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Paris in the Winter: Weather, Festivals, & Things to Do

Planning a trip to Paris in the winter? Here’s everything you need to know!

So, you’re stumped about what to do in Paris during the winter since it seems like the worst time to come; however, you’ll be shocked at just how much there is to do in the City of Light!

You’ll come to find with this helpful guide that there really is something for everyone, no matter your budget, interests, and time.

The pros of traveling during the winter to any major city, including Paris, are often understated. There are many benefits, including lower prices and less traffic, so it’s a great time to pay a visit.

Eiffel Tower and vintage carousel in Paris at sunset during winter

Why You Must Visit Paris In The Winter

Paris is among the hubs of all things romantic and artisanal, and there are also some tremendous advantages to visiting in the winter months!

You’ll come to find that Paris in the Winter can be the most fun, and even cheaper!

During the winter in Paris, many entertainment venues, museums, parks, local attractions, and restaurants have reduced prices or entrance fees due to winter being the off-season and typically receiving fewer visitors – pretty much like the shoulder season.

As a bonus, this also comes with cheaper accommodation and airfare.

For those who hate being surrounded by crowds of people, a winter vacation in Paris is a fantastic idea!

You’ll find that you can enjoy the sights and sounds of Paris in a relaxed manner. Now you can really immerse yourself in the Parisian city atmosphere without the constant shutter of cameras!

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

Where to Stay in Paris

Paris is by far the most visually attractive city in Europe. The atmosphere, architecture, and charm are unmatched, and the city of Paris is overflowing with charm during the winter season.

Whether traveling to Paris with your partner, spouse, family, or alone, you will not be disappointed. The city of Paris has something to bewitch any traveler, from near or far.

When you plan your winter vacation to Paris, it will help if you research your hotel accommodation before heading off into the unknown.

We have listed below some hotels that might be worth checking when planning your trip to Paris in the winter.

1. Pullman Paris Tour EiffelThe Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel hotel is situated at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. It is open all day and features a fitness room and a terrace where you can enjoy dining at the restaurant.

Almost all rooms at this hotel feature a balcony where you can get stunning views of the Eiffel Tower and surrounding gardens. If you plan to sightsee around the Eiffel Tower, you can get there on foot, and it will take five minutes to reach there. Click here to check availability!

2. Hotel The Peninsula ParisThe Peninsula Paris Hotel is situated 0.4 miles away from the Arc de Triomphe and offers a rooftop restaurant that provides its guests 360⁰ unrestricted views of Paris. Parc des Princes Stadium is only fifteen minutes away by car.

All two hundred rooms of this 5-star hotel are adorned with elegant furniture and contemporary artworks. All marbled bathrooms feature rain showers and deep soaking bathtubs, with inset TVs and luxury bath amenities by Oscar de la Renta.

The Kleber Terrace has one of the largest outdoor dining terraces in Paris. The hotel’s rooftop restaurant, L’Oiseau Blanc, serves contemporary French cuisine.

Visitors staying at The Peninsula Hotel Paris will be lucky to have easy access to at least five metro rail stations. Kleber Metro Station, Charles de Gaulle-Etoile Metro, Boissiere Metro, and George V Metro Stations are located less than one mile away. Click here to book your stay!

Alexandre III bridge with Invalides in the background

Paris Weather In Winter

When it comes to Winter in Paris, the temperature range is usually quite wet and mild, and periods of extreme cold are rare.

Compared to other famous cities in the northern hemisphere, Paris in the winter, such as New York, has much more agreeable weather!

On most days in Paris’s winter months of December, January, and February, winter temperatures usually reach around 46 degrees Fahrenheit, with the minimum temperature around 36 to 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

So, Paris has cold winter days, but nothing that will disrupt your upcoming winter trip or celebration of the holiday season.

Average temperatures may reach as low as 32 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, so you can expect snow to level up to 1 to 2 inches!

However, as rain in Paris occurs frequently and temperatures near freezing point are on the rarer side of the temperature range, snow is not common in Paris.

What To Wear In Paris In The Winter

Here are some things you can pack in your luggage to make staying in Paris in the winter comfier:

  • Thermal Vests: These nifty tops are an excellent way of keeping yourself warmer without compromising luggage space or style. You can wear these under pretty much everything!
  • Waterproof raincoat or jacket: It’s pretty much a given that you’ll find yourself in one of Paris’s many wintertime rain showers when you’re out and about. So, bring along a waterproof winter coat, which is essential to avoid catching a cold.
  • A good quality umbrella: A strong umbrella is a must with the occasional Parisian rainstorm! We all know that it really sucks when you’re stuck outside in the rain, and your umbrella suddenly breaks, so it’s really in your best interest to knab a strong, well-made umbrella.
  • Leggings: Leggings are a great and low-key way to preserve body heat and be stylish simultaneously! You can pop these under a pair of jeans or wear them with a winter dress or skirt.

What To Do In Paris In The Winter

So now that you’re up to date with the ins and outs of Parisian winter weather, suitable clothing, and the benefits of visiting Paris in the winter, you’re probably itching to know about the best attractions to visit.

Have no fear, as you’ll find that there are a lot of fun things to do in Paris!

1. Take A Seine River Cruise

Seine River Cruise on a winter day

For an incredibly memorable trip, hop on one of the many Seine river cruises that dot the river, departing from the 7th arrondissement. 

Most of the prices for these tours are quite affordable, with starting prices for tours around 15 euros

If you’re feeling fancier, you can also book an evening dinner cruise, which typically costs around 70 euros.

And suppose that wasn’t enough to satisfy your adventurous spirit. In that case, there are also package river cruises that travel along the Seine and include entrance and summit to many landmark sites in Paris, such as the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe.

Click here to book your cruise!

2. Visit A Christmas Market

Tourists visiting the traditional Christmas markets in Paris

Now, if you want to experience Christmas in Paris, why not visit La Magie de Noël (The Magic of Christmas) Market hosted in Tuileries Garden between November and January?

This Paris Christmas market receives over 13 million visitors every season, and it’s hard not to see why!

This market combines the nostalgic fun of carnivals with the delight of Christmas markets and winter magic.

You can eat every type of French winter delicatessens such as French Onion soup, vin chaud (hot wine with spices), and cheese and chocolates while enjoying the Ferris Wheel and all other sorts of rides!

3. Go On A Wine Tasting Experience

Two glasses of expensive French white wine served in Parisian bar

Do you fancy trying some of the best wine that France has to offer? Why not head on over to Les Caves du Louvre, an 18th-century French royal wine cellar created by King Louis XV? 

With over 8,000 square feet of cellar space, this venue is perfect for sampling sumptuous wines or just taking in the atmosphere!

You can even create your own unique wine in a two-hour session with the help of a trained sommelier.

Just pick your favorite grape varieties and bottle them for the perfect wine! The cellars also offer a wide variety of wines you can buy!

It’s good to note that a wine tasting experience is included in the Paris Pass.

Depending on the activities you’re going to do, it is worth the money. We wrote a detailed review of the Paris Pass here, but if you want to purchase it right away, you can click here.

4. Shop During Winter Sales

Sticker sign of sales in Paris

As Paris is the center of a global high-fashion empire, it makes absolute sense to participate in one of Paris’s famed bi-annual sale seasons! 

Now you can find some of the best designer brands like Givenchy, Chanel, Gucci, Armani, Prada, and Louis Vuitton at discount prices that are just unbeatable!

This sale only occurs during the Summer and Winter; however, you’re more likely to find the best deals without them being snatched up by others as Paris experiences fewer tourists during the winter. 

Head over to big department stores, such as Les Galeries Lafayette Haussmann and L’Appartement Français, for some of the best sales!

5. See The Sites On A Citroen 2CV Tour

Citroen 2CV driving in Montmartre, Paris
Go on a Citroen 2CV tour – olrat / Shutterstock

Travel in style around Paris in the iconic Citroen 2CV! You can fully immerse yourself in the glamourous atmosphere of Paris in the winter in absolute comfort! 

Stare in wonder at the Eiffel Tower and its glittering beauty as you are driven down Avenue des Champs Elysees in the 8th arrondissement!

This tour can pick you up at your location, whether at a hotel or out and about in the city. 

The detachable roof is also available when it rains, so it’s a perfect addition to your winter vacation in Paris! It’s also wheelchair-friendly, and you can also arrange for extra features such as champagne.

Click here to book your tour

6. Warm Up With A Coffee Or Hot Chocolate

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

For a takeaway drink that’s oh so worth it, head on over to Ten Belles, a café that specializes in brewing coffees from their stockpile of coffee, which local brand Belleville Brûlerie artisanally blends.

Or, if you’re craving a drink and a sweet snack, try Le Peloton Café.

If you’re looking for some cafes that offer seatting, look no further than the classically Parisian café La Fontaine de Belleville, which serves coffee and traditional snacks such as Croque Monsieur and baguette sandwiches.

Other noteworthy suggestions are the Café Méricourt, Holybelly, Angelina, and Télescope.

7. See A Cabaret Show

Moulin Rouge is a cabaret in Paris

The dazzling lights, outlandish costumes, and raucous fun of cabarets are pretty much what Paris is known for!

If you fancy watching a cabaret show, you can grab tickets to the most famous venue of all: Moulin Rouge.

Alternatively, you can also visit some of the other highest-rated performances at Lido de Paris Cabaret show or the Crazy Horse. You’ll be treated to a show alongside a dinner of French cuisine or champagne.

8. Visit The Covered Passages

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

For another place to shop, eat and marvel at Paris’s architectural beauty, we suggest roaming the covered passages!

Dating back to the 18th century, the passages were built to act as beautiful shortcuts between the city’s many buildings that could host all sorts of stores and events.

Passage Jouffroy was constructed in 1845 entirely of metal and glass and was the first of its kind. It houses adorable little boutiques, a tea café with the best pastries, and a celebrity wax figure museum!

If you have a bit of a bigger budget, try the Galerie Vivienne, which has luxury clothing stores galore!

9. Escape The Cold In A Museum

Venus de Milo statue at Louvre Museum
Venus de Milo statue at Louvre Museum – Reidl / Shutterstock

An art lover’s dream, Paris’s many museums are the place to be when it comes to basking in the brilliance of both modern and classical art as well as taking in the history.

They’re also a great addition to your to-do list when the rains come and you want to retreat indoors.

Visit the Louvre Museum (timed entrance tickets here) to have a glance at the enigmatic Mona Lisa or to the Centre Pompidou to visit the largest Modern Art collection in Europe.

Prefer science or architectural history? Then try the Musée des Arts et Métiers, Europe’s oldest science museum, or the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine.

10. Go On A Self-Guided Walking Tour of Montmartre

View of Sacre Coeur from Rue Saint Rustique in Montmartre

Now, if you want to get to know Paris the way Ernest Hemingway and Salvador Dali experienced it, check out Montmartre’s district!

Take a self-guided walking tour around the neighborhood’s many artistic and historical sites for free! Of course, it’s winter, so expect some rain!

Visit the Le Chat Noir or the world-famous Moulin Rouge, both having been the host to many cabarets.

If you’re a fan of  “Amelie,” visit the Café des Deux Moulins, filmed as Amelie’s workplace. Or stop to admire the beauty of the Sacré-Cœur basilica, known as “The Heart of Christ.”

11. Spend Some Magical Time At Disneyland Paris

Castle in Disneyland Paris

The wonders of Christmas and childhood memories materialize when you think about Disneyland!

That will be especially true when visiting Disneyland in Paris during December, which is the perfect day trip from the city.

All Christmas celebrations at Disneyland Paris begin as early as November until January. Giant Christmas trees, Christmas shows, parades, and lights are all set to dazzle and mesmerize visitors to Disneyland Paris.

To avoid missing out on all the Christmas attractions at Disneyland Paris, ensure to book your tickets ahead of time.

12. Munch On French Crepes

French crepe with strawberry

There’s nothing like scoffing down a classic crepe with some fresh cream, so why not indulge in French dishes while you’re in Paris in the winter?

Wander down any street in the City of Lights, and you’ll come across a crepe café, but it’s truly worth it to go to the best of the best, so we’ll suggest a few!

The Breizh Café in the 3rd arrondissement lets you sample some of the best 15 local ciders alongside sweet and savory crepes, among other dishes.

At Krügen (11th arrondissement), we’d recommend the crêpe complete or the kouign amann pastry and of course, visiting the little grocery is a must!

13. Go Ice Skating

Ice rink in Christmas market in Tuileries Gardens
Ice rink in Christmas market in Tuileries Gardens – ilolab / Shutterstock

There’s nothing more magical than gliding around in an ice rink in the dead of winter. So, why not hop over to the many ice rinks that pop up in Paris in the winter?

Try the Eiffel Tower Ice Rink, which like its namesake, is situated 187 ft above the ground floor of the Eiffel Tower. The ice rink on the Tuileries Gardens is also a great choice!

Events In Paris In The Winter

If you’re looking for specific events during your stay in Paris during the winter vacation, then take note as we divulge the very best!

The Festival Of Lights

  • When:  November 2022 to January 2023

Explore the magic of the festive season by stopping at The Festival of Lights held at Jardin des Plantes.

Visit gigantic light sculptures illuminating the night, which are hand-painted with themes ranging from “The World of Minuscule in Large “and “Evolution on the way to enlightenment.”

Man in clown costume at traditional Carnival in Paris
Carnaval de Paris is annual event – Elena Dijour / Shutterstock

Carnaval De Paris

  • When: the 19th of February 2023

Since the Middle Ages, the Carnaval De Paris has been celebrated with live entertainment, music, juggler shows, French food, and acrobatics.

The height of the procession is the parade of the fat cow as the parade marches from 1 pm, starting at Place Gambetta Paris XX and ending at Republic Square.

Chinese New Year

  • When: the 22nd of January 2023

Celebrate the Chinese New Year’s festivities in one of Paris’s biggest festivals. The parade has traditional lion and dragon dances, exhibitions, and song performances.

Just be sure to check the website to find out which performances will be held as they change annually.

Things To Note When Traveling To Paris In The Winter

Paris might be the epicenter of the fashion world, host to delicious food, art, wine, and chock-full of history, but there might be a few snags in your trip plans.

Namely, the weather, as the rain and snow are unpredictable, so it’s important to pack well and acknowledge that you might have to change your plans.

It’s super important to acknowledge the prices might differ from what you’re used to as certain winter activities and shops might be expensive.

You should also check if the places you want to visit are open as some might be closed due to winter and the off-season.

Final Thoughts

In a nutshell, you’ve seen that one shouldn’t underestimate the city of Paris in the wintertime!

From the tremendous benefits to the sights and sounds, there’s no real reason not to pack your bags and miss this gem of a European city when it gets cold!

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.