All You Need to Know: Paris in October
Planning an autumn trip to the City of Light? Here's all you need to know about spending time in Paris in October.
Art and Paris are synonymous in the same way cheese and wine are synonymous. In Paris, you'll find world-class museums, the most talked about galleries…even the streets that you walk down are full of art. And that’s one of the reasons we love it so much. Paris in October is when the city's art scene really comes to life. We here at Plum Guide have put together this list of everything worth knowing about (and for anyone not so fussed about art, don't worry, we've got a few things for you too).
Art Festivals in Paris: The Lowdown
Plenty of artists have been inspired by autumn and the month of October. One can only imagine the inspiration comes from the varying shades of gold, red, and orange that, by October, has taken over summer’s greens in all of the parks in Paris. Claude Monet famously painted an autumn scene in Argenteuil - a town a few miles northwest of the city. Besides being an environmental muse to one of the world’s greatest impressionist painters, ever since the beginning of the 20th century, Autumn has been the time for art in Paris. It all started with the Salon d’Automne in 1903.
Le Salon d’Automne
The Salon d’Automne is a historic art exhibition that’s been held annually for over a century. It has a colourful past and one that’s seen itself through the many different hardships that altered Paris last century. Taking place on the Champs-Élysées, the exhibition was created to offer opportunities to upcoming artists and to give a stage to the flourishing art of impressionism. These days, the exhibition has been opened up to mediums of all kinds and the festival invites painters, sculptors, and photographers to sign up and exhibit their work for four days in October. For more information about the next edition of the Salon d’Automne, check out their website.
On the first Saturday in October, the City of Lights lives up to its name as Paris’ artists take over its streets for an event that will change the way you see the city for good. With installations, live concerts, artistic trails, and exhibitions amongst other things, you can explore contemporary art hand-in-hand with the city that helped to put it on the map. Public transport stays open the whole night for Nuit Blanche, inviting everyone to design their own artistic journeys with no worry about how long it takes.
Even more art in Paris in October
The massive number of art fairs, exhibitions, celebrations, and festivals in October is pretty overwhelming. Here are some more artistic goings-on you might be interested in. FIAC (Foire internationale d'art contemporain) is an international contemporary art fair that brings together the best of the best in art and design at the gallery in the Grand Palais. There's also Art Élysées, a contemporary interior design and modern art event that takes over the Avenue des Champs-Élysées for a week in the middle of the month. Next up we have YIA Art Fair (Young International Artists). This is another contemporary art fair, and it's the go-to exhibition to discover up-and-coming talents in the art world. 200 artists exhibit their wares over varying mediums from sculpture to video at Le Carreau du Temple. Lovers of abstract art will love Outsider Art Fair, where you can see pieces from 30 galleries from all over the world that are showcasing their pieces during the FIAC, at the Hôtel du Duc. Variation Media Art Fair showcases visual media in all of its wonderful, vibrantly different forms to provide an interesting and immersive collection of art. And last but certainly not least, there's 8e Avenue. Inspired by the works of artists such as Basquiat and Villeglé, the 8e Avenue Gallery aims to put the spotlight on a commonly neglected sector of contemporary art: urban art.
What else is going on in October?
Even if you’re not an art buff, never mind as there’s still plenty going on across Paris in October. The indulgent Salon du Chocolat takes place in October. Every year, pâtissières, chocolatiers, and other artisans from all over the world take their sweet treats to the Parc des Expositions for five days of events, activities, and (of course) eating. There's Pitchfork Music Festival too. Every music lover across the world knows Pitchfork and the renowned indie music publication takes its festival to Paris to the Grande Halle de la Villette towards the end of the month. And for those who like a tipple or two, you'll get to enjoy Montmartre Wine Harvest Festival whilst in Paris in Octover. Montmartre is home to the last real vineyard in Paris, so it only makes sense that more than 40 bars across the 18th arrondissement celebrate wine in all of its glory. Don’t miss the tasting sessions, nor the traditional fireworks display.
Paris’ Artistic Districts
Montmartre and Pigalle
Musée de Montmartre, Galerie Montmartre, the Place du Tertre, and L’Espace Dali mix with the old haunts of Modigliani, Van Gogh, and Picasso. Some of the finest street art in Paris can be found in and around Montmartre and Pigalle too, and it just so happens to be one of the most charming and romantic areas to stay in Paris.
Home to the Mona Lisa and an array of the most sought-after, spoken of, and praised pieces of art in the world. The Louvre is at the centre of the Parisian art world and a walk around the Tuileries shows how far its influence stretches.
On the banks of the Seine, the Musée d’Orsay’s clock-face windows look out over the river, the Louvre, and in the distance, Sacre-Coeur. Degas’s Small Dancer Aged 14 can be found here, as well as a room dedicated to Van Gogh. Stay in one of the most family-friendly Parisian neighbourhoods, Saint-Germain to stay close to all this culture.
The quirky Bohemia of the Marais is where you’ll find Musée Picasso, the Centre Pompidou, and dozens of independent galleries hidden away. Its streets are lined with pieces from Kony, Jef Aérosol, Mimi the Clown, Gregos and more. It's also full of some of the most unique Parisian homes in out collection too.