Fall in France 2021: What to See and Do

Fall in France brings out some of the best of the country from the crisp weather and stunning fall colors to special seasonal foods and more. It truly is a wonderful time to visit and you can’t go wrong with almost any region. We’ve identified some of our top picks for what to see and do during fall in France in 2021.


Fall in France 2021: What to See and Do

Normandy: Authentic Cider and Cheese Tour

fall in france normandy camembert

Fall is a great time to discover Normandy with fewer crowds compared to the summertime. No trip to the region would be complete without at least a day spent tasting some of the gourmet regional specialties, namely ciders and cheeses. You’ll learn the ins and of the famous Camembert de Normandie and will have the opportunity to meet with the last remaining producer of the cheese in the village of Camembert. Next, you’ll see the cows, discover the production process, and taste two other regional cheeses: Pont l’Évêque and Livarot. After stopping for a fabulous picnic lunch, you’ll be learning all about ciders: apple, pear, pommeau and Calvados. This delicious day ends in one of the most beautiful villages in France with colorful half-timbered buildings and great shopping.

Paris: Colorful Modern Art Museums

fall in paris

While the trees in Paris are filled with beautiful colored leaves in the fall, rain can be common, especially further into the season. A great way to escape the rainy weather is with a museum visit. Classics like the Musée du Louvre and Musée d’Orsay are always wonderful options, and are always ever-changing thanks to temporary exhibits. However, if you’ve had enough of the grey skies, consider the Centre Pompidou for colorful modern and contemporary art or the intimate and beautiful Musée Picasso in the heart of the Marais.

Fall in Paris from the Ducasse sur Seine
What better way to take in the fall colors than from aboard a Ducasse sur Seine cruise? This electric boat glides along the river to show you a side of Paris you may have never seen before. During the journey, you’ll enjoy a four or five course menu filled with seasonal products all complemented by prestigious and eclectic wines. A romantic and magical way to see Paris!

Burgundy: Fall Along the Wine Trails

burgundy wine trails in fall

For wine lovers the Burgundy wine trails are a highlight no matter what time of year. The visits are especially spectacular drenched in the gorgeous fall colors. Our local wine expert guides will lead you through the renowned estates and surrounding scenery. Throughout the day you’ll taste exceptional Premiers and Grands Crus wines. Truly an extraordinary way to see and experience Burgundy!

Loire Valley: A Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride

loire valley hot air balloon

For a unique perspective of the majestic Loire Valley châteaux, we recommend taking a hot air balloon ride at sunrise. Imagine floating above on a misty fall morning with gorgeous golden light touching the vineyards, forest, rivers, and châteaux below. This fabulous experience ends with a breakfast and you’ll have the rest of the day to continue exploring!

Bordeaux: Market Visit, Cooking Class, and Lunch

fall market foods france

Southwest France is a region known for fabulous fall foods including foie gras, truffles, and nuts. During a private market visit, cooking class, and lunch in Bordeaux you’ll have the opportunity to learn even more about and taste these delicious fall specialties. A chef will lead you on this experience that is both gourmet and a unique look into life in France.

Provence: Visit Chateauneuf-du-Pape with a Local Wine Expert

chateauneuf de pape

During the fall, you can take in the mesmerizing beauty of the historic Châteauneuf-du-Pape village and vineyards dressed in a layer of gold. Chateauneuf-du-Pape is famous for powerful, full-bodied red wines, made from the southern Rhône grape trio of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre. Besides the golden leaves, you’ll find distinct lightly colored stones amongst the vines: a spectacular fall combination. During this day your local wine expert guide will take you to meet with three winemakers. Next, you’ll stop for lunch in a charming Provençal restaurant. Afterwards, you will get the chance to make local confectioneries in copper cauldrons!

Fall in Provence: Truffles and Wine Tasting
The ultimate unique fall in Provence experience! Take a two-hour tour of an estate and its vineyards in a 4×4 where you’ll learn about biodiversity. Next, meet with a truffle farmer and his dog to learn about the fascinating world of truffles and the nuances of growing tuber melanosporum and tuber aestivum truffles.
The visit concludes with a lunch centered around the estate’s truffles with a wine pairing!


Ready to experience fall in France? There’s still time to make it this year! Our travel designers are standing by and can help you book any of these activities and create the perfect fall itinerary in France. Some of our most popular fall destinations include Normandy, Burgundy, Bordeaux, the Loire Valley, and Southern France.

10 Essential Loire Valley Châteaux

Thanks to an abundance of vineyards, orchards, and artichoke and asparagus fields, the Loire Valley is often referred to as both the “Cradle of the French” and the “Garden of France.” It’s a region filled with charm and history as well as notable towns, wines, architecture, and over 300 châteaux. We’ve narrowed down our picks for 10 essential Loire Valley châteaux to visit.


10 Essential Loire Valley Châteaux

Château de Chambord

chateau de chambord 10 loire valley châteaux

Château de Chambord is an exceptional masterpiece of Renaissance architecture. A UNESCO World Heritage site since 1965, François I built the Château de Chambord as a hunting lodge. It’s the largest château in the Loire Valley and most prestigious of the French Renaissance châteaux. Leonardo da Vinci inspired parts of the château, particularly the double-helix staircase.

From the terraces you’ll find incredible views of the fascinating architecture of the château and the entire estate. You could easily spend a day exploring the domaine on foot, by bike, or on horseback.

relais de chambord

Unique Stay: Relais de Chambord
Just a four minute walk from the castle, you’ll find this small and refined 4-star boutique hotel in an unrivaled location. With captivating views around every turn, you’ll get to know each turret and spire of the castle’s famous rooftop skyline.
Each room is unique and filled with natural light. Some rooms offer a view of the Château de Chambord, while others overlook the river, Place Saint-Louis or the forest. Guests can enjoy hot air balloon rides over the estate, boat tours along the Cosson River, 4×4 safari rides through Chambord’s reserve and more.

Château de Blois

The town of Blois is located in the heart of the Loire Valley. It’s home to one of the most iconic châteaux in the area and is also a recognized Ville d’Art et d’Histoire (Town of Art and History).

The Royal Château of Blois is a true synthesis of the art and history of the Loire Valley châteaux. The four distinct wings are a prime example of the diversity of styles and architecture over the centuries. Be sure to take a moment in the courtyard to admire the four architectural styles: the 13th century Medieval fortress, the Louis XII Gothic wing, the François I Renaissance wing, and the Gaston of Orleans Classical wing. Over time, seven French kings and 10 queens lived at this royal château.

Château d’Amboise and Château du Clos Lucé

chateau d'ambois chateau clos luce 10 loire valley châteaux

The Château d’Amboise has a picture-perfect setting overlooking the Loire River and the charming town of Amboise. It holds an impressive collection of medieval and Renaissance furniture. The council chamber and the royal chamber are absolute must-sees.

Amboise is also the location of Leonardo da Vinci’s last home, the Château du Clos Lucé. This relatively small 15th century palace was the childhood home of François I. The château is especially well-known because Leonardo da Vinci spent his final three years living here as a guest of the king. Today, the Château du Clos Lucé is a museum dedicated to the life and work of Leonardo da Vinci. You can see Leonardo da Vinci’s tomb on the grounds of the Saint-Hubert chapel at the Château d’Amboise.

Château de Beauregard

chateau de beauregard

One of our favorite smaller châteaux in the Loire Valley is the privately-owned Château de Beauregard. Built at the end of the 15th century and set on an expansive 173-acre estate, it houses an exceptional portrait gallery featuring 327 European monarchs, ministers, clergymen, and diplomats among others.

Want to Be King of the Castle?
Enjoy a private tour of the Château de Beauregard followed by a wine and cheese tasting with an oenologist. This exclusive experience takes place in the late afternoon on a château terrace. You’ll be able to watch the setting sun with a glass of local wine in hand. Truly an unforgettable moment!

Château Azay-le-Rideau

Château Azay-le-Rideau is perfectly set on an island in the middle of the Indre River. This 16th century is an early example of French Renaissance architecture blending French tradition with innovative Italian decorative arts. Thanks to both the beauty of the château and its sublime natural setting, Azay-le-Rideau is one of the most popular châteaux to visit in the Loire Valley.

Château de Chenonceau

10 loire valley châteaux

This prestigious château spans the River Cher. Château de Chenonceau is known as the Château des Dames because of the women who built, expanded, defended, restored and ultimately saved it. Built by Catherine Briçonnet in 1513, it was later embellished and transformed by the likes of Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de’ Medici.

Be sure to visit the garden of Diane de Poitiers, a “floating” parterre created in the Renaissance. You’ll also want to see Catherine de’ Medici’s Italian-style maze and separate smaller garden facing the lake and the park. To the north, there is an English-style Green Garden. Last but not least, visit the Flower Garden where you’ll find over 100 varieties of “cutting flowers” used for the château’s floral arrangements. Yes – the château does organize floral workshops!

Château Chaumont-sur-Loire

10 loire valley châteaux

Set the banks of the Loire River, Château Chaumont-sur-Loire blends defensive Gothic architecture with aesthetically pleasing Renaissance architecture. The landscaped English-style grounds offer a spectacular, unique vista of the untamed Loire.

Each year between the end of April and November, the Festival International des Jardins invites landscape artists from all over the world to dream up and create extraordinary gardens on a different theme each year. The theme this year is “Biomimicry in the Garden” which proposes ambitious and exemplary creations that feature fresh and contemporary scenes, aiming to surprise, give understanding and capture imaginations all at once. The festival goes through November 7th.

Château de Villandry

chateau de villandry garden

The Château de Villandry is one of the most impressive of the Loire Valley châteaux. While the château itself is beautiful, the extensive gardens are the highlight of any visit.

The château is best-known for its formal French-style garden. There are also several smaller gardens in various styles that are worth exploring. Our favorites include the vegetable garden, the ornamental garden, the water garden, the sun garden, and the herb garden.

Built in the early 16th-century, Château de Villandry was the last Renaissance-style castle constructed in the Loire Valley. The interior of the Château de Villandry, although less frequented than the gardens, is well worth a visit. Highlights include the kitchen, the main staircase and dining room (classified historical monuments), and the ceiling in the oriental drawing room.

Château de Brézé

Classified as a Historic Monument, Château de Brézé is unique because of its remarkably well-preserved troglodytic cave network, richly furnished rooms, and highly detailed neo-Gothic architecture. Many visitors come to see the “castle under a castle.” This nearly four kilometer underground route holds unexpected underground rooms including stables, kitchens, a bakery, and a wine cellar.

Stay in a Château at the Loire Valley: Château d’Artigny
An unmatched experience of living in a château and feeling the grandeur is what this 5-star hotel promises.
Located south of Tours, Château d’Artigny offers the best of comfort and opulence to its visitors. During your stay you’ll enjoy marble statues, a French garden, beautiful woodwork, and amazing views over the Indre Valley.


This majestic region of France begs exploring. Whether you want to spend a few days visiting from Paris or extend your stay to see all 10 essential Loire Valley châteaux, we can help you plan the perfect itinerary. Some of our Loire Valley favorites include A Loire Valley Road Trip, An Exclusive, Romantic Visit to the Loire Valley, and Loire Valley Wine and Châteaux. French Side Travel has something for everyone whether you’re interested in food and wine, history and culture, adventure, or romance and scenery.

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