What are the best things to do in Paris in Winter? If you’re planning a trip to the capital of France during the holiday season it’s a question you’re probably asking yourself, rightfully so.
As a local, I thought it’d be a good idea to make a bucket list of the bucket things to do in Paris when it’s cold. The city has a lot to offer, so much it actually can be overwhelming. Here are the best things to do in Paris in winter!
Best Things To Do In Paris In Winter
Let’s start with some useful pieces of information that will also help you plan your trip to Paris. If you’d like further informations you can check out my post about visiting Paris in Winter: the Pros and the Cons.
What is the average temperature in winter in Paris?
Winter in Paris lasts from the 20th of December to the 22nd of March, the average temperature is between 3° to 8° degree celsius on average. 37° Fahrenheit
Although it can get much colder or hotter actually.
Last year it was 20c in the middle of February, which is pretty insane.
What time does the sunset in Paris?
We do have a daily light saving time in Paris which means when winter draws to an end the clocks are turned forward an hour so there is more light in the evening.
Which means when winter is close it’s time to reverse this and clocks are turned backwards 1 hour. So in winter the sun usually sets around 5:30 pm at the latest. This is already noticeable by the ends of October though.
Be sure to make the most of the daylight!
#1 VISIT CHRISTMAS MARKETS AND DRINK SOME HOT WINE
This one is a no brainer if you’re visiting Paris in winter and as well during the holiday season then you have to visit the Christmas Markets!
There are tons of Christmas Markets throughout Europe and Paris is no exception you can find dozens of Christmas markets here!
They are the perfect place to enjoy a nice day activity, enjoy some yummy food and maybe a cheeky glass of wine. Another good thing about them is that you can get a lot of artisanal goodies that are the perfect Christmas gift.
#2 GO ICE SKATING FOR CHRISTMAS
Ice skating is one of the best winter activities in any countries you can visit, granted there is a winter season where you’re going.
It’s the perfect activity for couples, family or even solo traveller!
Best Outdoor Ice Skating Spots in Paris in 2019:
– Ice skating rink at the Hotel de Ville
– Eiffel Tower Ice skating rink at the Trocadéro
– The rooftop of the Galleries Lafayette
And one indoor – > Grand Palais: ice skating rink.
#3 EAT SOME BUCHE AND GALETTE DES ROIS
France, in general, is notorious for its delicious dessert and pastries or as we say in French, patisseries. I mean if one visit Paris (or any places in France) you can not leave without at least trying a pastry.
During the year there’s some special occasion that calls for special kind of dessert. This is the case in winter for Christmas with the Buche and La Galette des Rois for the Epiphany on the 6th of January!
La Buche is a traditional dessert that is shaped as a lodge once its name – Buche which is log in French. It’s basically a chocolate butter cake but there’s also a frozen alternative (which I love) or some alternative flavour for anyone not to keen on chocolate!
After Christmas and the New Year then it is time to eat some Galette des Rois (King Cake) to celebrate the Epiphany – in the Christian religion it is associated with sharing and the arrival of the 3 Wise Men.
La Galette des Rois is a, well, kind of a national obsession over this delicious frangipane filled tart. Now, here is the twist inside each galette you’ll find a feve (it can be a little character or anything shaped really).
The tradition wants you to cut the galette according to how many people will eat it and the youngest person (usually kids) have to go underneath the table and assign which slice goes to whom.
#4 ENJOY SOME HOT CHOCOLATE
Who doesn’t love a hot, thick and sumptuous cup of hot chocolate in winter?
When it’s icy cold drinking a hot beverage in the comfiness of one café. And we’re not talking about whatever hot chocolate here, we’re talking about real artisanal hot chocolate with reach flavours.
Where to get hot chocolate in Paris?
– Angelina Paris
– Un Dimanche A Paris
– Charles Chocolatier
– Jean-Paul Hevin
#5 GO CHECK OUT THE CHRISTMAS TREE AT THE GALLERIES LAFAYETTE AT HAUSMANN
Every year in Paris the Galleries Lafayette comes up with bold, marvellous and super awaited Christmas displays. The main piece being a giant Christmas standing right under the fascinating dome of this giant shopping mall.
As I mentioned above under #2 the mall will also be hosting an ice skating rink this year so why not check the displays, go ice skate and then maybe do some Christmas shopping? A perfect winter afternoon in Paris.
Be sure not to forget to check the outside windows display as well.
#6 ENJOY THE WINTER SALES
There are two majors sales in France one in summer, and one in winter.
The winter sale in Paris starts right after the new year. Paris is known as the capital of fashion and a lot of people have shopping in Paris written on their bucket list.
So why not enjoy ones of the biggest sale of the year in order to cross this from your bucket list? You’ll also get some good deals out of it, it’s a win-win situation!
#7 SEE A CABARET SHOW
A pretty popular place in Paris is the Moulin Rouge, this famous red mill located in the 18th arrondissement.
If you enjoy shows then why not book a ticket for a spectacular evening? You can choose to just enjoy a drink or have dinner there it’s up to you!
Of course, there’s more than one cabaret that offers great shows in Paris, two more famous cabarets you might consider checking out are the Lido and the Crazy Horse. They’re also a great way to celebrate the new year.
If you’re not into big places and looking for a smaller sized cabaret, yet just as great and famous, then it’s Chez Michou you need to go.
If you’d like to see a show at any of them I suggest you book well in advance are they pretty popular and tends to sell out quickly.
#8 CHECK OUT THE CHRISTMAS DISPLAY
Of course, winter also means the holiday season is here with all the celebrations that include, Christmas and the New Year.
Which means the whole French capital dress up with fairy lights and illuminations as well as plenty of Christmas decorations scattered throughout all the shops and restaurants of the city.
Basically you can’t be wrong wheresoever you go to see some Christmas displays.
I already mentioned that you should visit the Galleries Lafayette for beautiful display and in my next point, I will get to one of the most famous avenues in the world.
Here are a few more worthy places that you should check out for Christmas Display in Paris:
– Avenue Montaigne
– Rue Faubourg Saint-Honoré
– Place Vendômes
If you want to know more about Christmas in Paris check out where to see the best Christmas lights in Paris!
#9 WANDER IN A MUSEUM
Visiting a museum in Paris is a pretty obvious activity in itself as there is a lot of famous museum here in Paris, I mean most tourists have le Louvres on their bucket list, right?
There is plenty of museums you can visit in Paris to have a nice chill morning or afternoon away from the cold and, well, potential gloomy weather. If you’re not really a museum person, no worries, you can also go there with the goal of finding the weirdest painting or sculpture, you’d be surprised at how many of those there are.
#10 EXPLORE THE PARISIANS ARCADES
If you read my 10 things to do in Paris when it rains then you already know about the covered arcades.
The covered passages of Paris are often found going through the building as they have been built at the same time as those. In those galleries, you can find a lot of shops or restaurants.
They also have some beautiful architecture and decorations one of my favourite being the Galerie Vivienne!
Here are a few covered passages in Paris to visit:
- Passage des Panoramas
- Passage des Princes
- Galerie Vivienne
#11 DAY TRIP TO DISNEYLAND PARIS
What more fitting place than Disneyland to experience the magic of Christmas. It’s a perfect day trip for both kids and adults.
Disneyland Park decorations change with every seasons and holiday, Christmas at Disneyland is one of the most popular time to visit. If not the most popular time.
#12 VISIT A GREENHOUSE
Visiting a greenhouse during winter might not be the first activity that comes to mind.
It is nonetheless a great and unusual activity to do in Paris! If you don’t fancy being outside in the cold and you’d like to see some cool plants and flowers then you should head out and visit one of the following greenhouses!
Greenhouses in Paris:
- Serres d’Auteuil
- Grandes Serres du Jardin des Plantes
- Serres du Sénat, Jardin du Luxembourg
#13 STROLL AROUND THE CHAMPS ELYSEE
The Champs Elysee is ones of the most famous avenues in the world, so, no matter the season it’s a pretty popular spot among tourists.
While I sort of think it might be overrated in some way, a bit like Time Square in New-York (albeit not nearly as crowded) it’s a place I love to visit at least once in winter.
It has this lovely and comforting feeling especially at night when all the illuminations start to glow.
#14 ATTEND LE FESTIVAL DE MERVEILLEUX
Le Festival De Merveilleux is held every year during winter in Paris at the end of the year. This festival is the perfect place to discover the wonders of the entertainment and fair world.
With daily shows as well as attractions and “old school” carrousel, it’s the perfect place to fully immerse yourself into the magic of art and fair.
It is a perfect convivial winter activity for both children and adult not to miss in Paris.
Address: 53 av des Terroirs de France
Price: 14€ for adults and 6€ for children
Date: 26th of December to 5th of January 2020 without reservation from 10 am to 6 pm
Paris is a lovely cultural city that it is interesting to visit all year round but if you decide to visit it during the colder season then with this post you have enough material to plan a fun trip!
And that’s a wrap on my 15 activities to do this winter! Now you know all the best things to do in Paris in winter so put that coat on and go have some fun in the French capital!
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Best Things To Do In Paris In Winter