Paris in the Off Season

September 5, 2023

Paris in the Off Season

We have all heard about Paris in the Springtime and Paris in the Fall. It’s so lovely that songs and movies have been written about it. But there is also something so wonderful and special about experiencing Paris in the off season.

You’ll enjoy less crowds, feel you can experience the city more like a local, not have as many lines and you can also enjoy better pricing on airfare and hotels. If you’re considering planning a trip to Paris in the off season, this post should be of help to you.

Paris in the Off Season

Paris in the Off Season

As the founder of En Route to Rêverie I have been to Paris during every season. Winter is one of my favorite times to enjoy the city. There are less tourists, less lines, less crowds and you can soak up some of the best of the city and feel you have parts of it to yourself at times.

When is Off Season In Paris

Unlike other popular destinations where September and October or July (Bastille Day is the French national holiday in July!) and August are off season, Paris has a short off season. Tourist season and peak season lasts longer in Paris given its popularity.

So, off season is in the winter months of the year. January, February and March are going to be considered off season in Paris and if you plan a trip during these months you’ll be greeted with cheaper airfare, better hotel rates and sometimes even some hotel deals will be being run by Paris hotels. It may be worth searching for winter sales when it comes to booking your flights, too.

The weather in Paris in Winter can vary but I feel if you pack appropriately and are happy to bundle up, Paris in the winter can be really magical. If you’re lucky you may be gifted with sunny days that’ll make it feel less cold. 

From December through February, Paris averages around a high of 45 degrees with a low of 37 degrees. You may get some snow and you’ll likely get some rain but you will also experience some awesome bright, sunny days with gorgeous winter weather light. It very rarely snows in Paris.

How To Enjoy Paris In The Off Season

Museum in paris

Visit Popular Museums

Popular Paris museums during peak season can be over run with crowds. (The Louvre welcomes over 30,000 people on some days!) So if you’re someone who prefers to enjoy museums without having to dodge loads of people, the museums in off season are a lovely respite from both crowds and the cold. 

During peak season in Paris you’ll often need to buy your tickets for museums in advance which can lead to a more stressful, demanding itinerary. In the off season you should be able to enjoy showing up without a pre-paid time slot ticket at most museums.

cafe people watching

People Watch at Cafes

There’s nothing more Parisian than sitting at a corner cafe and watching the world go by. Enjoy a petit dejeuner, bring a good book or just enjoy the sights and sounds of the city. A favorite neighborhood to do this for me is Paris’s Saint Germain.

Enjoy Hot Chocolate

The rich, decadent and oh so delicious chocolat chaud served up at many Paris cafes is absolutely worth the indulgence. It is the perfect way to warm up during winter in Paris. I have a very favorite place for hot chocolate in Paris that I share with my En Route to Rêverie clients.

Things to do in Paris in the Off Season

Go up the Eiffel Tower

In the summer the Eiffel Tower can be mobbed if you want to go up it. And tickets can be hard to come by for popular dates. But if you visit Paris in the off season, you’ll experience less of a queue to get in and endure less people all trying to get the same shots from the viewing decks.

Enjoy Fine Dining

Paris has some of the best restaurants in the world and as such they can be hard to get reservations at. When you go in the off season you are more likely to have additional availability at some of the best addresses. 

If you’re looking for great dining recommendations, I have you covered. Book En Route to Rêverie with me and get customized recommendations based on your travel preferences to make your next trip to Paris the best one yet.


One of the very best ways to enjoy Paris is to wander without a destination. So often people rush from one thing to the next trying to fit in as much as possible, but I invite you to really enjoy Paris with long strolls. Or as the French say, the art of flaneûr.

Related: 20 Things to Do in Paris in Winter

Enjoy Seasonal Activities

Visiting in early Winter means you can enjoy things like the Christmas markets, ice skating and other seasonal decor the city puts up. Typically the decor starts around Thanksgiving and then is up through the first two weeks of January. 

Related: The Best Christmas Photo Spots in Paris

Look for Hotel Perks

You can score a better room at many hotels for a better price when you work with a travel advisor. When you book En Route to Rêverie with me I can pair you with one of my partner hotels to get perks like complimentary breakfast, late check-out and early check-in and complimentary room upgrades, too!

cafe outdoor seating

Shop at Les Grands Magasins

Shopping in Paris any time of the year is a must and visiting Les Grands Magasins – Paris’s three legendary department stores – Le Bon Marché, Au Printemps and Galeries Lafayette – is a great way to enjoy some time indoors. And they are not to be missed during the holidays either when they are all decked out with Christmas decor.

And the Christmas tree under the coupable at Galeries Lafayette is always worth seeing! You can get up close and personal by visiting the Glasswalk at the store, too.

Book a Photo Shoot

Capturing your time in Paris can be wonderful in the off season as you won’t be battling loads of people in the back of your shots. I love shots of being bundled up on a cafe terrace or walking in one of the best parks in Paris

Through En Route to Rêverie I offer a discount with one of the top photographers in Paris. 

Paris in the Off Season

Enjoy a cooking class

If it is going to be extra cold, you can be cozy and warm inside a kitchen by taking a cooking class for a few hours! Learn to make croissants, do a wine and cheese tasting, bake macarons or another myriad of classes. I work with one of the top cooking schools in Paris and give my En Route to Rêverie clients a discount if that’s of interest!

. . .

Have you been to Paris in the off season? I would love to hear what you did! 

Heading to Paris? Book En Route to Rêverie with me and get customized recommendations based on your travel preferences to make your next trip to Paris the best one yet.

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  1. Maeve says:

    L love Paris in winter, although as I arrived on Jan 1st, I found FRENCH tourists everywhere. As they don’t queue and are very pushy by American standards, it can be frustrating. My ‘tip’ is to travel on New Year’s Eve — we got a good price on the airfare, and the plane had tons of empty seats. Just make sure you are aware of New Year’s Day issues. Winter hours can be shorter, and some things are closed.

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