How to Live Your Best French Autumn in New York

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It’s autumn again but we’re playing L’été Indien by Joe Dassin on repeat. Whether there is a pouring rainstorm outside or a golden fall, the French have their own quirks for celebrating the season. And since l’automne is the season between the relatively low-key August and the hibernation of winter, it is both the resurrection and the lullaby of the seasons. We’ve compiled a few ways to live like un(e) français(e) in New York in autumn.

Stock up on les pulls (aka knit sweaters) 


It may not be entirely freezing yet, but the ultimate cozy pullover is a must. Oftentimes wool coats aren’t actually warm enough and need the extra layering. Plus, it looks like fall wrapped on a person. In New York you can find wonderful options at Sézane or The Frankie Shop, or score a Norwegian-style sweater at a thrift shop in Brooklyn.

Wear scarves and plaids

Make sure to take out your largest scarf, which might be a quilt actually, and wrap yourself into a French burrito whether at home or outside. Colds are on the loose so make sure to keep warm.

Do everything en terrasse

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New York looks more and more like Paris lately with the changing colors, cooling temperatures and lovely side effect of outdoor dining. Many places keep their terrasses open until close to Thanksgiving. In France, even when freezing, everyone tends to try to grab a coffee or an apéro outside while there is still sun.

Buy fresh fall produce

French people usually tend to eat seasonally so it’s perfect timing for all kinds of squashes, mushrooms, and potatoes to come into play for all your meals. Even better if you buy locally and make these into soups.

Read read read

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My favorite color is October 🍁 Fall ready with @ottodame outfit. AD #ottodame, #ottodamefw19, #ottodamelovers

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At the tail-end of la rentrée littéraire, it’s time to read all the books you’ve been longing to catch up on all year. It’s also time to get back into social events, politics, and everyday news. Props to you if your books are used, vintage, or borrowed.

Catch up with friends

Hopefully you’re always hanging out with friends, but fall in France is when everyone returns home from their summer vacations. It is one of the only times of the year when most people pass on the long vacation and prefer to be at home to see the seasons change and time pass, so make the most of it.

Bake tartes

Tartes sound way fancier and more complicated than they really happen to be. They consist simply of pastry dough and a filling. While you can buy the pastry at a grocery store, the filling is up to you. Opt for apple and pecan flavors or go for figs which are about to disappear until next year. Sweet or savory, it’s your call.

Take a few detours out of town

It’s getting cold in la campagne (and upstate) so take your last day-long and weekend trips to see the foliage change. Save the wooden homes (châlets) to hibernate in for winter when it’s naturally ski time.

Chow down on cheese dishes

We truly hope you didn’t stop eating cheese in the summer, but it is now time for hot cheese dishes, including fondue and raclette.

Be calm and kind

Fall in France inspires a certain kind of melancholy in the air where no one is particularly in a rush or truly unkind. Let autumn guide you with a smile.

Featured image: Stock Photos from Ryan DeBerardinis / Shutterstock