November Is the Best Time to Travel to Paris. Here's Why.

Lower airfares, shorter lines, and beautiful Christmas markets are just a few of the draws to Paris in November.

Louvre, Paris, France

As the leaves change and people swap their decorative gourds for twinkle lights, many travelers around the world are looking for a place to visit at the end of fall.

Though the old Cole Porter song "I Love Paris" points out that the French capital has its charms with each season, autumnal traditions and smaller crowds make November the perfect time to visit the City of Light.

Airfares are typically lower than usual, according to tourism industry professionals, so a few days in Paris won't have to break the bank. Each year, November tends to be one of the city's calmer moments, as it sits between the throngs of August arrivals and the crush of Christmas tourists.

Visitors won't have to spend an hour to get into the Musée Rodin or the Louvre, and the lull can give travelers the chance to experience Paris as the Parisians do. With the heat lamps turned on, café-goers can enjoy a "vin chaud" (mulled wine) or "grog" (hot lemon rum tea) on terraces across the city.

While the crisp air doesn't have quite as much bite as it does in New England, the trees that line the Champs Elysées and other boulevards throughout Paris shine with red, orange, and yellow leaves. Free merry-go-rounds and ice-skating rinks dot the Champs-Elysées and the area near Hôtel de Ville.

Alongside old traditions, Parisian authorities want visiting the Ile-de-France region, which includes Paris, to be as easy as possible. Multi-lingual guides offer free (donation-based) walking tours via Paris Greeters, a group of volunteers who are passionate about introducing the City of Light to visitors from a local's perspective.

The Paris region also offers a City Pass that doubles as a metro ticket and allows entry to several popular attractions, in an effort to prevent tourists from carrying large sums of cash throughout the city.

Since the crowds of holiday season travelers may not have yet arrived, visitors to the Paris region in November can still take advantage of many of the festive traditions, as most department stores have already unveiled their gorgeous window displays and decorative lights drape the streets and windowsills.

Christmas Market, Paris, France
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One must-see tradition is the Christmas markets or "marchés de Noel." Set up throughout Paris, these festive installments allow vendors and craftsmen from throughout the country to sell their artisan products. It's the perfect place to pick up one-of-a-kind gifts for friends and family, including everything from Savon de Marseille and sachets of lavender from Provence to salted caramels and gingerbread.

Other seasonal delights include the autumn festival, which incorporates art, music, and other theater performances, according to the website for the tourism development agency Atout France.

The arrival of the Beaujolais nouveau, which takes place on the third Thursday of November each year, is a citywide tradition. The new red wine vintage is an event that becomes a cause for celebration, with tastings and events throughout the city.

November is a time when Paris and its visitors can take a breath before the chaos of the holiday season ensues. It's a moment to drink Beaujolais and be merry.

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