October is one of the best times to visit the South of France, and it’s one of my favourite times of year living here, despite not being an autumn person. Let’s be very British about this and start by discussing the weather! You can’t mention the South of France and October and not mention the weather. Basically it’s usually lovely. The month starts off with average temperatures of around 22°c and finishes around 17°c with an average of 6 hours sunshine a day. There can be rain but it’s usually not persistent, though it can be dramatic and intense for a day or two. However, official averages don’t really give a feeling of just how lovely those figures feel in what is normally considered an autumnal month.
When I think back on all the Octobers we’ve spent here (this will be our 8th) I think of days on the beach, walks in the mountains, warm days and cool nights. My birthday is in early October and we have always eaten outside on the actual day. The weather on my 40th birthday was truly divine, I’m sure my friends who celebrated with me will agree. Please let’s hope I don’t jinx it this year by being so confident!
The Toussaint school holidays, a two week break from studies, start around the 20th of the month and we often have visitors from England or northern France. Looking back over photos of their visits we are swimming in the sea, wearing shorts and t-shirts, eating al fresco and still looking very summery. I’m not remembering wrong, all the photos in this post are taken in October.
Owing to the fine weather the leaves stay on the trees longer and it’s only by the end of the month that they are beginning to fall. Autumn colours can be seen in the form of berries on hawthorns, cotoneasters and arbousiers but forests stay predominantly green. Markets sell pumpkins, chestnuts and mushrooms, but continue to provide tomatoes, aubergines and peppers well into the month. The thing is, while I know autumn is many people’s favourite time of year, it isn’t mine! I’m a summer person and above all a sunshine person. I need sun, I love light! I don’t hate cold, many of my favourite places are distinctively cold, but I find autumn a little mournful and prefer the optimism of spring and the joy of summer. So seeing as October in the South of France isn’t really autumnal, it’s more “Indian summer”, that’s just fine by me.
October is a great time for cycling and walking. During the high season from June through September it can be too hot to go on long bike rides or hikes, but October temperatures are usually perfect. The days are still long enough to get maximum distance in, heading into the mountains, further afield and still returning in daylight. One of the beauties of living where we do is our proximity to the Southern Alps. We often go for picnics in the mountains where by the end of the month there is sometimes a little bit of snow. One time the kids made a snowman while out for the day in what was for our guests, coming from Yorkshire, for all intents and purposes a summer’s day.
It goes without saying that the summer crowds have long gone from the beaches, restaurants and cultural sites making it easy to park, stroll around tiny hilltop villages and get a table at a restaurant. The craziness of the rentrée is over too and in its place are a few local village fêtes and cultural events. October is the month of an important book fair and the quirky fête de la courge while local vineyards celebrate their harvests. But overall October is a calm month without sooooo much going on that you feel permanently rushed off your feet trying to keep up or guilty at not having made it to yet another event. For me it’s a time just to relax and savour the last of the warm days, to swim in the sea and linger over long lunches outdoors, to walk and explore nearly empty villages and forest trails. It may be October but summer isn’t over!
I don’t know how anyone could not like this time of year on the Côte d’Azur, it offers the best of everything. Do you like to cling on to summer for as long as possible or are you an autumn person? Would you like to visit at this time of year?
Transhumance, Autumn and a Hill-Top Village
September Mediterranean Garden, no Signs of Autumn
PIN for later!
we love October in Provence … the area is so much quieter, the weather is beautiful and the perfect temperature for cycling along the empty roads and as you say the autumn colours start to show too. We have just cleared the diary for October next year so that we can enjoy as much of the month as possible in the South #allaboutfrance
Another great post! I’ve always loved autumn in France, specifically October. When I used to organise exchanges between my London school and one in Angers, one week would always fall in half term and we had some amazing trips. Now we have our house, I’m France, I love watching the changing colours, especially when I walk beside the Canal du Midi! #AllAboutFrance
I love Autumn but am never keen on too much cold weather … but then I do love lighting the woodburner when needed and you can’t beat an crisp or windy Autumn walk. Your Oct sounds lovely, though with little risk of getting too chilly. #AllAboutFrance
You have put the perfect words on how I fee about autumn! Like you, I find it mournful so I’m definitely not an autumn person! Plus I can’t be bothered by Halloween, even though it gets bigger every year here in Ireland. Your post make me feel so envious – oh, to still eat outside and swim in the warm sea… I already miss summer.
Oh it sounds so lovely, we are in the Dordogne and feeling the cold now, might have to look further south! #allaboutfrance
Oh no: now you’ve made me want to come and visit. October is a wonderful time for heading south. Lovely post.
Looks gorgeous, sadly with Ed being back at school, the pottager going mad with squash and tomatoes, walnuts, apples, pears, figs and quince to pick, October has never featured as a holiday month, I’m way too busy. However, Adrian would love to climb Mont Ventoux on his bike and maybe now Ed is off to uni, October would be a good month to plan an escape! #AllAboutFrance
My wife and I will be in Nice France on October 3 for 11 days. We rented a apartment with a kitchen and laundry room with washer and drier in old town Nice. We live in Virginia formerly from California. Any advice you can give concerning a must see list please let us know…we are looking at the theatre, ballet, concerts quit a task if you have specific advice we would very much appreciate…any direction you can send us..Rick & Leah Virginia USA
hello Hanna, sorry your comment got forgotten, my advice to you would be to not only read this blog but check out my Pinterest boards for the area. October is a great month here, but late winter around Feb can be good too with lots of festivals and carnivals on. Don’t forget we have a vacation rental too so if you stay with us we can be on hand for plenty of recommendations! Here’s a link to my Pinterest profile https://fr.pinterest.com/loumessugo/
Greetings! I came across your blog while searching for times of year to visit the Côte d’Azur from the US. I am attempting to plan a trip for my husband and I this year for either fall or winter. It may turn out that our only option to travel (for business reasons) is after Christmas, though I would prefer mid to late October. Your blog suggests that October is a perfect month! Do you have any other suggestions or helpful information that I could possibly use to help me discern our trip, dates and things to do? I appreciate any help that you are willing to offer! Thank you!
South East of France is still glorious at that time of the year. Have you found some Chasselas and Muscat grapes at those markets? They are so refreshing and yummy. I have never been able to find Chasselas ouside of France, and that is the one thing I crave for…
I love Autumn, but after today when I’ve battled through an awful storm just for a baby sensory class, I’d do anything to be where you are!xx
Sounds (and looks) blissful. Would LOVE to go – October was the best time for the Canaries too.
These photos are all made up of life here, not just one trip, I’m lucky enough to actually live here. You should come over and experience it for yourself! 🙂
Book yourself a break here next year!!
Thanks! 22°c is truly a perfect temperature, especially for autumn!
What an amazing trip, I can’t believe how beautiful France is in October
It looks truly amazing and I really wish I were there now!
Looks gorgeous. I always say that 22C is my most desired temp. Happy belated birthday!
Looks very pretty and warm. We’re headed toward winter before long, so the summer scene looks wonderful.
Hah, they’re great rocks I agree!
I bet it’s similar to your part of the world too SJ.
I think our climate is more like Barcelona than Toulouse though Barca is warmer in winter. I love the small villages too. Thanks for commenting Laia.
Thanks Mary! I’d heard that our climate was similar to southern California. Aren’t we the lucky ones?
Happy birthday to you too!
It must be about time for a visit then Sophie, glad you enjoyed my post.
Oh Jess, my 40th was a few years ago!!! I wish….
Wow, 20° in England in October sounds like climate change for sure.
Thanks for the birthday greetings Michele. Kids are funny aren’t they, some will wear nothing in freezing weather and others wrap up in the heat, but the kid wearing shorts and tshirt in the photo you mentioned was about right.
It’s always a pleasure to link up with you Nancie
Good to hear that Brooke, I hope your autumn is sunny!
It is pretty perfect – mostly!
I would love to climb those crazy rocks. 🙂
Its so great without the crowds!!! What a fabulous time of year.
Nice post! I live also in South of France, in Toulouse, but your post reminds me much more of Barcelona (where I am from). Sea and nice weather! In Toulouse it rains more…
That said, I really like the South of France, specially the small villages 🙂
I’d love to visit the south of France this time of the year. Our weather is pretty similar to yours here in southern California. It’s been very hot with summer like temperatures lately. Such a lovely collection of photos here. I hope you enjoy your birthday celebration this year.
It looks fantastic. I love this time of year. Happy Birthday! Mine is early October too! x
This post made me feel very nostalgic. The first time I moved to Nice was on 6th October (1996!) and I remember my surprise at seeing the palm trees on the prom and the warmth, oh the warmth! October was one of my favourite months there too. Great post x
Yay happy 40th!!! Looks like a fabulous time, and the SOuth of France is surely gorgeous this time of year!
I recall a day in January a couple of years ago, not far from Lou Messugo, when two of our party had a swim in the sea. So October could well be more or less tropical. And – global warming? – it’s well over 20 degrees today here in Sussex.
October sounds heavenly in your part of the world. Beaches, book fairs and vineyard harvests are all wonderful. Happy Birthday by the way. I like that in the picture with the snowman, the kids seem to be dressed for summer, autumn, and winter.
Sounds like the perfect time of year to me! Local vineyards celebrating their harvests…I’d be there in a heartbeat. Thanks for linking up this week.
This was a great post. Like you, I need the sunlight and while I do like autumn, I know what you mean about it sort of being depressing knowing what is in store with winter. I’ll have to keep this information in mind for next October.
Talking of the British and weather, I studied there and the weather was just dreary.
Autumn in South of France looks perfect, love the photos too 🙂
Yes, I would love to visit in October! You make it look lovely.
Lovely to hear from you, my current guest at Lou Messugo! So glad you’re enjoying your stay and reading my blog in situ! 🙂
Yes we do continue outdoors usually through into early November. It’s great!
Thanks Farrah, did you used to live in the Dordogne?
Thanks for hosting it Amanda
Great review !! And best of all we are already here at your little place of paradise and throughly enjoying every minute. Fabulous meal last night at auberge du clos des pins. Looking forward to a local walk le d’arbousson to view the autumnal colours in the nearby forests. Another warm day !!!
So very different to October in the UK then! Photos look amazing, you get to stay outdoors much more in October. Beautiful scenery! Have fun 😀
Oh my goodness, beautiful, beautiful beautiful! You make me miss Dordogne 🙂
Oh it sounds lovely! Summer without the crowds 🙂
Thanks for taking part in my link up.