Because of the unfavorable weather, the shortening days, and the fact that it’s still a little early to start celebrating Christmas in France, November isn’t our preferred month to travel there.
However, if you have a chance to be in France in November, we advise concentrating on the country’s cities. You’ll have no shortage of indoor attractions to see, and if the weather’s nice, you can wander the city on foot. All of our self-guided tours of France offer a variety of daily activities for you to choose from. You can base some of your day’s activities in the winter on the weather.
Of course, going to a museum or gallery is always a fantastic idea, and France has several of them! Wine tastings and food tours are also offered inside. There will be significantly fewer visitors if you travel to France in November. You’ll also be able to sample some amazing wines because the harvest will soon be coming to a close, along with wine festivals and other celebrations. Additionally, November marks the start of France’s winter truffle season.
France Weather in November
While the weather in France can change at any time of year, November is typically greyer, colder, and rainier. There are also fewer daylight hours. In Paris, the sun rises after 8 a.m. and sets before 5 p.m. by the end of November, however you might not actually see much of the sun!
The south of France experiences the warmest weather in November, with temperatures averaging 9-16°C (48-61°F). In November, the average temperature in Northern and Central France is typically below 10°C (50°F), but the Atlantic coast typically experiences a few degrees milder (but wetter!) temperatures. Even Nice on the French Riviera experiences 12.7 days on average of precipitation in November.
Therefore, if you’re visiting France at this time of year, pack an umbrella, warm, waterproof clothing, and shoes. If you plan to visit both the North and South of France, packing layers is a good idea because you might get lucky and experience some milder weather in the south.
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Festivals and Events in France in November
The festivals and events you can attend in France in November are mentioned below. In the event that you reserve a driving tour of France with France Just For You, we’ll inform you of the events taking place in the regions you’ll be visiting.
Beaujolais Nouveau Festival – a celebration of new Beaujolais wine
Following the grape harvest, a celebration of the new Beaujolais wine of the year, “Beaujolais Nouveau,” is held on the streets of Lyon on the third Thursday of November at 12:01 am. Fireworks, street parties, and music are all part of the celebration.
Dijon International Food Fair
Dijon celebrates its annual gastronomy festival during the first two weeks of November, drawing more than 200,000 guests and 600 exhibitors. There are several food vendors with both professional and amateur chefs serving a variety of delectable dishes. For anybody looking for cooking advice, there are also cooking demos available.
Since its inception in 1921, the Dijon International Food Fair has existed. Through the wine of the area and the cuisine of its former Dukes, it was intended to explore and revitalize the old gastronomic and gourmet traditions of Burgundy. We heartily urge you to visit the Cité International de la Gastronomie et du Vin while you are in Dijon (the International City of Gastronomy and Wine – more info below) .
Lyon International Chocolate Trade Show
The largest chocolate-related event of its sort worldwide is the Salon du Chocolat de Lyon. If you adore chocolate and will be in Lyon, France in November, you really must attend this event, which has been going on every year since 2011.
The best chocolatiers from across France attend this three-day event. It features cooking demos, chocolate exhibitions, pastry classes, and a chocolate dress show—fun it’s for the whole family!
All Saints Day
The first day of November is observed as a federal holiday every year. A few places can be closed if you happen to be in France on this day.
When the Armistice Agreement was signed between the warring nations on November 11, 1918, World War I came to an end. Numerous businesses and schools close to observe this solemn day.
You might consider visiting a war cemetery if you are currently traveling around the Verdun or the Somme districts. France Is Only You can plan a private tour of important WWI locations with a guide who can provide background information on the history and actual occurrences. War cemeteries will be busy on Armistice Day as families visit the graves of their ancestors. Special occasions will also be held at significant French battlegrounds.
Best Places to visit in France in November
November is a wonderful month to visit Paris’s museums and top tourist destinations because the weather is typically chilly and damp and there are less visitors than at other seasons of the year.
Visit the Louvre if you get the chance. If you make a reservation with France Just For You, we’ll suggest a quick trip that visits the most well-known works or regions that you specifically indicate you’re interested in. If not, consult the Louvre website and make a list of the exhibits you want to see. You might easily spend more than a day touring the entire museum, but you might prefer to focus your time on the exhibits and works of art that most interest you.
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Other museums that are worth visiting are:
- Visit the Musée d’Orsay, which was formerly a train station, and take a picture in front of the enormous glass clock!
- A museum of modern art housed in a stunning structure with an industrial design is called the Center Pompidou.
- Panthéon, an 18th-century monument in the Latin Quarter, is the final resting place for famous French people such as Emile Zola, Pierre and Marie Curie, and Victor Hugo. The Musée de l’Armée displays weapons and uniforms from French military battles. Napoleon’s tomb is also nearby.
- There are two museums where you can see some of his well-known water lily paintings: Musée Marmottan Monet and Musée de l’Orangerie.
As November falls outside of France’s busy tourist season, it’s also a wonderful time to see the Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower because it’s less crowded. Just keep in mind to pack a heavy coat because the top might get very chilly and windy!
The South of France
In the south of France, it will probably be too chilly to truly enjoy the beach. It will still be pleasant to tour the towns and the hilltop villages, though, thanks to the beautiful skies and rising temperatures. Given that fall often begins a little later in Provence and the French Riviera, you might still be able to see some of the lovely fall colors.
Mougins, Gordes, and Menton are a few of our favorite hamlets and towns.
Visit the most renowned art museums if you’re in the French Riviera. We adore the Picasso Museum in Antibes and the Chagall Museum in Nice. If you want to sample some of the glitz and glamor of this area, there are also a ton of upscale shops and eateries.
Lyon is renowned for its outstanding cuisine. Warm up with a delectable coq au vin on a chilly day, sample the city’s signature sausage, the rosette de Lyon, and drink your favorite wine, maybe from the Northern Rhône Valley.
The Colline de Fourvière should be climbed for the best views of Lyon. The Basilica Notre-Dame de Fourvière, which sits atop this hill and has an opulent interior and a Museum of Sacred Art, is worth visiting. The neighboring Roman ruins, which represent Lyon’s first Roman settlement, might also be of interest to you. At the nearby Gallo-Roman museum, you can discover other Roman antiquities.
Another great attraction is the Museum of Fine Arts, which is housed in a 17th-century abbey. You can view the renowned artists’ works, such as those by Picasso, Caneletto, Degas, Cézanne, and Renoir. The gates to the Temple of Medamud, which date to the third century BC, are among the hundreds of ancient Egyptian artifacts on display.
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Alsace is the perfect place to experience Christmas if you’re in France in late November! These areas are renowned for having France’s top Christmas markets. There are over 200 vendors spread across five distinct market sections in Colmar. With the lights, ornaments, and mulled wine fragrances, the setting is reminiscent of a fairy tale. There is an ice rink, as well as daily concerts and other events.
As Christmas approaches, Colmar and Strasbourg experience a tremendous amount of traffic. A year in advance, the majority of hotels and other lodgings are fully booked. We adore Turckheim (renowned for its Advent calendar), Hunawihr, Eguisheim, and Riquewihr if you’d prefer to leave these busy places and discover some lesser Alsatian towns off the usual path (busy but worth the detour). Remember that getting to these towns will require driving.
Alsace is still worthwhile to visit even if you’re leaving too soon for the Christmas markets. You won’t be able to put your camera away in the magnificent Little Venice neighborhood, and the Renaissance architecture in the old town of Colmar will take your breath away.
Best Things to do in France in November
Here are some other experiences you can have in France in November in addition to the ones we recommend in the locations above.
Experience the Christmas spirit in France
Since the Christmas lights will be up and some of the Christmas markets will be open, as we indicated above, if you’re in France in late November you’ll be able to experience the Christmas season in France.
Avignon, Provence (especially for the Nativity scenes), Amien, the Somme (for its music and light show at the city’s cathedral every evening of the Christmas market), Reims, Champagne (enjoy a glass of Champagne on the Big Wheel! ), and Colmar are some places where we especially enjoy the holiday spirit (a fairytale come alive). Visit the Galeries Lafayette while you’re in Paris; the ambiance is pleasant. Beautiful decorations are used, and a really magnificent Christmas tree is always present.
Hunt for Winter Truffles
The chance to track down the elusive black winter truffle shouldn’t be missed by the gourmets among you. The Périgord, in the Dordogne area of France, is where black winter truffles are most frequently found. They are picked from November through March, peaking in January, and have a stronger aroma than summer truffles. We would be pleased to include a truffle search in one of our trips to Dordogne or Provence if you are traveling to France in the winter. We have a personal relationship with the truffle hunters we work with, so we are confident that you will have a memorable experience.
Several of our favorite truffle-hunting adventures in France are mentioned in this blog post, which you might find interesting as well.
Hike to the Castles of the Cathar
It seems like a nation of castles south of the medieval fortified city of Carcassonne in southwest France. Bring your hiking shoes because several of these fortifications, which date back to the Cathars who lived in this region during the 11th and 13th centuries, can be challenging to reach. The Albigensian crusades, commanded by the infamously violent Simon de Montfort, were ultimately successful in exterminating the Cathars.
You may say that the Château de Quéribus is the final stronghold of Cathar resistance. It defined the French-Spanish border until the 17th century and was magnificently situated on a ridge above a sheer-drop precipice with the settlement of Cucugnan below.
Fantastic views of Canigou and Perpignan, including the last of the fall colors, are available if you come.
Visit the City International de la Gastronomie et du Vin in Dijon
In May 2022, Dijon, the capital of Burgundy, became home to the International City of Gastronomy and Wine. There are many upscale dining options that serve exquisite cuisine, as well as counters that serve more modest traditional fare. Then there is the village of cuisine. You’ll find food and drink manufacturers from all around France demonstrating, speaking, and cooking in this exhibition-meets-market setting.
Wine aficionados will adore the bar at the Cité because it has 3,000 bottles of wine from all over the world, 250 of which are available by the glass, and you can just assist yourself by purchasing a charge card. Glasses range in price from a few euros to a lot more!