"Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening."
Summer isn't fully over in Paris in September. The leaves are beginning to turn and fall, but the temperature is still warm and the city, vibrant. September is the ideal time of year for a month-long celebration of design and fashion: two things that Paris does best.
Fashion isn't the only reason to stay in Paris in September, nor is the weather. In Paris, Pumpkin Spice Lattes make way for un café Americaine and pastries outside of your local bistro. (Even at Starbucks.)
The locals are in good spirits and the tourists are finally beginning to disperse.
FASHION WEEK IN PARIS: THE LOWDOWN
February is Fashion Month the world over, but it's September when fashion really becomes the leader of the pack. In September in Paris, the Spring-Summer collection runways happen and before that, it's Design Week.
Right before the weather gets cooler, it's the ideal time to whip out our wardrobes influenced by the previous season. Hats are an essential accessory in the Autumn in Paris, and there are some fab atéliers in the 6th arrondissement who ace this.
While all of the models are forced to wear summer clothes, you can drink coffee in your finest and watch.
Here are some of our favourite things to do during Fashion Week:
- Café RUC @ 159 RUE SAINT HONORÉ, 75001: On the stylish Rue Saint Honouré just streets away from the Louvre, the luxurious Café RUC is a magnet for the rich and famous during Fashion Week.
- Chanel au Ritz @ 17 PLACE VENDÔME, 75001: Fashion houses set up luxury spas in Paris's fanciest hotels. Chanel and the Ritz are one such partnership that was borne of similar ethics. Chanel at the Ritz offers a holistic approach to treatments; skincare, massage, and the promise of deserved self-confidence.
- Fondation Café @ 16 RUE DUPETIT-THOUARS, 75003: The Fashion Elite survive on coffee, and Fondation Café in the Marais is one such place whose coffee is trés bon. On warm September days, taking a latte onto the small shop's terrace can be the best decision you'll make all day.
- The Broken Arm @ 12 RUE PERRÉE, 75003: After Colette's closure, Parisian shoppers have been on the lookout for the next best concept store. The Broken Arm fits the bill. Part concept store, part café, the baristas here ensure every coffee they create is expertly brewed.
- Galeries Lafayette @ 40 BOULEVARD HAUSSMANN, 75009: At times when there are no runway shows going on, much of the fashion crowd go shopping themselves. Upmarket department store chain, the Galeries Lafayette flagship store, is one of the must-see shopping destinations in Paris around Fashion Week.
- Place Vendôme: Located north of the Louvre and the fashionable rue Saint-Honoré, Place Vendôme is the gemstone capital of the world. In this square alone you'll find Cartier, Lalique, Chopard, and Guerlain. Place Vendôme is another of the fashion crowd's faves.
- Grand Café Tortoni @ 45 RUE DE SAINTONGE, 75003: What used to be a favourite of the beautiful socialites of the 19th century is once again home to the beautiful and the trendy. With one counter dedicated to coffee and treats and one to its ice cream legacy, Tortoni is a worthy pit-stop amidst the bustle.
WHAT ELSE IS ON IN PARIS IN SEPTEMBER?
As the streets begin to get quieter again - Fashion Week aside - it can be nice to sit by yourself with a cup of coffee. Or you could invest yourself in the array of festivities happening around the city.
September is the month for the Parisian reentrée when schools are back in session and the locals are returning to their daily lives. It's the month when artistic and sophisticated life is heightened.
One could ask what's on in Paris in September, but one could also ask, "What isn't on?"
PARIS DESIGN WEEK
Aiming to bring the public together with talented and emerging young designers, Paris Design Week occurs during the second week of September. More importantly than anything, it's free of charge. Home décor, fashion, and even food experts display their wares, collections, and prototypes to the culturally starving.
Paris Design Week is an extension of the MAISON & OBJET trade fair, dedicated to the very art of a good lifestyle. It takes place at nearly 200 venues across Paris including museums, art galleries, and incomparable institutions like La Maison Rouge. Who knows what kind of inspiration you can pick up along the way?
Everyone is always due a little switch-up now and then…
JOURNÉES DU PATRIMOINE
Organised by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication more than 30 years ago, European Heritage Days invite visitors to experience iconic Parisian landmarks and monuments for free.
Whether it's your first time in Paris or you're an old pro, you know a day spent somewhere like the Fondation Louis Vuitton or Arc de Triomphe is always worth it.
European Heritage Days invite the general public to experience classic and contemporary spots around the city. There are fun activities like workshops, walks, and even guided tours - learn something new every day. After all, as the French say, "Qui n'avance pas, recule."
To stand still is to retreat.
FÊTE DE LA GASTRONOMIE
In France - as seems unsurprising - there are many joys of life that have their own celebration days. Music (Fête de la Musique) is celebrated in July while even work (we know, but if you're lucky you enjoy your work, right?) has its own day. It only goes without saying, then, that food has its own celebrations, too.
The Fête de la Gastronomie happens annually in September, usually around the tail end of it. This celebration stretches over the whole country, but nowhere is intent on making it excel than Paris.
Its programme brings cooking professionals together with the public, offering events like cooking classes and special deals in some of the hottest restaurants around Paris. For a taste of what's in store, take a peek at the constantly-updated programme here.
Insider Tip: Keep your eyes on some of the city's cultural centres during the festival, they often have cuisine-specific celebrations of their own.
LA FÊTE AU BOIS DE BOULOGNE
This festival (also known as the Fête à Neuneu) is a highlight of the season for families all over Paris. It happens in the far reaches of the Bois de Boulogne in the 16th arrondissement.
It's here, on the western edge of the city, you'll find classic town fair goodies like a Ferris wheel, competitions, thrilling rides, stalls, and entertainment.
Primarily (but not exclusively) for those children, hundreds upon hundreds descend upon the park every September for fun, candy floss, toffee apples, and memories.
It's never too late to recapture the joys of childhood.
JAZZ À LA VILLETTE
Music-lovers and audiophiles alike wait in anticipation year-round for the jazz festival in the 19th arrondissement in the Parc de la Villette. Each year, the unique programme brings together the music-minded from all walks of life. Whether you love jazz, blues, funk, or hip-hop, there's something for you at the Jazz à La Villette.
Prices range from €8-40, but the joy of music will never leave you. Take a look at the programme here.
Why not stay in the Rue de Sambre-et-Meuse Townhouse while you're at it?
EVEN MORE REASON TO VISIT PARIS IN SEPTEMBER
Crisp orange leaves, the everlasting warmth of the dog days of summer, music, food, and fashion. If you're not yet convinced on Paris in September, give this short list a quick peruse.
- Airfare and rental prices take a dip after the popular highs of summer. In short? Gorgeous Parisian apartments and great value for money.
- Autumn has yet to commence and the laidback spirit and ambiance of the summer are still present - without those pesky selfie-stick welding tourists...
- The nights are still light and warm, but the sun disappears over the west end of the city in a far different way to those summer days.
- LAYERS & ACCESSORIES!!!
GO-TO ARRONDISSEMENTS IN SEPTEMBER
THE LOUVRE Á LA MODE: Centre of all things fashion, the area from the Louvre to the Grand Palais and beyond are bustling with the en Vogue.
PARTY CENTRAL PIGALLE & MARTYRS: Runway after parties happen all over the 18th arrondissement. Pigalle particularly, giving its past life a resurgence.
VINTAGE IN LE MARAIS: Shopping in the Marais centres itself mostly around vintage clothing and second-hand stores. Shopping here is like shopping in a spot bestowed by God (or Dior) for rare, vintage finds.
THE INGÉNUE, CANAL SAINT-MARTIN: Another party favourite of the fashionistas and their entourages. Canal Saint-Martin is understated, stylish, Bohemian and extremely Parisian.
SAINT-GERMAIN-DES-PRÊT-À-PORTER: Boutique after boutique, flagship store after more, Saint-Germain is now the home of the bourgeois. What do the bourgeois like to wear? Couture, of course.