. I was once caught out in the rain right out in front so I rushed in. By the time the rain passed, I was too busy browsing to leave. You may suffer the same fate.
With its large parks and outdoor attractions to visit, a rainy Paris doesn’t have to stand in the way of your love for nature. Like a Garden of Eden in a jar, the city's greenhouses extend their tempting glass casings to welcome you into the green side of Paris.
Head off to the Grandes Serres in the Jardin des Plantes, the Paris Zoological Park greenhouse, or the kaleidoscope of butterflies at the Jardin des Papillons in the Parc Floral. Admire nature around you, and listen to the soft sound of rain on the greenhouse glass. Experience this once and you'll actually be praying for rain!
Autumn is spooky season and Paris is no exception. This is the perfect time to kindle that otherwordly flame by heading underground into one of the more unsettling sights of Paris: the Catacombs. Rather than scary, there's a certain serenity that overtakes you as you descend the spiral staircase. Or at least it did me.
From Remy’s unexpected underground adventure in Ratatouille to a crafty escape route in Les Misérables, the Paris sewers often star in film and literature. They may sound a little disgusting, but it isn't at all.
The Paris Sewer Museum is built along sewer galleries and contains such unusual items as old maintenance machines and replicas of different-sized tubing used to pump water and waste. Against all odds, I was fascinated by this offbeat site.
While embracing the French flâneur spirit (a stroller who observes modern urban life) might be tempting, you’ll need some Paris prep before your travels. Here are a few essential things to remember when travelling to Paris in the fall:
From gallons of frothy hot chocolate to embracing the windy weather and heading to fall events in Paris, the autumn season is an exciting time to be here. While many crave spring flowers or summer's warmth, the fall has a way of transforming Paris into a warm, familiar escape.
Are you looking to extend your Paris in fall trip into the frosty season? Take a look at this Paris in winter guide to learn about the icy splendours just waiting for you if you take the plunge.