How crowded is Paris this fall?

Old Oct 4th, 2022, 06:34 PM
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How crowded is Paris this fall?

I’ve been watching some daily videos of the Paris streets and
it looks like so many people, more than I remember seeing at any time of the year.

We’ve been to Paris many times but not since Oct/Nov 2019 because of Covid. Our favorite streets along the Seine look too crowded to walk comfortably, every outside table in every cafe filled to capacity.

Has the city we know and love gone the way of over-tourism?
I would think that if we spent our time away from the Seine it might be better.

What do those Fodorites who usually go to Paris in the fall, or live there, think?



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Old Oct 4th, 2022, 07:16 PM
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My husband and I just returned from a week in Paris - our third time in the city over the past ten years, always in the fall. We had been traveling for a month in France, and it seemed that there was much more native English (and Spanish and German) being spoken on the streets of Paris than in other places we visited (Lyon, Cote d'Azure, Aix, Avignon, Amboise). We were staying in the 6th, walked along the Seine, through the Marias, and over to Les Halles - did not find the streets overcrowded (except Saturday evening near Les Halles). Yes, the restaurants were full most evenings after 7 pm, and even during the days there were plenty of patrons in cafes everywhere. The vibe we got was how vibrant the city is - and how many young people are out and about. Seems to have recovered well from the bleak Covid days.
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Old Oct 4th, 2022, 08:10 PM
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I only passed through a few weeks ago, but the taxi queue at Gare du Nord after our Eurostar arrival still had ~20 people in it after we'd been in it for 25 minutes. We bailed out and took the RER to Gare de Lyon instead, to make our rendezvous.

Coming back through the other way in a cab a week later, it sure looked busy to me.
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Old Oct 4th, 2022, 11:27 PM
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Paris is always busy in the fall, it is convention and trade show season. However, the streets are full of pedestrians and restaurant reservations need to be made earlier than ever before. I called our local restaurant for a next day reservation and was told they were full. That has never happened in the many years I have been going there.

Expect crowds everywhere, and the Chinese are still not allowed to travel. Reserve for hotels and restaurants as early as possible.
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Old Oct 5th, 2022, 03:08 AM
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I am in Paris and, yes, I see more people than usual, but.....it is Paris and who would not want to be here??? Please come over and we will buy you Champagne!
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Old Oct 5th, 2022, 04:25 AM
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We were in Paris in August and surprisingly it wasn’t really crowded at all, even on the Champs Elysées. A couple of taxi drivers and a tour guide told us May, June and July were extremely busy, but August much less so. But travel is back on full swing now and people are trying to make up for the two year Covid hiatus, so be prepared for crowds.

And as Traviata says, who wouldn’t want to be in Paris? Don’t stress too much and go with the flow…
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Old Oct 5th, 2022, 04:54 AM
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This year has been particularly crowded, but I attribute that to people making up for lost time (2 years). However, all bets are off as soon as the Chinese are able to travel again.
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Old Oct 5th, 2022, 05:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Traviata View Post
I am in Paris and, yes, I see more people than usual, but.....it is Paris and who would not want to be here??? Please come over and we will buy you Champagne!
Me! Not even for champagne.

I think many places in Europe are busier simply because people can travel again and are doing so just in case there is another flare up and travel is restricted again.
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Old Oct 5th, 2022, 06:04 AM
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Traviata….a glass of champagne? Quite tempting but it might have to wait until spring when you are in Paris again. It would be fun to chat and catch up.
I recently returned from South Africa (TR under the Fodors Africa site) That was a trip planned 2-1/2 yrs. ago that finally happened. Still trying to recoup from that extremely long flight.

Paris in the beginning of Dec. is a possibility, however, you will be home by then.

Sarastro….if you are there, we’d enjoy catching up with you also.

Anyway, thanks for the responses. We’ll continue to live vicariously in Paris by watching the daily street walks.
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Old Oct 5th, 2022, 06:13 AM
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We were there late August early September and thought it was jammed. Strangely, we were able to walk right in to the Musee d'Orsay, but the Impressionist rooms were crowded.
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Old Oct 5th, 2022, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by TPAYT View Post
Sarastro….if you are there, we’d enjoy catching up with you also.
December would be a wonderful time to meet. Perhaps a Christmas group get together.
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Old Oct 5th, 2022, 03:11 PM
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TPAYT, where are you viewing current videos of Parisian streets and crowds? Sometimes photographers deliberately choose certain shots to make a point. Paris has given way to overtourism in certain areas but has for a long time. St Germain is nothing like when I first started going to Paris about 25-30 years ago. I don't even like it much now. Lots of areas have really changed.

I don't think Paris is ever that crowded in August, it's a slow month, but late Sept/October is the busy season. I have plans to visit very end of the month but am now having second thoughts on that, but not due to crowds (which should be better then anyway) but due to COVID. Currently France has one of the highest rates in Western Europe, the only countries worse are Austria and Slovenia (and Greece). Germany is close behind, though. Spain is really good in that regard, too bad I didn't make plans for there but I really wanted to go to Paris. France's COVID rate is about 4-5 times higher than the US. Nowadays I am not sure what that means, though, as so many people are self-testing today. I'm not sure if physicians are required to report cases in the US to the CDC or not, say if a patient just tests positive and asks their advice but isn't all that sick. I know someone in that situation, but I also have a young healthy relative who caught it and was really sick for a couple weeks.
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Old Oct 6th, 2022, 09:06 AM
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You tube livestream daily walks in Paris.
A different location every day
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Old Oct 16th, 2022, 02:53 AM
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Just got back the other day, we were in Paris the first week of October, stay in the 5th, the city was jammed! All dinners need reservations, particularly small places, as people tend to make several reservations, and only show up at one. We had to commit credit cards to hold a few, and confirm couple times. But the weather was glorious. Looks like everything is under renovation -- Tuileries length along Rue Rivoli -- Olympics 2024 perhaps?? Notre Dame reconstruction coming along. Saint Suplice project will take years, but this was first time we actually were inside. Bon Marche celebrating 170 years, what a feast for the eyes (and your wallet) that store is. Loved the home floor of Grand Epicerie next door as well. Carnavalet Musee was great, and free, fascinating collection of Paris history from pre-historic up to 20th century. Hadn't been over in the 1st arr in years, and strolling Haussman, streets packed. We have always gone in Sept/Oct except once early Spring which was cold & rainy. Bon Voyage!
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Old Oct 16th, 2022, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by TPAYT View Post
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2uj-91GPUOo

You tube livestream daily walks in Paris.
A different location every day
That is very cool!
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Old Oct 16th, 2022, 03:33 PM
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We were in Paris the first week in October. The streets were crowded but bearable. Restaurants however were jam-packed. We had dinner at Chez Janou and diners were shoulder-to-shoulder, they had to pull out the table in order to get out, servers’ arms brushed against my head to reach over the tables, it was noisy, etc. The dining experience was just awful.
We tested positive when we got home and we believe we contracted it at Chez Janou. We vigilantly wore our masks on the bus, metro, and everywhere else where it was crowded like the Sunday market.
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Old Oct 17th, 2022, 04:03 AM
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Interesting, milaedg, as we never got Covid, and were thinking if it ever were to happen, we'd have gotten it going through Chatelet metro stop at rush hour on Thursday afternoon. Had packed masks and tests, but ended up using neither. Also were delayed on ground at CDG for 3 hours for water pump replacement, with all 350 (on newer 777 plane) passengers deplaning/replaning past us, but no -- yes, the restaurants were packed and most are super close sitting (Les Papilles, Benoit, La Voglia in Nice). And whoever gave us the name of LaVoglia for my Nice restaurants list, I thank you -- fabulous.
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Old Oct 17th, 2022, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by milaedg View Post
Restaurants however were jam-packed. We had dinner at Chez Janou and diners were shoulder-to-shoulder, they had to pull out the table in order to get out, servers’ arms brushed against my head to reach over the tables, it was noisy, etc. The dining experience was just awful.
I thought everybody knew that Chez Janou was pretty terrible now and a complete tourist trap ("so cute and romantic!"), but in terms of crowds, pulling tables out to get in or or out of your seat and being brushed by servers, that sounds like just about every restaurant in Paris.
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Old Oct 17th, 2022, 11:41 AM
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Thanks for the video TPAYT. It's interesting to see how a lot of pedestrians, bikes and electric scooters weave in and out trying to avoid each other in the pedestrian street. I was last in Paris in 2019 and since then, it seems, there has been a big effort to limit driving and increase the use of bikes and scooters. The scooters were already a real menace then in some places. Can't wait to see it all for myself again, hopefully next spring.
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Old Oct 18th, 2022, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by kerouac View Post
I thought everybody knew that Chez Janou was pretty terrible now and a complete tourist trap ("so cute and romantic!"), but in terms of crowds, pulling tables out to get in or or out of your seat and being brushed by servers, that sounds like just about every restaurant in Paris.
kerouac: Since you are our eyes and ears there, (along with MmePerdu, et al) the Chez Janou is exactly what I am trying to avoid. You know from other posts that I will be arriving by car, but the vehicle will be parked in a safe garage for the duration. I intentionally chose an Airbnb only 200m from the Strasbourg St-Denis Metro station to rely primarily on that mode of transportation.
I am looking for just one good restaurant - I don't care which arrondisement. I am vegetarian - which, in my iteration of that means I will include dairy. No meat, poultry, fish. I've looked at some "vegetarian" restaurants, but their menus are always so "foo-foo". I don't want "braised kale with tofu crumbles and yogurt". I prefer not to have to resort to pasta as we will be spending three weeks in Italy, BUT it will certainly do in a pinch. My wife eats seafood, but not the "squishy stuff" as she calls it (squid, octopus, etc.) We like spicy food, and we both can be adventurous. We both just want a good, hearty meal and some good red wine w/o breaking the bank. I had a recommendation for Chez Lena & Mimile, but there is practically nothing on that menu I can eat. Am I asking too much?

Last edited by worldwidewinetours; Oct 18th, 2022 at 10:21 AM. Reason: added a line
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