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Paris in January: Weather, Festivals, & Things to Do

Are you visiting Paris in January? Then you’ll want to bookmark this page because we will discuss everything you need to know to enjoy your vacation in January in Paris!

While the French capital is lovely all year round, January has a magical appeal and far fewer crowds.

Besides, there are a ton of things to do in Paris in January and still escape the cold outside.

From sipping hot chocolate to eating seasonal treats, you’re bound to have lots of fun in January in Paris. Without further ado, let’s go through everything you need to know!

Scenic view to the Eiffel tower on a snowy winter day
Unusual snowy day in Paris in January

Paris in January, a Winter Fairytale

January in Paris is always a great idea. The French capital and its beautiful Parisian landmarks will offer you magical memories. 

Whether you are with your family, friends, or lover, the City of Light is the perfect choice for a winter getaway. 

Enjoy delicious pastries from the oven; nothing better to warm you up while strolling in the City of Love

Have your personal fashion show by creating your most beautiful winter outfits. 

Enjoy fewer crowds at major attractions like Eiffel Tower, Louvre, and Arc de Triomphe.

The beautiful Paris is a city with many facets that will not fail to amaze you.

Pssst: If you’re still not sure when to go, here’s a guide on the best time to visit Paris by month and season.

Why You Must Visit Paris in January

Want to visit Paris and its magnificent historical monuments without waiting in endless lines? January, the heart of winter, is the perfect month to plan your stay. 

Visiting Paris outside of summer has many perks. One of them is that you’ll save a lot of money! Prices tend to go up during the summer when tourists arrive. Everything is way more expensive, but not in January! 

In addition, Parisians, in general, have delicious seasonal dishes. And what if we also told you that January rhymes with raclette and fondue, French specialties based on hot and melted cheese? 

Oh and WINE, a loooot of wine!! Conquered? Paris in January is waiting for you!

The ferris wheel and the Eiffel Tower in Paris during sunrise

Where to Stay in Paris in January

We know it’s not easy to look for a place to stay in Paris because the city is vast. For that reason, we decided to help you and give a hotel recommendation based on our personal preferences.

The Abbatial Saint Germain is a 3-star hotel in the Latin Quarter. Just a stone’s throw away from the Notre Dame Cathedral and Pantheon, you will be near many attractions and metro stations. (Perfect location!)

Even though the rooms are on the small side, they are pretty large for Paris. Still, rooms have a TV, minibar, free WiFi, and all amenities you would expect from a 3-star hotel. Besides, they are charming and beautifully decorated.

The cherry on the cake is the airport shuttle offered by the hotel, which comes in handy if it’s freezing outside or you’re arriving in the middle of the night.

Paris Weather In January

Winters in Paris are pretty cold, windy, and rainy. It might snow, but it is sporadic. So you can have your mate’s coffee in the winter darkness while admiring the beautiful lights of Paris. 

The days are very short in the winter in Paris. The sun rises quite late, usually a little after 8 am, and you can expect temperatures between 35°F and 44°F. 

If you have a rental car, remember to save time by scraping the ice off the windows and windshields when you first go out in the fresh morning.

  • Minimum temperature: 35°F
  • Maximum temperature: 44°F
  • Average rainfall: 1.3 inches
  • Average sunshine hours: Roughly three hours
  • Wind chill: The windy season is between Nov-Mar, so January is definitely a windy month, with a windchill making the apparent temperatures a bit lower.
Notre Dame Cathedral on a winter day

What to Wear in Paris in January

  • A raincoat or umbrella: Parisian winters can be pretty rainy, so consider bringing an umbrella or a classy raincoat so you won’t be surprised by the weather. Try to buy something you can easily keep in your bag to not bother you.
  • A pair of boots: Rainboots, waterproof shoes, or high boots. Brown or even the timeless black boots. It is impossible to visit Paris without a nice pair of shoes because of the cold weather. These are the perfect shoes to keep your feet warm during the Parisian winter.
  • Gloves, scarves, and hats: These are the accessories you need to face the wind and the rainy mornings, especially if you’re coming from a very sunny place. Besides, a stylish scarf goes a long way. Don’t forget to match the color and material of these different accessories for a very French look.
  • Sweaters and coats: Layer these two pieces of clothing for a compelling look against the cold. You will want to choose a warm coat (or warm jacket) to keep you cozy while sightseeing. The stores offer a wide variety of coats. Whether they are short, long, colored, black, you will inevitably find your happiness if you’re up for shopping in Paris. Stylish sweaters are essential to face the January cold. Have fun mixing your personal style with French fashion items.

What to Do in Paris in January

While there is a whole array of things you can do in Paris, here are some suggestions that are particularly good for January.

1. Shop During the Winter Sales

Twice a year, the French merchants organize sales to empty their stock. It’s a national clearance period. 

You can shop discounted items for four weeks with special offers ranging from 20% to 80% off for some products. 

If you have the opportunity, you can scout the area a week before the sale starts and ask the salesclerks if the products you are interested in will be on sale or not. 

Oh, and be aware that the prices of items go down every week during those four weeks of sales.

Local tip: Buy summer items during the winter sales. That’s how you’ll get the best deals on shopping sprees!

2. Enjoy a Hot Chocolate from Angelina

Pouring hot chocolate from small jug at Angelina
Sip hot chocolate at Angelina – adrenalinerushdiaries / Shutterstock

The sumptuous smell of melted chocolate perfumes the cool January air. It’s a dream come true right? 

Angelina’s Hot Chocolates are known for their rich and delicious flavor. You can taste all the chocolate flavors in this drink. 

Since 1903, Angelina’s tearoom has been thrilling the taste buds of more gourmands. Today, it offers a wide range of chocolate products that you can provide to your loved ones or devour yourself…

3. Visit the Secret Passages of Paris

Entrance of Covered Passage Vivienne
Galerie Vivienne – Kiev.Victor / Shutterstock

The Secret Passages of Paris are the witnesses of the beautiful times that Paris lived. They are today reconverted into shopping malls.

Inspired by the past’s Souks (Arab markets), but with a distinctive touch of French chic, the passages are calm places to shop.

There are about 20 secret passages in Paris. Still, the most famous one is the Galerie Vivienne, which is the most decorated secret passage of all and will not fail to seduce you. 

You will find restaurants, small stores, workshops with handicrafts, and more. If you have an artsy personality or if you’re a luxurious shopper, this is the place to go!

4. Spend an Unforgettable Evening at the Cabaret

Moulin Rouge in Paris

Cabarets are entertainment establishments. If we had to summarize the cabaret atmosphere in three words, we would say music, dance, and costumes. 

Here are some emblematic cabarets that you must visit: the Lido located on the Champs Elysees has cabaret shows that are actual celebrations of Paris.

The Moulin Rouge is a cabaret that caused a scandal for many years after opening its daring and sexy shows. The Crazy Horse will offer you audacious shows that are a perfect mix between grace and eroticism.

All in all, visiting the cabarets in Paris is a unique experience that you shouldn’t miss! 

5. Go Ice-Skating

Ice skate in front of Hotel de Ville, the Parisian City Hall
Ice skate in front of Hotel de Ville, the Parisian City Hall – Mariontxa / Shutterstock

Ice-skating and France, it’s a love story! It’s an inexpensive leisure activity, counting on about €5 per person. 

It’s straightforward to find ice skating rinks and guarantee you an afternoon full of fun! You can go skating with your family in a few places around the city and make memories on the ice. For instance, you could go to the Tuileries Garden and Parc Astérix.

Still, every year new temporary ice skating rinks pop up throughout Paris. It’s worth keeping an eye out for!

6. Eat a Good Cake of the Kings/Galette des Rois

Galette des rois is a delicious French food
Galette des Rois

When it comes to visiting Paris in January, bad weather makes the perfect opportunity to sample some French delicacies.

And what could possibly be better than Cake of the Kings? This is a delicious pastry that you can eat in bakeries throughout the city at the beginning of January. It’s usually available for two weeks, starting on January 6th.

Initially, the Galette des Rois had a strong religious meaning. Nowadays, it is mainly the gourmands who enjoy it. 

The Cake of the Kings is puff pastry and frangipane, a sweet preparation based on almonds. A bean (small porcelain figurine) is inserted into the frangipane when the galette is made. The person who has the bean in his share is crowned “King” or “Queen.” 

But don’t worry, you won’t find porcelain in your pastry. You will typically see a cardboard crown to put on the head of the lucky person.

7. Relax in a Café

Couple eating croissants and drinking coffee in a cafe in Paris

Cafés are an integral part of French culture. In these places, you’ll find that there’s really no time to drink a cup of coffee—it’s never too early and never too late. 

Most Parisian cafés will offer you to have your coffee on the terrace as soon as the first rays of the sun arrive in mid-January. 

Whether alone or with your family, the cafés will welcome you with good pastries and fresh coffee. There is always a little something that makes coffee breaks unique in France. 

Maybe it’s the decor, the sweet smell of coffee, or just the fact that you are drinking coffee in France in a café.

8. Visit the Museums of Paris

Louvre Museum Pyramid at night

Art is a central part of French culture, and that’s why you can’t visit Paris without planning a visit to at least one museum in the capital. 

The Louvre Museum is a must unless you don’t want to say hello to Mona Lisa. The Orsay Museum is also among the top ones in the city.

Be sure to buy the Paris museum pass if you’re planning on visiting a few art institutions so you can save on entrance fees. Highly recommended!

Events in Paris in January

Here are some exciting events that take place in January.

1. The Festival of Lights (Festival des Lumières)

  • When: From November 29th, 2021, to January 30th, 2022

The Festival of Lights is a magnificent night show in the Jardin des Plantes (6 pm to 11 pm). 

You will be able to admire illuminated artistic sculptures on current themes. The theme of this year is Evolution in the Process of Illumination.

It highlights (pun intended) the evolution and disappearance of certain species. An enlightened life lesson!

2. Disney’s Enchanted Christmas

  • When: From November 13th, 2021, to January 9th, 2022

How can you come to Paris without visiting Disneyland? Combine the magic of Disney and the magic of Paris for an exceptional moment. So, what are you waiting for? Mickey and Cinderella can’t wait to see you!

Castle in Disneyland Paris

3. Crossing Paris/La Traversée de Paris

  • When: Sunday, January 9th, 2022

Lovers of history, cars, parades. We also have something to offer you, and you will like it!

Like every year, La Traversée de Paris will be held on a Sunday morning for your pleasure! Oh, and you know what? For the first time: a lunch show will take place at the Cabaret Lido.

4. Paris Cocktail Week

  • When: TBD

The perfect activity for a stay between adults or lovers. Come and discover the cocktail you never thought you needed in this annual winter festival. 

Sweet, salty, alcoholic, and non-alcoholic cocktails, a multitude of delicious and creative drinks just waiting for you! You will indeed find something new cocktail flavors to bless your taste buds!

5. Men’s Fashion Week

  • When: January 18th to January 23rd

The men’s version of the world’s most famous fashion event happens in January in Paris. At this winter event, fashion designers present the trends in menswear for the fall-winter seasons of 2022-2023.

A model walks the runway during the Louis Vuitton show as part of the Paris Fashion Week
Men’s Fashion Week in Paris – / Shutterstock

Things to Note When Traveling to Paris in January

You will fall in love with Paris in January. We’ve picked out some iconic places and activities to help you plan your trip but do ask for advice while you’re there–talk to the locals. 

Like all great cities, Paris is full of surprises and secret places! Paris in January is waiting for you!

Paris Travel Resources

We want you to have an incredible vacation in Paris! That’s why we wrote other helpful guides here on the blog.

For instance, we have a complete itinerary for 2 days in Paris and 4 days in Paris.

If you would like to go on a day trip from Paris and visit other places beyond Versailles and Disneyland Paris.

As for the other months of the year, we have guides to visit Paris in February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and December.

Enjoy your trip!

Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!

Before you leave for France, make sure you have a valid travel insurance policy because accidents happen on the road. We have been paying for Safety Wing travel insurance for a little over a year now, and we happily recommend them to our family and friends.

If you get sick, injured, or have your stuff stolen, you'll be happy to have the ability to pay for your medical bills or replace what was stolen.

Because, for just a couple of dollars a day (depending on how long your policy is for), you're going to get lots of things covered. Be smart and get travel insurance.