Top Paris events in October 2021 include two huge city-wide celebrations of art and culture, White Night (Nuit Blanche) and ParisArtistes.
You can also have fun at the annual grape harvest festival at a historic vineyard in Montmartre, enjoy 15 days of music during Jazz sur Seine, and visit Disneyland Paris to see lots of Halloween decorations.
But that's just the beginning. Look for exciting shows at all the major Paris museums, beautiful golden foliage throughout the city, and boutiques bursting with the fall collections. In even-numbered years, the world-famous Paris Motor Show brings over a million visitors to the city to see the latest automotive innovations.
Paris weather during October continues to be mild, with balmy nights, making October a wonderful month to explore the city while enjoying fall foliage colors.
Enjoy sidewalk dining outside your favorite bistro while the warm weather lingers, soak up fall colors in Parisian parks (we'll suggest the best!), and in honor of Halloween, conjure up a few ghostly spirits in the city's famous cemeteries.
You'll love visiting Paris in October!
Top photo: Le Marché des Enfants Rouges - 400 year old market (the oldest in Paris) in the 3rd arrondissement
October Concerts in Paris 2021
- Alexander Ekman's Play - Palais Garnier (Paris Opera House) - October 1, 7, 9, 10, 17, 22, 25, 26, 31
- Iphigénie en Tauride - Palais Garnier (Paris Opera House) - October 2
- Enesco's Oedipe - Opéra Bastille - Oct 2, 8, 11, 14
- L'Elisir d'Amore - Opéra Bastille - Oct 3, 6, 9, 16, 21, 24, 27, 30
- One Night of Queen - Palais des Sports Paris - October 5
- The Flying Dutchman - Opéra Bastille - Oct 7, 17, 22, 25, 28, 31
- Elton John - AccorHotels Arena - Oct 10 - Oct 12 - Oct 13
- Musical Lunches - Palais Garnier (Paris Opera House) - October 10
- Le Rouge et le Noir (The Red & the Black): Paris Opera Ballet - Palais Garnier (Paris Opera House) - Oct 18, 19, 20, 23, 24, 27, 28, 29, 30
- Rigoletto - Palais Garnier (Paris Opera House) - October 23, 26, 29
Nuit Blanche (White Night) in Paris - 2021
On October 3, Nuit Blanche ("Sleepless Night") turns Paris into an all-night festival of lights celebrating the work of emerging and established artists. Held annually starting at sundown on the first Saturday of October and continuing until sunrise on the following Sunday morning, this free event is one of Paris' largest and most popular cultural events as everyone stays up all night visiting the special art installations, concerts, dance and theatrical performances, elaborate light shows, and other artistic expressions by Parisian and international artists.
A festive parade kicks off the event with dances, musicians, DJs, and 12 spectacular large contemporary works (on wheels or inflatable) pulled by horses. You can see the works on display from 2pm to 5pm by the Grand Palais and Petit Palais on Avenue Winston Churchill in the 16th district, or in the parade which starts at Place de la Concorde at 7pm and finishes at Place de la Bastille at around 11pm.
For the first time, the Peripherique (Paris's ring road) will be closed to traffic between Porte de Pantin and Porte de la Villette and transformed into bicycle paths. Bring your own bike or rent a Velib' (Paris's bike share program).
Although shows take place in museums, galleries, municipal buildings, and studios across the city, you'll find the highest concentrations in central Paris (3rd and 4th arrondissements) and northeast Paris (18th and 19th arrondissements).
What's the easiest way to find out what's going on? You'll find a map here showing locations, addresses, and event information.
Paris Visitor's Tip: Daylight Savings Time Ends
Serge Gainsbourg Museum to Open
The home of French music icon Serge Gainsbourg, located at 5 bis Rue de Verneuil in the 6th arrondissement, will open in October as a museum celebrating the singer-songwriter's life thanks to years of effort by his daughter, Charlotte Gainsbourg.
Although the interior of the singer-songwriter's house is said to have remained untouched for most of the period since his death 30 years ago, the black-painted exterior wall has long been used by fans as a place to express their devotion with messages and drawings.
No opening details have been announced yet - so stay tuned!
Wine Harvest Festival in Montmartre 2021
Montmartre's annual Grape Harvest Festival (Fête des Vendanges de Montmartre) takes place for five days through the second weekend of the month - October 6-10 this year (to be confirmed). Over half a million visitors came to the festival last year, making this the city's biggest event after Nuit Blanche and Paris Plage.
A number of changes have been made to make this year's festival safer during the Covid pandemic without sacrificing the spirit of community and celebration in the fall harvest. Events are spread out across the 18th arrondissement to allow more distancing, lots more entertainment has been added, and while the focus is still on wine, there's also a lot to see and do related to the environment. Although the parade has been cancelled, the closing ball is still a "go." You can see the full calendar and list of events on the Festival's website. Keep in mind that the Covid situation is fluid, and changes may occur closer to the date.
In case you're planning for future years, here's the usual information about the Festival:
The festival involves traditional wine-making activities such as stomping on the grapes, but there's a lot more to do and see: a parade with lots of music and folk dancing on Saturday morning (starts at the vineyard at 11:45 and finishes at about 1:30pm at the 18th arrondissement's town hall), vineyard tours, many performances and exhibitions, over 20 free concerts (Thursday-Saturday), a dance ("Rainbow Ball" is this year's theme) with disco and other on Sunday at nearby Square Louis Michel at the foot of Sacré-Coeur (5-7:30pm, free admission), appearances by many celebrities, and food and wine tastings plus kids' events throughout the festival.
In addition, numerous nearby small museums, galleries, and organizations host events during the festival.
Location: Rue des Saules, 18th arrondissement
Nearest Metro: Abbesses; take the funicular up the hill
Montmartre 2-Hour Walking Tour - This fascinating walking tour shows you all the top sites of the Montmartre neighborhood, including the famous Sacre Coeur, artists studios, Moulin Rouge, and even the vineyard. More about the tour
Moulin Rouge Show - Experience the spectacular ambience and the "Féerie" show at the famous Moulin Rouge caberet in Montmartre as you sip Champagne. Sells out fast - so you need to book well in advance. More about the show
3-Hour Montmartre Cheese, Wine, & Pastry Tour - On this small-group walking tour of Montmartre, you'll sample cheeses, charcuterie, wine, pastries, and chocolate from the neighborhood's best artisan shops while your local expert guide shows you the hidden gems, private mansions, and breathtaking views in this unique part of Paris. More about this tour
More Ways to Tour Montmartre:
Halloween at Disneyland Paris during October 2021
Even though Halloween plays a relatively minor role in Paris decor and celebrations, you can indulge your Halloween fantasies at Disneyland Paris throughout October.
You'll find your favorite Disney villains, witches, and wicked stepmothers out and about, and plenty of spooky events adventures such as Mickey's Halloween Tricycle Gang, Goofy's "Skeletoon" Street Party, and lots of Halloween decorations everywhere.
When: September 25 - October 31 (to be confirmed)
Disneyland Paris and Transportation
Paris Marathon 2021
The Paris Marathon 2021, postponed from April due to the Coronavirus pandemic, takes place in October this year. The race now kicks off on Sunday, October 17. As far as we know now, all other details are the same.
The race kicks at the Arc de Triomphe as 65,000 runners from all over the world start the race course down Champs-Élysées and about a quarter of a million spectators line up along the 26.2 mile route to watch. The first group of Elite runners depart at 8:20am, with other groups following in waves until 9:50am.
Whether you're running or watching, the Marathon's mostly-flat 26.2 mile (42.2 km) route gives you spectacular close-up views of iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Louvre, plus interesting tours of Paris's two huge wooded parklands. Thanks to the relatively flat route, the winner typically crosses the finish line in just over two hours, although you can still see plenty of runners along the route until at least mid-afternoon.
Events before the race include the 3-day Paris Marathon Expo on October 14-16 (to be confirmed) at Porte de Versailles, where you can also pick up your bib, and an untimed 5K Breakfast Run on Saturday, October 16 past many of the famous sites runners will see on the full Marathon route the next day.
Paris Fashion Week - October - 2021
Paris Fashion Week takes place in multiple locations around the city and normally features numerous events showcasing French and International designers such as Chanel, Galliano, Dior, Givency, Vuitton, Miu Miu, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, Sandro, Comme des Garçons, Courrèges, Maje, Vanessa Bruno, and Isabel Marant as models strut down the runways wearing Women's Ready-To-Wear collections for next spring and summer.
This year, with the Covid pandemic still a major concern, a number of fashion houses and brands have cancelled - but at this time, the events are taking place in person.
The ticketed shows are generally by invitation only, so unless you're lucky enough to snag one, you can catch a glimpse of the models near the venue locations, typically in the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 7th, 8th, and 16th arrondissements. The Grand Palais, the Eiffel Tower and nearby Champs des Mars, Place des Vosges, Espace Ephémére des Tuileries near the Louvre, Palais Royal Garden, Hotel de Ville, Palais de Tokyo, and Pompidou are usually safe bets, as well as designer ateliers in the Marais neighborhood.
When: September 27 - October 5 (to be confirmed)
Paris Tours for Fashionistas
Halloween Evening at Le Grand Rex in Paris 2021
Celebrate Halloween in Paris at the Grand Rex movie theatre as they continue their annual tradition of showing Halloween horror cult classics on October 31. The Shining, The Exorcist, The Rex website posts schedule details about 1 week before each event.
Location: 1 Boulevard Poissonnière, 2nd arrondissement
Nearest Metro: Bonne Nouvelle
Day Trips from Paris: October Picks
October is a wonderful time to explore some of the exciting and famous attractions outside of Paris. Here are 3 of the most popular small group day trip choices:
- Normandy D-Day Landing Beaches - You'll visit Omaha Beach and other D-Day landing beaches in Normandy, the Operation Overlord Museum, and German bunkers, and learn about the dramatic events of June 6, 1944 from your expert guide - Book now
- Mont Saint Michel Tour & Cider Tasting - Explore the famous abby and fortified island town mostly at your own pace, and make a special stop to enjoy some famous Normandy Cider Pommeau and Calvados - Book now
- Versailles Palace & Gardens - During this private guided tour of the famous chateau, you'll see the Hall of Mirrors and other famous rooms in the palace, and explore the lush gardens. Book now
- Monet's Giverny - Visit Claude Monet's home and the gorgeous garden and water lily pond that inspired his famous Water Lilies paintings in this half-day trip with a guide from Paris - Book now
Paris Exhibits - Must-See Shows for October
Dalí: The Endless Enigma and Gaudí, Architect of the Imagination
@ Atelier des Lumieres - Immersive digital show accompanied by original music explores the works of Dalí and Gaudí.
Cinema at Last!
Paris Museum and Attractions Passes
Jazz sur Seine
Music - specifically, jazz - fills the air during the Paris Jazz Club Association's massive event featuring 150+ concerts at 20 different clubs between October 8 - 23. Although the festival will be slightly smaller than usual due to the Covid pandemic, the lineup looks as terrific as ever.
This is a wonderful opportunity to hear well-known artists such as Baptiste Herbin, Claude Tchamitchian, and more, as well as many who may be new to you, and also to become explore Paris's lively jazz scene, considered second only to New York. You'll hear everything from traditional jazz to electro, from blues to Latinx.
Ticket prices vary according to venue and artist. At small clubs, just the cost of a drink or a 10€ cover will get you in. Other shows require tickets, mostly in an affordable 12€-35€ range, and you can also save with a 3-concerts pass for 40€.
Soak Up Fall Foliage Colors in these Parisian Parks
Where's the best place to view fall foliage in Paris? Thanks to the city's many parks, you'll see plenty of fall colors everywhere during October, but here are three favorite locations:
Jardin des Tuileries across from the Louvre - There's nothing more beautiful than the golden foliage of the plane trees during autumn in Paris. Stroll through the long allées, or relax by the reflecting pools. Nearest Metro Station: Tuileries; 1st arrondissement
Parc Monceau - Filled with specimen trees that turn spectacular colors in the fall, this leafy park also contains a colonnade, a miniature Egyptian pyramid, a temple, a windmill, a grotto, an Italian vineyard, and a pond. It sounds crazy like a crazy mix but somehow feels enchanting when you walk through it, and is particularly lovely in autumn. Nearest Metro Station: Monceau; Blvd de Courcelles, 8th arrondissement
Find a Few Parisian Ghosts & Spirits in these Cemeteries
To get into the spirit of Halloween on October 31 and All Saint's Day on November 1, stroll through these 3 famous Parisian cemeteries to soak up the ambiance of departed spirits and perhaps even imagine a few ghosts:
Parisians call Père Lachaise Cemetery in the Menilmontant neighborhood in far northeast Paris la cite des morts - the city of the dead - and its rolling hills, elaborate monuments, and haunting beauty makes it easy to imagine the spirits of those buried here, including Marcel Proust, Collette, Molière, Baron Haussmann, Isadora Duncan, Yves Montand, Simone Signoret, Frédéric Chopin, Oscar Wilde, Modigliani, Delacroix, Victor Hugo, and Jim Morrison of The Doors.
Getting there: Metro station: Père Lachaise (Lines 2, 3), Blvd de Menilmontant and Avenue Gambetta, 20th arrondissement
Père Lachaise Cemetery Walking Tour: This 2-hour walking tour leads you through the maze of haunting and romantic tombs, shows you the graves of famous and infamous occupants such as Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, and Chopin. You'll learn about the interesting and tragic histories of many of those buried there. More
Montparnasse Cemetery, a tranquil expanse in a part of the 14th arrondissement once popular with early 20th century artists, intellectuals, and writers is where you'll find the graves of Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Charles Baudelaire, Serge Gainsbourg, Susan Sontag, and Eugène Ionesco. Filled with dappled light on sunny days but never really gloomy even in the rain, it's where you'll often see neighborhood residents out for an evening walk.
Getting there: Metro station: Blanche (Line 2), Avenue Rachel, 18th arrondissement
Montmartre Cemetery, smaller and with quirkier monuments than the other two cemeteries, stretches across hills and shadowy hollows in the southeast corner of the arty Abbesses Butte Montmartre quarter. Reputedly home to a band of feral cats, it usually attracts only a trickle of visitors compared with other major cemeteries. It's the final resting place for a number of the creative elite including François Truffaut, Gustave Moreau, Heinrich Heine, Stendhal, Alexandre Dumas, Dalida, and Edgar Degas.
FIAC - International Contemporary Art Fair - 2021
See the latest developments in art as over 1,500 artists show their current work at FIAC, the huge international contemporary art fair from October 21-24.
You'll see sculptural works and installations in the Grand Palais, Petit Palais, and outdoor spaces including Tuileries Garden, Place Vendome, Delacrois Museum, and Place de la Concorde. Other events include films, parades, music, video, paintings, photography, digital arts, and performances at a variety of locations.
Tickets: Required only for Grand Palais (38€ adults, 25€ reduced price for teens and young adults under 26, free for kids under 12 years); other venues are free
Paris Motor Show - Next Show is 2022
The huge Paris Motor Show, held every other year in even-numbered years, normally attracts well over 1 million visitors from 100+ countries around the world who come to see the latest automotive innovations and the cars of the future. This year, 2021, is an OFF year.
What can you expect to see and do? Almost 250 car brands will be showing their glitziest models and technologies, including autonomous vehicles. Check out (and even sit in) your favorites, attend presentations, watch videos, and revel in the latest and greatest cars of your dreams.
If you're visiting Paris while this show is underway, be aware that the city's hotels will be filling to capacity as over half the Paris Motor Show visitors coming from outside of Paris - so make your reservations early!
Salon du Chocolat
Part trade show, part entertainment, the Salon du Chocolat lets you immerse yourself in all things chocolate as over 500 chocolate producers, pastry chefs, candy makers, and artisans from around the world present five days packed with activities and events. You can attend cooking demos by top chefs at the Pastry Show, discover the wonders of chocolate at the Cacao Show, indulge in tastings at the Chocosphere, and enjoy a fashion show with models dressed in chocolate. Kids love the fun workshops - and of course, the chocolate.
ParisArtistes takes place every other year in odd-numbered years - so 2021 is an ON year.
Paris turns into a city-wide art show on October 3-5 when ParisArtistes features the work of 150 top painters, photographers, sculptors, and other artists hosted by more than 40 galleries, design centers, studios, 4- and 5-star hotels, and public spaces across the city.
With free admission to all venues, it's your chance to see the best of contemporary art being created right now in Paris. You can even meet the artists at many of the shows.
Hours vary by location, but Friday 6pm-10pm, Saturday 10am-8pm, and Sunday 11am-5pm is typical.
You can find a map, addresses, and detailed schedule at the ParisArtistes website.
Christmas Windows - Reveal at Bon Marché
Usually the much-anticipated "reveal" of the elaborately decorated and animated Christmas windows at Paris's grand department stores takes place in early-to-mid November - but this year, Bon Marché Rive Gauche (24 rue de Sèvres, 7th) gets a head start on the others by launching its annual display on October 29. Don't miss it!