Last updated on November 9th, 2023 at 07:09 am
So you’re thinking of visiting Paris in winter? Then I’ve got you covered! My winter travel guide will give you all the tips and things to do in Paris in winter. And all of these valuable resources to plan a trip to Paris are from a local!
Paris is a city that changes every season; what you may experience during summertime isn’t the same as what you will experience in Paris during the winter.
While Paris is a trendy European destination all year long, it becomes twice as prevalent during the holiday season, with everyone wanting to enjoy a jolly Paris vacation.
Visiting Paris In Winter: The Complete Guide
Winter in France (and Europe) starts a little before the year ends and finishes early or mid-March. However, you can feel the drop in temperature early in November; therefore, it already feels like winter. Thus, this will also include November.
Let’s start with positivity and tackle the many pros of a winter visit to Paris; maybe it will be the best time for you to visit!
If you’re visiting Paris in December, you must check out my guide on all the best things to do & see if you want to celebrate Christmas in Paris.
Pros and Cons Of Visiting Paris In Winter
The city’s landscape forever changes throughout the season, and winter is no exception, as you may imagine. Thus, you should know that visiting Paris in Winter has pros and cons. This will help you decide the best time to visit Paris for you!
Pros Of Visiting Paris in Winter
Avoid the Crowd
This means no endless queuing to go to museums or famous landmarks. That’s a plus when you have to queue outside! As soon as the holiday season is over and we set off into the first day of a new year, you can expect the crowd to decrease day by day.
For example, you never want to set foot in Versailles in the middle of summer; it’s absolute hell on earth. I’m not kidding; you can’t enjoy your visit. Versailles in winter is a lot smoother!
This doesn’t apply if you want to visit for Christmas and do some Christmas activities, such as seeing the illuminations or visiting Christmas Markets. If you’re going to do that, I recommend doing it in early December before the holiday starts in France on a weekday. This way, while they might be tourists like you, you won’t be flooded with the locals as kids are in school and adults at work for most!
Holiday Season – Christmas and New Year In Paris.
Winter also means the holiday season in Paris; the city is twinkling and sparkling from the streets to the lavish window Christmas displays. It’s the perfect cosy Christmas feeling! Everything throughout the French capital is in a festive mood; it’s delightful for the mind and the body with all the delicious food you can enjoy and smell floating in the air.
Some good displays to see during the winter in Paris are the ones from the big shopping centre like the Galerie Lafayette, where they put another themed tree each year and coordinate the windows display to it.
Another famous attraction near the Champs-Elysée is the Dior Shop, where they create a new festive facade every year.
If you visit Paris during Christmas, check out my travel guide about all the best spots to see Christmas lights in Paris.
Enjoy the Paris Winter Sales.
France holds two big sales every year. The first big sale of the year usually starts mid-January, so if you’re dreaming about that Parisian shopping session, winter is the perfect time for this!
The sales are for all kinds of stuff, including the designer brand. I have never quite looked into their sales, but if you fancy some lovely pieces, maybe you will find something you like on sale!
Benefit of Lower Prices after the Holiday Season.
As soon as the holiday season is over in Paris, the prices for accommodation and transportation to visit the city of light tend to lower by a decent chunk. As we enter the off-peak season, many people are reluctant to visit some places during the winter.
It’s the perfect opportunity if you’re on a budget! Think about all the other exciting things you could do or eat with that budget.
Hot Beverages and winter food.
Think Vin Chaud, Chocolat Chaud that you can enjoy throughout the cold days and “en terrace”. Or stay cosy in a tea salon!
Christmas markets are popping left and right before winter; some stay until mid-January.
They are full of sweet smells of mulled wine, warm chocolate, doughnuts and other local food brought to you by the local farmers and businesses.
Of course, you can enjoy plenty of other food in Paris all year round, including winter.
Such as the infamous macaroons, the traditional éclair au Chocolat or my personal favourite, the “Mille-Feuilles” (although, know that the Tarte
If you are in Paris after the new year, one of the best things to do in January in Paris regarding food is to try out a “Galette des Rois”. If you’d like to know more about this cake, check out my post about the best things to do in Paris in Winter.
Book the best Paris accommodation on Booking.com!
Cons Of Visiting Paris In Winter
Conditions and Unpredictable Weather
No blue sky unless you’re lucky; you can have it sometimes. Otherwise, the grey sky is the norm in Paris during winter. While that might sound a little depressing, it’s not! You can still pack up your day with plenty of activities. And, even if it rains, there are plenty of activities on a rainy day in Paris.
Winters aren’t that cold, for the most part; however, sometimes it can get freezing, so staying outside isn’t always fun.
The trick to fighting the cold is to layer your clothes!
Also, with the cold and wind, activity such as river cruising in an open boat isn’t quite fitting for winter if you wish to do that.
No Luxurious Garden and vegetation
Paris has many beautifully lush gardens and parks full of vibrant flowers that are perfect for a picnic you would love to visit. If you want to chase the cherry blossoms around the city, winter in Paris is not the season for you! Just not in winter if you come here to see this.
Also, as I said above, with the river cruising, some activities that imply staying outside for a relatively long time can become more of a hassle than something you’d enjoy if it’s too cold.
Winter is the best time for you to visit Paris if:
- If you don’t mind the cold weather, walking with the crisp air of the winter on your face doesn’t bother, or the occasional moody rain, you will be more than satisfied visiting Paris in winter!
- You don’t like to queue! If you have a lot of museums or famous landmarks to visit, then it’s best to see them during the winter in the off-peak season.
- If you’d like to save money, travelling during the off-peak season is a no-brainer. The flights/trains/accommodations are cheaper. If you’re on a budget, it’s an excellent season to visit Paris (albeit during Christmas)
If that fits your criteria, head to the city of light in winter and have a blast! If you have ever been to Paris during the winter, let me know if you enjoyed it!
Conclusion On Visiting Paris In Winter
Winter is, without any doubt, a significant period to visit Paris if you enjoy all the festivities and colder seasons. Some of the best things to do in Paris in winter are a blast to experience. Now you know everything there is to learn to plan a good Paris winter vacation.
I also think that winter in Paris during the end of the year, with all the Christmas lights scattered around Paris, makes it even more romantic, so if you’re planning a couple’s trip and are into this, then winter in Paris might be the perfect time for you!
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Visiting Paris In the Winter: Pros and Cons
✈ Best Travel Ressources To Plan Your Next Trip
If you need help planning your next trip, don’t worry. I’ve got you covered! Here are my favourite websites and apps to plan a trip!
✈ How To Find Flights?
My favourite website for booking flights is Skyscanner; it is a good comparator for finding the cheapest flights.
Google Flight is also a good help when it comes to comparing flights.
✈ Where To Book Accommodations?
The best sites to book accommodations are Booking.com or Expedia. They both allow you to collect points for a discount; it’s worth comparing the two as they often have different pricing for the same hotels.
Another perk about Booking.com and Expedia is that you can get bundle deals for flights and accommodations, which can sometimes help you save a lot of money. And don’t worry; you can also select to add accommodation for only a specific part of the trip if you’re not only staying in one place.
✈ Best Sites To Book Activities
My go-to website when I need to book an activity is GetYourGuide when I can’t get a ticket directly on the website or if it’s easier to go through them.
I always check if the price is the same, though, as the whole point is for it to be easier but not more expensive.
If I don’t find the activity I want on GetYourGuide, I like to check Viator for more options!
You can also check out Klook if you need to book more than just activities and would like to get everything from the same website—(i.e. transport cards, car rental, hotel…).
✈ Other helpful travel resources
– Radical Storage: If you need a place to keep your luggage for an extended period when you travel, I recommend using them. It was a great help when we needed a place to keep our luggage safely while we left the city for a few days.
– TheTrainline: If you love to travel by train like me, then TheTrainline needs to be your go-to website for train travel in Europe. It is very reliant and easy to use.
Disclaimer: this resources box contains affiliate links, which means I earn a little commission if you book anything through my links at no additional cost. They help me support the blog and generate more content. Happy travels!