France in November

by Christine Cantera on August 4, 2010

by Christine Cantera | August 4th, 2010  

Ah, November in France. The tourist throngs are gone, the blazing heat is a distant memory, and you’ve got all of France to yourself before the Christmas crowds descend. I tell people to come to France in November all the time. Let’s find out why!

The Weather in France in November

It’s not the most ideal weather you’ll ever find. For many regions in France, November can be the rainiest month. So if you’re looking to take a hiking vacation in France, November’s not the time. But if your idea of a French vacation is sitting under an awning at a café, sipping wine and nibbling on yummy things and watching the world go by, or wandering through near-empty museums after a long leisurely lunch, then you’re all about November.

>>Read about what to wear in France in the winter
>>Read about
the weather in France all year ’round

French Holidays in November

November 1 – La Toussaint, or All Saint’s Day

Halloween is slowly but surely becoming a big deal in France – especially with adults – so on November 1 most French people are sleeping one off.

Luckily for them, it’s a major national holiday, so no one has to call out of work.

On All Saint’s Day people go to visit their dearly departed in cemeteries across the country. What does that mean for you? Well, it’s a major holiday so everything is closed. Really closed. So if you’re sick of holidays being all about sales at the mall, you’ll love the vibe on November 1.

>>Read more about La Toussaint, or All Saint’s Day

November 11 – Armistice de la Première Guerre Mondiale, or Armistice Day

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, chances are you’ll hear church bells ringing in France. Not quite as much is closed on November 11 as November 1, but it’s still a major holiday so you’ll need to check ahead to see if a particular place you want to see will be open. And if you scope out the WWI memorial in whatever town you’re in, you can see a wreath placement ceremony or other memorable events marking this day.

>>In the Dijon region around November 11? Get on your eatin’ pants and check out the Dijon International Gastronomy Fair.

Third Thursday in November – Beaujolais Nouveau

Now this – this is a holiday. Here’s the basic rundown: Beaujolais Nouveau is the year’s “new wine,” which means it’s meant to be drunk ASAP. And the French are on it – starting at midnight on Thursday the entire country pops the corks on the freshly delivered bottles amid concerts, feasts and a general air of celebration in every nook and cranny in France. Stores and offices are open… but I can’t say I’ve ever seen a lot of work get done on that day.

I know. I’ll pause here while you go book your tickets.

>>Read more about Beaujolais Nouveau Day

Fourth Thursday in November – American Thanksgiving

No, Thanksgiving Day is not celebrated in France. But this is four free days on your calendar to add to your vacation time. Fly out on the previous Wednesday, land on Beaujolais Day, and then you’ve got another whole week before you get to start a new family tradition – with braised duck stuffed with foie gras and a 2003 Hermitage Montrachet. Just saying.

>>Read about fall in Provence, because, come on – how awesome would it be to say you spent Thanksgiving in Provence?

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