Enjoy the Indian summer in September

There's a welcome change in the air as the bustle of August turns into a calm September. High temperatures start to taper off and the bulk of holidaymakers migrate home. September is the perfect time to visit if you want to catch the last of the summer sun and explore the sights and beaches without the throngs of tourists in peak season. Plus, all the best restaurants and attractions are still open for business. While the French Riviera will not be empty by any means, most places will not be overly cramped either.

In this article, you can expect to learn all about the delightful transition from summer to autumn in Provence this September. We'll guide you through the average weather conditions, so you know exactly what to pack for a comfortable and enjoyable stay. Discover the best local festivals, such as Septembre en Mer and Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez. We will also highlight the top seasonal produce and markets. Let’s get into it.

harvest provence
rose wine

Weather and what to pack

As late summer begins to edge into early autumn, the temperatures drop and the rainfall increases, a common feature of the Mediterranean climate experienced across most parts of Provence. September is when the heat in Provence begins to let up. Average temperatures generally sit around 20ºC, with a low of 15ºC in the evenings and a high of 24ºC during the day. It does tend to be a little wetter than previous months, so there is a chance of a shower but in general with the cooler temperature it’s a fabulous time to visit. Sunrise around 7.15am and sunset after 7.30pm.

Clothing wise, you will be most comfortable in lightweight summer clothing, but do not forget your sweater for after dark. It is always a good idea to bring an umbrella for the occasional rain shower. If you are planning on exploring Provence on foot, the cobbled streets call out for comfortable shoes or walking boots. In September, the summer sun has been heating the ocean up all summer and the water sits at a balmy 22°C, a great bonus for water lovers. A swimsuit is a must.

Exploring the region

With the summer crowds gone, September is an excellent time to rent a car and delve into Provence’s villages and truly feel at one with the landscapes. Pre-booking your rental car can secure the best rates, and our team is on hand to assist in finding the perfect vehicle for your needs. The month of September generally marks the beginning of the grape harvest. It is at this time when the grapes have reached peak maturity - making it a fabulous time for wine enthusiasts to visit and taste locally produced wines directly from the source. The Luberon region, renowned for its Côte du Luberon appellation, offers numerous wineries open to the public in September. Châteauneuf-du-Pape, famous for its prestigious wines, hosts a delightful picnic harvest towards the end of the month, featuring local fare and wine tastings.

The cooler temperatures in September make exploring even more enjoyable

Nature lovers will find Calanques National Park irresistible in September. Join a guided kayaking excursion to explore the park’s azure waters, limestone cliffs, and hidden coves. This time of year is perfect for such outdoor activities as the temperatures are mild and the waters are still warm. Visiting Provence's markets in September is ideal due to the pleasant weather, the abundance of fresh, local produce during the harvest season, and the reduced crowds after the peak tourist period. These markets, especially those in Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, and L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, offer a delightful cultural experience with their variety of artisan goods, crafts, and antiques. This combination of factors makes a late morning stroll through these markets a perfect way to enjoy Provence.

autumn in Provence

What’s on in September?

Septembre en Mer

Septembre en Mer (September by the Sea) is a month-long festival along the coast around La Ciotat, Cassis, and Marseille. The festival celebrates the sea with over 200 marine-themed events. Activities range from diving and kayaking to historical exhibitions and seafood tastings. Join in on one of the local events, try water sports or simply sit at one of the coastal bars and observe the fun. This festival is a particularly good choice for families looking for varied fun and something unique in Provence in September

Fête de la Gastronomie

Held on the last weekend of September every year, this nationwide festival celebrates French cuisine with events including chef demonstrations, workshops, and tastings. Provence’s participation showcases the region’s culinary prowess, making it a must-visit for all foodies. Locals will crowd the food market at St Remy to get hold of sausages from the Camargue, a regional speciality made of bull meat, and salts seasoned with lavender. You can also take a break from wine tasting to taste olive oil instead.

Fête Votive de Saint-Rémy

This six-day festival in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence honours the town’s patron Saint with parades, bullfighting, and traditional music. It offers a deep dive into local customs and provides a festive atmosphere. The programme features abrivados, showcasing a parade of horses and bulls, along with exhilarating Camarguaise bull runs. In the evening, the essential destinations are the bodega and the Christian Chomel arenas, where you can experience Camargue come to life through shows and races. Guests can also enjoy live music, traditional costumes, and much more.

Fête Votive de Saint-Rémy bullfighting with horses
Fête Votive de Saint-Rémy

And so, September in Provence offers a blend of pleasant weather and fewer crowds, making it an ideal time for a luxurious and relaxed holiday. Whether you are looking to explore the vineyards, attend a festival, or you simply just want to experience Provence, Provence in September may just be the answer for you.

A bientôt,

The Provence Holidays Team