08 September 2017 by Jessica Boston
Autumn breaks in France
The autumn months are a great time to visit France – major tourist attractions like Mont Saint Michel and the Chateaux of the Loire are less crowded, there is delicious food and wine to enjoy and the season is particularly beautiful with countryside scenes of migrating birds and changing leaves.
The best time of year to visit France?
There tend to be lots of cottages available for autumn holidays – look out for pretty log burners and open fires, cosy gites in rural locations and villas close to empty beaches with dramatic sea views that can be at their best under autumn skies.
You should double check opening times for key attractions to ensure they are open for visitors; you may find restaurants and amenities in tourist hotspots are closed for the off-season, but most of France has weekly markets, local restaurants and historic sites available for you to enjoy at any time of year!
We’ve chosen three ideas for wonderful autumn holidays in France to help you start planning the perfect October or November getaway:
Explore the lovely Loire Valley
The Loire Valley is a perfect destination for autumn. It’s a great time to visit the many impressive chateaux which will be less crowded and, in many cases, even more beautiful framed by the colours of autumn. The must-see is the spectacular Chateau Chambord – this incredible hunting lodge built by Francois I is surrounded by forests and is at its best in the autumn so don’t forget your camera!
Autumn is also a good time to enjoy the famous vineyards of the Loire. Harvest time usually falls in September and October so you can take a vineyard tour to see the grapes being picked, and some producers even let you get involved and pick grapes yourself!
See the colours of autumn in the Pyrenees
The Pyrenees landscape offers dramatic and beautiful scenery in autumn. Whether you stay in the foothills or ascend to the high peaks, the views and photography opportunities are amazing; the forests, heather and bracken set the countryside on fire with autumn colours that contrast beautifully with the snowy peaks and vivid blue autumn skies.
The weather in the Pyrenees region is usually still mild in autumn offering perfect conditions for hiking, mountain biking and climbing, so the best thing to do is get out there and explore – you never know what wildlife or vistas you might discover! If you need a focus, Gavernie Falls is well worth a visit; it’s the highest waterfall in France! Or head for the peak over Montségur for great views over this pretty historic village.
The gastronomy of the region is perfect for an autumn holiday and you could even go foraging for apples and pears, nuts and wild mushrooms if you know what to look for, or visit the local markets to buy up these seasonal treats instead!
The Brittany coast – cider and seascapes for autumn days
Just a short hop across The Channel, Brittany is the perfect place for a short autumn break in France. Finistére is a particularly good choice with the dramatic coastline and magical inland forests offering the full experience of nature in autumn.
Enjoy spectacular sunsets, deserted beaches and delicious local food – it’s the season for cider with apples harvested and pressed to make ‘cidre bouche’ – look out for tours, tastings and celebrations at local producers during your stay.
Try walking the ‘Lighthouse path’ – there are 23 lighthouses lining the coast between Brest and Les Abers and each has a fascinating tale to discover. The exciting views of the seas that made these lighthouses necessary are a stunning backdrop to your route. Or visit the Huelgoat forest with its mysterious giant rock formations and stunning autumn leaves, all steeped in myths and legends.
If you’re tempted to plan an autumn escape to France why not browse our selection of ‘out of season’ holiday lets to find a cosy retreat for a romantic break or fun-filled holiday with friends? From historical sites to outdoor pursuits and foodie delights, France in autumn is a real treat!