Studying abroad in Paris during fall semester of my junior year was absolutely one of the best experiences of my life. Originally, I chose to study abroad in the fall because it was easier during that particular semester, but I ended up loving fall in Paris—mainly because of the gorgeous weather and the opportunity to spend time outdoors—but for many more reasons as well:
The chance to experience multiple seasons – Studying abroad in the fall allows you to experience the warmth of summer, crispness of fall and the chill of winter. Paris was the perfect city to experience all of the seasons. August and September were warm and sunny; October and November were full of falling leaves and autumn colors; and December was chilly—in fact, it even snowed a little bit before I flew home! It was perfect weather for walking around and exploring the city. Even in the colder months, there were plenty of cafes to cozy up in and hang out with friends. It was great to experience the many seasons of Paris!
Lots of cultural events and festivities – Fall weather is still good for outdoor music festivals, fashions shows and, of course, Christmas markets. Of all my favorite things in Paris, the Christmas markets are at the top of the list. They are the best way to get outside and enjoy the crisp, cold, fresh air (and eat a lot of good food!). I visited Christmas markets many times in Paris and a few different French cities. I also enjoyed attending the open air markets every weekend with my friends. It was nice to be able to shop outside on a Sunday afternoon and enjoy the beautiful (and sometimes rainy) Parisian weather.
Spending more time outdoors and less time cooped up inside – It’s so easy to visit parks, have picnics and go for bike rides when the weather is nice and mild. Generally, fall is the perfect time for outdoor activities and you can easily take advantage of the great weather during a fall semester abroad. In Paris, parks are the places to go, and because the weather was so nice I spent most of my time outside in the local park near my apartment. One time I visited Versailles at the end of November, and the weather was still perfect for a bike ride! If you enjoy spending time outdoors, fall is a great time to study abroad.
While the seasons weren’t a factor in my original reasoning for studying abroad in the fall, the weather really contributed to making my semester abroad one of the best. I was able to spend much of my time outdoors, enjoying the gorgeous weather, exploring the city of Paris and checking out some of the city’s best parks and outdoor markets. While studying abroad in the fall may not be the perfect option for everyone, I definitely recommend that students at least consider it, because you will never regret spending fall in Europe!
Karisa Desjardins is an Alumni Ambassador at CEA Study Abroad, she is currently a student at Chanplain College and studied abroad in Paris, France.